Eternal Fuzz, Nostalgia: Hum under the Floorboards

Posted in Reviews on June 18th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

eternal-fuzz-nostalgia

Lest the tonally-minded New Jersey four-piece be accused of not living up to the title of what might rightly — and might wrongly, so don’t quote me — be considered their debut LP, Nostalgia, the CD version of the release contains no fewer than six bonus tracks, culled from a June 2012 session dubbed Camp Fuzz. Those cuts add another 19 minutes to Nostalgia‘s otherwise manageable 45, which isn’t enough to push the limits of the format, but is enough that, if you’re going to take on the full 63-minute Nostalgia/Camp Fuzz listening experience, it’s worth being aware of the commitment one is making.

Taken on their own, the nine songs of Nostalgia proper find Eternal Fuzz exploring melodically resonant ground somewhere between post-rock and more densely-packed sludge, guitar and bass grit meeting with melodic vocals that at times, as on “Deep Fuzz Nebula,” recall a slower-paced Floor, the oddly credited lineup of Joe (general council), Kyle (recycling officer), Mike (party planning commissioner) and Luke (archivist) working in harmonized or near-harmonized vocal layers atop large-sounding roll, what might otherwise be a harsh sound if it played to screamy expectations proving oddly soothing — a lullaby of low end and melodic push, or at least it seems on the surface, since if one digs deeper into the crooning of the standout “Sea Change,” the lyrics, “Anyone with half a brain can see we’re fucked” and the repeated “can see we’re fucked,” are plain enough to the ear, and with the titular pun potentially referencing environmental impacts of climate change, the associations are anything but soothing. So be it.

The marriage of opposites there and elsewhere throughout Nostalgia only serves to enhance the listening experience overall, the band careening through lumber and plod on opener “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet,” the aforementioned “Deep Fuzz Nebula” and subsequent, chug-happy “Closer Beings,” but subtly working off a punkish edge on the following “Terraessence,” a version of which also appeared on Camp Fuzz, which was previously released digitally. Album-finale “Thrash the Snakepipe,” which seems to pull together space-stoner and skater themes lyrically, also appeared in a prior incarnation on Camp Fuzz, and if the jump in recording quality between the Nostalgia versions and the preceding ones is anything to go by, the development in Eternal Fuzz‘s sound has been significant over the last several years. “Terraessence” cuts down the runtime and ups the energy level, a steady, upbeat rumble giving way to quiet as it passes the midpoint and then igniting a slower rollout as it moves toward the finish and bleed into “Sea Change,” the structure of which is likewise linear and the rhythm of which holds firm to the momentum the band have thus far built.

eternal-fuzz

That momentum is considerable, especially taking into account the snail’s-pace tempos at which they seem comfortable despite, at times on “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet,” sounding like they’re struggling against an impulse to move faster, and it continues into the loud/quiet trades of “Moody Hum,” which on the first couple listens might easily get lost behind “Sea Change,” but in the end earns the attention its airy guitar squibblies seem to be demanding. Together with “Astral Tractor Beam,” which follows, “Moody Hum” brings about a somewhat different look from the band, who because the vocals are so singularly melodic in their approach — a later-Isis style adding post-metal vibes throughout — at first come across as unipolar, but are actually working to offer a variety of moods.

“Atomic Beauty,” at 6:10, is the longest cut since “Closer Beings” (which is the longest on the album proper at 6:15) and builds tension over its first 90 seconds before unfolding its full tonal breadth, and cuts out at the halfway mark to cycle through again, this time from minimalism to the roll over a quicker span, ending in feedback to make room for “Thrash the Snakepipe,” a return to faster pacing and and Floored vibes, the almost poppy sound Eternal Fuzz elicit in the central verse riff underscoring the smoothness with which they’ve been able all along to pull together their stylistic blend. “Thrash the Snakepipe” is a charming finish, but hardly the end, with the entirety of Camp Fuzz (minus the original versions of “Terraessence” and “Thrash the Snakepipe”) still to follow, beginning with the three-minute, the opening stick clicks of which signal the shift to a live-in-studio feel that is maintained all throughout “Thok’Nor” and the ensuing tracks, which on average are shorter than their Nostalgia counterparts preceding, but carry a similar focus on tone and melody, “Mike Conover” dooming out more than the 2:09 “Aglow and Rampant” but closer “Earth/II-IV The Road” being arguably the most progressive of the bunch.

