HifiKlub + Duke Garwood – Last Party On Earth (2021 Subsound Records)

Mark Lanegan has just passed away. I just read his memoirs and despite the hurt of the loss I can’t help feeling he was living on borrowed time already. He told his audience so himself more than once. Still, 57 is too young to die, and I spent some time mourning him and listening to a couple of the many records he made. I love his voice, and I am grateful so much of his singing was beautifully recorded and preserved forever. Some of these recordings he did with his British counterpart and similarly dark voiced vocalist Duke Garwood, and today I listen to a contemporary record of his and feel solace; the torch of dark gravelly voiced melancholy is carried on.

On The Last Party On Earth Duke Garwood finds himself accompanied by the French art rock ensemble Hifiklub and a trio of modern classic artists subtly painting the musical postmodernist palette in ways reminding of arthouse movies, smoked out student’s coffee houses and empty squares, cleaned out by Corona. It is beautiful, atmospheric music that places the listener right in the middle of the global pandemic when it was released back in December 2021.

“There’s a party down there, the last party on earth…”

And then 2022 started, a shimmer of hope and Corona subsiding. Then Mark Lanegan passing, and now, at the time of this writing, bombs dropping on Kiev and the world holding its breath for the shitstorm about to hit our collective fans. It’s time to revisit this piece of music and reflect some of the peace and eerie calm it echoes from this not so distant past. How bored we were then by it, how welcome it feels now. The Last Party On Earth is a piece of recorded historic feeling of an era that shifted a lot of paradigms, rattled a lot of cages, and, like all times of adversary, showed human resilience, and the need to make beauty out of darkness no matter what.

It is an important piece of work, that does not seem to have gotten the praise it deserves at the time. Listen to to it and know this. Mankind is capable of many atrocities, but also of creating beautiful art like this. Duke Garwood carry the torch, and may you live to record many more pieces of importance like The Last Party On Earth.

Sir Greggo- Sir Greggo (2022 Swish Swash Records)

Straight out of nowhere (or France) Sir Greggo burst its way from obscurity onto my plate to much delight of my eardrums. Man, I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to a fresh sounding band like this. Honestly you better take my word for it, because the description does not give it away. “Psychedelic flute rock?” “Psycho post punk with crazy flutist, catchy psychedelic tunes and cheeky lyrics?” I give up.

Let me try again by attempting to describe the influences on display here. I hear the early adventurist spirit of Ozzy psychpunks King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, but more bass heaviness. There is a very obvious link to Jethro Tull and Focus through the use of the flute too, but while Sir Greggo definitely are prog heavy as well, they certainly do not lean to the mellow folksy vibes of their 70s peers. There is a steady no wave dada punk spirit as well, an exciting jumpy energy that grabs your attention and does not let go for the entire album. There is something about that punk spirit and the absolute impossible combination with that 60s/70s hippie flute that absolutely blows my mind every time. This isn’t supposed to work, and yet here we are.

There comes a time in your late thirties when you start to consider the possibility of giving up on new music altogether and give thought to just retreating into your man cave and only listen to the stuff that thrilled you when you were a teenager. Bands like Sir Greggo give thoughts like that a righteous kick in the balls. “What’s the matter with you old fart?! Get up and dance euphorically like a monkey on banana shrooms!!” Sir Greggo is here to shake up them moldy pillows for ya, and the shaking is good….

Buñuel – Killers Like Us (2022 Profound Lore, La Tempesta International)

This is a record featuring Eugene Robinson on vocals in a project named after Luis Buñuel, the famous absurdist film maker and artist. It is a combination that will guarantee large quantities of joy in left field music lovers allover the world. Robinson of course has earned his stripes with his experimental noise rock band Oxbow, but basically any project he lends his voice to (Xiu Xiu, Zu, Old Man Gloom…) instantly becomes more exciting at the very least. His style is that of the extreme spoken word artist; howling, hissing, screeching, wailing, anything to get his message across. A message that is often pretty dark and disturbing. The fact that the gun on the album cover is Robinson’s is not coincidental.

With Buñuel Robinson has teamed up with a bunch of Italian noise mongers that fit his personal style of dark expressionist experimentalism exceptionally well. Xabier Irlondo (guitars), Andrea Lombardini (bass), and Francesco Valente (drums) have all released work with several (obscure) projects and it is clear that they are equipped to serve the right “feel” for Robinson’s vocal histrionics. On Crack Shot even Robinson’s wife Kasia Robinson makes an appearance, providing even more depth and versatility to an already impressively colorful palette.

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali’s Un Chien Andalou (1929)

Artfulness, quirkiness, and creativity aside though, Killers Like Us is mostly a fierce and violent album that will appeal to fans of Big Black, Jesus Lizard, and other Amphetamine Reptile affiliates. Noise Rock with a capital R. Big noisy guitars, angular rhythmics, and brazen loudness. Check out the ecstatic chorus on When We Talk for further reference on where to look…Fuck.

