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U is the loneliest letter

Q and not U: an enigma wrapped in a riddle, served with dipping sauce

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At last count, there were approximately 4.7 zillion indie bands worldwide, with about 30.7 billion record labels to house them. The numbers are so unbelievably astronomical (or just plain unbelievable) because everywhere you turn there’s someone with a new sound, a slightly familiar sound, a retro sound or a plain, ol’ rip-off sound, scrambling for what pieces may remain of fan-dom pie.

If we divide up the number of bands by an average of four people per unit, we would have a mess of stories, page by page, that could easily stretch to Uranus and back. But one of these kersplashes in the vast ocean of independent music, Baltimore-based Q and not U, barely have a story at all. And evasiveness is kinda fun if you really give a crap about the band. If too much information is provided, then they develop personalities via what’s written: “Oh, he’s the smart one; oh, he’s the quiet one,” etc., etc., and nobody could give a crap about that.

John Davis, Harris Klahr and Chris Richards conjoined back in 1998 (along with former band mate Matt Borlik), released a single titled “Hot and Informed,” cut a disc with Ian MacKaye titled “No Kill No Beep Beep” and released it on MacKaye’s Dischord Records. Another single, “On Play Patterns,” was released in 2002, followed by the latest full-length disc, Different Damage.

There you have it. That’s it. There’s absolutely no information on why Q and not U. What’s wrong with U, anyway? Deciphering the confusing lyrics won’t help, and listening to their brained-out, jagged, math-ish pop leads nowhere.

What is known is that they’ve been touring like hell throughout Europe (with Fugazi and Erase Errata, to name a few), seeing the lovely country of Canada and getting in a nice stint over in Japan. And they’ve booked a massive tour throughout the U.S. for a couple of months, along with Black Eyes, El Guapo and Antelope. Perhaps in one of these cities, at an all-ages show, they’ll let some lucky little ruffian in on the secret of why Q and not U. But just between us chickens, there are no real secrets in the realm of independent music, just a lot of bullshitting and buttering up.

At least Q and not U found themselves a good home at Dischord, a label that’s been treating us to some legendary underground music dating back to the early days of MacKaye’s first band, Minor Threat. A nice roster to join in these modern times, and plus, they get to work with MacKaye, who, judging from interviews and the Fugazi documentary Instrument, has one of the finest attitudes in the history of music. Above all, MacKaye is dedicated to keeping up the spirit of true independence in the so-called music business, and cares like hell about Dischord product. I figure Q and not U are pretty stoked that MacKaye picked them to be on Team Dischord, and are doing their best to uphold the integrity of the label.

But why not go a little further, guys? When you’re done with the tour, back in your hometown, why not do something as a thank you to all the news fans you’ve garnered through your proximity to Mr. MacKaye? Like perhaps letting us in on this little U secret of yours. Inquiring minds want to know.

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