Notes From The Underground: The Lawrence Arms Review Their Own Records - Part One, 'A Guided Tour Of Chicago'
This record is raw. That’s the only word for it. The music was recorded in one day in one continuous take, then, that same day, I sang everything and Chris did backups. There were no guitar overdubs. We ran out of money so the record was never mixed. This is a rough mix of a record and as such, it’s got a uh… unique production value which bummed me out at the time, but as I listen back to it, I kind of think it’s appropriate for a new band who had no fans and who had never even played a show. It’s a punk record. Plain and simple.
The vocals are only semi in tune, the lyrics veer wildly between didactic “political” fare and more personal stuff that at times I think still holds up pretty well. The best song on this record is probably 'An Evening Of Extraordinary Circumstance' which I wrote on a bus on my way back to my apartment (called the Lawrence Arms, on Lawrence Avenue. My roommate was Chris) when I didn’t have a band or any direction and I was feeling completely helpless. That song still sums up some of my deepest resentments that I have towards myself.
There are some missteps on here too. '18 Inches' is pretty long and self-indulgent, and 'Uptown Free Radio' starts off cool, and then right as it starts getting really good, it just ends abruptly. I don’t know what the fuck we were thinking with that one. Uh, what else? That intro to 'Detention' is pretty goofy. This is a record that I’d say is for die hard fans only. If you LOVE The Lawrence Arms, there’s some really cool stuff on here, but it’s kind of hard to wade through everything else to find it. Oh, I like that L&L ['The Northside, the L&L, and Any Number of Crappy Apartments'] song too. Pretty cool.