Fuzz is Ty Segall (drums/vocals), Charlie Moothart (guitar/vocals), and Chad Ubovich (bass).
They are heavy-rock lifers and three California-bred dudes who have been refining their riffs and getting weird together since high school which wasn’t that long ago, actually).
Fuzz was formed in/around 2011 as a collaboration between Segall and Moothart, but its only within the last year that the pair had sufficient time to guide the band out of side-project limbo and into a recording studio. Since then, they have released two singles, « This Time I Got a Reason » (Trouble In Mind) and « Sleigh Ride » (In the Red). Around the time of the second single, Cosio joined on bass.
They are not dabblers or dilettantes. Fuzz have flipped through used bins, hard drives, and record collections of the world, seeking out the finest weirdo cuts. The bandís self-titled debut LP, which was recorded by Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, The Intelligence), dives deep, drawing inspiration from the more esoteric reaches of heavy metal pre-history. There are Sabbath and Hendrix nods, obviously, but on « Sleigh Bells » you might also catch a whiff of UK progressive blues business like The Groundhogs, particularly when the song quits its 10/4-time intro and reboots into full bore choogle. Maybe youíll even glimpse the ghost of Australian guitar-legend/sharpie guru Lobby Lloyde sniffing around « Raise. »
The mood is not light. The songs project a state of perpetual paranoia and eroding mental health. And as it should be, you know? It’s a record for the burners.
Over the next few years, the members stayed busy with other pursuits — Ty with numerous solo albums, Moothart with his band Meatbodies — and when they got back together to make more music it was with new bassist Chad Ubovich, also of Meatbodies. The trio recorded 2020’s III with Steve Albini, whose legendary skills as an engineer captured the sound of the band playing live with minimal overdubs. The result is their heaviest, most Black Sabbath-sounding record to date. It was issued in October by In the Red Recordings.
Led by the hyperactive John Dwyer, Thee Oh Sees is probably one of the most prolific rock band of its generation. More than 20 studio albums, a solid reputation on stage, THE reference in terms of garage rock music. Dwyer is also one of the founder of the Californian record label : Castle Face Records. The story goes that the origin of the label name comes from a nickname of a friend of Dwyer, petrified by a joint too powerful and whose mouth was gaping, such as the door of a drawbridge.
John Dwyer settled down in San Francisco in his twenties. There, he created several bands as Pink & Brown, The Hospitals and after that, the famous Coachwhips : an aggressive and raw punk band. The band projects kept changing since its creation in 1997. First a freak folk solo project, it drifted gradually to a garage sound with the constitution of a proper rock band (Brigid Dawson, Petey Dammit and Mike Shoun) around 2007. Acclaimed for their impressive punchy performances, Thee Oh Sees played and toured until 2013 before their first break. Around 2014, John Dwyer makes experimentations with his new project Damaged Bug : an interesting mixture of electronic and noise music.
Regarding Thee Oh Sees, the band reappears with new musicians on stage, including two drummers simultaneously. Since, Dan Rincon and Ryan Moutinho pound their instruments, play almost identical to the same shots, rolling close, which adds power. What a surge of energy ! This new rhythmic settings became quickly their hallmark. New formation includes Timothy Hellman on the bass, the two drummers and John Dwyer as a frontman.
After Mutilator Defeated At Last, the band took a new turn, more Krautrock. Nothing surprising when you know Dwyer is a huge fan of German Krautrock bands such as Can, Neu! or La Düsseldorf. In 2016, two albums have been released : A Weird Exits and An Odd Entrances. One year later, Ryan Moutinho leaves the band to be replaced by Paul Quattrone (!!!, Warm Drag).
Under the new name « Oh Sees », the Californian band launched Orc (2017) a powerful garage- rock release. Meanwhile, John Dwyer and Brigid Dawson worked again together as OCS for the album Memory of a Cut off Head.
Prog- and metal-influenced Smote Reverser is out in August of 2018, an efficient record with a scary cover. Slight modification on stage with the addition of keyboardist Tomas Dolas from Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel.
The band kept up a steady rate of live shows throughout the next year, and Castle Face reissued two of the group’s early lo-fi releases (The Cool Death of the Island Raiders and Graveblockers). They also found time to record Face Stabber, an expansively trippy album that added more electronic and free jazz elements to their already full sound that was issued in August 2019.
After releases by Dwyer’s Damaged Bug project and free jazz band Bent Arcana — both of which had appearances by Oh Sees bandmates –Osees (note the slight alteration of the name) returned in late 2020 with Protean Threat, a more aggressive, punk-influenced album that boiled their prog and jazz leanings into smaller portions.
Just in case anyone accused Dwyer of slacking, he rounded out the year by releasing Panther Rotate, an album made from drastic remixes of songs from Protean Threat, electronic excursions, field recordings, and a sideways cover of a song by Alice Cooper’s early garage band the Spiders.
