Cardinal Fuzz is one of my favourite records labels bringing out a series of, for me, essential releases. This is evidenced by the fact that the label was involved in a quarter of the albums on our ‘Essential Psych’ list last year. This year also saw the label being invited to curate a stage at the Liverpool Psych Fest, and to coincide with this has released a compilation album of bands who have appeared at the Festival over the last few years.
The album opener is from White Manna, whose ‘Pan’ album has been one of my highlights of the year. The track here, ‘Slow Dust’ belongs to that great tradition that can be traced back through Black Sabbath, MC5, The Stooges and (because I’ve been listening to them a lot lately) The Saints. It is a track that is raw and viscerally exciting.
Next up is Portuguese band Black Bombaim. ‘Alexandra’ is one of my favourite tracks of theirs, a huge bubbling cauldron of sound that gets hotter and hotter until it melts and spills out in a huge mass of drone-heavy riffage. Mind melting.
After that you need to take a moment to turn over the record, clear the aural palate and prepare yourself for the Dead Sea Apes’ ‘Coronal’. Typically this is a slow starter that gets more intense as the track progresses. If you have not heard Dead Sea Apes before this is a great place to start as it well sums up the band’s unique sound that is a taste well worth acquiring, the go to the band’s latest ‘Spectral Domain’ which is excellent.
Carlton Melton are another band who have produced one of my favourite albums of the year in ‘Out To Sea’. ‘Bloody Mary Jane’ initially sees the band in relatively upbeat mood. It is a track that at first seems to have quite a simple coda, yet over time releases its complex nature into your mind as it gets deeper and more intense taking you on a mind bending inner journey.
Last up is Kandodo3 with a live track that makes you wish that you had been there to witness it. The band are three quarters of The Heads, a band that was one of the inspirations for founder Dave Cambridge to set up Cardinal Fuzz in the first place. It is appropriate, therefore, that they should have the last word on this album, finishing off with a raw and lo-fi performance that tells you all you need to know about the label.
This is a great collection of tracks from some of my favourite bands and, for someone looking to see what the Cardinal Fuzz label is about, a really good place to start exploring the music that it has to offer.
A1 – White Manna – Slow Dust
A2 – Black Bombaim – Alexandria
B1 – Dead Sea Apes – Coronal
B2 – Carlton Melton (+Dr.Space) – Bloody Mary Jane (Studio Version)
B3 – kandodo3 – laud the hyena (Live at ATP)
You can find my other writing for Backseat Mafia here, including reports from this year’s Liverpool PsychFest.
Click on the links below for reports on the Cardinal Fuzz Sonic Attack stage: