Fugazi have been channeling posthardcore rage and doubt into something irreducibly potent for nearly a decade: they haven’t just escaped hardcore’s stylistic straitjacket; they’ve redesigned it. Though they’ve never released a bad record, their superb new album Red Medicine (Dischord), which bristles with a vigorous blend of raw energy, mathematical precision, and unfettered emotion, is more vital than anything they’ve done in quite a few years. Fugazi’s brilliance at fusing abstract sounds and rhythm, and making them work both within the song and independent of it, remains nonpareil. Their rhythms, which range from quicksilver stutters to sturdy grooves, undergird a web of twin-guitar counterpoint that charts subtle melodic gambits. Coupled with the ferocious vocals of Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto, who sing, chant, scream, and spit with equal effectiveness, Fugazi’s music is pure sonic acrobatics that never succumb to freak-show excess–no doubt thanks to the band’s legendary idealism (MacKaye runs his own label, which sells all its CDs for only eight bucks; they never charge more than five bucks for a live gig; their shows are always all ages; and they’d sooner cut off their hands than get near any sort of corporate arrangement). The explosive energy of Fugazi live is virtually mythical. Shellac and the Make Up open. Tuesday, 6:30

PM, Rainbo Roller Rink, 4836 N. Clark; 404-5080.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Glen E. Friedman.