Posts Tagged ‘Fuzz’

Favorite Albums of 2020

Here’s the year end list. I’m not gonna wax on about how this year was rough, we all know it was a shit year and even more so for artists. It was, however, a great year for recorded music, and I had a hard time not making this list about twice as long to show love for all the albums that lifted me this year. I’ve long been against the whole idea of numbered lists, so once again things are presented in quasi-alphabetical style (I always mess one or two up in creating this, but you get the point). I’ve included Bandcamp embeds where they exist, so if you have the means and find something new, please reach out and support the artists here. Looking forward to 2021 as another year that music makes getting through easier.

Continue Reading
0 Comments

Fuzz

A new edition of Fuzz is upon us and it’s not long after the album begins before we’re swept under the atomic crush of the band’s monolithic riffs. This time around they make a natural choice in employing Steve Albini to man the boards and his crisp, unfettered approach only hooks a deeper bite into the listener. The band continues to flourish in the power trio posture — letting the space between them seethe and sweat with a fevered pulse. The interplay between guitar and bass is symbiotic, growl met with growl soaked in the electric sweat of elder gods crumbling into ozone and creosote. Ty’s drums spring and tangle, locking into a swing that’s brief before the next power surge suplex from the strings kicks in. Lurking in the background, Albini’s there to capture it all to fresh tape, a fly on the wall watching a band heat the seams of the room to molten magnitudes.

The songs themselves are, for the most part, lean and hungry. They occasionally indulge in extending their fission fry into the six and seven minute marks, but they don’t tend to jam, and under no circumstances do Fuzz noodle. Blue Cheer carved the altar and Fuzz let the blood drip down upon it. The energy in the room is soaked into the tape and beamed through the speakers with a heat that could bake a tan into the listener. It’s hard not to feel the band being excited about what they’re creating, even if its not breaking the mold. They’re more than open about this being an album enthralled with guitar rock and not seeking to move the needle forward, though. They revel in the tumult of noise and the body high bruise of a triple-stack storm of good ol’ face melters. On pretty much all levels I couldn’t agree more. There are times when I need a band to work up an alchemical shift on the old guard, but there are also days, and might I say after this one, even years, when a sonic reducer to the skull is plenty welcomed. Fuzz shake us all to the bones and I’m not the least bit mad about it.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Fuzz – “Spit”

One last kicker before winding down the day. The new Fuzz album looms and its another bout of blasted rock from the trio of Ty Segall, Charlie Moothart, and Chad Ubovich. Slung low and lurking, the track utilizes their power trio approach to the fullest capacity. A tempest of guitar and bass, a crush of drums and some falsetto sizzle, what more are you looking for from these guys? Now the band hasnt’ radically reimagined their formula, but when the grit hits this hard why shake the system. They pair the cut with a fun stop-motion video created by Moothart. The record is out at the end of next month, October 23rd, from the band’s longtime home at In The Red.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Fuzz – “Returning”

Ty Segall pairs up with Steve Albini yet again, this time with power trio Fuzz for the band’s third LP (dubbed III, what else?). The first taste of the album is undeniably grit-riddled, twelve-feet tall and barreling down at the listener with a white-sun intensity that’s to be expected of Fuzz at this point. While Segall doesn’t shy from heavier moorings in his solo work, he does seem to save the most substantial metal shavings and sonic fury for Fuzz when it counts. “Returning” focuses on the power of the individual, a towering rally cry to the rabble and a focus point for meditation through the blaze of guitars that frame its features. The band’s last outing was a double-wide gatefold tumble into psychedelic shred headspace looking forever to light the wick and explode Fuzz’ impact with as much force as possible. From the sounds of things, they aren’t flagging in intensity, maybe just sharpening the finer points until they draw blood.





Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Paul Marcano and LightDreams – 10,001 Dreams

Picking up on this gem that slipped out in 2016, but still remains available in double LP glory. Paul Marcano and his band LightDreams had one full album (as simply LightDreams) in 1982. The Beatles-esque pop was undercut with proggy new age keys for an album that doused itself in sci-fi trappings and psychedelic indulgences. Sadly, the record would pass through rather unnoticed, except by collectors with a keen eye for psych. It stands to reason then that this private press cassette that the band home recorded as a follow-up in 1983 only fell on fewer ears, but its sprawling, syncopated prog-folk approach makes it a gem of a time when the band’s psych-pop was horribly out of fashion.

