Today one of my favorite bands of all time releases its first new stuff in ten years. Fugazi’s massive, 15-year-spanning live archive is out this week. Now, obviously this holds a lot of appeal for people who are already fans of the post-punk four piece — myself included, especially as I was getting into them just as they were winding down as a band, and thus never got to see them live. For those unfamiliar, it stands as a testament to punk rock, to the DIY ethic, and to never compromising in your art. Ever. From day one, Ian Mackaye, Guy Picciotto, Joe Lally and Brendan Canty played shows for everyone of all ages and incomes, made their albums and tickets affordable, ran their own record label (the still very active Dischord) and supported their hometown scene — while making thrilling, emotionally complex music, falling somewhere on the spectrum between punk rock, hardcore and a kind of strange, mesmerizing hybrid of reggae and funk. They invented emo — though what we know today as emo sounds nothing like Fugazi — and they influenced countless bands in ways that are even now coming to light. The live series, encompassing everything from Fugazi’s very first show in September 1987 to their next to very last show ever in October 2002, is available for $5 per download, like the ticket prices to their shows over the life of the band. If you haven’t heard them, and you’re, say, 18 or 19 years old, please do what I did at that age. Buy or download “13 Songs” because your friend told you that you would love it, and have your life changed. Then get the rest of their albums, in order, and marvel at their creative evolution.
In keeping with the above, the band Huak out of Portland is inspired by Fugazi (as well as the Minutemen and plenty of others). Their angular, crunchy guitar work, crashing rhythmic dynamics and political edge belong right on the same spectrum as Mackaye and company. They put out an album called “Yorba Linda” earlier this year, and it’s pretty awesome. Very awesome, even. They made a cool music video for the song “Get Boring.” Watch it now!