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Fresh from album, Jawbreaker visits Middle East

Jawbreaker

Dear You.

Geffen Records.

Concert at Middle East, Sat. 9 p.m.

By Joel M. Rosenberg
Staff Reporter

A hard candy. A machine used for crushing rocks. A word hard to pronounce. In 1989, a three piece then-indie band from NYU considered all of these. They settled on Jawbreaker.

They've been playing together since 1986. They certainly are an eclectic bunch of musicians: Drummer Adam Pfahler was a history major, bassist Chris Bauermeister graduated in philosophy and literature, and Jawbreaker's singer, songwriter, and all around good guy Blake Schwarzenbach completed English Literature and creative writing requirements. It's fun to listen for their influence in the post-L.A. punk, pre-pop-rock sound.

Following a few years on separate coasts they finally settled down into the San Francisco area and developed a devout following, and took care of the fans along the way by playing plenty of all-ages and goodwill shows. If for nothing else, you have to admire these guys for that. They've played a few full U.S. tours, two European tours, and have released several albums, including Unfun (Shredder 1990), Bivouac (Tupelo/Communion 1992), and 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (Tupelo/Communion 1994).

The guys who opened for Nirvana during In Utero at the end of 1993 are now coming around for their newest album; this one may be a shock to many of their longtime fans. The surprise? After fighting the establishment for a while, and enduring their share of hardship and hospitalizations of different members of the group for various conditions, they signed with Geffen Records - a pretty big change. The new album, Dear You, is an attempt to apologize to the fans, to prove that they're still the same old band, only now with better sound guys.

The album is pretty good - it is an edgy, hard kind of punk. They sound like they'd be good in concert, which works out well since they're going to be at the Middle East tomorrow night. For $7, you get Jawbreaker, Fluf, and Serrpico. The show starts at 9 p.m., and you must be over 18. If you need something to do and you don't feel like crossing the bridge and leaving Cambridge, this is a decent bet. For more information, check out http://www.geffen.com/jawbreaker/. There's even a link to The Donkey and Mule Home Page, for the truly curious.

Not bad for hard candy.