V/A ‘Cowbells & Cobwebs ‘ CD 2010

In a time where CD sales are dwindling faster that the rainforests thanks to illegal downloading it takes a brave individual to decide to start a record label. It also, however, takes a savvy businessman to realise that, to sell a product you have to present a very attractive package to entice people to buy it. Planet Fuzz Records out of Australia are the latest in a long line of people to stick their dicks on the chopping board and put a product out there for mass consumption and thank whatever deity you choose to follow that they are!!! Fortunately these guys understand that if you want to compete with the wall eyed geeks that prefer to deal in freebie bytes you have to make the public want what you’ve got and this is indeed a very impressive package in every way.

Let’s start with the cosmetics. Immediately this hits you as more than a bunch of chancers chucking out a CD-R in the hope of making a fast buck. 28 bands over 2 CDs, Cowbells on the one hand and Cobwebs on the other, that comes in a beautiful digipak cover featuring quality artwork and enough information and web addresses for the bands to provide additional hours of research entertainment for the hardcore stoner fan. All that and stickers as well!!! Planet Fuzz have clearly thrown every ounce of passion and every last dollar into making this the most professional and attractive piece of work they can as it reeks of pure quality and conviction.

Stick this in the CD player and it would be reasonable to assume that over the span of 28 bands there would be some fluctuations in quality and some real stinkers in there but here, as with the overall packaging, Planet Fuzz have come up trumps as each band shows a consistently high level of quality in every aspect from the production to the playing and the song writing abilities. This doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a compilation of stoner bands; it doesn’t throw us any titbits of death metal, hardcore or punk and is 100% smoking riffs all the way. Many of the bands such as Audio Dream Sister, Gate 9, Electric Cavemen and Cigmouth will be unfamiliar to most but they all stand shoulder to shoulder with the more well known names present here such as Samsara Blues Experiment, the Graviators, Honcho and The Grand Astoria.

Admittedly all this fuzz can be a little hard to take in one sitting as all the bands do tend to draw from very similar origins…a dash of Sabbath, a mighty fuck off great big dose of Kyuss, a similarly large knob of Fu Manchu and a soupcon of Goatsnake for good measure, seasoned with some tasty touches of psychedelia and southern jams. As a result it is hard to pick out any real highlights, partly because everything is so damn good but also because of the inherent similarities between nearly all the bands involved. For the die hard stoner fan though this should be an essential…nay compulsory purchase as this one release acts as a gateway to a whole new underground world where the riff is king and fuzz is the new religion.

It is admirable and indeed essential that Planet Fuzz exists. Just because the industry is in decline doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t keep trying and that people don’t still want to buy a quality product. Word is that Planet Fuzz have now signed Propane Propane to record an album and work is due to start soon compiling the next instalment in the compilation series. If this album is an indication of the future for the label than Small Stone, Rise Above, Buzzville…etc should be getting worried and looking over their shoulders. Do yourselves a favour lovers of the smoking riff and buy this.

Label: Planet Fuzz Records

Scribed by: Ollie Stygall