There are names in contemporary music that loom so large it's difficult to get through or around the shadow they cast, and few are as impenetrable as Fugazi. Although the band has done nothing since its announced 2003 hiatus and has never officially broken up, the Washington DC quartet remains one of the most influential Rock bands of the past three decades.
Ian MacKaye formed The Evens and has done production work, Guy Picciotto is primarily a producer, Joe Lally has released a trio of solo albums and played with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante and Josh Klinghoffer in Ataxia, and Brendan Canty has done indie film score work, played with the likes of Bob Mould and Mary Timony and has done video work on the Burn to Shine DVD series. All in all, nothing to challenge Fugazi's mythic reputation.
Until recently, that is. In 2016, a friend of Canty's advised him to check out a DC guitarist named Anthony Pirog, a diverse stylistic player who easily shifts between avant garde squeal and thoughtful and nuanced melodicism. Around that same time, Lally returned to DC after years of living in Italy, reconnected with Canty and played him some of the new solo work he had written. Canty suggested bringing Pirog into the mix, and when the three clicked, Pirog asked Lally and Canty if they'd back him on a project he had slated for Tzadik Records. In the meantime, the freshly minted Messthetics had booked their first show which MacKaye attended. MacKaye was so impressed by the trio's blistering instrumental attack that he offered them a spot on the Dischord roster.
The Messthetics' first two album's, 2018's self-titled debut and this year's triumphant sophomore release Anthropocosmic Nest, show that Lally and Canty remain one of Rock's most powerful rhythm sections, a force of nature capable of altering weather patterns and shifting tectonic plates. It also shows what MacKaye must have recognized at that first gig; Anthony Pirog is a guitarist's guitarist, a virtuoso player who combines the avant precision of Robert Fripp, the incendiary invention of Jimi Hendrix, the subtlety and scorch of Steve Tibbetts and the experimental bent of Frank Zappa, with the rare ability to make it all sound appealing to a broad spectrum of musical interest.
CityBeat is thrilled to premiere a new music video from The Messthetics. The clip was recorded with the band at Dayton, Kentucky's Candyland recording studio as part of the SofaBurn Presents video series (from locally-based record label SofaBurn). The band performed "Once Upon a Time" — featured on the band's self-titled LP — when they were in the area in the summer of 2018.
The Messthetics play a free show this Saturday, Dec. 14 at MOTR Pub with local Post Punk duo Lung. Showtime is 10 p.m.