The return of the Fuzzy Charts
The votes were a bit tight for some, and I think it would be more representative with bigger numbers of votes, but hey, that’s a start, and we already got a clear top 5. Feel free to tell us what you think of this idea and if you got any ideas on how to improve it. The point here is to make it more about you than us.
We want to see which albums really got into the audience’s ears and if we missed some gems. That’s also a good way to inventory everything that went out in a month, giving some light to some records that might have gone unnoticed otherwise.
Here is the result of this poll, for the month of January, enjoy!
HC: Samsara Blues Experiment – End of Forever (20 pts)
FFO: Colour Haze, Causa Sui, Imaad Wasif…
It’s been brought to our attention that it’s maybe not so fair to leave the SBE here. Problem is, we considered it to be released in ’21 (according to the band’s announcement from last Fall) for our tops, so we can’t really consider it from ’20 now. That said, I put this one apart in this article. Since Mr. Omen gave it a great in-depth review, I’ll be quoting him there 😉
“From Germany, the masters of heavy psychedelic rock, Samsara Blues Experiment release their (possibly) final record End Of Forever. SBE might be one of the most innovative rockers in the modern era of fuzz, and beyond. […]
In a lot of ways, End Of Forever is a collage of sound. Chris did mention that some of the songs on the album are songs written a few years ago. The haunting beauty about End Of Forever is that each song within the album blend extremely well together regardless of when the songs were conceptualized. A story is being told inside the nonlinear time period of when the songs were written. Maybe subconsciously this is what is meant when saying “end of forever.” They took a little bit of what they’ve been sonically creating the last few years, sprinkled some evolving visionary inspiration into each song, and then seamlessly stitched the songs perfectly together. Finally sealing it, as a packaged juggernaut of a finished product. They’ve shared with us all, their love letter to: the end.”
Top 5 Albums of January 2021
So here are the 5 releases that stood out a bit from the crowd. We got a clear winner, and 3 tied at the 3rd place!
3 ex–æquo: Årabrot – The World Must Be Destroyed (4pts)
Rejoice, the unmistakable Norwegian prodigy Årabrot is back, with this kickass EP, along with a new album for April 9th. Built around an outtake from “Who do you love?”, I guess this EP is a sort of transition between the two albums, while also tackling the craziness in the world around us, channeling the work of Antonin Artaud into their music in the process. If you’re not familiar with Årabrot, brace yourself, for it’s clearly something special and unlike any other band out there. It’s not even easy to describe it properly, and what I can say probably doesn’t do justice to the outstanding releases they’ve been producing for 20 years now. Think about a mix of Noise and dark Folk, inspired by twisted Gospel, sounding heavy yet leaving room to breathe. It’s harsh and tortured, with super cool vocals and nifty arrangements, all contributing to weave this special atmosphere that makes Årabrot stand out from the crowd so brilliantly.
3 ex–æquo: Kabbalah – The Omen (4pts)
FFO: Coven, Windhand, Jess & the Ancient Ones, Blood Ceremony, True Widow
Kabbalah is a girls-only power trio coming from the sun of Pamplona, Spain. I must confess I discovered them with this record, even if they’re around since 2013. Dwelling in the Occult Doom Psych territory, they really stepped up their game with this record. Beautiful and desolated, heaviness meets catchiness all along the course of these 8 tracks. The girls took some inspiration from a very, very wide spectrum, from the extreme to the pop-ish, adding a touch of the Spanish vibe on top of that. The work on the vocals is amazing, this kind of reverb-drenched and harmonized mesmerizing chantings always work great on that kind of music, but you can really feel that a special effort has been made on this here. Keep an eye out for this super cool band in the years to come, I think they’ll get some well-deserved fame as soon as we’ll be able to go back to the smokey dark rooms that are closed to us for way too long now.
3 ex–æquo: Electric Octopus – Inclinations (4pts)
FFO: Causa Sui, Frozen Planet…1969, The Myrrors, Khruangbin, Oresund Space Collective
2 years without any new music from the Belfast jammers is a crazy long time, compared to their usual rhythm. Don’t judge them too fast either, their guitar player’s been wandering through India for a while, and for an improv’ band such as Electric Octopus, the recent events must be quite challenging too, unable to play live as they’re used to. Anyway, Tyler must have come back more pumped-up and inspired than ever, bringing along some flute works (at the center of this album is almost an hour where he doesn’t even touch his guitar) and eastern influences that add some welcomed finesse and texture to their jazzy funky bluesy jams. Apart from that, they’re still at the top of their game, the bass is given a bit more room to twirl around or just groove smoothly along with the always so jazzy bouncing drums. Electric Octopus is still as enchanting as before, with even a bit more diversity than before. The 2h+ from the album flows so naturally, wonderfully soothing and comforting, the perfect soundtrack for these crazy and cold days.
2: Here Lies Man – Ritual Divination (5pts)
FFO: Black Sabbath playing Afrobeat, Black Merda, Goat, Fela Kuti
I’ve always been an enthusiast of Here Lies Man’s motto, “Black Sabbath playing Afrobeat”, as I love both parts of this concept. Their debut was amazingly fulfilling this promise. Even though the follow-ups have also been quite good, I was always coming back to the 1st one. Not anymore. “Ritual Divination” puts back the Sabbath in that catchphrase righteously. It’s filled with burning riffs, hooking you so efficiently without conceding anything on the groove. They found again their craziness and genius spark from the beginning, developing it with what they found along the way. I have the feeling that they must have taken some time to dig properly in old school 70s heavy rock, helping them be more comfortable in that occult riffage side of their music. The clave, percussions, and chantings are still right on point to keep the afrobeat vibe present at all times, though they play a bit more with the balance between their two facets from a song to another. Funnily it seems to reinforce both in the end, really giving the feeling to hear Black Sabbath jamming with Fela Kuti! The final result sounds awesome and is catchier than ever. Congrats guys!
1: Rostro Del Sol – Rostro Del Sol (10pts)
FFO: Santana, Hendrix, Zappa, Weather Report
That was THE big surprise of this month, the debut album of this crazy band from Mexico City. If you dig the 70s, then you’ll definitely love this instantly. These guys mix all the best from this wonderful decade, Blues, Jazz, Funk, and Prog blended in glorious harmony. They managed to pull off all the best from those genres in an intensely tight 5-tracks half hour. This record is full of energy and craziness, mind-blowing twists and turns, staying super catchy all along. The rhythm section holds the line perfectly at all times, allowing the other instruments to shine gorgeously. The guitar and sax seem to be swirling completely free, always enveloped in those exquisite mellow organ layers. The groove is overflowing with every second, everyone taking turns to bring the whole mix so high without anyone taking over too much either. It’s one of those records that really ticks all the boxes for me, bringing everything I love together. As much as it might sound 70s and not especially original per se, the end result is so impeccable that you don’t even care. And the way they manage to surprise us, shifting in an instant so naturally from one style to another, keeps it super interesting from start to finish. Clearly the album of the month, and we’ll probably see it high in the tops at the end of the year!
An outstanding Psych Jazz orgy of groove and wonder.
Thanks for reading and Keep it Fuzzy!
Mr. Stone & the More Fuzz Team