ZUU
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The band ZUU hail from, in their words, “hovering over the valley of California.” This seems fitting because at times the band seems to possess other-worldly talent and potential. Unfortunately, these guys probably aren't on too many people's radar, thanks in part to the fact that their last offering came out in 2005. I absolutely adored their self-titled release at the time, but how would they stand up nearly 4 years later?
Well, almost unexpectedly, their overdue LP showed up in my mailbox, entitled Everywhere. After giving it a few spins, this title is so appropriate. After throwing the album on your surround sound or listening through headphones, it feels like it's coming at you from all sides. It's a wall to wall epic of fuzz and distortion and at times even feels a bit shoe-gaze. Regardless of the label you give it, it has the ability to knock you off your feet with it's tremendous texture and layers. Currently, the band is unsigned and seems to have little fanfare surrounding the release of this gem.
Fans of Autolux, The Raveonettes, Silversun Pickups, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, and even Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins will definitely recognize and appreciate this album. Everywhere really is an assaultt on your aural senses and anyone pining for the mythical follow-up to Loveless or the indefinitely delayed sophomore album from Autolux will surely cream their pants listening to Zuu's magical juxtaposition.

Adam Roncaglione
www.rabbitholemusic.com - www.rabitholemusic.com


After discovering Zuu recently, here is the official Exploding In Sound review of their album "Everywhere"...

Every now and then a band comes out from seemingly nowhere to make a record that floors all who hear it. Creating a sound that is a hybrid of damn near everything I hold near and dear, Los Angeles’ Zuu have delivered the goods on their sophomore release “Everywhere”. Their sound is most certainly a familiar one, but putting a definitive comparison on them is impossible as they borrow and pull influence from many different styles to create their own breed of sound. Elements of The Stone Roses’ indie brit-pop, the stylish futuristic grooves of Autolux, the shimmering shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine, and the 90’s space rock of Failure fuse together to form much of the sound on this record. Whether you call it dream-pop, space rock, post-psychedelic, the key to Zuu’s elegance is restraint, never allowing the experimentation to stand in the way of the songs. At the core of “Everywhere,” this is a powerful pop record with massive hooks and just the right amounts of attitude and fury.

“Wasted Today” is the perfect opening for this record, with Omar and Emvy’s swarming guitars and Tyler’s bass buzzing through the introduction, breaking into the danceable, moody, and energetic backdrop. The songs vocal melody is entrancing, immediately striking resemblance to The Stone Roses finest work. With a memorable hook and very simple structuring, Zuu begin the album off on strong footing for an alternative rock hit. “Water” takes their space rock craft into the next stratosphere with circling atmospherics and trippy melodic lines from the guitars. Omar’s vocals again show strong degrees of Brit-pop, but sound terrific over the complex rhythm from drummer Erik. This is shoegaze meets space rock, and the vocal lines aren’t lost in the noise, and the band is all the better for that. “Nothing Special,” contains a breathy attitude and flare with the bleak hook of “Tell me something I don’t already know, I’ve got nothing to show.” Zuu are creating 90s alternative rock for the new millennium, and with songwriting like this, radio should be warned.

“Sigh” slows things down a bit, turning down the wavering guitar distortion in favor of gorgeous cymbal and drum work. The vocals are doubled for effect as the track drifts along in hypnotic motion. Borrowing a page from Failure, “Retrograde” is an ambient segue for a seamless transition into “When I Die.” Stellar drumming, mixes with the gentle shoegaze coast, and haunting keys pierce through the fog for great added texture. “Resolve” finds bassist Tyler taking over vocal duties, for a higher pitched space rock sound with a sharper and more abrasive pop tone. This is another nice texture in their arsenal, as Omar is given a rest for one track, creating a new sound that is still very much one with the album.

The discordant opening notes of “Why Oh Why,” set the tone for the terrific experimental qualities of the song. Heavily processed vocals cruise over sharp hard hitting drums with incredible swagger and grace. As the chorus breaks, the vocals come clean while the guitars skid and trail in angular bursts. The band gets a thick muddy distortion brewing during the bridge, sharply contrasting with the final chorus. “Rain” contains a jangly upbeat vibe with more great Stone Roses influence, as these Los Angeles boys give the seminal Manchester band’s following something they can truly embrace. They might not list them as an influence, but whether they are or not, Zuu’s sound is a terrific update of what began back in ’88. The harmonies are tight, the melodies soar, and the music is memorable, this is what pop rock should sound like. “Amnesia,” is another phaser shifting segue, twinkling right into the delicate acoustic bass sound of “Wearing Nettles.” The slow and spacey atmosphere creeps around with finger picked fury and expertly doubled vocals lead into the singular voice asking “What if I can’t pull my weight, what if I disintegrate?” The outer space vibe is bleak and airy, but unquestionably beautiful. Guitar effects bounce around lost in endless non-gravity, building and fading throughout the mix.