Camp Fuzz, with the two not-included-on-disc tracks, is available from the band as a name-your-price download, but being tossed on the disc in its entirety adds to the titular feel of Nostalgia and highlights the notion that the album is that much more special to the band with those cuts on there. It having been six years since they got their start in 2009 with the “Closer Beings” single and four since they issued their encouraging [Demo] (review here) in 2011, it makes sense that Eternal Fuzz would want to put as much as they had into the finished product here because who knows when, or if, they’ll get the chance to do this all again. On that level, it’s entirely possible Nostalgia takes its name from the band’s future vision of it as from any backward-looking they might be doing in the now, and while time invariably brings scrutiny to any creative work, especially by those who made it, I don’t hear anything in these songs that wouldn’t be worth remembering fondly.

Eternal Fuzz, Nostalgia (2015)

Eternal Fuzz on Thee Facebooks

Eternal Fuzz on Bandcamp

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audiObelisk Transmission 048

Posted in Podcasts on May 26th, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Click Here to Download

 

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

The second hour starts a little early this time around, and what I mean by that is when you’re like five minutes into hour two and trying to figure out on the tracklisting below what improv-sounding brilliant cut you’re hearing, pay careful attention to when hour one ended. Just 11 seconds from the start of the second half of the podcast. So yeah, that 18-minute wonder gets filed under hour one instead, but it comes with a wink and a nod. I just couldn’t bring myself to file something under hour two without a one at the front of the time stamp, which shows you how sad and compulsive I am because I’ve only been time-stamping these podcasts for two months now. What a dork.

It’s good stuff this. Always is, I suppose, but starting out with Goatsnake into The Machine and then on from there, it builds a flow that makes some sense one into the next in a way that, listening back to it after I put it together, was especially satisfying. Hopefully you agree as you make your way though.

As always, hope you enjoy:

First Hour:
0:00:00 Goatsnake, “Grandpa Jones” from Black Age Blues
0:04:36 The Machine, “Coda Sun” from Offblast!
0:09:55 Galley Beggar, “Pay My Body Home” from Silence and Tears
0:18:51 Steve Von Till, “Night of the Moon” from A Life Unto Itself
0:25:48 Venomous Maximus, “Through the Black” from Firewalker
0:29:42 Black Pyramid, “Open the Gates” from Dead Star 7”
0:34:59 Ape Skull, “A is for Ape” from Fly Camel Fly
0:39:54 Sunder, “Deadly Flower” from Demo
0:43:53 Eternal Fuzz, “Sea Change” from Nostalgia
0:47:37 Geezer, “Long Dull Knife” from Long Dull Knife
0:53:31 Fogg, “Joy of Home” from High Testament
0:59:49 Shiggajon, “Sela” from Sela

Second Hour:
1:18:07 Blown Out, “Thousand Years in the Sunshine” from Planetary Engineering
1:34:01 Les Lekin, “Loom” from All Black Rainbow Moon
1:47:14 Undersmile, “Knucklesucker” from Anhedonia

Total running time: 1:59:00

 

Thank you for listening.

Download audiObelisk Transmission 048

 

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Eternal Fuzz New Album Nostalgia Coming Soon

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 21st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

eternal fuzz

New Jersey-based heavy psychedelic four-piece Eternal Fuzz are getting ready to release their sophomore full-length. Titled Nostalgia and officially listed as “coming soon” by the band, the record is reportedly due out in a couple weeks, though exactly what form it will take — LP, CD, CS, DL, some other two-letter combinations I can’t think of — is as yet unclear. Nonetheless, Nostalgia will be the follow-up to a self-titled debut Eternal Fuzz put out in 2012, which also had a cover of time-lapse star photography, and a demo released in 2011 (review here) that showed marked promise for their brand of heavy groove, and yes, fuzz.

