Over the last two years, The Fuss has evolved from a solo project for singer Joey Lyons to a full-fledged band with the addition of Matt Nelson, Ben Waldschmitt and Nick Lucs. In 2017, the band has been playing out more, including a performance on Iowa Public Radio’s Java Blend, a recent gig at 319 Fest and a performance in early September at Iowa Stock. On Aug. 26, The Fuss will play a release show for its self-titled debut LP at Gas Lamp with Sires.
The self-produced LP combines the strengths of the two EPs into a solid package, with opening track “Attention” being the standout. The 10 songs are catchy and show some variety, with “Ghost” showing the band has some potential for more radio-friendly pop. Overall, “The Fuss” is a good snapshot for the band’s current live sound and shows some strong potential for further growth. ♦
Hold for Swank
Hold for Swank’s brand of power pop would be perfectly at home in 1997, but in 2017 it falls somewhere between throwback and anachronism. On its third album, “The Stuff That Contradicts The Other Stuff” (its first album in eight years), the band continues its love affair with the sounds of Alkaline Trio and Blink 182. It’s an album out of time, which gives it the benefit of not sounding like anything else happening right now.
The songs on “The Stuff” are fun, fast and just angsty enough to dredge up high school memories (even if they are performed by 30 somethings). There are a few tracks that break from the norm a bit, (“This is Not a Reggae Song”) or to a greater degree (“This Old Honky Tonk”), but for the most part it’s reflections on relationships, friendships and breakups. Is it groundbreaking? No, but it fits in with the sound Hold for Swank has established for itself over the last dozen years. ♦