Fugazi called it a day over a decade a ago, and with no reunion in sight they’ve at least been nice enough to share some unheard material with the world. The legendary D.C. foursome, who in their 17-year run redefined what a punk band could be—musically and ethically—are unleashing their first recordings in late November, a collection of demos produced in 1988 after they had only played ten shows. Today’s 12 O’Clock Track is a preview song off of First Demo, “Merchandise,” whose finalized version wound up on Fugazi’s flawless first LP, Repeater. While “Merchandise” is a song I’ve heard probably 1,000 times in my life, listening to this rawer, amped-up version is almost like hearing it for the first time, the young band’s haphazard, noisy take on this classic is bursting at the seams with excitement and punk energy. As time has gone on since Fugazi’s hiatus, I’ve found myself struggling to enjoy some of their later material because of how seriously they seem to take themselves. What I love so much about this take on “Merchandise” is that it sounds like the guys in the band are having the time of their lives, belting out the overblown choruses. Check it out below.
First Demo comes out 11/18 via Dischord.