We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Once, in my younger, more anxious days, something threw me into a fit of wrath that the usual tonics could do nothing to assuage. Hunting for catharsis in my record collection, I flipped from disc to tape to vinyl, band to band, seeking faster, louder, harder, but nothing did the trick. Only years later did I discover what I lacked—Squirrel Bait. I’d been given a fair shot. The Louisville band’s self-titled EP had come through the offices of WAKE Radio back when I hosted “The Difficult Listening Hour,” but something must have proved off-putting. Was it the quintet’s goofy name? Its preppy attire? The cover shot of some goggle-eyed geek munching on a chunky Walkman (an image that has turned out to be surprisingly indelible over the years)? Perhaps the record met the same fate as many back then, walking out in the backpack of some DJ who figured he could love it better than anyone else. I find it hard to believe that I ever heard it: Squirrel Bait announces itself authoritatively, “Hammering So Hard”‘s surging rhythm guitar cresting on a squall of feedback, then slamming into Peter Searcy’s gale-force howl as the rest of the band drops in. Eighteen minutes and eight tracks later, it’s over. It hits the way Hüsker Dü would have if it’d had a midrange, a real singer, and any rhythmic elasticity. Squirrel Bait didn’t change my life in 1985—but it should have. Is 1997 OK?—Glenn Dixon