“SONG FOR EWE”
with BRENDAN CANTY of
FUGAZI
& RITES OF SPRING

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“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a drummer who added the funk to the fragmented punk of a band who i’ve returned to in these uncertain political times. Not only keeping the time in some unusual signatures with Fugazi, he’s been a key part of the Washington DC / Dischord Records hardcore scene since the beginning, first with Deadline (on the ace “Flex Your Head” comp) when he was a mere slip of a lad, and then with the pivotal game changing unit Rites of Spring, it’s the peerless Brendan Canty!

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Brendan Canty is a percussive maverick with a farmer’s cowbell and an ear for a tune. A multi instrumentalist, his riffs on anything he turns his hand to from bass to piano have often led to full fledged Fugazi tunes, but this song “Recap Modotti” on “End Hits” is my current favourite – a masterclass in dynamics – at once muffled and controlled like banging on tupperware to funky and insistent – full of atmosphere, packed with menace. Precise, controlled and yet still full of righteous fury.

Another fav Fugazi album of mine is “Red Medicine” and it was the first time I saw them live at Brixton Academy (the last time being on the last album before “indefinite hiatus” touring “The Argument” at Kentish Town Forum). Brendan came up with “Bed For The Scraping” on a piano, but I love “Fell, Destroyed” and “Birthday Pony” most…

I got into Rites of Spring, Brendan & Guy Picciotto from Fugazi’s previous band when I was waiting to see Shellac at the front of the Highbury Garage. I got there so early (and flying solo) that I got talking to a fellow gig-goer who told me if I loved Dischord that the seminal release was the album “End On End”. He wasn’t wrong.

I’ve sat on this song choice for a while. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t been listening to Fugazi for some time. But there’s something about the whole Trump business (Trump-mageddon let’s hope not) that’s made me return to angry but meaningful music, and since that “The Argument”/”End Hits” and “First Demos” have been in constant repeat on the iPod. It got me thinking about Brendan. There’s not another drummer like him, and I am honoured that he chose a “song for ewe”, so without further ado, let’s have it:

“Seems like all I do is try to convince people of this band’s worth.

I bought this single in the 80s (“Hegemony” by Scritti Politti) for its handmade politics-laden sleeve, but grew to love it for its deft combination of diametrically opposed sonics.

Jagged instrumentation mixed with Green Gartside’s beautiful voice and smart lyrics made me a lifelong fan. Yes, i love every period of Scritti, for at the heart of every song he sings I always hear these roots.”

Hope the link to the tune works, it may be geo-locked in some areas…but what a choice. Surprising on one level, totally making sense on another.

Thanks so much Brendan, and sorry for the delay.