Where I grew up, Fugazi songs were like museum pieces. You admired them. You appreciated them. You knew better than to put your dirty hands on them. (Unless you were, you know, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack .)
But times have changed. 2011 is the year of the Fugazi cover.
It started innocently enough. Montreal indie band Sunns offered its version of “Long Division” back in April. A month later in New York, various groups assembled to pay tribute to their proto-indie forbears at the “Our Band Could Be Your Life” tribute concert. Presumably because every other band said, “Are you kidding? No way!,” the honor of covering Fugazi went to Buke & Gass, purveyors of homemade instrument cuteness. The duo performed “Long Division” and “Guilford Fall.” Let us never speak of it again.
Then came Wugazi , the Fugazi/Wu-Tang Clan mash-up project from the Minneapolis hip-hop label Doomtree that eventually resulted in a full album, “13 Chambers,” and countless blogger utterances of “...since ‘The Grey Album.’”
And this past weekend, at its headlining set at the Pitchfork Music Festival, TV on the Radio covered Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” in front of tens of thousands of fans.
So how do they break down? Chris Richards and I rank all four, after the jump.
- David Malitz:
1. Wugazi, “13 Chambers”- It’s overly gimmicky — even for a mash-up — but it works shockingly well. Thirteen is too many tracks, but that first “leak” was pretty awesome.
2. TV on the Radio, “Waiting Room” - Predictable song, but solid execution and bonus points for breaking it out at a major festival.
3) Suuns, “Long Division” - An admirable job by obvious superfans.
4) Buke & Gass, “Long Division,” “Guilford Fall”- We just promised to never speak of it again and now look at us.
- Chris Richards
2. Buke & Gass, “Long Division,” “Guilford Fall” - I know this band doesn’t live too away from Pomplamoose territory, but I thought this was actually a brave move.
3. Wugazi, “13 Chambers” - Yes, Fugazi was funkier than most rap groups. Yes, Wu Tang Clan was fierier than most punk bands. But this is 2011, people. Step away from the mash-up.
4. Sunns, “Long Division” - I like that they tried to make one of Fugazi’s most elegant songs sound clunky, but it didn’t work.