Album Reviews

Declaration of Fuzz: A Tribute to the Awkward 80s Garage Rock Revival

Back in the day, I had one of those indecipherable organization systems. It was highly personal–only I knew where to find things, kinda like Rob’s Autobiographical system in High-Fidelity, as depicted in the following scene:

Now, I have a decent memory, but event Rob’s Autobiographical collection organization is a bit beyond me.

No, mine was based entirely on real and fictitious characters, and music that I felt embodied their persona.

For example, I had an entire section devoted to space rock, desert rock, and stoner rock–heavy music with loud guitar drones and dark lyrics that flirted with psychedelia, blues, and heavy rock–titled “Al Gore”. Essentially, it was my section of music that complimented a post apocalyptic world.

Enter the garage rock revival that began in the early- to mid-1980s. Awkward hairdos, weirdly colorful but well-fitting attire, and more fuzz than you’d find in a crate of peaches.

I titled this section Bill Haverchuk after the ever so nerdy, yet with a retrospective nonchalant air of cool character in Freaks & Geeks.

Bill Haverchuck Genius

As I dug deep into the resurgence sub-genre, I stumbled upon this strangely delightful compilation of songs released in 1986 on Glitterhouse Records simply titled Declaration of Fuzz.

Declaration of Fuzz

Upon discovery, I was already familiar with several artists within: The Not Quite, Mystic Eyes, The Cynics. I would soon come to love and add to my collection releases by several other artists housed within.

The compilation is very well-rounded. The tagline dubs it “An International Garage Band Compilation”, which is quite suiting as the bands included span the continents.

As such, you won’t find many copies of Declaration of Fuzz out there, and most for sale are scattered across the globe.

What I’m gonna do below is highlight some favorites from the release.

The Stomach Mouths: Something Weird

I probably covered this one a while back, but “Something Weird” by The Stomach Mouths (sometimes credited as The Stomachmouths) has all the 80s garage rock traits, but sounds like it’s fronted by Cartman from South Park.

It’s weird alright, very much living up to its name. Take a listen:

The Stomach Mouths hailed from Sweden, having formed in 1984, and are considered one of the earliest ‘pure’ garage bands in the European garage rock revival of the 1980s (Wikipedia). They released just three LPs and two singles between 1985 and 1987 before disbanding.

The Blackberry Jug: Blackberry Jug

The Blackberry Jug is just one of the band’s names. More commonly, the German group was known as The Broken Jug. “Blackberry Jug” has these strange warbling vocals, likely filtered through a jug similar to that put to use by Roky Erickson at the 13th Floor Elevators.

Strange. Weird. Bizarre. Probably makes The Stomach Mouths sound tame. Take a listen:

The Broken Jug was predominantly active in the mid-80s, putting out releases between 1985 and 1988. They had a lone comeback record in 1996 before once gain disappearing.

The Stepford Husbands: Why Aren’t You There?

Like so many of these bands, accompanying the fuzzy guitar is a heavy organ presence. And, like so many song from the era, that organ is dominating and dark.

The Stepford Husbands may have only a single LP to their name, but they released a slew of 7″ singles between 1984 and 1993.

Glitterhouse Records

Most of the bands on this compilation had at least had one release on Glitterhouse Records, a German-based label and cooperative that formed in 1981 with The Glitterhouse zine. The label, which originated around the psychedelic and garage rock resurgence of that decade, continues to release albums today. You’ll find a slew of sub-genres in their repertoire, from the aforementioned to grunge and indie folk.

What do you think of the garage rock revival of the 1980s? Any favorite bands from the era? Any of the above spark your interest? Or is this not your cup of tea? Let me know in the comments below!

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