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Top 10 Fuzz Records – grungy alt rockers MOTHER share their picks; new single & video streaming!

MOTHER’s musical influences range from Washington, D.C.’s Revolution Summer scene all the way to alternative rock acts of the 90s, 2000s and contemporary. Their brand new single Dillydallying retains the unique blend of sounds that gave birth to their debut EP “Love Vision” while exploring more melodic territory through intricate rhythm guitars, fuzzed leads, vocal harmonies reminiscent of powerpop and introspective lyrics dealing with asthenia. Today, we celebrate its recent release with the band’s Top 10 Fuzz Records of their choice!

The single was released on February 14th 2021, digitally, as well as on 250 flexi-discs released by Fat Boys Don’t Cry Records, Youth of Today Records, Fresh Outbreak Records, Non Ti Seguo Records, Brigante Records and Rocknative Shop.

MOTHER’s top 10 of favorite fuzz* records:

MOTHER

* for “fuzz records” we mean those records with a massive use of fuzz pedals on guitars.

Fu Manchu – Godzilla’s/Eatin’ Dust

You could easily pick most of their discography and it would fit pretty snuggly in this list, but the riffing, the performances and the overall sound of this album in particular really get me going. Fu Manchu is one of those bands that created an original formula and stuck with it, giving it a slightly different flavor with each new release, but never veering off of it too much. While i’m generally more keen on artists who reinvent themselves more often, i definitely commend and admire their spirit and consistency! “Godzilla” has got to be one of the greatest covers and fuzz-filled tracks ever recorded.

Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger

Another artist whose whole catalog is filled with fuzz goodness (one of his other bands is literally called FUZZ, pretty self-explanatory and just as amazing). Instead of going with the more cutting, chainsaw-like tones of albums such as “Twins” or “Melted”, i chose what many consider his weirdest and most off-the-wall album, probably my favorite too, but that changes with time. Here it sounds like the fuzz (he’s well known amongst gear heads for using the Death By Audio Fuzz War, in case you’re interested) went straight into the mixing console, without any amplifier. It’s so unnatural, nasty and in-your-face you just can’t ignore it, listen to “California Hills” and hear what i mean.

Japandroids – Post-Nothing

This band is so good at capturing the energy and genuineness of adolescence. I was amazed at how thick of a wall of sound they produce despite only being a duo, and having had the fortune to see them live i can confirm that it translates pretty well in that setting too. The sound is basically an intricate blend of multiple amplifiers, some completely clean, some heavily distorted with a Russian Big Muff. This one and “Celebration Rock” are both excellent albums. Listen to “I Quit Girls”, “Wet Hair” or “Younger Us” to soak in this glorious sound, so full and heavy yet so detailed at the same time.

Dinosaur Jr. – Where You Been

It was only fair we’d include at least a couple classic albums, and with its 28th anniversary last month it felt like this was an excellent place to start. Me and the rest of Mother often discuss which of their albums is the best/our favorite, and while it is a very difficult choice to make with Dino (who haven’t really put out a bad record ever), this album seems to come up a lot in those discussions, and for good reason. This has some of the best songs J Mascis has ever written in it, and that’s saying a lot. The screaming intro solo on “Out There” is actually one of the very few instances where someone’s made me cry with their guitar playing and sound. I don’t know if that’s more a testament to the potency of the music or to my emotional attachment to its every note and lyric, but you get the idea. It’s a very emotional and immaculately produced album.

Ovlov – TRU

Ever got the feeling something was so new yet so familiar upon first listen? That’s how i felt about Ovlov, a band that’s as good as it is underrated. Before breaking up they put out a couple LPs with a lo-fi aesthetic and packed with quality songwriting. I chose their sophomore album because to me it flew completely under a lot of people’s radar, and it deserves all your attention if you’re into what you’ve heard thus far. You’ll catch a few moments that’ll sound pleasantly familiar, like “Short Morgan”, which to me sounds like an early Dinosaur Jr. song, but overall this band has given a very personal twist to this very particular sound.

Yuck – S/T

Anniversaries and recent break-ups seem to be common themes in this list, so here’s an album that celebrated its 10th birthday recently, which coincided with the group announcing its disbandment. I discovered this band and record trough a live performance of “Get Away” that was shared by Mark Hoppus on a social media page back in 2011, and i’ve been a fan ever since. It’s a very fitting album for this list, in the way it showcases lots of different fuzz tones and how they can be tailored to complement different musical situations, from indie-rock oriented ones (“The Wall”) to slightly punkier (Holing Out), lo-fi (“Georgia”), all the way to drony and spacier ones (“Rubber”); adding a few acoustic numbers to the equation, the result is a very balanced album with lots of variation.

Motorpsycho – Timothy’s monster

Mother was first introduced to this band’s music by Fabio, our guitarist. They’re very prolific and have one of the most open and eclectic approaches to alternative rock i’ve heard in recent years (i have only scratched the surface though, with more than 20 albums and countless EPs i’ve yet to listen). They seem to to always want to try something new and challenge themselves; i think we could learn a lot from them in that respect, as a band. This record, their fifth overall and first with a major label, was a standout from the very beginning for me: it’s varied and eclectic in and of itself, with songs ranging from Cure-like nostalgic bliss (“Trapdoor”) to abrasive and wild (“Grindstone”); it also serves as perfect occasion in this list to give a shout-out to bass fuzz, which this record contains in abundance.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

Time for another classic. I know a lot of you out there will probably be already familiar with this album, and there probably isn’t a lot that hasn’t already been said about it, but just in case someone reading hasn’t experienced it yet, i’m putting it here. Maybe you just want to remind yourself why you like it so much, like i do. That’s okay. A number of records in this list are probably influenced by it too, so i’ll go as far as to say that listening to it will make you understand and enjoy (or dislike) this list even more! Anyway, i think it’s safe to say that these guitar tones are some of the best ever created. We can all agree on that, right? A little trivia: the Op-amp Big Muff used all over this record is also on a brief section of our brand new song “Dillydallying”.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – S/T

There’s something about fuzz that reminds me of love (not just the romantic, teenage type featured here), or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, this album is sonic proof that such a connection exists not just in my mind. Catchy and infectious melodies, electric and acoustic guitars with lots of bite, driving drums and bass, the right amount of reverb in the vocals and the general upbeat pace of this record make it such an enjoyable musical experience from every standpoint. It’s one of those modern classics that i wish i was aware of when they had just come out, but that i’ll definitely keep spinning for years to come.

Kestrels – Dream or Don’t Dream

Something very recent that caught my attention. Needless to say, this album contains loads of fuzz of different types, but this one’s especially impressive for the number of effect pedals utilized (over 100 from what i read in a review) and the resulting variety and texture of the sounds. On their social media, the singer/guitarist of the band even goes over some of the pedals, their features and placement on the record. It’s basically a guitar-freak wildest fantasy come true. I can dig that, but if you’re not into that aspect of it, this album is still a solid blend of alternative rock (with very evident Dinosaur Jr. influence, there’s even a solo from J on “Grey and Blue”) with hints of shoegaze here and there (“A Way Out”, “Say Less”).”

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