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!

Show Review: Creaturos, Black Beach, The Fagettes, Magic Shoppe @ Middle East Upstairs (12/11/14)

Review by Joanna Trachtenberg

I guess you could call this Fuzzmas. Illegally Blind mastermind Jason Trefts did it again. 4 of the best bands who all played Fuzzstival in August come together once more for one magical night. First it was Magic Shoppe‘s turn to cast their spell on the awaiting audience. This was their first time ever playing with 4 guitarists. So of course they were louder than usual. I could barely hear the vocals with all of the guitar noise. I don’t necessarily mind that though because I feel like I’m surrounded by both a wave and a wall of psychedelic fury. They played most of their hits. Sadly they ran out of time before they got to Midnight In The Garden Of Evil.

Set-List:
No Place To Go
Dead Poplar
Trip Inside This House
Burn Right Through
Shangri-La In Reverse
All The Way
Haunted HollywoodHere come 1/2 of the Nice Guys to take the stage with Ryan, Melanie, Peachy & the rest of The Fagettes. I am a big fan of their retro inspired fuzzpop. I love their energy live. I noticed that they added a few newer songs to their mix. The swagger came to a climax with the last song about feelin’ good. Ryan and Mel were bouncing around the stage. Throughout the whole show the light shows were going off. Major props to Video Joe and Wax House AV on the amazing visuals. This was one of the best light show performances I have ever seen. I love the combination of the digital projections with the liquid light show.

Set-List:
Jake
National Geographic
Luv
Bad Catholics
Sleep Talk
Street Queens In Heat
On Drugs
WTA
I Wanna Feel Good

Black Beach got everyone wild. This was not only Fuzzmas but also Black Beach’s record release show for their new EP Play Loud, Die. They did a few stompers from that album. There was a major pit in the middle of the Middle East during their whole set. I think I got punched in the jaw. Even worse though at one point one of the light show projectors got smashed by someone getting powerslammed towards the stage. There was a reason why this was all going down BLACK BEACH ROCKED MAJOR COCKS! They are just loud dirty rock n roll which there needs to be a lot more of.

Set-List:
Rats
Ego Death Ritual
In Circles
Born To Lose
You’re A Ghost
Untitled new song
Kreep
Youth Is Out There

Psych rock heavyweights and Boston Music Awards nominees CreaturoS closed the night. (I know all good things must come to an end). They showered everyone with psychedelic bliss sending everyone home happy. They put on a helluva fun show every time and tonight was no exception. I think I had more fun than usual tonight. I’m hoping for more nights filled with this scuzzy goodness.

Set-List:
James Days’ Milkshake
Last Summers’ #1 Hit Single
Hand In My Pocket
Sunrise Wedding
Weird Queen
Going Out In Style
The Mole
The Master’s Dope
Ruff Puff

Show Review: Bass Drum of Death, The People’s Temple, Black Beach @ Middle East Upstairs (10/6/14)

By Joanna Trachtenberg

This was the Illegally Blind show I have been waiting for for quite a while. That’s right: 2 Time Super Bowl Champions The Mighty Bass Drum of Death are back in town! For those of you who don’t know. Illegally Blind is Jason Trefts’s booking company.

I saw the opening band Black Beach only about a week earlier blow the roof off of Thieves Grotto. They were probably my favorite band at that party so I was looking forward to seeing them again. They were the perfect local band to open this show. They played pretty much the same set as a week ago but they sounded and looked even better with the lights and projections around the stage. They rip hard and are a force to be reckoned with. John from Bass Drum of Death even commented that they are the best opener he has seen so far on their tour. Big props to Jason for adding them to the bill.

After a brief break Michigan psych 5 piece The People’s Temple came on. This was my first time seeing them. I have heard their recordings and I think that they rock much harder live than on those recordings. For some reason I thought they were going to be more laid back. I guess to keep up with Bass Drum of Death you really gotta rip it. Their singer reminded me a little of Hadden from The New Highway Hymnal. They impressed me.

Now it was time for 2 Time Super Bowl Champions The Mighty Bass Drum of Death to rip everyone a new asshole. The crowd started jostling as soon as John Barrett strummed the opening riff of Velvet Itch. As the heavy hitting jams continued, the crowd just got more wild. The band members long hair went flying around the stage nonstop as they played. Bass Drum of Death just put out a rippin’ new album appropriately titled RIP THIS! So obviously they featured a number of songs from it. They also did a number of my favorite older songs of their such as I Wanna Be Forgotten, Nerve Jamming & Get Found. For some songs there were girls that jumped onstage and danced. Just watch the video of Crawling After You. For their encore they did GB City track Religious Girls and a cover of Spirit In The Sky which at first I wondered if it was BRMC’s Spread Your Love because those songs have similar chord progressions. After the show I got to chill with the guys. They are some of the most awesome nice guys ever. Finally it was time for me to go home and let my bruises heal. This was not the first time I was bruised at a BDOD show.