No Depression: Legacy Edition

Pitched as "Hüsker Dü meets Woody Guthrie," Uncle Tupelo's 1990 debut made the countrypunk notions of the Mekons, the Meat Puppets and others into a raison d'être, furthering a major movement. This expanded reissue adds Not Forever, Just for Now, the 1989 demo tape that got them signed. Its 10 songs, recorded in an attic in Champaign, Illinois, were beefed up on No Depression (and its sister single, the Midwest indie-rock boozer anthem "I Got Drunk"). But Not Forever shows a vision startlingly complete, and its scrappiness occasionally serves the songs better – see "Whiskey Bottle," with harmonica instead of pedal steel. Earlier demos and ephemera (including a handsomely pious take on the Flying Burrito Brothers' "Sin City") complete a document likely to be labeled Americana nowadays. But for music so full of piss, vinegar and whiskey, that seems way too genteel a term.

From The Archives Issue 1201: January 30, 2014