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FOUNDATION (Buy CDs by this artist)
Voyage (Fartblossom Enterprises) 1986
Tied Up with a Monkey (DSI) 1988

For proof that underground music thrives outside of big cities, consider the Washington DC suburb of Reston, Virginia, a planned community originally built by the Mobil Corporation. One of a fine array of young bands that exist there, distinct from their DC peers, Foundation explores a thoughtful punk/rock hybrid with some interesting twists.

Recorded as a quartet, the 23-minute Voyage mini-album includes "Winter Vision," an instrumental that treads dangerously close to a '70s wizards and warlocks sound, as well as some above-average rockers ("Halfway to 50," "It's Not as Bad") and the title track, a mixture of pop-punk and new wave cheesiness that is somewhat reminiscent of a certain Psychedelic Furs song. Foundation's bassist, lead guitarist and drummer each share lead vocal duties, sacrificing continuity but adding variety to a set of songs that might otherwise go stale.

After a lineup change, the trio wound up on a Virginia label, which released the remarkably mature Tied Up with a Monkey. Intricate punky rockers like "Emo O.D." and "Walking on Stilts" are great tracks, as is the band's theme song, "Foundation." A hardcore sendup ("Must You Keep Us Awake with Your Constant Urinating") and a cover of the Byrds' "The World Turns All Around Her" are also worth hearing.

[Ian McCaleb]