“Only One,” delivers a rougher space rock punch, with great washes of distortion in the bridge reminding everyone that My Bloody Valentine are very much an influence in the collection. “Loaded” is a thick stomping rocker with true noise pop qualities, and perhaps my favorite song on the record. This track is the culminating masterpiece of the album, but a bit of the shame it’s buried all the way at the end. The vocals and guitars surge and soar with psychedelic energy and intense wall of sound melodies similar to Autolux. “The End” finishes things out with a minute long outro of white noise. Zuu have a promising career ahead of them, with a diverse sound that could very well have the radio world taking notice.

Dan Goldin
www.explodinginsound.com
- www.explodinginsound.com


Can you take me there? Can you give me more? Can you include any more appropriate questions in your album? Questions that I ask of any album I listen to?

More than a month of listening to Everywhere, the self-released sophomore album from Cali trio, ZUU, (their drummer is credited as an “additional musician”), and I’m still objectively uncertain about my feelings toward it. At times, it’s unsettling to hear something this well done. ZUU is a really tight band, churning out nineties-stalgic sex appeal, licks and glam’d out riffs that would entice the deaf. Everywhere provides Everything: alt pop near-ballads, smooth rock n’ roll, psych atmospheric nuance, experimentalism sans distraction.

ZUU is what Sonic Youth would sound like if they really had sold out and I’m aware of how insulting that sounds. To put it another way, they have all the heart and the vision, but seem light on the grit. And, that’s why Everywhere is a daunting album to figure out: I can’t tell if it’s too clean to be credible.

As a band that’s obviously clawing their way to notoriety, yes, ZUU is deserving of praise. The opening riff of “Wasted Today” demands attention, and it’s a worthwhile experience. Droning and sneering guitar shrieks haunt the background as the rhythm cuts glass with a smooth and refined edge. “Water” introduces an almost Nuggets-era or Kinks-ish garage dynamic with syncopated beats and muted blasts of feedback, only to mutate into some healthy alt-rock chords for its chorus. “Nothing Special,” which may be my favorite track, lengthens the album’s energy with extended bass rhythm and one of those glistening guitar solos that bends like mile long serpentine. A simple rock song and it does wonders.

They get sentimentally acoustic (“Sigh”), introspective (“When I Die”), and a little overwrought (“Weaning Nettles”), taking very few missteps along the way and delivering an impressive album for being an unsigned act.

Keeping that in mind, that aspect of their identity also seems to fuel the album’s intensity and its spotlessness, leading one to believe that, at its very core, Everywhere is meant to appeal to Everyone as a showcase of the band’s capabilities and less as… art. Something as accessible as “Resolve” for instance, seems like a peace offering, flirting with easy-to-swallow pop sounds that sort of betray the rest of the band’s material. And, it’s not as if Everywhere would be considered challenging, but the songwriting is too good for pedestrian radio. In the Internet age, at least until they get signed, ZUU will be an online presence. Which is fine. At least they can call their own shots.

Point is, Everywhere is a better-than-average neo-psych alternative album from a band that’s probably better than their album demonstrates. Skill, technique, chops: yes, these are important for any band. But, there’s something to be said for viscera, blood, sweat and fatigue. ZUU either lacks the essence, or they’re unwilling to share it with us until they get Somewhere.

Sincerely,
Sean Caldwell
Letters From A Tapehead
- www.letters-from-a-taphead.blogspot.com


Discography

Self-Titled Debut EP - ZUU 2005

Sophomore Release: Everywhere - May 2009

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Bio

Emerging out of LA with a compelling debut EP delivers anything but a predictable sound.
At once hauntingly dreamy and hard driven the band melds eerie overtones and swirling feedbacks over hypnotic melodies to create psychedelia with edge. With a dynamically explosive live show to back them up ZUU is set out to make a dent in the music world as well as on your mind. ZUU played SXSW in 2005, opening for the Smashing Pumpkins drummer's band, The Jimmy Chamberlain Complex. ZUU has just finished writing and recording their sophomore release, titled Everywhere.
With 14 tracks, this release has been in high rotation at college radio in the US & Canada, and has received rave reviews from several indie & influential music magazines. Most recently, Ken Andrews of the band Failure, has remixed 3 songs off the new LP for radio. ZUU are unsigned and have released the 2nd LP independently. They are looking for the right indie label match for a tour in 2010 to promote EVERYWHERE.