Fuzzweed is from an edition of approximately 900 copies and is pressed on 140 gram Dutch vinyl by Record Industry. The album is housed within a handsome multi-color silkscreened jacket bearing new artwork from John Moloney. (As an added bonus, be sure to pop your LP cover under a blacklight to see some super-reactive HOT pink ink.) The album is accompanied by a download coupon for DRM-free digital files in the format of the downloader's choice. Fuzzweed was mastered by Patrick Klem.
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Fuzzweed. I don't know that strain. Maybe it's a secret within Vermont state borders. I have a nice image in my mind suggested by the name where lurid purple flecks forming a halo around the sticky, sticky good stuff - one look, one sniff assures you of a fine trip ahead. That generous promise of a grand journey flows from the conceptual strain to this album sharing that same name.
With each successive release, MV & EE strive to map new territory and to travel more distant orbits. It makes sense that this mission is their furthest reaching yet. While they've long been comfortable navigating the same planes as such cosmic explorers as Sun Ra and Alan Silva, Fuzzweed sees them planting their freak flag in the sorts of different galaxies where the atmospheres counterpoint the music of the spheres with the more earthbound plaints of the blues. Please remember that The Golden Record that NASA sent up with Voyager back in more optimistic times included “Dark Was The Night.” That concept – listening to Blind Willie Johnson in space – strikes me as an apt analogy for what this Fuzzweed accomplishes on every spin.
“Environs” is the airlock into the album, a layering of instruments (including contributions from my fellow Brits Andy Ramsay [tabla, synth and percussion] and Mick Flower [shahi baaja]) which sounds like it could riff on these patterns forever and at the same time has a rising momentum that betrays an urgency to get going and travel further. Following that spaced introduction, “Turbine” brings on the fuzz righteously. That very fuzz and the drumming of Carson "Smokehound" Arnold provide the solid ground above which Matt & Erika's vocals narcotically float. “Trailer Trash” is a languid, eyes half shut beauty augmented by the harmonies of Jeremy “Woods” Earl, Coot Moon and Matt “Herbcraft” Lajoie. The most benign of trash, it's one of those songs you wish would be piped through shopping malls, just to see the effect. It's all a-ha vocals, gentle strumming, and an electric guitar line chasing the beat like an excited puppy. Wrapping up the album’s first side is “Jacked Up,” a deeply zoned blur, languorous and horny, featuring the pedal steel of Doc Dunn and the "moon clavinet" of Coot Moon providing all of the necessary sunburst moments. The words "you're the sweetest thing I've seen" drift away and we're totally in righteous Barbarella territory.
The second album side is an epic trilogy of sorts. “Poor Boy,” sung ghostlike by Erika against piercing finger-picking by Matt, sounds lost at some faraway crossroad; that rootless blues standard has never sounded so drifting. As the suite continues it moves effortlessly into “A Long Way From Home.” It is a beautifully disorientating tumble of staccato drumming, arhythmic bass and Chewbacca-guttural vocal sounds, freefalling through the guitar dimensions and amp realms of Matt and Erika. The freedoms present turn into the fear of distance/infinite possibilities. It's a vertiginous re-entry, cushioned by the album’s closing Environments. The listener is returned to an expansive “Environs,” again featuring the beautiful warm blush of Andy Ramsay and Mick Flower. All of the collective players welcome us back, jet-lagged and subtly changed by the experience, like any voyage worth embarking on.
MV and EE sound more than ever like no one else around. While they'd be the first to provide a long, reverent, and revenant list of ancestors whose sounds echo in their music, the course they set is truly previously unexplored, and on Fuzzweed it is a thrill to travel in their wake.