Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Psych’

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.


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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.



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BALL

The bounty of 2020 is only getting fuller by the day. While the rest of the world slides into chaos, the music of the moment is as potent as ever. To that whit, the sophomore LP from Ball is just the pelvic thrust of power that August has been waiting for. The Swedish group has long been posing as lascivious fuzz freaks pulled straight from the primordial ooze and this album does little to dissuade the audience from that impression. Built on the power trio tumult of the ‘70s, not to mention the sex, drugs, and damnation ethos, the band is a leather codpiece come to life. Like You Are…I Once Was…Like I Am – You Will Never Be finds the band lusting after a Satanic priestess that leads them down corridors of corroded bass rumble, through hovels heated with brimstone guitar and into fields filled with a war drum pound that’s as funk-bridled as it is refreshingly frenetic.

While on a larger world stage Ball is not anywhere near approaching the accolades they deserve, there seem to be plenty of bands looking to light a spark this bright. Fuzz in particular is sniffing up this same ‘70s power pummel and, while they’re packing a force to be reckoned with, Ball often edges them, pairing a looseness with a certain chaos that feels like they might just break apart at the seams at any moment. Hard rock has unfortunately been taking itself too seriously of late and the hormonal wink at the heart of Ball, paired with a proficiency that careens without collapsing is a formula that I hope to see more of in the future. Lock it up in an album cover that’s straight out of the Heavy Metal film scraps and this is hard to resist. Its a bit sparser in the states, but worth nabbing when you find it.




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Ball – “Black Magic”

It’s been a couple of years since Sweden’s Ball has graced the site, but the band releases a second single off of their upcoming LP for Subliminal Sounds. “Black Magic” picks up the torch where the left it on their eponymous debut — sludge thick riffs, a toxic vocal veneer that gives Timmy Vulgar a run for his money, and the putrid sweat stench of the ‘70s lacquered over the top of their turmoil. Still running under the mysterious aura that the band put out on their last LP, the band remains tied to a group of brothers all with the pseudonym Ball (or so it would seem). This one’s got enough ozone and diesel fuel in its veins to knock the wind out of you for a good solid couple of days. Looking forward to the whole huffer when it comes out shortly.





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Banshee

In an age that bubbles under with rage, someone needs to tap the crack that breaks the damn. The floodwaters don’t always have to be righteous, sometimes they just need to be cathartic. That’s where Boston’s Banshee come in. Livin’ In The Jungle lets the chaos of the current free with the kind of wild abandon that feels counterintuitive of late. The band are huffing the exhaust from the sinewy side of the ‘70s. Their new LP for Feeding Tube/Cardinal Fuzz is knuckle beaten by the animal instincts of The Stooges, The Deviants, and Dead Boys, but they don’t stay down in the dirt for the entirety of their trip. While a primal thrum is at their core, the band stripes the record with a psychedelic smoke that winds itself around these chiseled rhythms. On “Dawn of Man” the band pounds a glam-stomped beat that reverberates to the bone, but they lace it up with ecstatic strings and narcotic gang vocals. In that regard, they take a good couple of swigs off the hippie hell raiser brand that Hawkwind and The Pink Fairies used to stoke their fires.

Beset with howls and the squalls of horns competing to crack the senses, “Savage Man” is hot to the touch, but the band are pretty quick to inject a good ounce of dry ice dampness elsewhere. Biker-psych isn’t a genre that gets too much love these days, and when it does its never with this level of self-awareness and swagger. Simmer the releases of Hoover III and Zig Zags down to their bits and bottle ‘em and its a brew coming close to what Banshee have concocted. The band aren’t afraid to mix their psychedelic metaphors and I respect that. They’re perfectly happy to dip their throat-shredded ozone burners in the mayfair trappings of hippiedom and it works so well. This one has all the earmarks of a record that’s going to get slept on, so I’m urging you not to be among the poor souls left behind. Crack the windows and let this one echo off the second stories around you.



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Bonnacons of Doom – “Esus”

Liverpool heavies Bonnacons of Doom return to the fold with a new EP that reworks previuos tracks from their debut, with edits by JD Twitch, Liars and, Capac. Also included is a new track, “Esus,” that proves once again why the band is such a stunner in Rocket’s roster. Making good on their name, the track gathers clouds of doom under a megaton blast of guitar and the soaring incantations of Kate Smith. Her vocals push the track towards oblivion as the track growls behind her. The band’s debut was a welcome surprise last year and they’ve apparently been working up some devastating live shows, more of which are on the way. The band embarks on a short UK tour starting on the 30th of August. The EP is out September 13th digital and on limited cassette.



