In response, or rather in addition, to:
Burning Down the Dreams of Forever - Hoover, The Lurid Traversal of Route 7
Hoover are one of the great emo bands, as well as one of the great 90s Dischord groups, and a great post-hardcore group, and the originator for a whole bunch of other great bands (Crownhate Ruin, Abilene, Radio Flyer, Regulator Watts, the Sorts [sorta!] and whatever else you can they list on bandtoband). So yeah, they're pretty damn important. As sbj said, "Whether you know it or not, this is the soundtrack you've been looking for". You'll probably have seen the term 'DC-style' thrown around a lot; and musically, as well as lyrically and artistically, this band is it - "...something of a milestone. A paean to the suburban disenchantment that looms over the nation's capital like flies on shit."
I use this guy a lot, but his description of this band in particular is one of my favourites:
"Wow. Some people say this sounds like Fugazi,and they miss the point. It sounds like classic DC twin-guitar midtempo style, as do Fugazi and a hundred other bands. The important part was the way the evil slithering basslines made it seem so dark and serious, and the way the singer worked up from whispering to a tortured animal howl at the end. 'Cuts Like Drugs' has it all." (Andy Radin, fourfa.com)
Lurid Traversal is, of course, doubtlessly the Hoover record. It gives you plenty of listening (13 tracks and just over an hour on the CD remaster, which appends the 'Return'/'Private'/'Dries' 7") and is pretty much a 'great' of 90s hardcore. But, if you still want more, they returned four years later to release a five-song EP on Slowdime Records, an offshoot label of the whole DC/Dischord scene. Here's a contemporary review of the record from Suburban Voice, to be found on the Operation Phoenix Records' zine archive:
"Hoover (Slowdime, EP)
Most emo bands today want to sound like Hoover and with good reason; they were a great band. They took that Fugazi/Dischord post-hardcore sound a step further into Eastern melodies and reggae. So Hoover re-formed last year to record four songs they had written but not recorded and one new version of a song from their lp, "The Lurid Traversal of Rt. 7". It's a spotty release: "Breather" sounds like mellow grunge and their new version of "Electrolux" has a great reggae/dub sound and cool horns, but goes on for far too long. For Hoover fans, this provides a chance to hear what they might be doing today; for those just getting into emo and/or Hoover, it's advisable to pick up the album or the seven inch first. (PO Box 414, Arlington, Va 22210) (Rachel)"
I think she's kind of harsh in parts although - and with a personal propensity to eulogise albums incessantly - that is in hindsight, Hoover having recycled its popularity many times over since with new emo kids (like me!). Nevertheless, 'Breather' - which others, like Andy Radin, call one of Hoover's best songs - "mellow grunge". What does DC mid-tempo post-hardcore normally sound like, and what's wrong with mellow grunge? Personally 'Breather Resist' doesn't entirely overwhelm me like some Hoover songs do, but I think it really points towards the later, more developed sound of Regulator Watts - another Alex Dunham vehicle with that same alternating lulling, melodic and white-hot angry guitar sound.
And the remix of 'Electrolux' - 'Relectrolux/Electrodub' to give it its full title - is lengthy, but mereticiously so. I mean, come on, it's a dub version - it's meant to go on for a long, long time - and Electrolux was never meant to be short in the first place (and had horns originally, I think). Interestingly, Regulator Watts did the same thing - spaceing out and creeping out further an already spacey and creepy song - with 'False Idols' first, on The Aesthetics of No-Drag, and then 'Version Idols' on the Mercury CD. It's just my opinion, but I think 'Relectrolux/Electrodub' is a great idea - and I don't even smoke. (There's also, on the Twenty Years of Dischord box set, a dub version of Government Issue's Asshole, performed my Ian MacKaye's Minor Threat. So yeah. Curious and curiouser...) Furthermore, it also provides a handy classification for the Hoover family tree: whether they are more Relectrolux / Electrodub than Electrolux, or vice versa.
The other three songs, 'TNT', 'New Five Drive', and 'Weeds' are very good, too. They all sound like they would fit in well in either Hoover's original album or in Regulator Watts/Radio Flyer (the, ahem, Electrolux end of the Hoover genealogical spectrum). 'Weeds' especially, with its screamed chorus of "Your backyard's overgrown" does the band justice. But see for yourself (not sure where you can get your hands on an actual CD copy, other than obscure distros. If anyone knows I'll put the link in, for ethics' sake):