Posts Tagged ‘In The Red’

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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Wolfmanhattan Project – “Summer Forever”

A nice surprise this morning in the form of a new track from Wolfmanhattan Project. Wasn’t expecting anything new from this team up of Mick Collins (Dirtbombs), Kid Comgo Powers (Gun Club, Bad Seeds), and Bob Bert (Pussy Galore), but they’re back at it after their debut LP from last year. “Summer Forever’ slides in on a queasy, greasy guitar vibe that sees Mick and Kid trading riffs. There’s a powerful wave of overindulgence wafting off the track – an endless summer that may or may not be a good thing in the end. It seems its the end of the world as we know it but the beaches aren’t closed and there’s still time for a dip before the bloodshot sun dips below the horizon. When the lineup includes legends like these, there’s always some high expectations, but they continue to come through with a dose of edge-of-the-apocalypse fun. Summer Forever And Ever is out soon on In The Red Records.



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The Red Lights – S/T

It’s always nice to get a little more context on rock’s mythical figures. For some, The Gun Club looms large as a totem of punk that refused to fit the format and hew towards any set of agreed upon standards. Their 1980 debut is often seen as the match strike for Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s career, but the unearthing of these demos from The Red Lights give just a touch of context and background to his songwriting. Pierce was West Coast based at the time and writing for Slash Magazine — enamored with reggae and helming a Blondie fan club. With reggae’s looseness and power pop’s pulse he began writing songs and opening some gigs at The Whisky. The Arena, and The Rock Corporation. The five songs here are a far cry from the sweaty, possessed visions of The Gun Club, but Pierce’s persona still comes rippling through.

With an earnest approach that lets all the light of power pop into the picture and occasionally at white reggae bounce that would make even The Police blush, he sketches out the start of a career that would get much deeper and darker quite soon. The voice is undoubtedly the focus. It’s raw, but its Pierce finding his bearings and getting ready to rip a punk hole into blues for us all to enjoy. Lovely to have this archival EP out into the world. Probably one for the collector’s but any punk upstart would do well to see how a career gets going. Split pressing here between In The Red and Spacecase.



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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.





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Lavender Flu

With the new Lavender Flu LP now locked on the table, the band moves from their hunker-down home recorders to a proper studio, and while the fidelity cops less crackle, their gutpunch rock still remains. They exorcised the bulk of the noise in their heads with last year’s imrov jammer Admiration for A Dancer. Now, they’re following the scuzz laylines that were unearthed on Mow The Glass and this next chapter’s just as sunk in glorious muck. No surprise that Gunn had some noise shivers to shake out, with a past spent in The Hospitals, the sounds in Lavender Flu are practically radio pop by comparison. Yet, like Philly’s feedback chewers Purling Hiss, he’s taken the project from low-fi amp burning habitats to cleaner confines without losing that spark that set it alight in the first place.

The record even contains what might amount to The Flu’s most tender moment on “No One Remembers Your Name.” The standout acts as an oasis of ache within the confines of Barbarian Dust, dredging up some nice Johnny Thunders moments of quiet desperation. The rest of the record isn’t quite the calm respite that this presents, with the band riding thick fuzz riffs and the curdled comfort of hooks that owe more to New Zealand pop by way of the volume punish pulse of Afflicted Man and Volcano Sun than they do to any modern sunny day strums. Gunn and co. slide through the motor oil VapoRub vibes of the record before finally descednding into darkness. Then, after the comedown dirge of “In League With Satan,” the band caps the whole record with a bit of the crusted Cakekitchen-like jangles that cropped up on Mow The Grass. This is definitely the clearest vision of the band.

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Skull Practitioners – Death Buy EP

In The Red unleashes the vinyl debut from NYC psych trio Skull Practitioners and it’s as scathing an introduction to the band as you could hope for. Though its not the band’s official first release, they issued a limited cassette in 2014, this is the fist wide-scale release for the trio fronted by Jason Victor. Victor’s currently been serving as the current lead guitarist for a reformed Dream Syndicate (2012-pres), but this is a decidedly more fang-toothed animal than his releases with the Syndicate. Eschewing any love for knotted wordplay, jangles, or sunny melodies. Victor, along with Kenneth Levine and Alex Baker spike the adrenaline, push the tempos, and drive their vision of punk through the hull-heated, psycho-twang swagger that set Flesh Eaters loose on the public and gave Gun Club heroic status among collectors for decades.

