Messthetics Credit: Antonia Tricarico

D.C. punk legends Fugazi took an indefinite hiatus in 2003, though they’ve continued to flood the world with new music—or unreleased recordings, anyway. In 2011 the band launched the Fugazi Live Series, a site archiving hundreds of concert recordings that showcase their exceptional improvisational skills. Punks may shudder to think of it this way, but Fugazi weren’t far removed from the Grateful Dead . . . at least when it came to transforming songs in concert via jamming. Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and bassist (and sometime vocalist) Joe Lally recently launched the Messthetics with hot-shot D.C guitarist Anthony Pirog, who plays with genre and musical history like a kid squeezing drops of food coloring into water to make the most vivid and brilliant fluid. Their self-titled debut, released in March by Dischord, is built from the same parts that helped make Fugazi an incomparable live act—the music flows freely, and the changes feel guided by intuition and chemistry. On “Serpent Tongue,” for example, Pirog switches between acerbic stabs and psychedelic twisters, while the rhythm section cushions the guitars like a parent rocking a child to sleep. The Messthetics could be the best jam session turned album of the year.   v