FUZZTONES

"NYC" (Cleopatra Records; 2020)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

For their 40th Anniversary, the Fuzztones wanted to pay tribute to their town. Hence, "NYC" was born.

It's a collection of cover tunes of artists that are synonymous with New York. You'll find the Fuzztones covering The Ramones, Wayne County, The Cramps, The Fugs, The Dead Boys, Blue Oyster Cult, Shotgun Messiah, Richard Hell, Patti Smith and more. Of course, a cover of Frank Sinatra's classic, "New York, New York" is here was well.

In typical Fuzztones fashion, however, the tracks on "NYC" aren't note-by-note copies of the original tunes. They're run through the Fuzztones sound machine first which is to say that the songs here are certainly recognizable, but now have that unique Fuzztones sound. Think of The Doors with a punk rock edge performing in a dark tiki bar. I know ... weird, right? But it sounds great.

As great as the music is, perhaps the best thing about "NYC" is the history lesson. The songs covered here are originally by bands you may have forgotten about or haven't re-visited in a really long time. I had to do a little research regarding the original artists on some of these tracks, and I was surprised and pleased to re-discover bands like The Dead Boys and to read the fascinating history of Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys. ("Microdot" threw me off until I heard it; I believe it's just a cover of The Ramones' "Chinese Rock" with updated lyrics.)

"NYC" is an impressive collection of legendary cover tunes covered by an equally legendary band. Definitely worth a listen if you're a Fuzztones fan or a fan of any of the bands featured hereon. Or, of New York itself!

For more information, check out https://www.fuzztones.net/.  

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2020 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.