The record is home-taped, though not scruffy, with a rather clear and present sound. Marcano, along with fellow guitarists John Walker and Cory Rhyon and keyboardist Andre Martin lay their rippling psych vision out without the aid of a rhythm section and the result brings this closer to a fuzz ball of psychedelic folk than the prog holdovers from the ‘70s they’re ostensibly looking to replicate. While they’re shooting for Pink Floyd, the band actually lands somewhere around Bobb Trimble fronting an expanded version of Fresh Maggots, which honestly makes for a dream idea in my book.

The one thing that gets in the way of LightDreams might be their own ambition. The original version of 10,001 Dreams was laid down to a 90-minute tape and the band went for it in every respect. Self-editing was not their forte, though squeezing this onto 2xLP and CD gives a bit of trim to a massive centerpiece suite (originally 30 min) that would give Olivia Tremor Control a run for their money. They excel when the tracks spread out, but don’t tip the scales – sprawling, but not overstuffed – and rambling into introspective trip territory. If you’ve previously missed out on this one and need to bump up the private press psych section on your shelf then this comes quite recommended.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Here Lies Man

The marquee hook on Here Lies Man is “Black Sabbath playing Afrobeat,” which sounds good in a pull quote, but is a fairly reductive take on what Here Lies Man are actually accomplishing. The band, which contains members of Afro-cuban luminaries Antibalas, lays down a base of African rhythms that pulse heavy as anything on the Nigeria Special comps. Its clear that they know how to hook into the funk laden rhythms that tumble under the plethora of ’70s cuts from the continent. They proceed to meld that percussive heartbeat to a syrup n’ smoke cocktail of fuzzed out guitars and transistor radio vocals beamed in from the AFVN across an expanse of time itself.

The fuzz recalls other African heavies like Amanaz or Witch (’75), with a particular slide into West Coat blues rumble a la Blue Cheer on more than one occasion. The overall vibe actually sways towards heavy ecstasy, rather than, say, the doom clouds of Sabbath’s occult vortex. The band winds up reaching some of the same vistas that Goat inhabits on a regular basis, but without the dollop of folk on top. Still, the band has an aesthetic and sticks to it, even if it gets a little samey over time, resulting in a whollop of psych that tends to move the feet more than most in the genre.






Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Mountain Movers

New Haven’s Mountain Movers have been building out a homegrown psych scene since 2006, with releases swerving between hometown label Safety Meeting and their own Car Crash Avoiders imprint. Unless you’re digging into the New England psych pantheon rather heavily, this debut for Trouble In Mind might be their first blip into your world. The band has their psych credentials in order though, stretching out for a fourteen minute opener that flexes with tension and rains down a fair amount of feedback fallout.

The record doesn’t flag after the epic opener either, they flip the switch from walls of squall to echoplexed strums that hang on the air in icy tendrils. They pick up cues from the Nuggets set, but find a more languid purchase on “Everyone Cares,” a subdued standout that still finds time to chew a little fuzz. In fact, as the album progresses, their true strength seems to be balancing their ’60s jangle love with front row seats at Pompeii level burndown amp-friers. They’re always building to an entropy of noise release, but they spend some quality time getting to the punch in each of the tracks that adorn their eponymous LP. The band may have spent the past few years filling out local hangs, but this one might just raise their profile among heads looking for two sides of the of the psych coin packed into one platter.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

CFM

Forever intertwined with the careers of Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin via his rotating stages of collaboration with both, Charles Moothart strikes out with his second solo album, a delightful chunk of fuzz and rumble that echoes the best bits of both those artists. A stride away from the heavy stoner antics of his most well-known turn in Fuzz, Dichotomy Desaturated tumbles through the fields of Sabbath, then touches up the riffs with a faded photo memory of glam left in the sun. Moothart has certainly been picking his way through Ty’s T. Rex collection, and he adds a touch of that acoustic nuance over the top of these garage-psych gems, but it’s clear that his tenure in Fuzz is no incidental brush with the gods of ’70s proto-metal. He’s picking through the full gamut of sludge lords here, from Flower Travelin’ Band to Blue Cheer and on through Leaf Hound.