Pacific Fuzz- Scope EP review + Q&A (2022, Self-released)

A diamond in the rough, that’s the first image crossing my mind when I was introduced to this first sign of life by Dutch psychedelic indie adventurers Pacific Fuzz. On their debut EP Scope they recorded a genuine “real life straight to tape” kind of deal that might sound a little unpolished at first, but really unfolds into a wider landscape of color and depth when you give it some time and well deserved attention. It is a good start of something that promises to be much, much more in the future.

It was recorded in a live setting with Sander Haagmans, an icon in the Dutch stoner scene and known from his band Sungrazer with whom he released multiple worldwide cherished albums and toured Europe to great avail. Together he and Pacific Fuzz have brought to live these five songs, and with its grand total of almost thirty minutes they take their time to fully express what they are all about.

The sound has hints of that Dutch stoner past, with fuzz heavy guitars and slow burning pace, but their is a more subtle thing going on here. Pacific Fuzz writes real songs, even if they allow themselves to embark on more progressive adventures while doing so. In that way they remind of Norwegian psych prog heroes Motorpsycho, while the hammond organ and the clean smooth vocals also hint towards Dutch psychbluesers Birth Of Joy with a modern take on 70s rock a la Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.

It’s a rich sound that can still twist and turn any way these fine gentlemen pretty much please, so it is a pleasure to start following this band, and see what seas of opportunity stil lie ahead for them.

I talked to singer/bassist Erik Steegh about his new audio baby and what the past years have been like for him and his band:

Hi guys! How have you been the past corona years? Can you tell me about the influence it had on Pacific Fuzz?

Hi! We’ve all been doing well these times. Obviously, we haven’t had the chance to do a lot of live performances, which is a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, this gave us both the chance and the time to work on different things. We’ve been developing a housestyle for our socials, along with a logo (all hail the mighty designer Menno Prins). Also, we crafted a lot of new songs out of raw material from jams, finished the Scope EP, made plans for two new EP’s and an album, and set up a livestream concert. Last but not least, we had plenty of time to work on sounds and arrangements. 

Long story short, we were far from bored during the past years.

You are a new band, right? Can you introduce yourselves? How did PF come to be? 

First of all, we’re not that new. Pacific Fuzz started around 2017 with Ian van Wolferen on guitar, and myself on bass and lead vocals. We met during our time at the Conservatorium in Maastricht, and shared a love for classics like Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. We have been writing, and playing with a couple of different drummers for a while. 

Now, there’s four of us: Wesley Kerkhofs on keyboards and backing vocals. He joined Pacific Fuzz somewhere in 2019.
And finally Mees Riechelman, our drummer with indomitable spirit. He has been playing with us for about a year and a half, and has been the last step in our evolution. 

Can you explain the nautical theme? It’s very clear from your socials that it’s there, can you shed some more light on it? Is it a recurring theme for the band, and in what ways?

The nautical theme plays out in two ways:
The oceans can be calm, peaceful and nourishing, but also treacherous, vicious and wild. We like to embrace this shifting dynamic, and encompass it into our music. Sea and sky are great places to draw inspiration.
Secondly, the nautical theme has a more narrative function. We see Pacific Fuzz as a vessel, on which we travel, observe, and document. We are simply its humble crew.

Can you tell me about the new EP, the writing process and the recording process?

This EP is a collection of songs that deal with human flaws, life and death, and the ever-changing world around us. 
During recording, we tracked all the instruments at the same time, in the same room. Simple. There’s no heavy editing or studio trickery. We wanted the EP to sound gritty, dynamic, and live! 

What was the role of Sander Haagmans (Sungrazer) on the process?

When we knew what sound we were looking for, Sanders studio was the best choice! He is an overall great dude, and he brought seriously chill vibes to our recording sessions. 

For me, Sungrazer was one of the first heavy psychedelic bands I heard, I was about 17. They hold a special place in my musical memory. If you’d have told me back then, I would be recording with my own band in Sander Haagmans’ studio, it would have blown my mind!

What were your influences starting the band? And did you gain new ones during the process together?

Like I said before, Ian and I were inspired by classics like Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd. Personally, I was also fresh into Sleepy Sun at the time. Lately, we’ve been vibing on bands like DeWolff, Motorpsycho, All Them Witches, King Gizzard.
Also, Ian is studying classical music theory. He often brings interesting ideas to the table, from places most of us would have never looked.

What are your plans- immediate and long term?

Immediate: Plan and play shows in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. We have some good ideas for live-performances, time to put them to use!

Long term: we have plenty of ideas and material for an instrumental EP, a conceptalbum, and more. These still require some work, but the fundamentals are there.

What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do after reading this? 

Whatever they want. Go to the beach. Climb a cliff. Cross a desert. I dunno. Maybe keep an eye out for a second EP while they’re doing what they’re doing.

Maak je website op WordPress.com
Aan de slag