One definition of cardinal (‘fundamental’ not being the least of them) is that of a bishop in the Sacred College who councils the Pope and does an assist in electing new ones, raising them up from their own numbers. That’s about as appropriate as it gets. Being that Cardinal Fuzz is the new label from the minds of friends Optical Sounds Fanzine, you can bet this church is the electric kind. Have a seat with the other parishioners, for the sermons and stone throwings are about to begin. Cardinal Fuzz have plenty coming down the pike for your absolution, and if these early service previews are any indication, our collective cup will indeed runneth over.
Fuzz is obvious; it’s the law.
“…playing guitar on the side of the sun…”
Sunlight Service Group/Bowling With The Bloodied Head Of Barbara Streisand
One of the exalted is London’s Sunlight Service Group. Bowling… is an interstellar concoction fueled by an early Floyd-ish pyre, fiery garage looseness and pure psych conflagration. Some spot-on flute is the icing on the sun. Not to draw too loose, or tight if you like, of a comparison, that flute’s proggy and warped folky call does for SSG what Turner’s blowing did for forefathers Hawkwind. A touch of their own inspired lunacy that highlights what else is chugging under the hood (more than you might think) and puts the added spin on the wheel that sends it into orbit, with a deliciously off-center axis. Opener Folk Choke might be one of the most appropriately titled cuts this year. Chants and claps conjure up the wobbling pagan swagger while harmonica and that flute dance around the fire. They add just enough grounding to remind you that to get up, and out, you got to launch from somewhere, some patch of Earth. The Screaming Tower That Wouldn’t Crash has a languid tempo that works in tandem with the wafting glide that SSG pull off in various forms through their run. A slow build up anchored by bubbling bass sends the smoke rings around the sun, turning their ‘hideous sun demon’ into the solar bastard child of Saturn. Sea of Bees makes no attempt to hide where it’s coming from, rewriting and flexing a new Lucifer Sam-muscle for the here and now. To call it derivative is a disservice; part rewrite, total homage and a full on constant trip for over 10 minutes, SSG push it out into their own mid-section freak-out that propels it right through the end, and out the other side, and through the rest of the platter. Digging up bones of the past doesn’t mean squat unless you plunder the best and lay down with them. Even less if you don’t hang some new meat on them. And SSG do, and do it with the requisite, and required, amount of love, respect, reanimation and re-imagining. Bowling… is a fantastic outing that’s a holy relic and a fractured epiphany in the new church. Knocking down every pin with Bab’s head, there’s not a weak cut here.
Folk Choke :: Sunlight Service Group :: Bowling With The Bloodied Head Of Barbara Streisand (2012, Cardinal Fuzz)
“…I can’t communicate when I’m this high…”
You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons/Contact High; Inner Space Broadcasts Volume 2
The hell they can’t; we all speak the language. Especially on Contact High. Kicking off flapping some Stooge-ish tongue, Portsmouth’s YSNBWATID come out of the gate hard with Great Shakes Baby, an indication of only one place they can go. In spiritual union with the above, MC5, 13th Floor Elevators…you know, the off ones…YSNBWATID make contact and make it good. Nervous/Alive grinds in some mid-era space rock that twists it into some (even more) mutated kind of prime Meat Puppety flavored communion. After the Stooge and grind, YSNBWATID prove, with Nervous/Alive, Cruickshanked and others, not only can they lift it off the ground, they can also pilot with a firm hand and keep it airborne. Through Contact High there’s a good dose of punk piss and vinegar in the blood that adds another dimension to the 5 or 6 they already occupy. Arguable centerpiece The Plague is a 13+ minute psych maelstrom that goes from simmer to full boil seamlessly and with full scorch. Slightly exotic and tribal, it’s a cauldron of head stew that despite the title, won’t kill you. Drink up. Dark and menacing, it’ll make you stronger by the time they’re done flexing their muscles in a different way. They maintain a drive and energy level throughout, wearing you out just enough for the slow, multiple leg stretching of Prismatic Reflections. Since we’re all speaking the same language and able to communicate, the title says it all. With footnotes.
Great Shakes Baby :: You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons :: Contact High (2012, Cardinal Fuzz)
If Contact High doesn’t do it alone, YSNBWATID also have Inner Space Broadcasts Volume 2 to lay on you. Taking their stand in a rough, intimate live setting, Inner Space Broadcasts Volume 2 delivers their message, but with a more up front brutal sheen. Paradoxically, Inner Space manages to strip YSNBWATID’s sound down without taking anything away, and comes across even tougher and more driven.
Look Into The Light :: You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons :: Inner Space Broadcasts Volume 2(2012, Cardinal Fuzz)
There’s a new church on the block. Preaching both what you want to hear, and need to hear. I suggest we get off our knees and give thanks.
"This show is 110% … one of the most consistently awesome programs we have come across."
The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.