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Material Issue

Chicago power pop trio Material Issue married the tight and melodic commercial appeal of acts like Cheap Trick and the Knack with the jangly guitars and cockiness of early-'90s Britpop. Formed in the late '80s as a songwriting vehicle for guitarist/lead singer Jim Ellison, the band included bassist Ted Ansani and drummer Mike Zelenko. In 1987, after doing time in and around the Windy City club scene, the group released an eponymous EP that resulted in a contract with Mercury Records. Their major-label debut, the rock-solid International Pop Overthrow, found itself a place on modern rock radio with the raucous single "Valerie Loves Me," and thrust the group to the front of the burgeoning alternative rock movement. Produced by ex-Shoes member Jeff Murphy, the album's electrifying blend of teen angst and rock & roll confidence won over critics and fans alike, resulting in the band's immediate return to the studio to craft their follow-up, 1992's Destination Universe. Once again produced by Murphy, DU didn't sell nearly as well, despite being almost identical to their impressive debut.

In 1994 the band released the excellent -- and sadly underrated -- Freak City Soundtrack. Produced by Mike Chapman (Blondie, the Knack, Sweet) and featuring a guest appearance by Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, it seemed that Ellison and crew could do no wrong in critics' eyes, yet the public remained oblivious, prompting their inevitable departure from Mercury. Polygram put out the live album Goin' Through Your Purse that same year, and the band began recording what was to become their final album. Telecommando Americano was released posthumously by Rykodisc in 1997, just one year after Jim Ellison committed suicide in his garage by poisoning himself with the carbon monoxide from his moped. ~ James Christopher Monger, Rovi
full bio

Comments

It's interesting to me that Pandora lists The Cure and Social Distortion as Similar Artists to Material Issue, since they couldn't be more dissimilar to MI. This is a *great* band that gave us great music for the limited time they were around.
A very good,yet under-rated band!
Freak City Soundtrack landed at the newspaper and the features editor took a look at it, saw freak, and said Hey Brent you might like this one. I was the editor and New Orleans corresponden t but Robin Dixon had all the good ideas. He turned me on to Material Issue. The tapes piled up around the paper and it took me a while, maybe a year, to listen to this one and when I did it was like - wham! - I can't believe this, how have I missed this music? 'Kim the Waitress'? I'm still in love.
mikalawood
I loved IPO but my hunger for good power pop was fed longer by The Posies than by Material Issue.
107565037
When I first heard them I went "Oh, gosh, I can't believe that they didn't hit it big". They've played power pop GOLD; they should be every bit as well known as Cheap Trick. At least Pandora is giving them some new listeners.
joelhorton
Great band, great songs, great live.
Intl Pop and Destination Universe sound different to me but I'm a fan and love all of their songs.
It doesn't really bother me that someone would consider them identical... i t s not like we want Jim Ellison to do anything other than write a great Power Pop song!

I still don't get why every biography of Material Issue that I have ever read calls Destination Universe "identical" or "a copy" of Internationa l Pop Overthrow. No, it's not. They're not the same at all. Can anyone really tell me that "What Girls Want" would fit on Internationa l Pop Overthrow? Or "Girl From Out of This World"??? Not a chance.
thenerdking
why jim have to go and kill himself? sad... power pop @ it finest.

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