David Comes to Life


I’ve been waiting for this, and now, as if the rock gods had heard my profane prayers, it’s here: The new album from Fucked Up, David Comes to Life, will be released on June 7th. On June 7th, immediately after work, you’ll find me at Other Music, buying the crap out of this album.

Though I declared the self-titled debut from Cliffie Swan (nee Lights) my favorite album of 2008, it’s been Fucked Up’s The Chemistry of Common Life that I’ve returned to most often, reveling in its heavy textures, deep poetry, and massive power. (I really just had a crush on Lights' sexy drummer, Linnea Vedder Shults. Can you blame me?)

Last weekend, over at Iris Records, I picked up a copy of Alarm magazine’s Issue 34 which includes an interview with the band, Fucked Up. Tom Vale gets them talking about how their longevity is based on their hatred for one another (“It’s like that thing, you know, you gotta love something to let it go? We don’t love each other enough to let it go,” says [lead singer] Abraham.) and the inherent complications of an unusual band name (“I will tell you that at the border, when you have to tell the officer that you’re in a band called Fucked Up, you really start wishing that maybe you’d picked a different name.”)

Fucked Up seem to blend fact with fiction, punk with pop, rage with bliss, in the most fun and compelling ways. To see what I mean, you can listen to “The Other Shoe,” the first single from David Comes to Life right here.

Patrick says: "They channel musicians from Angus Young, Pete Townshend and Noel Gallagher to Bob Stinson and Lyle Preslar with ease and grace." I agree.

ack's picture

I dig they are trying to channel my era of hardcore punk sensibilities into something I guess new. However, there is something yellcore disconcerting about the moving indie pop background with the lead singer on top barking every couple of moments.

Considering the excellent ratings the band's work has received maybe I will get over this first impression to give them another listen. After all, I did not think very much of the Smith Westerns first album but Dye It Blond I like a lot. So first impressions can obviously be overcome.

Still, like Sleigh Bells it seems like music to make me feel old while I listen to it. Maybe this is just music for me not to understand or to get if that makes any sense at all.

Stephen Mejias's picture
However, there is something yellcore disconcerting about the moving indie pop background with the lead singer on top barking every couple of moments.

I like the lead singer's vocals. I also like the contrast between his vocals and the much prettier female vocals.

Still, like Sleigh Bells it seems like music to make me feel old while I listen to it. Maybe this is just music for me not to understand or to get if that makes any sense at all.

There certainly is music that I don't understand, but I can't think of any music that makes me feel old. I would say: If the music makes you feel old, don't listen to it.

ack's picture

Sleigh Bells for example is music made for 17 year old boys to play as they chase girls. It is like the music you expect to hear in a movie when the hero chases the bad guy through a crowded dance club.

There is a point you realize at least a healthy bit of the music out there is focused directly on an age group that does NOT include me anymore. It does NOT seem to be related to the age of the band but the music. No Age and Smith Westerns does not hit me as music designed by the young for the young despite the Smith Westerns all looking as if they barely hit puberty.

It seems people have no concept of being the old guy in the club
And it is more acceptable for older guys to hit indie shows.

Maybe it was the one song but Fucked Up's one song it hit the same nerve as some yellcore bands hit but I fully admit I need to check out the band before I pass any sort of final judgement. Besides the idea of the album being a giant concept album with a prog rock complex plot based in a fictional town is either Bad Religion level pompous or Husker Du level Zen Arcade genius. It will be fascinating to see which.

bikepedlar1's picture

The Other Shoe sounds like 8 or 10 musicians in different rooms riffing and then, for no apparent reason, get mixed together in the studio. I don't get it. It seems like the more obscure and unlikely that anyone has heard of a band the more you like it and urge others to jump on your bandwagon. I like to read your blogs and your new column but we diverge on musical taste 180 degrees. Of course this isn't a problem for either of us but it would be more comfortable sometimes to know that you like listen to more mainstream artist. Once in a while could you offer such praise on someone such as the great Lars Neovolt Rodriquez Svenson for goodness sake. ;-)

Stephen Mejias's picture
It seems like the more obscure and unlikely that anyone has heard of a band the more you like it and urge others to jump on your bandwagon.

Why does it seem that way? I'm just sharing the things I like.

Anyhow, Fucked Up aren't all that obscure. These things just depend on your frame of reference and point of view.

analogguy's picture

I have read on a couple of occasions in the past that Stereophile doesn't have as many music reviews due to a lack of interest on it's readership's part. Maybe it is becoming out of touch with it's readership. I have gleaned many great recommendations from my thirty-year commitment to Stereophile and have many albums that are among my favorites from those recommendations.

