The Weekend Fuzz: Old and the New
“Fuzzy dice? You’re such a hippie..!”
I furrowed my brow at the thirteen-year old boy sitting next to me in my mint 1986 Crown Victoria. I could hardly recognize the kid four years later, and aside from growing a few feet his vocabulary seemed to take a few steps backwards. I didn’t fully understand how having fuzzy dice made me a hippie, but it soon became clear to me that “hippie” was just one of a handful of select insults. Over the course of our very brief drive I became familiar with the rest; he called Tyler, The Creator “wigger shit”, labeled my off-pink shirt “gay”, and proceeded to ask me if I was a “faggot”, and somehow he slung all these slurs with an air of admiration for me. I took this opportunity to scorn him, sternly saying that there is nothing wrong with being gay, nor does the music you listen to define anything negative about your personality. I told him my roommate was gay and that he was a cool dude, and being a hippie was more of a compliment than an insult. I’m sure the information didn’t sink in, as I could not imagine him returning to his friends after our brief visit and proclaiming that it wasn’t cool to spout hateful profanities. He was new to this kind of verbal exposure, and after nearly two decades on the internet I was quite old.
The new and the old. In my old car I would drive this new teenager, trying to instill some old wisdom in to a new mind. But in reality, I’m neither old nor new, and at twenty-three I feel caught somewhere in the middle. Our culture seems to have a similar identity crisis. Vintage clothes, a new appreciation for organic food and the home-made. Church sales, consignment stores, farmer’s markets; they’ve all become cool. Music has been a focal point for cultural recyclation. The ongoing tug-a-war between new sounds and old influence. For the first time in our history, a generation is creating sounds that draw their influence almost entirely from the past. If you took an outsider with limited musical knowledge and asked them which song came from the 70’s, or which song was a Bob Dylan original, there’s a high chance they might get it wrong. This week we’ll look at a few recently-made songs that could easily have come from a time machine.
The Tallest Man on Earth – To Just Grow Away
60’s – Singer song-writer Kristian Matsson, aptly named “The Tallest Man on Earth” (he’s quite short in reality), was born a few decades too late. His style has been endlessly compared to the aforementioned Bob Dylan, and for good measure. This Swedish born artist’s most recent album hit number two on the US Folk Charts last year, and his eclectic vocals and writing style are sure to make a huge impact on the indie-folk scene for many years to come.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – So Good At Being In Trouble
70’s – Citing influences from Syd Barrett and The Rolling Stones to Stevie Wonder and the Wu Tang Clan, Unknown Mortal Orchestra emerged from bandcamp rather mysteriously back in 2010. The song “So Good At Being in Trouble” comes off their sophomore album “II” released in February. It’s hard to pin-point UMO’s sound, but the down-tempo vocals and fuzzy-guitars sound like the early birth of garage rock of the mid-to-late 70’s. Sway to this earth-level jam.
Black Marble – A Great Design
80’s – Black Marble simply does not sound like a band from today. Only the most trained ear might be able to pick up the improvements in technology evident in Black Marble’s sound, but most would say with certainly that this is 80’s music at it’s purest. The neon, the leg-warmers, the hair, the mid-blue dress-shirt adorned with small triangular yellow cheese blocks. You can hear and feel all that teenage angst from the early Generation X’ers. Dye your hair and hate your parents.
Neonfaith – Escape
90’s – I first heard Neonfaith’s song “Escape” a few weeks ago after a follower gave me the heads up. I was immediately reminded of the late 90’s electronic movement, and more specifically Love, Inc. Broken Bones was one of my favorite jams as a kid, and Neonfaith seems to draw from the hyper-cool 90’s electro-pop bands like Bran Van 3000. They just recently released a video for “Escape”, and we look forward to their upcoming EP. Grab some glowsticks and roam the streets at night.
The new meets the old. Don’t forget to check out Beach Fuzz for near daily music updates. Enjoy your weekend folks!