We look back on an eventful year for us and the world of independent music at large. Stream the '2020: A Year In Fuzz' playlist below
So, 2020, huh? Need we really say more? We will, but only because taking a second to reflect on what we’ve been up to this year would be impossible without at least contextualising it within the unrelenting hellscape that this here lap around the sun descended into. First, though, we’ll start by stressing our untold thanks to all of you lot: there has never been a year where showing support for independent music has been as vital and necessary as it has in 2020, and we’re eternally grateful to those of you who have continued to buy records and support us and our artists in any way you could over these difficult months.
Whether we’re talking about fellow labels, artists or the numerous other beloved institutions of independent music – from record stores to indie venues and all those who keep such sanctuaries running – the Covid-19 pandemic posed often life-threatening obstacles to the musical ecosystem that we all hold so dear.
Whilst lockdown measures meant that artists couldn’t tour (thus losing one of their main sources of income) and venues and record stores had to shut their doors indefinitely – often supplanted by very little in the way of government support – it seemed likely that the post-pandemic future would be a homogeneous cultural wasteland in which all that survived would be identikit O2 venues, Wetherspoons and the extortionate wealth of our monopolistic overlords at Spotify, Amazon and the likes.
Yeah, there will always be flavour-of-the-month pop artists and stadium-rock monoliths doing the rounds – and the Captain Tom charity album and global tour is surely already in the pipeline – but that seemed a pretty bleak affair, to put it lightly.
Truthfully, that shudder-inducing future may still be on the horizon and the pandemic has already made victims of far too many venues and record stores around the world (and, with that, countless jobs and livelihoods). There will likely be more, too. However, if there is one thing to continue inspiring hope it is the unwavering support and passion shown by lovers of independent music like yourselves. There are many that needed and still need it more than us, but we’re incredibly grateful for even the tiniest fraction of support you extended our way.
Whilst we’ve all been holed up at home for what now feels like a lifetime and a half, there has at the very least been an abundance of great new music to keep us sane throughout the year (after all, there’s only so many banana breads you can bake and episodes of The Sopranos you can watch, right?). When not stuck in an eternal Zoom window, we’ve been blessed to be able to release a bunch of amazing records here at Fuzz Club so we wanted to take a moment to look back on all of those. So, here goes…
One thing especially great about this year on our end has been the number of amazing bands we’ve welcomed to the fold. Texas-born garage-rockers Night Beats joined the family and recently released the ‘That’s All You Got’ 7”, a masterclass in psychedelic Rhythm and Blues. As did Brooklyn duo The Vacant Lots, who carved out a collection of stun-blast post-punk synths on the ‘Interzone’ LP, followed by the ‘Departure’ remix 7”. After this Earth was plundered and suffocated to the point of no return, Montreal psych-pop group Elephant Stone climbed onto the Fuzz Club launchpad (move over Elon Musk) and transported us to another planet with their post-apocalyptic, sci-fi concept album, ‘Hollow’.
Neo-psych/shoegaze mainstays The Warlocks released the ‘Live at Webster Hall’ album, documenting a 2006 performance in NYC when the band toured with Sisters of Mercy. We also welcomed Los Angeles garage-blues outfit The Spyrals for their ‘Same Old Line’ LP – an exercise in raw, back-to-basics rock’n’roll – as well as the Mexican Krautrock group Sei Still, who released their hypnotic self-titled debut. As well as that, French psych/goth duo Servo signed with us and released their dark, shadowy ‘Alien’ LP and we also put out the self-titled debut from Leipzig seven-piece Flying Moon In Space, who blend psychedelic pop with Krautrock and techno.
There were plenty of familiar faces, too. Glasgow’s finest purveyors of Sitar-heavy psych-rock, Helicon, started the year with their second (and all the more aptly titled) album ‘This Can Only Lead To Chaos’ and ended it with a Fuzz Club Session. Radar Men From The Moon continued their evolution and released the industrial noise-rock beast ‘The Bestial Light’, picking up a second drummer and vocalist along the way. Iceland’s Singapore Sling also returned with ‘Good Sick Fun’, which dealt in Henrik’s trademark brand of fuzz (of the depraved and nihilistic variety) sprinkled with a touch of dub and big band jazz.
Pretty Lightning released the ‘Jangle Bowls’ LP which traded in a swampy fuzzed-out delta blues with a penchant for strung-out psychedelic drones and Uruguay duo Las Cobras put out their sophomore effort ‘Selva’, furthering their sonic cocktail of proto-punk and murky shoegaze with traces of afrobeat and Tropicalia. As he readies his second solo album, Nicholas Wood of The KVB also treated us to a slice of sublime, blissed-out synth pop with a new single under his Saccades moniker, ‘Like Everyday’.
Lastly, as Covid took root at the start of the year we were sadly forced into cancelling this year’s festival in Eindhoven. Whilst we were immensely gutted to not be able to all come together and party this year (and boy should you have seen how the line-up was shaping up), in the summer we hosted the live-streamed Fuzz Club Isolation Festival which saw a tonne of our favourite artists perform as part of a three-hour broadcast. If you missed it or fancied reliving the night, you can watch the festival back in full below.
So, that was 2020 for us! Despite everything, we’re super pleased to have still been able to release so many amazing records and continue doing what we do - so thanks again for making that possible!
Next year is already looking to be an unreal year in terms of releases and we cannot wait to share some of the stuff we’ve been cooking up. Until then, have a great rest of the year and we’ll see you on the other side!
All the love,
Casper & Jack