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Fuzztones

NYC

Review by Gary Hill

This new album is so cool. It features covers of songs from the New York scene. The whole thing is delivered with a sound that combines garage rock, punk, glam and more. The source of material includes obvious choices like The Ramones and The Dead Boys, but also less likely ones like Frank Sinatra and Blue Öyster Cult . It all works so well, though. There is a common texture throughout that weaves it all together, yet it never feels monolithic.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
New York, New York
The sounds of a city street are heard as the album begins. This pounds in with a glam rock turned a bit punky approach. The vocals bring a David Bowie vibe to the piece, and I can hear this as leaning toward Mott the Hoople in a lot of ways. Believe it or not, this is a cover of the song made famous by Frank Sinatra.
Flip Your Wig
The organ brings some killer retro sound to the piece, which is a cover of a tune written by Wayne County. It again makes me think of David Bowie in a lot of ways. This has some cool hooks and a lot of great retro rocking energy.
New Kind of Kick
This feels a bit punkier, but on the melodic side of punk rock. The fuzz guitar that joins after a time lends some magic to the piece. David Bowie meets 60s garage rock on this stomper. The number was originally done by The Cramps.
53rd & 3rd
I'm reminded of Lou Reed and also the New York Dolls on this tune, but it's actually a cover of The Ramones. There is some old school rock and roll built into it. It also has punky elements. It's a fun cut.
Psilocybe
I love the cool psychedelic groove on this tune. The vocals make me think of Stiv Bators' work in The Lords of the New Church.
Skin Flowers
Harmonica lends a cool angle to this. The organ brings some retro textures. The tune has more of a punk rocking edge to it. The tune was originally done by The Fugs.
High Tension Wire
I mentioned Stiv Bators before. Here the Fuzztones cover his first band, The Dead Boys. This cut works really well in this arrangement. The retro garage approach just really seems appropriate for it. I don't know that I could pick which of the two (this and the original) I like better. That really says a lot because the Dead Boys are my favorite punk band.
Babylon
I dig the punk meets glam rock sound of this number. It's a fun cut with a lot of energy. I really dig the short fuzz-laden guitar solo. This song was originally done by The New York Dolls.
Transmaniacon MC
Here they put in a smoking hot cover of Blue Öyster Cult . This feels like the original to a large degree in terms of the instrumental vibe. There is a punkier edge to it, though, largely from the vocals. The organ is an interesting touch.
The Man in Me
I dig the psychedelic rocking edge to this cut, which was written by John Collins. The vocals again make me think of Bators.
Let Me Dream
More of a straight ahead garage rocker, the harmonica is back on this tune.  The number was written by Willy Deville.
Microdot
This fun stomper has a lot of old school indie sound in the mix along with punk. This is actually a version of The Heartbreakers and later Ramones song "Chinese Rock," but with different lyrics. They do justice to the source of the number with this version. 
Not Anymore
Here we get another Dead Boys cover. The energy and groove of this is so much fun. The organ is magic. I think the angrier edge of the original puts that one ahead of this, but this version is good competition. The guitar solo is all class.
You Gotta Lose
A bouncing rocker, this version of a Richard Hell penned tune has plenty of retro sound built into it. It's energetic and has a cool guitar sound.
Dancing Barefoot
I've always loved this Patti Smith song. This version almost feels like what you might get if BOC and the Doors were to cover the song with Stiv Bators as lead singer. As good as the rest of this is, this one is purely sublime. It's magic. This number alone is worth the price of admission here.
 
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