The four songs here give the band a lot to chew on, especially the echo-flailed “The Beacon,” a direct descendant of the Flesh Eaters / Kid Congo Powers school of leathered punk flash if there ever was one. The EP serves as an appetizer for a full-length on In The Red to come soon, but its pretty satisfying on its own. Bookended by instrumentals, the EP creates a nice little arc of attack. The title track frizzles some ozone and leaves an acrid atmosphere rattling around the room that’s picked up by the chewed tin and grease-skeeved vocal tracks “Grey No More” and the aforementioned hip-crusher “The Beacon.” The EP slides out on the surf froth of “Miami” leaving the listener wanting more, which is pretty much the point. Keep an ear out for that long player. I’ll be interested to see how they keep the pace up for a full battery of tracks.



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CFM

On his second solo album as CFM, Charles Moothart distances himself further from his closest collaborators — shying from the glam-garage punch of Ty Segall and the more metallic slap of Meatbodies. CFM carries a lot of the same DNA, though, so its not entirely shod of the shadow of Segall and co. just yet, but Moothart comes into his own with some tender tugs at the heart and some psych burn that dabbles in shoegaze fizz. The album opens with a few burners, proving he’s got his own heat at the ready. “Black Cat” and “Sequence” tussle with hot tar licks, and “Street Vision” slows the choogle to a steady swagger, but its not until the wound opens for “Green Light” that the album shows what Moothart has at his disposal. The track’s fraught with menace and pain but also an open woundedness that’s not often seen in his particular pack, save for maybe Mikal Cronin.

He returns to the fray for a few more songs, and pulls it off with a more than serviceable acid burn, but he returns to the raw nerve on the album’s title track, “Soundtrack to an Empty Room,” which makes a double case for Moothart to dispense with the amplifier fry altogether and explore a full album of guarded bloodletters that aren’t at all interested in proving his weight in riff returns. Likewise the stately sway of “River” gives the second side a shove towards transcending his roots. There’s plenty to love for the buried needle brigade here, and I’m all for the fuzz, but there’s also an inkling of where Moothart might be headed. I’d say if he can go all in on the tender trappings, he might just have a stunner on his hands.



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Wolfmanhattan Project – “Silver Sun”

Plenty to love in a band that comes packed with Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore), Mick Collins (Gories, Dirtbombs) and Kid Congo Powers (Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) and the band makes good on more than their past reputations with the single “Silver Sun.” Sounding like one of my favorite Mick Collins records, Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-Blooey!, his Dirtbombs ode to bubblegum, the song’s not bogged down in the grit and garage blast that could easily come from any of the players involved here. It sparkles and swings. Its a sunshine strummer with a popcorn beat built for dancing. This one’s been building for quite a while, but seems to have dropped out of space with a release tomorrow. If the melted syrup choruses and laconic harmonies on this track aren’t enough to sell ya then I give up.



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Jon Spencer

It seems almost crazy, but this is Jon Spencer’s first solo LP. The man’s been holding down the scuzziest deep end of garage rock for so long its easy to take it for granted that he’ll be there, slinging freaky fuzz riffs for the ages no matter who’s backing him up, though. From Blues Explosion to Pussy Galore to Boss Hog, Jon’s there with the right sleaze for all your needs time and time again and I’ll be damned if he’s not there again. First time I saw the Blues Explosion it was a dropped jaw experience. The band was tight, the riffs were filthy and the whole room was filled with a freaky ectoplasm that spread from listener to listener like an infection of groove. That groove is still on hand and it shows no signs of ebbing even with Spencer all by his lonesome.

To be fair there is no real genre that holds Jon Spencer in check. He’s a funk Dennison and a rock Svengali greased by the gods to make your ass shake and your soul drop three floors below into the sub-basement of hell to roast while the narcotic groove rattles around your insides. He’s a wizard, a shaman, a prophet, a mage conscripted to the highest church of burnt ozone brain fry. There’s no cage that can hold his chemical burn barrage and that’s just the way it should be. Spencer Sings the Hits! proves this over and over, with each blast of taut tension that unfolds over these thirty-three minutes of divine damnation. There’s no better freak conductor than Jon Spencer and don’t you forget it.

True, solo Spencer is pretty close to what the Blues Explosion would be doing on the average Wednesday night in 2018, which is to say shimmy-shakin’ through the soul-glo delirium tremens and hoppin’ the bus to the graveyard shift at the fuzz factory. You know what, though, I’m not looking for huge departures from Spencer. I know what I came for and he’s delivering on the demand. Its a perfect dose of melted medulla machinations and in a year when everything is too much to handle, a little bit of freak shimmy is just what the new world ordered.



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