777” Vol.008

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Fucked Up is one of those bands that boggle the mind. I'll never know why they're so under-appreciated, because they’re taking hardcore music to the next level and almost entirely redefining what punk rock sounds like. I’ll also never know why they're being marketed to the indie community, because even though they’ve been able to gain critical acclaim, the scene clearly doesn’t know what to do with them. Alas, I could go on and on with this topic (and I hope to…in another piece), but their ill-fitting role is not what we’re here to discuss. We’re here to discuss their music.

I’ve taken a few (promised) liberties with this one, but so deep ran my desire to highlight Fucked Up in a piece that, other than the utter amusement I hope to get when Google-ing myself and finding suggestions of “Fucked Up Ollie Mikse,” I just really, really wanted to focus on the heart of this band.

-Ollie Mikse
Couple Tracks

Matador Records (2010)

1. "Couple Tracks"
2. "Heir Apparent"

Availability: Not really unless you find a record store sneaky enough to sell the copies they were supposed to give away.

Releasing an LP collecting rarities seems like giving up. Well, not really, but there's a sense of nostalgia in the end product that makes one think of a band in the past tense. Couple Tracks is Fucked Up's second rarities collection, and along with the release comes the very limited Couple Tracks 7"; available only with pre-orders of the LP (or record stores that are feeling generous/sleazy). So really, before the LP was even released, the stars were already aligning for Fucked Up's third rarities collection.

Those lucky enough to snag a copy of this seven-inch (I missed the pre-order, but found a copy for sale in a record store – complete with "not for sale" notice on the back) are treated to a hard-hitting-yet sentimental…wait for it…couple of tracks. The title track is about the love of collecting records; with the relentless cry of "Dig Crates!" pulsating at the beginning, and the B-side takes the form of a love song quite possibly to Damian's newborn baby. Punks getting squishy never sounded so good.
Triumph of Life
Jade Tree (2006)

1. "Triumph of Life"

2. "Neat Parts"
Availability: among others.

Hidden World was a terribly underrated album and, given the fact that it came out on Jade Tree, it wouldn't surprise me also that no one heard it. “Triumph of Life” is not necessarily an underrated song, but it is most certainly one of my favorite Fucked Up tracks; this rougher version of it certainly holds its own against the album cut. In addition to that, there's a certain specialty to a single when the B-side outshines it, and Fucked Up knows it.

“Neat Parts” is the perfect Hidden World song – that never made it on the album. It's got the pulsating drums in the beginning, it's got Damian's patented screaming, it's got the jingly guitar that peppers all of Hidden World, it's got the cute build-up towards the homestretch, and it's got that anthemic sound that introduced the band on the first LP. This song never made it on said LP (well, it clocked in at over an hour — maybe that has something to do with it), but if Chemcom wasn't your cup of tea, grab this 7" and the whole Couple Tracks LP for good measure.
Year of the Pig (US)

Matador Records (2008)

1. "Year of the Pig"
2. "Mustaa Lunta"

Availability: Out of print, but might have a couple left.

Back in 2008, when the announcement of their signing to Matador was as fresh as the morning dew, Fucked Up decided to revisit their Year of the Pig single, remix it, and package it with extra goodies on three 7-inches; one for Japan, one for the UK, and one for US. For once, the gods have smiled upon us, because the US got the superior vinyl.

For one, we get the exclusive “Mustaa Lunta,” which is a standard hard-hitting and straightforward punk song with riffs worthy of Fucked Up’s reputation. It's easily the best B-side of the three. The Year of the Pig 12” is a masterpiece in and of itself, but the US 7” has the most interesting and effective remix of the song. Cut at about a third of its original length and starting with a haunting twist as well as a fierce end, this is the only time I’ve ever heard a remix where I’d even consider putting it against the original. Other bands take note.

Ollie Mikse is student who is almost thirty. Yes, they exist. He thought this year would bring the end of The Collegiate, but now he's not so sure. As such, he has no concept of ownership, whether it's with his band ( ) or the record label he runs ( ). You can find him most days in the Gold's Gym in Hershey, PA. He's the guy in the free-weights room, out of shape, and reading Razorcake.


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