He’s at his best, though, on the mid-tempo slow jams, reveling in a slower pace and perhaps a catch of breath from the frantic energy he’s so often embroiled in. On “Voyeurs” he takes the tempo down to a simmer, but finds plenty to chew on in the song’s leathered swagger and smoke curl cool. Elsewhere “Desaturated” floats through an intoxicated haze, stumbling charmingly with a cocked smile and an air of late night isolation. In the end though, Moothart’s ability to stuff a fuzzed riff full of catchy catharsis seems to win out. He shows off his amp-fried freakouts over the majority of Dichotomy’s red-lined territory and he’s an admirable wall shaker, as usual. Something tells me though that Moothart could be the one to crack onto the perfect distillation of Sabbath’s softer side. I’ve always felt that someone needs to make a record that splits the “Planet Caravan”/”Solitude” axis and then just runs it down both sides. The seeds are here, and that’s enough to keep me listening.


Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Milk Music

Rolling into their third album, Olympia’s Milk Music continues mining the wealth of ’90s indie ethos and smelting it into gritty gold. Mystic 100s isn’t a seismic shift from their palette, but they’re not the kind of band that need worry about evolution, as they more in the game of curating fuzz encrusted skronk and letting their amps pay their tab. Maybe the biggest shift here is that on Cruise Your Illusion they sounded as if they were a band that always just existed, comfortably rolling out the kind of fare other bands needed to sharpen their teeth to even be capable of pulling off. On Mystic they’re out to prove that they still have twice the chops of every upstart with a deep bench of Dino Jr. on the record shelf, but they’re pushing themselves past comfortable and into smoke rolled royalty.

I’ll be honest, when it came out Cruise Your Illusion didn’t shake my foundations. I liked it, it was solid, and you’d have been a damn liar to contend that the Washington band wasn’t capable. It’s the loss of that comfortability that’s striking here. They’re not just content to have people laud them with plaudits of being torchbearers of guitar rock in 2017; they’re looking to burn things down, break some skin on their fingers and bleed into the mix a bit. You can feel the band sweating out the songs on Mystic 100s and that sweat stains their music with a greater gravity than aloof capability ever could. Though the band are wading deeper into their catalog at this point, this seems like the exact moment where they truly begin.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Purling Hiss

On the last couple of Purling Hiss records, they cleaned up their sound, dusted off the fuzz of any lo-fi shackles and made for the studio. In the process they may have walked a bit far from the grit that kicked the band into the world all those many years ago. Weirdon brought some jangle and kept true to its namesake of injecting an oddness into their world. Water On Mars was a studio pop juggernaut sanded of its rough edges. Now they seek to walk it all back a bit, finding a thread of grunge in their matured sound and striking a nice balance between the slicked back rock of Water On Mars and the amplifier overload of their early works.

There’s been a lot of fluffed up think pieces that float the notion that guitar rock has no place in 2016, that the guitar solo is dead, that this sound has come and gone and its not moving forward; but that talk seems to miss the point of great guitar rock, perhaps especially in 2016. Its about burning clean the weight of the world and letting the feedback singe away the top layer of bullshit on any given moment. Mike Polizze has always known the power of fried and fraught rock, the kind of scorching, fuzz soaked platters that can test the limits of a stereo system from the first four chords and lay waste to weaker contenders with ease. He’s still got that spirit in his heart and High Bias brings the growl back to Purling Hiss to help digest an American sense of unrest that’s permeated daily life.

Polizze’s finally found his balance, its probably his most outright catchy record, but it never comes off as pop in the truest sense, its rock, towering and infernal, lighting that fire and feeding on the oxygen of unrest. Its not a protest record, but its not a lighthearted affair. It culminates in the highwater mark “Everybody In The USA,” a song that seems to sum up the rest of the record and let it all crumble beneath a seismic crunch of guitars and ragged fury. If the band needed to wipe away the rest of their catalog and leave only this behind as a statement of purpose, then it would still leave a pretty outstanding legacy for them. Its the kind of record that feels like like Polizze finished it, sat back and just said to himself, “yeah, that’s the sound… that’s what I’ve been looking for all these years.”



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments