Minor Threat

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About Minor Threat

The entire discography of Minor Threat—three EPs and one album—could be consumed in a mere 47 minutes. But that was long enough for the Washington, D.C., band to transform hardcore from a nihilstic noise into a beacon of self-empowerment. Formed by singer Ian MacKaye and drummer Jeff Nelson after the 1980 implosion of their high-school punk band, Teen Idles, Minor Threat matched the breakneck pace of D.C. scene leaders Bad Brains, but their impact was as much philosophical as musical. On circle-pit manifestos like “Straight Edge” and “Out of Step (With the World),” MacKaye voiced a personal preference for sobriety and abstinence that spawned an entire subcultural lifestyle movement, while the Dischord label he founded with Nelson would go on to nurture generations of DIY-minded artists. Minor Threat’s one and only full-length, 1983’s Out of Step, saw the band tempering their jackhammered attack with increasingly ambitious arrangements; however, MacKaye’s growing disillusionment with hardcore would bring the band to an end mere months after the album’s release. Salad Days—a collection of atypically refined late-’83 recordings—surfaced two years after the breakup and pointed toward the more melodic and rhythmic paths that MacKaye would respectively explore with Embrace and Fugazi.

Washington, D.C.
December 1980
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