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Salt Lick – “Into The Night”

Got another drip-dried, gutter-glued bout of heavy garage blues from L.A.’s Salt Lick today. “Into the Night” turns the turbine to swamp n’ swelter with a sludge-thick blast of power trio swagger that’s huffing from the same tube as Blue Cheer, Toad, Buffalo, and Tractor. The band’s only polished their pedal-down power since their early singles and this cut from their upcoming LP proves that the crew at Permanent know their way around a chest-rattler or two. Seems only fitting that the guys putting together those Brown Acid comps (Salt Lick double as label staffers) also have it in ‘em to channel the handlebar heaven of guttural psych-sploitation when they step up to the mic. This is a nice slice of what’s on the way from their eponymous full length, so inoculate yourself to the fuzztone fever with this cut and get ready for more when the album hits this Friday.




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The Spacious Mind

Long running Swedish psych unit The Spacious Mind are still mining the edges of lysergic consciousness after fifteen releases and counting. The band’s been scratching at the surface of the sun since 1993, and their latest on Essence Music sees the band working through longform pieces of aching dread. They rise out of the mists with “The Cinnamon Tree,” a haunted dirge of psych-folk that pairs mournful guitars with the scrape and scuttle of bells and percussion – feeling like Loren Connors rinsing his licks in Ash Ra Temple’s altar. The 13+ min opener builds to a peak of mossy graveyard aura, threatening to burst open with riffs that melt the stones and burn runes along the entry, but the band keeps their restraint, giving the song a tension of dread that lumps in your throat the whole way through.

They throw out form altogether for a mid-point track that amps the clatter up to a din – smacking sticks into a hectic racket – before flipping on the throb of guitar growl to push their pallor of daunting dread even darker than the opener. They resolve into gaunt, bitten guitar works with shades of Evan Caminiti strung throughout the skeletal second offering, before finally lighting that aforementioned torch on the album’s closer “Creekin’ At The Goose.” The band hurtles into the piece, amp-scratched and clawing at the cords. There’s a whiff of ozone and a metallic taste to the formless riffs that squelch from the speakers, before the band settles back into their haunted desert caravan, crawling towards death or transcendence or both. Clock this one alongside that Ulaan Passerine album from earlier in the month for album’s that weave guitar scorch with apocalyptic dread. If this is your first taste of The Spacious Mind, don’t make it the last. Dig deep, but start here.






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WEEED

On the sixth LP from Portland’s WEEED, the band is again wrangling longform jams and pristine fingerpicks into a record of psychedelic transcendence. Given the name they hung on themselves, that’s probably not too great a shocker, but they’re still finding room to maneuver in the genres without wearing the fabric thin. The record eases into view with the gorgeous, opalescent strains of “Opening,” which finds itself in the band’s instrumental bag. The song is a welcome pre-dawn crack into WEEED’s worry-free soundscape and they dive off the precipice into knotted whorls of guitar and percussion interplay that’s clearly built to stretch out in the live setting.

WEEED seems like they might tender some crossover with the current wave of Cosmic Americana, and in the sense that they’re indebted to the freeform ‘70s school of letting the groove dictate the terms, they have plenty in common with the winding cascades of Garcia Peoples, One Eleven Heavy and Howlin’ Rain. They embrace a similar sunny-skied, bliss-blistered shakedown but they’re not hitting the Dead/Little Feat/Mighty Baby triangulation that’s been so prevalent of late. In fact, they wander into some of the creeping dread of King Gizz’ motorik mayhem on the album’s hinge point, “Open Door.” And the track has the effect of feeling like the trip might just turn bad – the blissful skies from the first couple of tracks grow grey streaked and threatening.

Its almost enough to pull the listener out of the pocket, but they don’t let it dive down to the inky depths for long, swerving back to a golden luster on “Carmelized,” which acts as a true highlight of the album. On the back half they find their element in a couple of 10+ heavy-hitters that exemplify the band’s want to let the mind and meter wander while also toughening their sound just up to the edge of heavier Stoner-Rock territory. The band had sidled up to Important record for their last album, but this finds them again at their outpost of Seattle’s Halfshell, perhaps feeling free to wander as they choose on familiar grounds. This hadn’t gotten a whole lot of shouts this year, but if you’ve been locked into the Cosmic-core I’d mentioned previously, then there’s plenty of zone to float in here.



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Centrum – “Stjärnor”

Great new track today from Centrum, the Swedish duo comprised of members of Hills and Weary Nous. The band’s ethos centers around meditation, and while “Stjärnor” does have a meditative thrum to it – built from sawing violins, organ drones and the slow amble of drums – the track doesn’t shy away from the psychedelic melt either. Much like contemporaries Myrrors, and by extension , Träd, Gras och Stenar and International Harvester, the band builds slow tsunamis of souund, with “Stjärnor” crawling towards the ignition of guitar that burns the track down by its close. The cheekily titled För Meditation is out April 19th on Rocket Recording.

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