What happens when a hardcore band with a name like Fucked Up signs to mega-indie Jade Tree Records? For one thing, you put The New York Times in something of a quandary: The paper ran a full show review last year without once mentioning the band's name. (The article suggested folks visit the band's tamely titled blog, Looking for Gold, if they wanted to know the "who" part of the story.)
It's times like these when it pays to write for a paper like the one you're reading now. It pains me not at all to tell you: This band is from Toronto; it's a force that's uniting hardcore devotees and indie nerds around one common interest; and it's called Fucked Up.
Like many hardcore bands in the scene it inhabits, Fucked Up has had innumerable 7-inch records and other small releases since forming in 2002. What's unique, though, is that the group often dabbles in long-form songwriting as well. On its full-lengths, the band includes songs that the members couldn't jam onto a 7-inch if they tried.
The sound is a throwback of sorts, which explains the wider appeal. Rather than sheer volume, speed and brutality, Fucked Up combines high energy with a melodic component. Fans of classic hardcore and punk like Black Flag or the Stiff Little Fingers can appreciate that there's a band like this around in 2008, one that maintains the best parts of classic punk without overdoing it and ending up a bore.
Likewise, Fucked Up maintains its punk ideals -- in the sense of energy and refusing to water-down its message -- while still managing to draw in the Pitchfork crowd. Which might be good for all involved parties.
Fucked Up with Hard Skin, Caustic Christ and Brain Handle. 7 p.m. Sun., May 11. Belvedere's, 4016 Butler St., Lawrenceville. $8. All ages. 412-687-2555