I also subscribe to Rolling Stone and TAS for music information and find many other resources (for things that I find relative to my interests) online. I am not at a loss for exposure to music that broadens my personal horizons. I have wide-ranging musical interests and tastes. I have evolved from The Beatles, Stones and Who of my youth passing through various other stages of interest including "Art school", Metal, Prog Rock, Insurgent Country (Americana), Classical and now, Jazz has become my relatively newfound love.

I went online to check out some video by Fucked Up; I usually enjoy seeing a "band performance video" to get a sense of the energy and presence of a group. All I can say is - I was not impressed by the half-dozen songs or performances of this band. Not my cup of tea... to each his own. I don't fault you for wishing to expose more people to a band you obviously have a fondness for, but I would ask that you consider your audience, too. For the most part, I doubt you will find many of us in the Mosh-pit or standing around watching some fat guy without a shirt yelling at people; that is how it comes off live.

Yes, I'm in my fifties. I have seen and remember with great fondness, Led Zeppelin, Slayer, Metallica and many other great bands with a lot of high energy. I still listen to a lot of those power-oriented bands to this day. I never get the feeling that I am being yelled at from the bands I listen to. My general tendency is to listen to more thoughtful and honest music these days. That is what I prefer; that is what I look to Stereophile to assist me with and have found in the pages and letters and blogs from Stereophile. I look to Stereophile to provide me with a Patricia Barber, Guy Clark or Thelonious Monk, not something I can find in another resource available to me.

The point is this - please consider who you are writing to and for before you lead us down this path. Yes, I am getting old. I would bet that a lot of the readers of Stereophile are, too. I can appreciate the need for establishing a wider range of reader ages and to keep growing this hobby and interest in your publication. Just be sure to remain respectful of those of us who have been supportive for all of these years. I'm obviously over the "shock value" of new bands pushing the edge, finding new limits and acting like they're trying to piss off their parents. At this stage of my life, music is a more intellectual pursuit. Fucked Up is not that...

ack's picture

The mosh pits that is.

I mean my cube mate who is both a bigger audiophile than me (guy is a huge tube fiend) and a bigger musicphile as well is now in his fifties but then again so are many of the folks I listened to in my late teens and early twenties.

Where am I going with this? Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices is in his fifties and I think even Thurston Moore is like 52 now and he played in Sonic Youth. Btw, I am in my forties as I stated above and I grew up on punk, hardcore punk, postpunk, American 80s Underground tunes and now a good bit of alt country and indie rock.

Just because you are listening to metal and a host of classic rock bands your dad was old enough to be into it is a bit unfair to project that onto a whole generation of people many of which formed the backbone of Underground and indie rock in America. Odd enough but your generation actually created the hipster heavy indie rock movement and voiced the jam econo ethos of indepedents so now warped and twisted as it may be.

Listen, I dig that there are probably more people of my own generation who never woke up beyond classic rock radio to seek out new music especially when many of its proponents behaved like the guys in the High Fidelity movie - snobs.

But that is the key Stephen is not being a snob at all about his blog posts.

I will post my opinions negative or positive about the music suggestions on this site. However, analogguy you are saying "man STFU about this new music none of us old guys who buy your magazine want to hear it."

That is seriously harsh.

It is nice to hear someone talk about bands like the Pixies and Calexico and Yo La Tengo at Maxwells and the Vivian Girls (if I see Beach Fossils I think they are opening for them) all of these are bands that well "do not yell at you" to point a quote from you.

I feel for Stephen in a sense because he posted blogs about two bands that are tough to get in one listen or one song.

But here is a different voice saying I find Mejias among an industry that appears superficially to be dominated by older rock, jazz and classical fans to be a breath of fresh air.

Heck I even found myself reflected back on some of "Entry Level" posts going back to my collection and listening to some of the same selections Stephen Majias mentioned in the articles like "Surfa Rosa" by the Pixies or "In the Reigns" Calexico/Iron & Wine or for something completely different "John Prine" by John Prine.

Keep it up I say.

michaelavorgna's picture

Dear Mr. Mejias,

Can you please only introduce us to music we'll like?

Thank you.

mcfaite's picture

Dear Stephen,

Sorry - coming to this thread late. I'm 40. Please consider that I am one of your readers, too. I listen to a lot of thoughtful, well recorded music. I also listen to loud, unthoughtful, poorly recorded music. If it's good.

I can't exactly tell you what makes it 'good.'

Please continue to share music you like, even if others don't. Even if I don't. I'm totally cool with reading about how you like some band that I end up not liking. I like being pushed to consider new music.

I have music by Metallica, Slayer, GG Allin, Mission of Burma, Simon and Garfunkel, Mazzy Star, Benjamin Britten, Britney Spears, Vampire Weekend, Maria Callas, Frank Sinatra (23 albums!), and Gorillaz, and many hundred others.

Thanks for introducing me to music I don't have, even if I might not like it.

- J.