Today’s album: End Hits, by Fugazi (1998)
I don’t think I realised, back when I bought this, how life changing it really was. I also didn’t realise, when I saw it get full marks in magazines ranging from Kerrang! to Terrorizer, what it actually sounded like.
In my head, it was quite abrasive. Like Helmet or Biohazard. Shouty, but not metal. Not as far along the continuum as early Machine Head or Chaos AD-era Sepultura. I got it, and ‘Break’ came on: a brief, almost jolly, song that seemed not to be of much import. Ah, maybe I wasted my allowance?
[A year on (during which I managed to annoy my fellow sixth form English students by playing this in the van up from Stratford Upon Avon – immediate this ain’t), and I’m obsessed with Fugazi. Me and the crew are seeing them at Leeds Met*. We’ve just been given flyers for a new skate/punk records shop opening up. It’s called Wisdom (skating)/Out of Step (music), and we’re just going to call it Wilson because of the typography on the sign. I’m also going to spend a lot of money there, but be unable to single handedly keep it open. For what it’s worth, I did get at least two of this series from there (but this one was from Way Ahead).]
Wow, I’m rambling, even by my standards. But this is important! I’d heard punk rock before, but I’d not felt it. The punk rock feeling, rather than just playing fast. But this odd record, with in hindsight post-rockiness, very mellow songs, the odd thrasher, but mainly really frigging interesting, engaging tracks with incredible arrangements – not least between the two guitarists MacKaye and Picciotto, who at this point had a similar kind of telepathic bond that the rhythm section already seemed to have developed.
This was the first new album I bought on vinyl. I stuck the inlay sheet up on my bedroom door, with its ‘COMMITTED TO EXCELLENCE’ sign. I’d go to bat for any of their albums from 1993 to 1998 (and to a lesser extent, all of them ever). But this is where it all seems to fit together perfectly. I know it’s different for every Fugazi fan. Like Swans, Fugazi have always seemed to just be different from everyone else.
Recap Modotti – just listen to the damn bassline!
* turns out you can buy a recording of that gig: https://www.dischord.com/fugazi_live_series/leeds-england-42999