So far, two new songs have been released off Nostalgia — “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” and “Astral Tractor Beam” — both of which showcase a fullness of sound and clarity of approach that seem an immediate step forward for the band from where they were with the self-titled, less melodically assured and tapping partially into a Baroness-style of heavy to some degree. With its slow march and multi-layered vocals, “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” still has some of that modern progressive edge, but seems to bend it to suit a slower, more rolling purpose. They toy some with pacing, but the central feel is patient and engrossing, and that suits Eternal Fuzz well in name and concept.

“Astral Tractor Beam” works in similar form, its big-riff focus reminiscent almost of Snail, but it ties to “Closer (Slugnaut) Fleet” by its melodic awareness and the fluidity of its loud/quiet tradeoffs. Both songs bode remarkably well for the album to come, whenever it does. Nostalgia was recorded in Fall 2014 with the lineup of JoeKyleMike and Luke, and you can hear both of the new tracks from it below, hopefully with more to follow:

eternal fuzz nostalgia

“Nostalgia” will be available in roughly two weeks! In the meantime, hope you enjoy one more teaser-track up on bandcamp… Astral Tractor Beam

https://www.facebook.com/EternalFuzz/
https://eternalfuzz.bandcamp.com/album/nostalgia

Eternal Fuzz, Nostalgia (2015)

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Too Old for the House Show

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 26th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

My plan last night was to drive down to New Brunswick to catch a house show of up-and-coming Jersey sludge bands topped off with the final gig of Massachusetts duo Olde Growth‘s most recent tour. Also on the bill were Pharaoh (not to be confused with the trad metal band from Chicago), the previously On the Radar-ized Eternal Fuzz, and Dutchguts, whom I’ve seen kicking around Jersey a couple times and who run the multi-stage basement venue The Meatlocker in Montclair — where Olde Growth played last time they came through.

Being forever in the shadow of NYC as regards actual venues — that is, the second anyone’s big enough to fill a bar, they’re not doing it here anymore — New Jersey has a long tradition of house shows. In the mid to late ’90s, it was how frantic tech metallers The Dillinger Escape Plan and numerous others first cut their teeth, and it’s been the foundation of the state’s obnoxiously/admirably persistent punk rock scene ever since. I wasn’t a part of that scene. Too young. The place where this show was held was just an old house on a wide street full of old houses. They called it The Alamo, and I walked through the side yard and around the back and knew almost immediately I was too old to be there.

I’d left work at six, dropped the dog off at home and driven, hurriedly, an hour south to go to the show. I genuinely wanted to see it. But you gotta understand, these were kids. I played a New Brunswick house show a few years back, but it’s different when you’re not actually in a band, and it was weird. I had my camera bag with me, but as the first band was getting ready to go on — the dude I asked didn’t know their name but said they had the guitar player from Sonofabitch, which didn’t help much — my choice very quickly became clear. I could stand around and be the old guy no one knows at the house show, or I could split. There wasn’t going to be any middle ground.

The year I was born, 1981, is listed as the dividing point between Generation X and the Millennials, but the reality of the situation is, I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged to one generation or another. I turn 31 later this year, and by the time I was a senior in high school, I knew the freshmen were coming from someplace completely different. Most of my youth I spent trying to hang around with people older than me. I sucked at being young. But I never really hit a point where I could relate to the perspective of those older than me either. It’s an awkward middle-ground that feels half a decade on the wrong side of either place. Born too late, born too early.

I don’t have a problem with being too old for the house show. Like I said, I sucked at being young, and so youth — inasmuch as it’s something I’ve “lost” — isn’t something I really miss. Youth had a lot of dire-seeming bullshit that I hated, and everyone treated each other like a motherfucker. But being where I was when I was, I never had a scene like the one growing now in Jersey, and the lesson I learned last night was that at least in the capacity of going to the shows and digging on these bands as they come up and get their footing creatively and in terms of performance, it’s just not going to work. I can support bands the way I do (i.e. writing), but being a part of it, being actually in it and of it, is something I’ve missed out on.

