Repeater (album)

Repeater is the full-length debut studio album by the American post-hardcore band Fugazi. It was released on April 19, 1990, as Repeater on LP, and in May 1990 on CD bundled with the 3 Songs EP as Repeater + 3 Songs. It was recorded at Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, Virginia, and produced and engineered by Don Zientara and Ted Niceley.

Fugazi - Repeater cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 19, 1990 (1990-04-19)
RecordedJuly–September 1989
StudioInner Ear Studios, Arlington, Virginia
42:29 (w/ 3 Songs)
ProducerFugazi, Ted Niceley
Fugazi chronology
3 Songs
Steady Diet of Nothing

Repeater is often regarded as a definitive album for the band and a landmark of rock music. It has been described as an "angrier American update of Gang of Four's Solid Gold." It has also been noted for its complex interplay of guitar and rhythm section.[3] It is included in the book 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.[4]


By 1989 Fugazi had made the transition into jamming on and writing new material as a band as opposed to playing songs composed solely by singer/guitarist Ian MacKaye. After the completion of several lengthy U.S. and European tours, they began to work on new material as well as refining songs that they had already been performing live, such as "Merchandise" and "Turnover", the latter of which was originally titled "NSA" in its original form, featuring MacKaye on vocals.[5]

The band once again chose to work with both Don Zientara and Ted Niceley as they had previously, and entered Inner Ear Studios in July 1989 to begin the recording process.[6] The group was only able to record with Niceley present between the hours of 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. because Niceley was splitting his time between the studio and culinary school.[6] Recording for the album was completed in September 1989.[5]

The album cover was based on a photo by Jim Saah.

The album's subject matter addresses a wide variety of themes such as greed, violence, sexuality, privacy, drug abuse and death. MacKaye told Guitar World that the album title "is loaded on so many levels. It's actually about how things in life repeat over and over. But the title is also a rather obscure nod to The Beatles' Revolver. A record revolves and it also repeats. A revolver is also a gun, and so is a repeater. The title track is about kids repeatedly shooting each other and references the crack cocaine-related violence in Washington, D.C. in the 1980s."[5][7]

Release and receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [8]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[14]
Music Story     [12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [9]
Spin Alternative Record Guide6/10[13]
Tom HullB[16]
The Village VoiceA−[10]

Released on April 19, 1990, through Dischord Records, Repeater did not initially reach the Billboard 200 charts or become a commercial success. However, the band spent most of 1990 and 1991 touring heavily, performing a total of 250 concerts between March 1990 and June 1991, routinely selling out 1,000+ capacity venues all over the world.

While major labels began to court Fugazi, the band decided that Dischord was distributing their records well enough and refused the offers.[17] According to Alan O'Connor in his 2008 book Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy: The Emergence of DIY, Repeater went on to sell 500,000 copies (based on an interview with Dischord Records).[18] The album was also critically well received.



Repeater featured an alternative rock sound that predated significant releases such as Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten, which would unexpectedly go on to break the genre into the mainstream.[5] Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine was influenced by the album,[19] as were Steve Holmes of American Football and Metz.[20][21] Ben Weinman of The Dillinger Escape Plan named it one of his favorite records of all time.[22]

La Dispute covered the title track live.[23] The track "Merchandise" has been covered by Face to Face (on their album Standards & Practices), Ted Leo and the Pharmacists[24] and Dogstar.[25] "Blueprint" was covered by Gogol Bordello live,[26] Ben Lee[27] and Tim Timebomb.[28] The track was quoted by The Knife on the track "Raging Lung" off of Shaking the Habitual.[29] It has also been sampled by Emynd for Stranger Day's track "Not Playin'".[30] "Styrofoam" has been covered by Stereotyperider.[31] "Shut the Door" has been covered by Boy Eats Drum Machine.[32]


As of March 2021, aggregator website Acclaimed Music finds the album to be the 652nd most acclaimed album of all time.[12]

Publication Country Work Accolade Year Rank
Spin US Repeater The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985–2014)[33] 2015 70
Top 90 Albums of the 90s[12] 1999 36
Alternative Press[34] US Repeater The 90 Greatest Albums of the 90's 1998 23
Kerrang! UK Repeater The 100 Greatest Rock Albums[12] 2006 57
The 50 Most Influential Albums Of All Time[35] 2003 7
Pitchfork[12] US Repeater Top 100 Albums of the 90s 1999 52
LostAtSea[12] US Repeater 90 Albums of the 90s 2000 51
Complex[36] US Repeater The Best Indie Rock Albums of the ’90s 2013 15
Pitchfork[37] US "Repeater" Top 200 Tracks of the 90s 2010 58

