Fugazi – In On The Kill Taker Demos

May 30, 2009

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I really don’t remember where I found this, but I do remember being very excited about it. In On The Kill Taker is my favorite Fugazi album, probably because it was the first record of theirs I heard. It is well known that the band recorded demos for the album with Steve Albini in Chicago, but were unhappy with their performances. They then re-recorded the entire album in D.C. with Ted Niceley. I don’t think these demo takes are hard to find, because even Wikipedia mentions how they’ve been posted across the Internet. Oh well, I guess I’m late to the party on this one.

In on the Kill Taker is like scrubbing your face with steel wool. It finds the band relying on rusty guitar shards that scrape, seethe, and hiss, further removing itself from the sound of 13 Songs and Repeater. Harsh and grating, Fugazi surprisingly produces sheer noise at times, best witnessed in the lengthy closing of “23 Beats Off” and the unintentional Gremlins homage that opens “Walken’s Syndrome.” Joe Lally’s bass and Brendan Canty’s drums are relegated to acting as a guide; they’re pushed — but not squashed — down in the mix, allowing for Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto’s guitars to take control, corrosively so. It’s probably Fugazi’s least digestible record from front to back, but each track has its own attractive qualities, even if not immediately perceptible. “Facet Squared” and “Public Witness Program” open the record furiously, but the majority of the following “Return the Screw” is hardly audible, aside from occasional vocal tantrums. A good amount of time is spent alternating between low-key guitar noodling and intrusive bursts of aggression. They’re smart with their sequencing, placing the gentle instrumental “Sweet and Low” (the only track where Lally plays a prominent role) after the exhaustive cacophony of “23 Beats Off,” and generally piecing together a set of rather diverse tracks that flows well. Picciotto’s anti-Hollywood rant on the properly titled “Cassavetes” is a classic Fugazi moment, as is his similarly name-dropping “Walken’s Syndrome.” Buried at the end of the record are two excellent lurchers, MacKaye’s “Instrument” and Picciotto’s “Last Chance for a Slow Dance.” Not Fugazi’s finest hour, but one of its most daring and rewarding.” – All Music Guide

In On The Kill Taker Demos
Megaupload DL Link

01. Returning The Screw
02. Smallpox Champion
03. Walken’s Syndrome
04. 23 Beats Off
05. Public Witness Program
06. Great Cop
07. Casavettes

1 comment

  1. |

    well you aren’t the only one who was late to the party…though my standard line is: “there is so much stuff out there to consume, and only so many hours in the day, i can’t be hip to everything, always”, to tell you the truth i’m kind of embarrassed to admit that i didn’t even know this existed. even more surprising because i believed myself to be on top of every move they made since as far back as ’89, and i have close friends and former bandmates that have toured with them, and have been releasing their albums on dischord for years. ah well…keeps me humble…a constant pleasant reminder that there is always and will always be cool new stuff to find.

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