Sharp Dressed Men Call for Youth Revolution

Nation of Ulysses

Their music was a blend of garagey, Detroit-style crash ‘n’ bash and Fugazi-influenced post-hardcore punk that also incorporated elements of R&B and avant jazz.

Their philosophy borrowed from the revolutionary rhetoric of the MC5; ” a relentlessly provocative (and entertaining) jumble of teenage rock & roll rebellion, leftist radicalism, anarchist punk polemics, and abstract intellectual rambling.”

The group formed in Washington, D.C. in 1988, with a lineup composed of vocalist/trumpeter Ian Svenonius, guitarists Steve Kroner and Tim Green, bassist Steve Gamboa, and drummer James Canty.

Dressed in mod-ish business suits and staging theatrical, high-energy live shows

“the Nation of Ulysses was certainly the most colorful of the straight-edge hardcore insurrectionists on the Dischord roster.”

1991’s 13-Point Program To Destroy America is a collection of songs “preaching an ideology of insomnia, teenage rebellion, and sharp dressing.” With it’s twin guitar attack and singer Ian Svenonius’ vocals that combine both ardor and menace, and songs like “A Kid Who Tells on Another Kid Is a Dead Kid,” “Cool Senior High School (Fight Song)” and “Hot Chocolate City” there’s more than enough angry-young-man attitude to go around.

Released the following year Plays Pretty For Baby opens with another call to arms, “N-Sub Ulysses”:

“I’m not talking about a Beatles’ song, written 100 years before I was born…who’s got the real anti-parent culture sound?”

Again produced by Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye, Plays Pretty for Baby is:

full of fervor, anger, wit, and remorse

rambling exploding vocals spitting words of animosity and love, of rebellion and unity, of awakening and medicine.

Following the release of Plays Pretty for Baby guitarist Steve Kroner left the group and the remaining quartet started work on their third album. Never finished the existing six songs along with a few live recordings was released as The Embassy Tapes.

After the group’s breakup, Svenonius, Canty, and Gamboa quickly re-teamed in Cupid Car Club, later the trio would form the core for the prolific Make-Up. Following that groups demise Svenonius moved on to front Weird War.

Although they only issued two albums during their lifetime their sound, style, and sloganeering was a breathe of fresh air in an otherwise moribund anarchist-punk movement; and they proved inspirational to a fresh crop of bands, notably, Swedish punkers like the Hives, the (International) Noise Conspiracy, and Refused.

DISCOGRAPHY

Nation of Ulysses

The Nation Of Ulysses (7″) (Dischord Records) 1990
13-Point Program To Destroy America (Dischord Records) 1991
The Birth Of The Ulysses Aesthetic (The Synthesis Of Speed And Transformation) (7″) (Dischord Records) 1991
Plays Pretty For Baby (Dischord Records) 1992
The Embassy Tapes (Dischord) 2004

Tracks Appear On:

“N.O.U. Cooking With Gas!” Kill Rock Stars (LP) (Kill Rock Stars) 1991
“Diptheria” Pulley (7″) (Simple Machines Records) 1991
“Shakedown” International Pop Underground Convention (K Records) 1992
“Telepathetic Love” Fourteen Songs For Greg Sage And The Wipers (CD) (Tim/Kerr Records) 1993
“Diptheria” The Machines 1990-1993 (Simple Machines Records) 1993
“Spectra Sonic Sound” 20 Years Of Dischord (Dischord Records) 2002

Cupid Car Club

Join Our Club EP7 (K) 1993

Make-Up

Destination: Love (Live! At Cold Rice) (Dischord) 1996
Afterdark (Dischord) 1997
Sound Verite (K Records) 1997
In Mass Mind (Black Gemini/Dischord) 1998
I Want Some (K Records) 1999

13-Point Program to Destroy America

Playing Time: 39 minutes 16 seconds

13-Point Program to Destroy America

1. Spectra Sonic Sound (2:30)
2. Look Out! Soul is Back (1:39)
3. Today I Met the Girl I’m Going to Marry (1:48)
4. Ulythium (2:02)
5. A Kid Who Tells on Another Kid is a Dead Kid (1:41)
6. Cool Senior High School (Fight Song) (1:43)
7. Diptheria (4:17)
8. Aspirin Kid (5:13)
9. Hot Chocolate City (1:43)
10. P. Power (1:47)
11. You’re my Miss Washington. D.C. (2:23)
12. Target: U.S.A. (1:44)
13. Love is a Bull Market (2:51)
14. The Sound of Young America (2:31)
15. Channel One Ulysses (3:23)
16. Atom Bomb (2:01)

Buy 13-Point Program to Destroy America from Amazon.com

Plays Pretty for Baby

Playing Time: 49 minutes 49 seconds

Plays Pretty For Baby

1. N-sub Ulysses (3:32)
2. A Comment on Ritual (2:27)
3. The Hickey Underworld (2:50)
4. Perpetual Motion Machine (2:33)
5. N.O.U. Future-Vision Hypothesis (3:09)
6. 50.000 Watts of Goodwill (4:05)
7. Maniac Dragstrip (3:00)
8. Last Train to Cool (3:28)
9. Shakedown (3:27)
10. Mockingbird. Yeah! (2:59)
11. Depression III (3:27)
12. S.S. Exploder (2:28)
13. The Kingdom of Heaven Must Be Taken by Storm. (2:13)
14. The Sound of Jazz to Come (4:43)
15. N.O.U.S.P.T.D.A. (2:52)
16. Presidents of Vice (2:36)

Buy Plays Pretty For Baby from Amazon.com

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