For the better part of a decade, LA’s scrappy rock n’ roll mystics Death Valley Girls have used their music as a means of tapping into a communal cosmic energy. On albums like Glow In The Dark (2016), Darkness Rains (2018), and Under the Spell of Joy (2020) the band challenged the soul-crushing banality of modern society and celebrated “true magical infinite potential” through a collage of scorching proto-punk riffs, earworm melodies, far-out lyrics, and lysergic auxiliary instrumentation. But on their latest album Islands in the Sky, Death Valley Girls’ songwriting mastermind Bonnie Bloomgarden uses the band’s anthemic revelries as a guidebook to spiritual healing and a roadmap for future incarnations of the self. And while these may be the loftiest aims of Death Valley Girls to date, the resulting music is also by far their most infectious and celebratory.
The seeds for Islands in the Sky were planted while Bloomgarden was bed-ridden with a mysterious illness from November 2020 to March 2021. “When I was sick I had to sleep most of the day. I kept waking up every few hours with an intense message to take care of the island, feed the island…I have no idea why, but making music for the island kept coming up.”
Before her illness, Bloomgarden’s primary focus was writing songs to help other people deal with their own suffering. But something in her shifted, and she began to turn her focus inward. “When I was sick I started to wonder if it would be possible to write a record with messages of love to my future self. This was really the first time that I consciously thought about my own suffering and what future me might need to hear to heal. I struggled so much in my life with mental health, abuse, PTSD, and feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere. And I don’t want anyone—including my future self—to suffer ever again. I realized that if we are all part of one cosmic consciousness, as we [Death Valley Girls] believe, then Islands in the Sky could serve not only as a message of love and acceptance to myself, but also from every self to every self, because we are all one!”
If this sounds too cerebral or esoteric, don’t worry. At its core, Islands in the Sky is a party—a riotous, danceable, sing-a-long celebration of life, love, and mystery. The bulk of the album was channeled into being when Bloomgarden and drummer Rikki Styxx went out to a cabin in the California woods on New Years Day 2022 to hunker down and harness the songs from the ether. Further bolstered by Larry Schemel’s guitar prowess and the addition of new bassist and co-lead singer Sammy Westervelt, Death Valley Girls set out to make their most ambitious and exciting record to date at Station House Studio in Echo Park.
Islands in the Sky opens with a patient, hazy, aura fueled synth, organ, and Schemel’s dusty guitar twang on “California Mountain Shake”—a love song to our future selves, as evidenced in the song’s confession “I’m still in love with you.” The slow-burn yields to “Magic Powers,” where Death Valley Girls teach us how to harness the hard times, abuse, and feelings of being alone, abandoned, or powerless in your life into magic powers, all while channeling the pomp and swagger of ‘90s big-budget rockers like Elastica and Garbage. This segues into the title track, an anthem fully deserving of having an entire album share its name. Imagine Rush’s “Freewill” without the math but with an even more triumphant chorus and an openness to otherworldly possibilities. From there we have “Sunday,” which uses the swirling organ, soulful vocals, emotional bombast, and the hip-shaking climax of a classic Percy Sledge tune as a foundation to Bloomgarden’s lyrical examination of coping with the struggles of her past. Still not a convert? Just one spin of “What Are the Odds” and you’ll be singing along with the chorus of “we are living in a simulated world, and we are simulated girls.”
On side B, the self-empowerment song-talisman of “When I’m Free” makes a reappearance after initially showing up in late 2021 on a split 7” with Le Butcherettes and getting a scorching remix treatment from Peaches in early 2022. The fall 2021 digital single “It’s All Really Kind of Amazing” closes out the album, serving as a reminder that all the answers to all the secrets are already inside you. Fittingly, Bloomgarden states that the soaring finale to Islands in the Sky “was fully 100% channeled from my guides to remind me even when everything seems shitty in the world, and it doesn’t seem fair to be happy about anything, the earth and the universe are still really amazing.”
Suicide Squeeze is proud to release Death Valley Girls’ Islands in the Sky to the world on vinyl, CD, cassette, and DSPs in early 2023.
Kid Congo and The Pink Monkey Birds fourth and strongest album yet for In The Red Records, “La Araña Es La Vida” summons the Mexican muse of The Great Spider Goddess of Teoticuhan who sprouts hallucinogenic morning glories and protects the underworld, or in Kid’s eyes, the world of underground music. Recorded at The Harveyville High School gym in Kansas, Guitar slinger and singer, the legendary Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds), bassist Kiki Solis (Knife in The Water, Rhythm of Black Lines), drummer Ron Miller (Switch Hitter, Up The Academy) are joined by Chicano, Mosrite playing guitarist Mark Cisneros (Medications, Deathfix) on this self produced ball of wax.
“La Araña Es La Vida” rocks n rolls it’s way thru a planet of Glamazons (Psychic Future), blisters with the tricks of a “Magic Machine” then gets to work out a low rider groove on “Chicano Studies.” Tales of gender bending, disembodied heads, gente from La Puente and even a TCB era Elvis inspired rave up on “Karate Monkey” is merely a smatter of the magic on this platter.
The world is a wild and wooly place and with “La Araña” Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds will continue to mirror it. Orale! Living La Vida Araña!
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