Release Date: Nov 19, 2012
Record label: Dischord Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Indie Rock
I was beginning to believe that the “indefinite hiatus” explanation applied to Fugazi’s absence may have been extended to The Evens, the post-hardcore equivalent folk-core band comprised of D.I.Y. punk pioneer Ian MacKaye and his wife, drummer Amy Farina. Thankfully, MacKaye and Farina have returned with The Odds, another stripped down and (mostly) minimalist art rock record humorously dressed up with a play on the band’s name.
Ian MacKaye’s got this thing about hiatuses. Given that the six-year drought between records he’s released with partner Amy Farina is now quenched, and with Fugazi still a sleeping giant, it might be time to start talking about The Evens as something more than a side project. On The Odds, MacKaye and Farina—on baritone guitar and a minimal trap kit, respectively—don’t challenge their by-now established conventions, but wreak incredible havoc within them.
D.C. scenesters, bandmates, sweethearts, married couple, and now parents, Amy Farina and Ian MacKaye have done it all and done it punk the entire time. The two put down the angular brood and rage of their old bands Fugazi and the Warmers to begin stripped-down duo the Evens in 2001, with drums, baritone guitar, and softly menacing harmonies being the sole elements to most of their compositions.
Ian MacKaye, America's Angriest Teenager, is now 50 years old. He and Amy Farina, his partner in the Evens, have a four-year-old son. It's been six years since the previous Evens album. Fugazi played their final show to date 10 years ago this month. Anyone waiting for that explosive band to resume ….
Ian MacKaye has rarely indulged in mystification when explaining the processes behind his work. His philosophy, as he’s explained it, has been a kind of practical idealism. Thus, it’s a mistake to view the results of his efforts as the random successes of a creative mind. Since his first band, The Teen Idles, everything he’s released has been traceable, ethical, and organic — a matter of deliberate choosing rather than self-conscious hand-wringing.
When Ian MacKaye talks, people listen. See the countless music documentary spots, interview snippets turned SEO bait, and, when the former Minor Threat and Fugazi frontman deems appropriate, his eternally ideologic and politically passionate artistic output. It’s been six years since the Evens—the doggedly elemental duo of MacKaye and his wife and drummer Amy Farina—last released an album, while it’s now been over ten since the last Fugazi record.
When Ian MacKaye teamed up with the Warmers’ Amy Farina to write a song for the children’s show Pancake Mountain, Fugazi fans knew it was over, at least in a certain sense. The end result of that collaboration, the jubilant singalong “Vowel Movement,” was a clear indicator that the influential hardcore innovator had swapped the razor-sharp aggression of his Minor Threat days for a more stripped-down, even domestic style. And yet, that vital punk spirit never went away; it simply cast aside its layers of dissonance and noisy fury, leaving behind a pulsating, melodic core.