Q and Not U’s Recreation Myth

Emily Shelton

Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Welcome to the world in 2002, where people were discovering the new millennium with generally horrible fashion taste. George W Bush was sitting not-so-pretty in the oval office and the fear of terrorism wormed its way into defining an era. But simmering in DC was a post-punk band working and paying hard to change the political scene, and proving that punk kids could still dance.

Q and Not U recorded three full albums on Dischord Records right around the turn of the century. I think it‰’s especially important that we address “Different Damage,‰” the middle child of their records. The album is transitional and often discombobulated. The change lied in the band moving from the traditional DC thrash to a new dance-punk phenomenon making an appearance in the punk culture.

You can describe the sound of the album as a combination of LCD Soundsystem and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs while staying true to traditional Dischord-esque punk, like Minor Threat, with some rare moments of transcendental moments of drifting melodies. The mood swings track to track contribute to the dissonance of ideas throughout the album. On one hand, Q and not U sticks to the conventions of Dischord, with power guitar riffs and thrash drumming (very moshable). On the other hand, they subdue the sound with occasional keyboards and danceable drum beats.

I have to say, “Soft Pyramids” is gorgeous alone with the most stripped down sound on the album on the record by far. The simple question “How could we ask for the best?‰” is presented with just the gentle chime of keyboards against an otherwise empty background. This question looms with the overarching political statements of the album.

“Recreation Myth‰” is, by far, my favorite song on the album. The lyrics finally reveal the blatantly political nature of Q and Not U.

“Hands up give in to modernism

The re-enactment’s closing in

But we’re past that now

Dip your head in the water

Hands up and over

Heads down in shame

Give in, give in

Is this the cup that’s worth more than me


Ask what happened to believers

They will never believe again

Counted the times that it wasn’t true

They’ll never wash your feet again

When I was born no one counted the fingers and toes

O’no. O’nothing‰Û

I would expect no less from a DC band.

Q and not U stopped their six-year run of constant touring and recording in 2005. However, they still stand as a dance-punk staple and contribute to the legacy of DC punks into the 21st century.