Christiansen

Above Lunar Emissions

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Christiansen are from Louisville, Kentucky, the unlikely birthplace of two of the big rock sub-subgenres. Although for some reason most histories of the form neglect them, a strong case can be made for the mid- '80s post-hardcore kids Squirrel Bait (especially their phenomenal second album, Skag Heaven) as the progenitors of emo. On the other hand, it's clear beyond doubt that the whole post-rock thing can be laid at the feet of Slint, the late- '80s/early- '90s experimental punk band led by Squirrel Bait's Brian McMahan. On their first release, a lengthy EP called Above Lunar Emissions recorded and originally self-released in 2000, but reissued on a larger scale in 2004, Christiansen reveal echoes of both bands, primarily in the choppy guitars of Drew Sellers (who left the band shortly after this album's initial release) and singer Brandon Bondehagen, and the nervous rush of songs like the hyperactive but oddly poppy "Mainly Mocking You." Although Christiansen's later records would be more complex and more interesting, Above Lunar Emissions is more than just a false start; a couple of these songs, particularly the tense but weirdly becalmed closer, "Majestic Gift," are as good as anything the band's later lineups have done.

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