Review: House of the Rising Fuzz – Boston Rock & Roll Comp (2015)


This is Boston’s House of the Rising Fuzz compilation. Who, what, when, where, and why. Well let’s see, read on! It’s a physical artifact, a tangible, audible documentary. It’s a beauty and it’s so mid-2010s, underground garage and punk and noise and dirty pop. A full effort coordinated by the inspiring bands on here and also 456 Records, Primordial Sounds, Theives Grotto, Boston Hassle, and Ben Semeta. It took a while to get here, but honestly is there a better time than now? Just days away (August 6th through 8th) is the Boston Fuzzstival – curated by the one and only Jason Treft’s Illegally Blind – and featuring most of the bands included on this compilation. Both the Fuzzstival and the release of House of the Rising Fuzz are dream come true events not only for the people directly taking part, but those slimers, those fanatics, like us, like You and Me, who can’t get enough of that F word.

From my perspective, I’ve seen all of these bands perform – some maybe just a couple of time, others a dozen or more – and a few (Barbazons, Nice Guys, and Miami Doritos) we are grateful to have released records and tapes for on our own label. We share a similar fondness for rock ‘n roll music that’s nicely being built up through the abovementioned proponents of underground culture here in Boston. There’s no reason why House of the Rising Fuzz can’t be our Casual Victim Pile. For those unfamiliar, that was a compilation of Austin TX rock ‘n roll bands released in 2010 by Boston area native Gerard Cosloy and his Matador Records. Where that album definitely had more innate spotlight given Austin’s reputation for live music and the big independent label distribution, House of the Rising Fuzz is a decentralized group effort that is very indicative of the spirit and community vibes in Boston. It’s one of those situations where the people that are fortunate to live here or tour through here can literally feel this energy, however, the larger, national music media sources don’t cover our bands anywhere near as much as groups from San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Memphis.

I can say for certain that House of the Rising Fuzz captures all the bands at their highest moments. I agree with Ben in his interview with Allston Pudding where he’s like for every band it’s “their best song yet”. In fact, his band Black Beach’s contribution “Kreep” is in the early lead for my favorite thing on this compilation. It is crunchy, punchy, slippery – an exhilarating blender of spacey garage punk tropes and odes. Bless its soul. I could get real nerdy and boring with descriptions and stuff, but the main thing I note is that I can toss this thing on and be like oh yeah That’s New Highway Hymnal. “Isolation” yup – I recognize Hadden’s vocals, Amelia’s bass, and Travis’ drumming style. They groovy. With The Monsieurs
“Shadow,” there’s also no mistaking. Except, they work over there in the blown out bubblegum punk department. There’s a reason why that group is universally revered around these parts. They make ya crazy with their memorable ramble and stampeding swagger.

The bands that I am least familiar with – Midriffs and Dinoczar – do a helluva job saying HI THERE… Midriffs offering “White Washed” is the longest journey at 5 minutes and 37 seconds, but one would be damned to call this a psych slowburner. It’s more comparable to what we know and love from NHH and The Televibes, the ole penchant for intoxicating instrumental freakouts. And speaking of which, the North Shore’s own Televibes “DMT” takes this style to every ticklish cavity of what has been revealed to us as psychedelic rock and roll music. Dinoczar might be the sludgiest and rawest talent on the compilation – their “Cream” unlocks the doors to the Slaughterhouse, if ya catch my drift.

It’d be a shame for me to not mention Miami Doritos and Nice Guys together. Subconscious and literal promotion and testimony to the greatness of their Splifft 7″ aside – they’ve lived together, toured together, and what not. I’ll tell you briefly the sonic difference. Miami Doritos is a guitar and drums duo but they make for a brutally concise, maximalist use of that nice fuzz, that nice noise. It’s intimidating, lovely on “Cut the Rope”. Now as for the “Chips” boys, the four Nice Guys. Their contribution is the previously UNreleased “Chips in the Moonlight” (though, if you’re keeping track – and you should be – they released an EP with this name. If you’ve never heard Nice Guys, you might want to start with this tune and work forwards, backwards, etc. At the heart, these fellas write catchy riffs. Also at the heart, they breakaway from these winner choruses and verses to what amounts to best-in-class dueling guitar breakdowns like in “Chips.”

This leaves us with Barbazons and Creaturos. Both have been around for some time now (Barbazons since 2010, formerly as Fagettes, and Creaturos since 2011) causing a racket but mainly making a name for themselves because they perform lush garage pop. Who am I to say, but if I’m trying to show someone whose only experience with Fuzz is the police what’s up, I might first direct them to Barbazons “Jake” which is surely many bits chaotic, but it is sunny and breezy and shiny. If they respond positively and I know they will, I’ll send them over to Creaturos “Bleeding Like A Stone,” which plays out as a psyched up slap to the best of good times ‘classic’ rock. I believe I’ve always felt this way with Creaturos and it is a compliment owed to their distinct playing.

Listen to these bands, support them at shows, book them. It might sound cheesy and everyone says it about everything, but seriously this is special. It’s super fun and rewarding for those who know and love these bands and the same for those who might be all ‘why should I care about Boston rock & roll in the year 2015’? I hope this reaches far beyond a local scope — it would not be nice for the thousands of appreciators of this kind of music to miss hearing this compilation!

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