So, all good things must come to an end. Damn you, Chaucer—right again. Cottage Jefferson, Rochester’s favorite fuzz band, played what they announced to have been their final show back in May. Thankfully, that hasn’t stopped the quartet from tying up loose ends and putting out one last hurrah of an album. Titled B-Side, the exceptionally nostalgic 10-track album is a warm embrace, a phantom limb, a fist in the air. The songs have a good range of feeling and style without sounding scattered, sitting contentedly between the twinkly mood-jams of Built to Spill and the lethargic thickness of Dinosaur Jr.
The record opens with “One Verse, No Chorus,” a gleeful three-chord jam with noodle guitar breakdowns, crunchy chords, and (despite what the title describes) what I consider to be a very catchy chorus. The song has a very casual feel to it and no shortage of hooks. For most, summer is long gone, but a listen to this one will bring you right back to those sandy shores. Follow that up with “Trapper Keeper,” another feel-good track reminiscent of a Teenage Dream-era Sonic Youth, and your stress will melt away like a bomb pop on a hot sidewalk. Both songs are currently streaming on the Jefferson’s Bandcamp page.
However, B-Side isn’t all sunshine and wind-in-your-hair jollity—a fair share of contemplative material keeps the album dynamic, and subsequently very interesting. “Such,” a sweetly somber track running an intimate minute and forty-two seconds is the first song to demonstrate that dynamicity. Closing track “Everything’s An End” is droning, lonely, and heartfelt, but my favorite moment on B-Side lies in the fuzzed-out explosion of sound that swells at the end of “Comfy.” Singer Dan Jackson croons lyrics “I don’t need anything to do / Who needs anywhere to be?” before being swallowed up by a beautiful mess of billowing leads and hard-hitting chords.
Ultimately, B-Side has all the right survival tools—energetic, 90’s-style college rock songs for party time, subdued and somber fuzz rock to chill out to, even a couple blues-tinged songs to groove on. It’s unfortunate that the album will be Cottage Jefferson’s last, but going out on a note like B-Side is undoubtedly a righteous send-off. B-Side will be available for download in full this Thursday, September 4th on Cottage Jefferson’s Bandcamp page.