Track listingEdit

No.TitleLead vocalsLength
3."Brendan #1" 2:32
6."Sieve-Fisted Find"Picciotto3:24
8."Two Beats Off"Picciotto3:28
11."Shut the Door"MacKaye4:49


Technical personnel
Album Cover

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Fugazi | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  2. ^ Gerard, Chris (April 4, 2014). "50 Best Alternative Albums of the '90s". Metro Weekly. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "Repeater – Fugazi". AllMusic. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  4. ^ Moon, Tom. "Repeater". 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d ^ a b c d Perlah, Jeff. "The Independent". Guitar World. March 2002.
  6. ^ a b Batey, Angus (May 1, 2015). "Morning Glory: Fugazi's Repeater Revisited". The Quietus. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  7. ^ Berman, Emily. "D.C. Residents Caught Among Crack's Bloody Turf Wars".
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  9. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Fugazi". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 315–16. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 7, 1991). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
  11. ^ Graff, Gary (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Acclaimed Music".
  13. ^ Weisbard, Eric (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide (1st ed.). Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  14. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 1-84195-551-5.
  15. ^ Claudio Lancia. "Fugazi". OndaRock. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  16. ^ Tom Hull. "Grade List: fugazi". Tom Hull - on the Web. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  17. ^ Azerrad, p. 403–404.
  18. ^ O'Connor, Alan (2008). Punk Record Labels and the Struggle for Autonomy: The Emergence of DIY. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-1-4616-3408-9.
  19. ^ Kerr, Dave (July 28, 2016). "RATM's Tim Commerford on Fugazi and more - Under the Influence". The Skinny. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  20. ^ Pinkard, Ryan (October 21, 2016). "American Football: 5 Albums That Changed My Life". Tidal. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  21. ^ Buchanan, Rhys (July 26, 2019). "Nine Songs: METZ". The Line of Best Fit. Retrieved March 22, 2021.
  22. ^ Weinman called Repeater one of his biggest influences. See:Benjamin Weinman (October 30, 2013). "Under the Influence: Dillinger Escape Plan's Ben Weinman". The Skinny. Retrieved May 16, 2020. Repeater was a record that was meant to be performed. And no band put on a better show then Fugazi. It was their live show that literally drove an underground punk band based on specific ethics and values to almost mainstream success.
  23. ^ "La Dispute Tour Statistics |".
  24. ^ Deem, Anna (March 15, 2010). "Ted Leo And Friends Take Unexpected Turns Live". The Chicagoist. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "KEANU REEVES GIVES DOGSTAR ITS CELEBRITY". Orlando Sentinel. The Dallas Morning News. July 18, 1995. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  26. ^ "Bandwidth | WAMU 88.5's New Music Site". Retrieved 2021-12-21.
  27. ^ "Ben Lee Will Cover Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Daniel Johnston, Pavement And More On New Covers Record, Quarter Century Classix". American Songwriter. September 18, 2019. Retrieved May 3, 2021.
  28. ^ "Tim Timebomb and Friends | Search Results kevin bivona".
  29. ^ Tolzmann, Samuel (April 4, 2013). "Album Review: The Knife, "Shaking The Habitual"". WRMC-FM. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  30. ^ Galil, Leor (July 20, 2011). "Yet Another Fugazi "Cover"". Washington City Paper. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  31. ^ "Stereotyperider - Under The Influence". Discogs. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  32. ^ "[COVER] "Shut the Door" - Fugazi" – via Facebook.
  33. ^ "The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years (1985-2014)". Spin. May 11, 2015.
  34. ^ "#125 - The 90 Greatest Albums of the '90s". Alternative Press. March 10, 2010.
  35. ^ "Kerrang! - 50 influential albums". Retrieved 2021-12-27.
  36. ^ "The Best Indie Rock Albums of the '90s". Complex. Retrieved 2021-12-27.
  37. ^ "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 100-51". Pitchfork. p. 5. Retrieved June 6, 2012.

External linksEdit