Fierce and Fuzzy: The Lo-Fi Revolution

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Let it never be forgotten that some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll records in history were made on the most modest equipment, from Elvis Presley’s Sun sessions to The Beatles’ early albums. In the ‘90s, a new generation of rockers emerged who took that lesson to heart. For some, the lo-fi approach to indie rock may have been born of necessity and for others it might have been a more aesthetic choice, but whatever the impetus, bands like Pavement, Sebadoh, and Guided by Voices applied a sort of cinéma vérité sensibility to recording. Half-mumbled (or half-shouted) vocals, fuzzed-out guitar riffs, shambolic drums, spacious productions, and a seeming disinclination towards excessive rehearsal gave their records a raw, visceral quality that’s been at the heart of great rock records from the beginning.