swans - filth album cover on fuzzcrush.xyz

Neutral, 1983

Swans

Filth

★★☆☆☆

skywave took the sun album art

Cherry Coated Records

Skywave

Took the Sun (1998)

★★★☆☆

Every once in a while, they stumble upon a perfect combination of cooing background vocals, rumbling ‘50s school dance bass lines and frenetic punk riffs.

isn't anything album cover

Creation Records, CRELP 040

My Bloody Valentine

Isn’t Anything (1988)

★★★★★

MBV abandons its twinkle-eyed twee-pop influences for a more nonchalant, druggy coolness nicked from the Jesus and Mary Chain and Love and Rockets.

danse macabre album cover

Saddle Creek, 2003

The Faint

Danse Macabre

★★★★☆

Blithely dismissed as amateurish dance-punk by some, The Faint nonetheless carved out a distinctive niche for themselves with a brand of paranoid, dystopian synth pop from their home base of sleepy Omaha, NE.

the kills - keep on your mean side album cover

Rough Trade, 2003

The Kills

Keep on Your Mean Side

★★★★☆

Outlaw rock 'n roll split evenly between lo-fi guitar crunch and lonesome bandit blues

bloweyelashwish album cover 1993 Projekt scott cortez

Projekt, 1993

Loveliescrushing

Bloweyelashwish

★★★★★

Deep in the American southwest and far from the Seattle alt-rock gold rush, Scott Cortez creates a uniquely wordless, gothic reinterpretation of My Bloody Valentine’s otherworldly sound, coupled with an irritating penchant for Cocteau Twins’ nonsensical song titles

dirty beaches - badlands cover - fuzzcrush review

Zoo, 2011

Dirty Beaches

Badlands

★★★☆☆

Badlands exhumes the exquisite corpse of an America that never truly existed. Think Route 66, neon-lit roadside diners and American Bandstand. The sound is immediate, and the atmosphere unmistakeable.

Permission to Land album cover

Atlantic Records, 2003

The Darkness

Permission to Land

★★★★☆

There's an unpretentiously honest feel-good factor here that separates them from contemporaries like Jet

placebo album cover

Elevator, 1996

Placebo

Placebo

★★★☆☆

If you are over 25 and still enjoy this record, you should be aware that your fondness for it most likely stems from how it speaks to the bitter post-adolescent angst you’ve never managed to fully let go of

whip it on EP cover

Columbia, 2002

The Raveonettes

Whip it On

★★★★☆

Input: Peppy ‘60s surf twang fed through a prism of atonal guitars. Output: Apocalyptic noise pop thoroughly irradiated with feedback and distortion.

April 13, 2020

REVIEW

Despite the deluge of early 2000s magazine covers declaring “Rock is Back!” or variants of that sentiment, it has to be said that the garage/lo-fi/indie revival was lacking the kind of rock ‘n roll danger that was synonymous with Iggy Pop’s on-stage self-flagellation or riots at Jesus and Mary Chain shows. While the Raveonettes’ refined Danish sensibilities perhaps wouldn’t allow for such vulgar displays of power, their sound made no such promises.

Guitarist Sune Rose Wagner’s first band Psyched Up Janis started out playing acoustic versions of American rockabilly standards like Buddy Holly and Hank Williams Sr.. But after discovering the seedy psychobilly of the Cramps and the ear-shattering noise pop of the Mary Chain, he switched the sound around entirely with new bandmate and bassist Sharin Foo. No longer were they an oldies cover band you might find at a roadside bar in Twin Peaks. On their debut EP Whip It On, they pursued a dark surf-rock sound marinating in B-movie camp and post-punk tension.

It’s rare to have a record that’s so meticulously designed to evoke a certain mood. Every move seems intentional, from the ‘50s B-movie style black-and-white video for opening track “Attack of the Ghost Riders” to the shrieking amplifier feedback that closes out the final track “Beat City”. The whole thing is recorded in B-minor, giving the guitars a heavy, brassy quality that further darkens the record’s monochromatic gloom.

The tracks do blend into each other, but their raw power is unchallenged by anything else released during this time. The fast-paced riffs have a cold metallic sheen so intense you don’t even mind that “Cops on Our Tail” and “Do You Believe Her” are basically the same song. This ain’t your daddy’s rockabilly revival. Except it sort of is. While The Strokes and others could be said to have copied from their influences wholesale, the Raves exhibited some nuance by ripping off groups influenced by their influences. So while you’ll hear some Beach Boys, it’s really still mostly the Jesus and Mary Chain and a bit of The Gun Club.

The EP unfortunately tops out at a measly 21 minutes, but it wouldn’t be the last of this sort of sound. Single releases for Beat City and Attack of the Ghost Riders in 2002 included B-sides like “Demon’s Fire”, “Go Girl Go”, “Rebel Invasion” and “Wanna Dance”, all of which continued the string of short, furious Cramps-meet-Suicide punk numbers. While these singles were limited edition releases that quickly went out of print, they would later be reissued on 2011’s B-Sides and Rarities.