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The Nation of Ulysses


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Washington, D.C. (1988 – 1992)

The Nation Of Ulysses was a punk band from Washington, D.C. consisting of Ian Svenonius (Vocals/Trumpet), Steve Kroner (Lead Guitar), Tim Green (Rhythm Guitar), Steve Gamboa (Bass), James Canty (Drums). The band formed in the spring of 1988 drawing inspiration from MC5’s mix of revolutionary rhetoric and rock music. They released their first EP The Sound of Young America jointly on Dischord and K Records and further recordings included 13-Point Program To Destroy America (1991), and Plays Pretty For Baby (1992), both of which were released on Dischord Records.

Musically and stylistically, The Nation Of Ulysses had a tremendous influence on the underground punk rock and hardcore music scene in the early 90’s. Their music was noisy and manic, but they also had a strong free-jazz influence. The band was also notorious for their political pamphlets, called Ulysses Speaks, which they distributed at live shows, some of which are reproduced on their album covers. Their pamphlets espoused what they referred to as “The Ulysses Aesthetic” which was a mix of 60’s and 70’s radical politics, French Situationist writings, and juvenile delinquency. The group advocated a rejection of the 60’s and 70’s music and styling; rejecting drug use, and advocating that the punk youth dress nicely and sensibly. While this might seem to be a trivial point, it should be noted that not long after the Nation Of Ulysses toured the USA, the fashion sensibility of the post-hardcore scene, did indeed, change quite considerably, and this was a precursor to the thrift store chic fashion sensibility of the 90’s.


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  • AcidPoliceUH

    punk for ppl who cry a lot

    1 Mar 5:47am Reply
  • Alec_Trevelyan

    I started with 'Plays Pretty For Baby' and then '13-Point Program', I think I prefer the latter.

    14 Feb 11:11pm Reply
  • pabloco11

    Where to start? I want to listen to them because I can't get enough from Refused's last album, and I heard those guys totally ripped off The Nation of Ulysses....

    24 Jul 2014 Reply
  • garynotrashcoug

    First time I heard them was on the Fear of Smell 12" comp on Vermiform. Great instrumental track. Great comp in general, so it was an interesting way to be introduced to them.

    19 May 2014 Reply
  • zoot_money

    The thing is, while NOU might not have influenced Refused directly, it's undeniable that it influenced International Noise Conspiracy, and well, Denys Lyxzen is the head behind both

    16 Apr 2014 Reply
  • lanserskimis

    i don't really see this refused-NOU connections. They diverge in many aspects, especially THE LEVEL :)

    28 Feb 2014 Reply
  • Bloofy2

    could the vocalist of this band sound any more like Guy from Rites or Spring? Not a bad thing. This rules!

    22 Jun 2013 Reply
  • atticus_B

    Stealing is a art brah don't you worry about no Refused even I'll steal from these bad boys I don't give a damn

    17 Jun 2013 Reply
  • christles

    marry me ian [3]

    23 Feb 2013 Reply
  • Maagikki

    @XBujinKoenX: You shouldn't have had any to begin with, to be honest.

    27 Nov 2012 Reply
  • FilupLees

    The Embassy Tapes are great, if you already love the band. Try either of the LPs.

    12 Nov 2012 Reply
  • venenumest

    Try Plays Pretty for Baby, it won't hurt a bit... ok it will, but you'll love it.

    11 Nov 2012 Reply
  • melkmeintogepi

    I only have "The embassy tapes" and its just a bunch of cats playing music and a dog barking. Not too convinced of it but I might give something else a try.

    14 Oct 2012 Reply
  • XBujinKoenX

    I knew Refused before these guys (still don't know them) but it seems like I've got it unchronologically, the resemblances are so big that I can speak of a rip off without even hearing Ulysses... my level of appreciation for Refused is going down...

    27 Sep 2012 Reply
  • atticus_B

    The absolute pinnacle of post-punk-post-whatever-hardcore music.

    13 Sep 2012 Reply
  • StratocasterTB

    Terribly underrated.

    18 Aug 2012 Reply
  • mister_tussin

    criminally low plays/listeners

    16 Jul 2012 Reply
  • sincerelyaural

    Refused totally ripped off these guys.

    13 Jul 2012 Reply
  • TesselateCircle

    Oh, man. This is good stuff.

    29 Mar 2012 Reply
  • nicoinfurs

    New fan here too. Holy shit. Plays pretty is blowing my mind

    28 Mar 2012 Reply
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