Despite a name that’s unutterable in polite company or anywhere monitored by the FCC, the mastery of brainy hardcore that is Fucked Up came dangerously close to overexposure amid the hoopla of their near-classic LP, David Comes to Life (Matador), in 2011. Their visibility has been snowballing ever since 2008’s The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador) incurred a heap of overdue crossover success. Meanwhile, the Toronto clan’s artistic vision exploded alongside their notoriety. Especially with David, Fucked Up injected relevancy into punk’s bloated carcass by retaining its foundation — steady, frantic pulses, crispy licks, and screaming — while eschewing every, uh, “rule” punks have written for themselves. Howler/grunter/maniacal showman Damian Abraham announced the band would take a “long break” in November, but it didn’t stick. The Year of the Tiger 12-inch surfaced in February and Fucked Up shall soon make Metallica look totally lame at the Orion Music + More Festival later this month in Atlantic City.
RUNNERS-UP: Off!, Frank Turner, Jeff the Brotherhood