At the beginning of 2021, members of Pennsylvanian noise-makers Backwoods Payback formed a new side project, Boozewa, whose main aim would be to provide an even sludgier extension to their world of riffs. Their first release, the four track cassette ‘First Contact’, presented the ultimate in lo-fi metal. With three of its four recordings being so demo-like and raw it made the Melvins’ ‘10 Songs’ sound like the expensive and expansive recordings from Todd Rundgren’s ‘A Wizard/A True Star’, the cassette wouldn’t necessarily be to everyone’s tastes. However, for those who like things to sound as spontaneous as possible, it brought riff after riff in a way that made the band’s talents more than clear, even if the recording sometimes sounded as if were coming from a water damaged source played back through an old sock. The combination of Rylan Caspar’s Buzz Osborne-esque hollering, Jessica Baker’s bottom end grooves, and occasional Sabbath-isms (most obvious during an instrumental piece named after the notorious “No Name Maddox”) had already been effective via Backwood’s Payback’s own brand of stoner – a Fu Manchu meets Melvins meets TAD juggernaut – but this was something else. It was also enough for the legendary Thomas Andrew Doyle to get on board and master their follow up recording.
Fred Abong was especially busy throughout 2018 and 2019. He re-ignited his on/off solo career with the excellent ‘Homeless’ EP, which subsequently saw him touring as support with his old Throwing Muses bandmate Kristin Hersh. That was swiftly followed by the equally cool lo-fi release ‘Pulsing’ which saw critical acclaim from a few indie websites which led to Abong going on the road with Hersh once more. Not just as support act, but doubling up as the evening’s opening entertainment and as bassist with the KH Trio.
After Guided By Voices reunited in 2012, the band went into recording overdrive. Robert Pollard’s abilities to be prolific were always known – at any one time, he could be working on a variety of projects – but few would have suspected the band would release three albums of brand new material in a little over ten months. Their comeback disc ‘Let’s Go Eat The Factory’ was a return to many of the ramshackle lo-fi experiments that filled the much-loved ‘Alien Lanes’ and while it sounded great upon release, time has allowed a little rust to set in. Some of the moments that sounded like welcome imperfections now sound like generic GBV filler rather than lo-fi quirks. Thanks to a few amazing tunes – and a really catchy single in ‘Doughnut For A Snowman’ – it’s worth a spin once in a while, but looking at the much bigger picture, it ranks somewhere in the mid table of the band’s vast output.
Hi/Jack’s 2016 album ‘No Cover’ is one of those records that lacks something. Across its forty minutes, the duo pound through eleven tracks that blend a garage punk aesthetic with furious metal riffs. They certainly couldn’t be accused of approaching their work in a half-arsed way, but it shows why the guitar/drums/no bass set up is perfect for a purer garage rock sound but not much else. When applied to music that should be given the full bells and whistles approach – as with the semi-metallic influences that infuse most of Max Liam’s guitar playing – the lo-fi approach just sounds shoddy.
Since the demise of his indie rock band My Cruel Goro a few years ago, Andy K. Leland has immersed himself in a world of very lo-fi singer songwriter songs. His last EP was so DIY, it was possible to hear the creaking of floorboards as he played.
His new digital single ‘A Chair Is A Chair’ continues down an ever introspective path, this time with his sparse acoustic work joined by drone guitar and mellotron. The track has been complimented by a no-frills, lo-fi, VHS inspired video clip, which you can now view in full below.