Tag Archives: Fuzzy

Review: Caveman – Caveman

29 Mar


Two years since their debut album CoCo Beware won our hearts and warmed our soul with its summer evening fuzziness, New York quintet Caveman has returned with its sophomore effort, the eponymously titled and expansive, Caveman.

Like a sprawling desert, Caveman is broad and spread out as far as the eye can see. Blissfully dreamy guitars wash away the world on lullabies of shimmering heat haze reverb, while the vocals of Matthew Iwanusa float wistfully through your mind and off to the distant horizon.

Such is its relaxing groove and epically laidback sensibility, it’s hard to imagine that the process for its conception involved the band engaging in a kind of pseudo-primal scream exercise. “We all went up to Jimmy’s grandmother’s place in New Hampshire,” explains Iwanusa. “That’s where the new record kind of started. It was literally the attic of her barn, lit up by Christmas lights. We’d all sit in this one room together and one by one we’d all go into the bathroom and record ourselves making the most psycho noises possible”. He says it helped them relax and gave them the confidence to experiment with sound and lead to the vibe we hear on Caveman.

Given that the result is an album of near impeccable dreaminess, we could well soon be hearing tales of other artists engaging in the same process, though it is unlikely to yield the same effect. The secret of their success seems to be largely built on how comfortable they are with one another, and it is a comfort that transcends their music.

Iwanusa’s vocals are regret and doubt, they are relationships and self awareness, but they are also wonder and awe, hope and dreams. The almost intangibly hazy guitars take in the bagginess of Manchester, particularly on “Pricey”, as well as washing dream-like around on “Over My Head” and “The Big Push”. First single “In The City” is perhaps the closest track to those found on CoCo Beware, its relatively upbeat and slightly quicker pace resembling the fuzzy-pop of their debut album. Their music has evolved since then. It’s shoegaze, it’s dreampop, it’s fuzzy guitars and retro synths, it’s brush soft percussion and hauntingly soft melodies and vocals.

Listening to Caveman is like putting on a favourite pair of shoes, they have a slightly worn feel to them and they may be scuffed a little around the edges but they fit the contours of your feet perfectly and oh how comfortable they feel.

Caveman is out on 2 April via Fat Possum Records and can be ordered here.

Listen: Swim Deep -“The Sea”

18 Jan

swim deep

All around us is snow, deep, cold snow. It has played havoc with the travel infrastructure and practically made bits of us freeze up and break off. It’s not been a pleasant experience. But as we huddle in our many, many layers whilst marveling at the -10 currently displayed on the phone’s weather app, a blast of bright sunshine washes in to save us.

Swim Deep have been brigaded as part of the B-Town scene, which is all well and good, but with “The Sea” they are stepping out on their own. Full of warmth, it is a bright blue sky of summery haziness that warms our cockles. With tinges of Lynyrd Skynyrd amongst the fuzzy guitars and bouncy percussion it makes you think beach, and speedboats, straw hats and bermuda shorts. It’s a wonderful summery jam and the perfect antidote to the biting cold that is currently engulfing much of the country.

“The Sea” is out on March 4th on Chess Club / RCA Victor.

In Review: Sisterland – Dirty White EP

27 Feb

Ask anyone of a certain age about guitar music from the nineties, and chances are you’ll be treated to a sermon on the merits of Britpop. But before cool Britannia, before Oasis V Blur and 100 sound-a-likes came along, guitar music was quite different. It was much less replete with cockiness and ‘look at me’ sensibilities and much more focused on soft, fuzzy, lo-fi riffs, ground out and awash with reverb.

It is this kind of DIY fuzziness that Leicester based trio, Sisterland have recreated on their new release, the Dirty White EP. To imply it is nothing more than an affectionate jaunt down memory lane is unfair however. The incessant pounding drums and swirling, shoe-gazey vocals inspire more than just nostalgia and a yearning for Doc Martin boots and tie-dyed shirts.

It’s a pacy little thing, the four tracks clocking in at little more than 12 minutes in total and title track, “Dirty White” (which ironically is the most sedate of all) blends in a very modern pop influence and great hook. “Bunny Ears” is the Road Runner track, whipping past at breakneck speed in a thunderclash of drums and bass while closer, “Milk & Honey” swoops down and scoops you up onto a cloud of reverb.

The Dirty White EP is out today via Blessing Force and can be bought digitally or on limited-edition coloured cassettes with screenprinted covers – available here.

You can stream “Dirty White” below and then check out the DIY-riffic video for “Bunny Ears”, complete with the early nineties blue screen effect of random missing limbs and instrument parts.

SISTERLAND – BUNNY EARS from Humez on Vimeo.