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Fuzz is Ty Segall (drums / vocals), Charlie Moothart (guitar / vocals) and Roland Cosio (bass). They re heavy rock lifers three California bred dudes who have been refining their riffs and getting weird together since high school (which wasn t that long ago, actually). If you are not already aware of Segall, well, what s up? He s one of garage rock s most prolific sons. He said he was going to take it easy this year, but by the time you finish reading this, the onesheet for his next record will have already arrived in your inbox. Moothart plays guitar in The Ty Segall Band and was also a member of The Moonhearts, which included Cosio on guitar. Way back in the early 00s, all three played in the Epsilons. Fuzz was formed a couple years ago as a collaboration between Segall and Moothart, but only recently did the pair have 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 latter, Cosio joined on bass. They are not dabblers or dilettantes. Fuzz flipped through used bins, hard drives and record collections of the world, seeking out the finest weirdo cuts. The band s 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 fullbore choogle. Maybe you ll 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.
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Je connaissais TY SEGALL de nom, mais là, quelle claque !
Touche à tout, batteur, chanteur, disque punk? rock? grunge? ... FUZZ!!! le power trio à l'état pur; JOUISSIF !
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While I may be overstating my case somewhat—after all, bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Comets on Fire, Woods, and The Black Angels all borrow from classic rock radio—there’s still something invigorating about hearing Fuzz’s unabashed instrumental noodling. And if anyone can make us rethink what’s currently fashionable in rock music, it’s probably Ty Segall, the incredibly prolific artist who not only produces his own albums at breakneck speeds, but also seems content to collaborate with whoever is willing to pick up an instrument and play. The songs on Fuzz give you the sense that they morphed out of epic basement jam sessions. But what saves these songs from accusations of excess is the fact that musicianship always serves the songs. “Sleigh Ride” contains a hook that continually whips the song forward to its conclusion, and album opener “Earthen Gate” evolves from the primordial goo of its opening into a fully formed rock riff.
Perhaps the key to Fuzz’s success is that, despite the call backs to early 70s proto-metal, it also doesn’t pretend that the last forty years of music hasn’t happened. With a little tweaking the shortest song on the album, “Preacher,” could be transformed into a bona fide punk shredder. And unlike most rock music from the 70s that were looking for bigger and better studio sounds, Fuzz has a distinct lo-fi element. In a sense, Fuzz might best be viewed as another variation on the sound of Seattle grunge whose members like Mudhoney and Soundgarden seemed perfectly happy to break down barriers between classic rock and punk. Whatever ingredients were used to concoct Fuzz’s curious brew, the results are undeniably engaging.
Centered around Bay Area garage-rock wunderkind Ty Segall, Fuzz’s self-titled debut (2013) could be called “Riff” with equal applicability. For this particular side-project, Segall sets aside his guitar to pummel the skins with the primal fury of Blue Cheer’s Paul Whaley, leaving guitarist Charles Moothart to channel the black magic of early Sabbath. Meanwhile Roland Cosio holds the whole thing together with his sludgy, riff-doubling Geezer Butler basslines. Their interplay has all the sloppy grandeur that you’d expect from such comparisons, and the resultant noise is electrifying in short bursts.
The problems arise when you listen to 37 straight minutes of it. That may not seem like a lot, but there were occasions when I thought I was listening to one song when, in fact, it had long since ended, to be replaced by two subsequent tracks. Though “Hazemaze” is straight-up blues-based hard rock while “Preacher” runs closer to proto-punk, for the most part these eight songs occupy identical sonic and stylistic terrain. When the band pulls back a bit—as during the Doors-y intro to “Earthen Gate” or when "Loose Sutures" gives way, “Dazed & Confused”-like, to a series of solo spots—it injects their crushing riffage with some necessary variety, making it all the more impressive when they explode into another fuzzed-out solo. It's still an engaging listen, but those contrastive moments are too few and far between.
I had the chance to see Fuzz live earlier this fall and didn’t take it, making it the second time I’ve missed out on seeing Ty Segall in the past year. I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity again - Segall is a powerhouse, releasing records (and touring them) faster than I can get my hands on them. But I still regret it, as Fuzz make the kind of music where I’m quite positive you need to see it live to get the full impact. Until then, Fuzz is another worthy-if-imperfect entry in Segall's ever-growing discography.