The In-Fuzzed The In-Fuzzed LP

A real-deal garage banger taking me back to my Rip-Off Records-laden glory days, this self-titled long-player from Berlin’s the IN-FUZZED is not only some of the best garage rock I’ve heard in a while, it’s some of the best I’ve ever heard. With a killer, collage-like spread of great songs that all feel authentic, this is a real anomaly for this particular strain of throwback rock’n’roll. Rather than riding a single fuzzy groove-style all the way to hell, or taking on a campy retro pose like many attempts at garage over the last couple of decades, the IN-FUZZED seem to pop around and play in the best bits of all aspects of the genre. And it sounds like they’re really having a blast doing it, whether they’re freaking out a bit and reminding me of Dutch ’90s legends the STIPJES on “Lost Time Rock N’ Roll,” playing ’60s punk Á  la the MAKERS on “Like Nitroglycerine,” rolling like the BEACH BOYS comin’ down a dirty chimney on the charming “Xmas Night,” or even dabbling in psychedelia a little bit on “Wall.” Playing very much like a compilation of fresh new garage groups instead of the effort of a single band, this is truly an amazing record. I wasn’t expecting this in 2021, but fuck yes, I’ll take it.

The Lo Yo Yo Extra Weapons LP reissue

The LO YO YO splintered off from the UK musical collective FAMILY FODDER in 1984, upholding their parent group’s tendencies toward post-punk experimentation but de-emphasizing FAMILY FODDER’s detours into quirky, effervescent new wave (think “Savoir Faire”/“Debbie Harry”) in order to wander down more dub-adjacent side streets. “Bad Intentions” opens their 1985 LP Extra Weapons by carving out a bass-driven, stiff funk groove with DELTA 5/AU PAIRS parallels that are further underscored by vocalist Joey Stack’s no-nonsense delivery, while “All the Atrocities” sets an “Earthbeat”-era SLITS punky reggae rhythm to highly pointed, practically CRASS-worthy anti-colonial/anti-religious lyrics, and the Afrobeat-inspired “Learning to Fly” is overlaid with warbling synth and the subtle scratch of RAINCOATS-esque violin. “Cache-Cache” into “You Never Know” is a the unbeatable one-two punch of the LP, with the former’s airy male/female vocal trade-off and percolating beat colored in by understated keys and sax representing the LO YO YO’s stab at sprightly UK DIY pop à la TWELVE CUBIC FEET, and the latter’s loping, bouncy dub-punk rhythms and anthemic vocals evoking the more experimental ’80s anarcho-femme faction (ANDROIDS OF MU, HONEY BANE’s “Guilty” single, etc.). Not an easy band to pin down and that’s a positive thing; free your mind.

Vivien Goldman Launderette / Private Armies 7″ reissue

Journalist VIVIEN GOLDMAN was one of the key voices in the late ’70s UK press to acknowledge the profound influence of Jamaican music on England’s emerging punk and post-punk scenes, and after being inspired by her female friends like the SLITS who were starting bands without having much (or any) prior musical experience, she recorded a one-off single in 1981 (thanks to studio time borrowed from fellow dub enthusiasts PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED) that became a certified punky reggae classic, now newly reissued. On “Launderette,” GOLDMAN recounts a soured laundry room romance in a lilting voice over wandering, slow-throb dub bass (by George Oban of the reggae group ASWAD) that provides the song’s primary foundation, filled in by rattling percussion, some distant violin warble courtesy of Vicky Aspinall of the RAINCOATS, and sparse, scratchy guitar from PiL’s Keith Levene. B-side “Private Armies” follows a similar sonic trajectory but takes a much sharper lyrical turn, addressing structural racist violence in the UK amplified by a culture of toxic masculinity and exacted by skinheads, cops, and “heavy metal boys,” with VIVIEN intently chanting lines like “If you can’t get a hard-on, get a gun” over a drawn-out, simmering rhythm. Still relevant, both musically and (unfortunately) topically.