Back at the end of the 1990s there were quite a few bands coming over from America who I had never heard of before. Actually, I had never heard of the name of the sound they were making either. I was completely new to this so called emo craze, although the name struck a chord with me. Still I considered emo to be something completely different, much more aggressive and hostile that the college rock that was starting to grow bigger and bigger back then. At the highest point of the underground boom Underdog Recordstore set up a two day festival at the “Rhenania” on the banks of the river Rhine with the big names in the business. One day Jimmy Eat World were headlining, the next day it was Hot Water Music. Also playing was the prime of the German scene, especially Reno Kid, Germany’s answer to Mineral.
And although I have to admit I was pretty keen on catching a glimpse of Jimmy Eat World back then, the band I was looking forward to the most were Discount. I was introduced to them by a friend from the States who compiled a mixtape for me featuring one song by the guys from Gainesville. And from the first listening on I instantly fell in love with them. This aggressive, slightly chaotic, yet highly melodic brew of punk rock attitude combined with desperate yet beautiful female vocals caught my attention instantly. Their live set was impressive, although it was a little irritating to watch their lead singer wander around the stage all of the time while they were playing. Man, she looked so nervous. I had thought about doing an interview with the band for Blurr magazine, but watching them on stage just looked like there was nothing going to come out of trying to ask them questions. So I went up to Dennis who knew the band and asked him who I should ask for an interview. He insisted that I should talk to Alison, the singer. And it turned out that this was one of the best interviews I ever did. She was really talkative and interested and it was more of a conversation than the usual question-answer thing. I sent her the interview to check it and she was so kind to correct my spelling mistakes. Something I had never seen before. I saw the band once more at the “Underground” after they released was was to be their final record and the looked a lot more professional at that time.
Why was I so fond of Discount I really don’t know. Their music wasn’t what you’d call impressive. But still the melodies stuck in my ears and the had a sense for certain riffs and patterns that wouldn’t have made sense anywhere else. Also a band who does a complete cover record of Billy Bragg songs … c’mon, you just have to like those guys. Also they introduced me to a lot of other bands through their uncountable split releases, an illness which seems to befall all bands coming from Florida. Think of the aforementioned Hot Water Music, but also of bands like Less Than Jake. Discount had a lot of Split singles and records and one stuck with me through all of the years. So I am thankful they showed me a band like Cigaretteman who could be seen as the Japanese answer to Discount.
Also they didn’t really fit into the clean cut image of what all those college rock bands were looking like at that time. Discount were a lot more punkrock. They had something to say compared to all the bands sining about the college love affairs. Which was fun, too, but with Discount‘s music I had a lot more fun.
It’s a pity they only lasted for such a short amount of time, but their output was so high it doesn’t really matter. Perhaps the called it quits at just the right time. Alison went on to sing in The Kills, but i never really got into that music. What the other guys in the band did after the plit I don’t know and I don’t have a clue.