Minor league heavy hitters

Nov 24, 1999 at 12:00 am

The boy-band craze of '99 may have saved the music industry in more ways than it knows. After nearly a decade of scavenging the wreckage of the AltRock explosion, the scouts are going home and the players can go back to playing for the love of the game.

The Dismemberment Plan, one of these aforementioned sandlot outfits, came out of nowhere (actually, D.C.) in 1994 with a sound all too familiar and yet refreshingly its own. Call the band a product of its environment: the rich musical history of D.C. hardcore and all its descendents, the heavy "urban" rotation on the radio dial, and the obvious political contradictions that come from living in the nation's capital.

Two albums into its unique, frantic and disjointed guitar approach to making "Shake a Tailfeather"-type soul music, Dismemberment Plan got to try out for the majors with its "Ice of Boston" EP. While musically brilliant, the Plan is not the sort of thing that can be marketed. It must be experienced. Thus the band's latest, Emergency and I, returns it to the business of making records as headspinning as they are headbobbing, leaving listeners scratching their heads, as confused as they are amazed.

If that's the plan, Dismemberment Plan wins.