I’ve written quite a bit about Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays A Place to Bury Strangers over the course of this site’s nearly nine year history and as you may recall, the band, which is currently comprised of founding member Oliver Ackermann (vocals, guitar), Dion Lunadon (bass, guitar) and newest member Lia Simone Braswell (vocals, drums) have a long-held reputation for an unwavering and uncompromising commitment to an unpredictable live show: they’re known for never writing an actual set list, sometimes spontaneously writing new songs during the middle of sets — and for being arguably one of the loudest bands on the planet.
The Brooklyn-based shoegazers/noise rockers spent the bulk of last year touring to support Pinned and Re-Pinned, a remix album that featured re-imagined and re-worked A Place to Bury Strangers tracks from Slowdive, Trentemøller, No Age, METZ, Eric Copeland, Roly Porter, Davy Drones, and TBO — and while in London, during the tail end of a touring across Europe, the members of the band spent the day at Lovebuzz Studios to record a Fuzz Club Session. Slated for a February 15, 2019 release as a vinyl exclusive, and recorded in live in one take, the live album reportedly captures the band’s ethos and the intensity of their live some committed to wax like never before. Additionally, there were accompanying videos from the sessions, which will be released online.
“It’s good to record at the very end of the tour,” the band’s founding member Oliver Ackermann reflects in press notes. “You’ve been playing these songs all tour and there’s a certain point when you kind of get tired of them, so you have to reinvent what they mean and what happens in them. I feel like that always pushes things to the next level. It’s exciting.” The live session include two tracks off 2018’s Pinned “Never Coming Back” and “Punch Back,” one off 2015’s Transfixiation “We’ve Come So Far,” one off 2012’s Onwards To The Wall, “Drill It Up,” one off their 2007 self-titled debut Ocean and a previously unreleased track “Chrome Shadow,” and while essentially spanning the band’s lengthy catalog, the live session’s material features the songs reconfigured and pushed to their limits. Now, as you may recall that the live album’s second single was the previously unreleased “Chrome Shadow.” A decided sonic departure for the trio, the slow-burning, dirge-like track was centered around a snarling and throbbing Lunadon bass line, undulating waves of industrial clang, clatter and distortion, a propulsive drum machine and Ackermann’s plaintive and wailing vocals fed through layers of distortion — with the song evoking a towering fog of unease and malevolence.
Although I’m writing about this out of order, the live album’s first single is a furious and breakneck version of “Punch Back” that puts Braswell’s feral and snarling vocals and forceful drumming taking center stage while the song is propelled forward by Lunadon’s throbbing bass and Ackerman’s towering peals of feedback-fed guitar.
Armed with their arsenal of strobes, projectors and smoke machines to accurately replicate their live show, the live footage captures the band’s current lineup at their fiercest, capturing the band working as a collaborative unit, which each member feeding off of and pushing one another.