In its 15-year run as America’s most enthrallingly caustic band, Fugazi played nearly 1,150 live shows without set lists or StubHub. And with tickets usually priced at just $5, anyone could get in. At one 1990 gig in Chicago, a group of skinheads rushed the stage mid-song—only to have the band hand over their instruments and let the interlopers humiliate themselves. Fugazi’s been on “indefinite hiatus” since 2003, but fans still trade stories of such legendary moments. Now that raucous history—along with the group’s blistering sound—is roaring back into the present.
It turns out that the band recorded most of its shows over the years, resulting in hundreds of audiotapes, almost all of which languished unheard in singer-guitarist Ian MacKaye’s closet. (“after you’ve played for two hours,” he says, “the last thing you want to listen to in the van is yourself.”) This fall, Fugazi’s label, Dischord Records, launched an online archive that will eventually host more than 800 of the never-before-heard live recordings, each newly mastered and most available for the band’s traditional $5 fee. About 25 new shows are being added every month, along with flyers, photos, and MacKaye’s own tour ephemera.
For the singer, though, the archive is less a nostalgia trip than a multimedia history lesson on the ’80s and ’90s DIY punk movement. it has also allowed him to rediscover his own group: “There are moments when I listen and cringe,” he says. “but that’s how it goes, warts and all. Nothing is being suppressed.”
Monogamy PartyPus City 10″ EP 11/15, Good To Die Records
In a recent Reverb post, Todd Hamm rightly pointed that Seattle’s newest hard rock imprint Good To Die Records is stockpiling a roster of some of Seattle’s heaviest-hitting noise rock bands like Absolute Monarchs and most recently, Brokaw. Currently emerging within those ranks is Monogamy Party, a three piece drum/bass/vocals outfit with enough vim, piss, and vinegar to single handedly fuel the label’s straightforward, all-or-nothing approach to hard rock music.
Their debut EP (currently streaming here) is appropriately titled “Pus City,” a Chris Proff produced (Strong Killings, Mercy Ties, Ravenna Woods) six track release recalling the vocal blitz of these Arms are Snakes’ front man Steve Snere and the brooding bass tones of Fugazi. The overall sound is driving and expansive, as with dark, anthemic opener “Never To Rise,” echoing Black Flag and Chili Peppers in its deep, bass driven arrangement and barrage of clipped vocals. “Hard Feelings” follows suit with a percolating bass line, metal distortion, and spewed, lyrical hailstorm.
With sonic textures and influences across the board, Monogamy Party offers up bass heavy, post-hardcore rock with a punk driven edge; hopefully “Pus City” has laid the foundation for more of the same when the band returns with a full length release.