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: Vundabar, The TeleVibes, Nice Guys, Midriffs @ Overlook (12/13/14)

Overlook
Bands: Vundabar, The TeleVibes, Nice Guys, Midriffs
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2014
Venue: The Overlook

DAN! DANNY BOYYYY!!! Glen and I race over here to the old Overlook like a couple of Jack Nicholsons; freezing, drunk, and losing what’s left of our minds, no baseball bat though. We just came from the Lastfest over at the old Lasthaus. That was an extravaganza, lots of angsty, awesome bands. Tough competition, hard to follow or so we’ll see at the old Overlook. Let’s back up, this Overlook isn’t old though, it’s in fact a new spot – unless I’m hearing wrong or I’m drinking some bad liquor or something, but this is apparently the Overlook’s first show. Well sir, I’m happy to be a part of it. Let’s back up our sweet asses even a few more steps. I LOVE The Shining, if you couldn’t already tell. And if you’ve seen The Shining then you know that the Overlook is a monstrosity, a maze you won’t find yourself escaping from anytime soon. Well sir, house names sure are peculiar, funny little gems and this one is no exception, except it is. The title is fitting, cause this place is a huge motherfucker.

I ain’t kidding you though about the place being massive. As I’m walking in I stop by the Nice Guys merch table to say some hellos, shake hands, kiss babies, etc and this is in the foyer, if you will, the rest of the basement space where all the attendees are is around the corner. So, I walk around the corner expecting a bigger basement, but HOLY SHIT I didn’t expect it to be this huge. The room is very long, narrow. It’s just body after body after body of excited, partying  college kids. I can’t even see the band, which by the way is Midriffs and they’re pretty rad. I can only hear them though. It’s so damn packed. Check out their sheet here: http://midriffs.bandcamp.com/

Set-List:
“Swamp Don’t”
Taboo Tattoo”
“Fresh”
“White Washed”
“Death Beach”
“Sunday Morning Cigarettes & Orange Juice”

Nice Guys
 – The last time I wrote about a Nice Guys show I fell a little off the old wagon. To be frank, I may have had too much Haddenbear and booze in me and by may I mean absolutely. Here have a look, if you feel so inclined: https://klyam.com/2014/12/14/show-review-the-monsieurs-record-release-free-pizza-nice-guys-club-bohemia-12514/ Stumbling on my own words. Inadvertently, however, I did  raise a few points about their music. You won’t find a Nice Guys love ballad or a Nice Guys song about the alienation of the modern age. Maybe, they need more of this, maybe not. Either way, they’re the perfect band for a place like the Overlook. It’s packed to the gills, but we manage to make our way to the very front and like many other Nice Guys sets, it’s a rollercoaster from start to finish. We’re practically falling over, on top of the band, mic stands are falling down, it’s a wild affair. Alas, we’ll have to wait another month or so before we can enjoy another wild affair from these Allstonites. Eat up their bandcamp here: http://niceguys666.bandcamp.com/

The TeleVibes – Love me some TeleVibes, tellies as I say. This is my first time seeing the crew in a long while, I think. Once again, kids moshing and sloshing, just as much as there was during Nice Guys’ set if not more. There’s even some crowd surfing, all in this basement with a low ceiling. Everyone is having a rambunctious old time, it’s pandemonium. Perhaps the craziest basement show I’ve ever seen. Not best, but perhaps craziest.

The TeleVibes are one of my favorites in Boston right now. They’re a little smoother than the frenetic noise of Nice Guys, but they share similar vibes, if you will. It’s fun, rock ‘n’ roll, the exact kind we encourage and extol on this site. “Fun, rock ‘n’ roll” can be pretty vague, I admit. I know what it means to me and it might mean a totally different thing to you. In the case of The TeleVibes, it’s possessed punk slime surfing on the edge of a nasty acid trip. And these boys know a thing or two about surfing or at least the beach. Contrary to popular belief, the whole band IS NOT from Rowley, they also from Salisbury Beach. Get your shit straight wack ass music journalists scumfucks. Though, most likely Glen or I popularized this myth, I’d have to check the archives.  Either way, it’s the Northshore. It’s the NOTSURE KID. Well son, I’ll give you something to be sure about, The TeleVibes. http://thetelevibesofficial.bandcamp.com/ Grab a beer, a babe or a dude however you roll, roll a splifft, and lay back and listen to this sheeet. Give you those warm, summery (tele)vibes in the dead of winter. Trust me, you’ll need em’.

Vundabar – “WHAT DID YOU COME HERE FOR? TELL ME WHAT YOU COME HERE FOR.” Well mister, I’ll tell you what I came here for, I came here to get my mind blown by these various local rock musicians, that’s vat I came here for. I too love the German language and using Vs in places of Ws. It’s been a vunderful night thus far Vuy not end vith a band like Vundabar? I’ve  seen them a few times now and while I prefer things to sound trashier, I can admire their music and I find much of it to be catchy. You can actually dance to it in both conventional and unconventional ways. I can best compare them to the “Post-Punk Revival” ilk of the double ohhs such as Interpol and Editors. http://vundabar.bandcamp.com/