And in another three or four years, assuming they can keep it together, these bands are going to slay. Dutchguts, Pharaoh. I haven’t seen Eternal Fuzz yet, but I can only assume from what I’ve heard on the recording that the same applies. They’re young and arrogant enough to have their discovery of bands like Eyehategod be a natural outcrop of post-hardcore, and not so self-aware yet that they’ve lost their edge. I heard a report on the BBC yesterday that adolescence, that brain development, continues until the age of about 25. If they can make the most of the freedom they have — and especially doing it in an environment where they support and encourage each other, as they seem to be — then New Jersey’s heavy future is bright. I’ll look forward to hearing those records.

But there are things you can do that come with age and things you can’t, and at 30, my needs and my desires aren’t what they were even three years ago, let alone five or 10. I made my way through the house and down the small entranceway to the old basement, a pipe coming down from the already-low ceiling that I had to duck under, and watched that first band for a couple songs. Two guitars, drums, vocals, coming through Sunn heads and a shitty P.A., grooving out slow riffs like they just invented them, and just knew I was in the wrong place. I didn’t even want to take the camera out of my bag to take pictures. I didn’t want to move except to leave. So I left.

Maybe it didn’t matter. I don’t live under the delusion that wherever I go people are automatically paying attention to me, but I stood out and it made me uncomfortable. I was older, I was bigger, and if I wasn’t going to enjoy being there, what’s the point? Everything else sucks, music doesn’t. If going to shows is going to be a pain in my ass, then pretty much I’ve got nothing going for me. I didn’t see the Olde Growth dudes, and I didn’t get to catch Dutchguts, Pharaoh or Eternal Fuzz, as I wish I had, but in that place at that time, it just wasn’t going to work. Whether or not I actually was, I felt like I was intruding.

On my way out, I spoke to Rich Bukowski from Pharaoh for a bit. He was a couple years behind me (of course) at Seton Hall, and I’ve seen him around at shows ever since, so we’re friendly enough to say hey when we run into each other. I told him I envy what’s happening with these bands right now, that I wished it had been going on six years ago, and that I was going home. And then I did. The band inside was just launching into a cover of “Sister Fucker Pt. 1.” I got back in my car, turned on the Yankees, and the dulcet tones of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman provided theatre of the mind for what turned out to be a shitty game as I made my way the hour back north to my humble river valley, where upon arrival I made myself a bowl of cereal, checked my email, and went to bed, kept awake yet for hours by the caffeine I’d ingested prior to heading out in the first place.

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On the Radar: Eternal Fuzz

Posted in On the Radar on January 31st, 2012 by JJ Koczan

It’s not every day I get to write about a band from what’s essentially my own back yard. Space-riffing foursome Eternal Fuzz make their home in New Brunswick, New Jersey, which is about half an hour south on the Parkway from where I currently sit. It’s a college town, hosting the main campus of Rutgers University, and from what I can tell from the (somehow appropriately) fuzzy video above, the double-guitar outfit is pretty young.

Far more revealing about Eternal Fuzz though is their summer 2011 demo, which is currently available for streaming on their Bandcamp page. With warm low end and ghostly echoing vocals, shades of Om meet with a kind of miniaturized riffy splendor and Torche-esque brevity on “Vexed by the Curse of the Sloth,” which sounds short at just three minutes.

I’d be surprised if the demo wasn’t recorded live, since it comes off so much that way, but rough production becomes part of the band’s character by the end of the five songs, and with the striking build of “Moody Hum” acting as a centerpiece, Eternal Fuzz show a surprising amount of clarity for an act who should still just be getting their bearings sound-wise.

For that, I’m happy to include them in the same school of formative NJ acts like sludge villains Dutchguts and bass/drum duo The Badeda Ladies, who both also have growing to do but are making a strong start. Here’s Eternal Fuzz‘s demo if you want to check it out:

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