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One of Italy's most celebrated and longest-running independent rock bands, Uzeda were one of the few groups on the Italian underground scene to win a significant international audience for their hard-hitting music. Dominated by jagged guitars, rifle-shot drums, and a ferocious use of dynamics that makes the band's report all the more startling, Uzeda's sound was in the same vein as American noise rock bands such as the Jesus Lizard and Shellac; indeed, Shellac guitarist Steve Albini championed Uzeda, speaking enthusiastically about their music, sharing stages with them, and recording the majority of their albums. While the band was known to take long sabbaticals between recording and touring, they maintained a consistent level of sonic tension on each release, and 2019's Quocumque Jeceris Stabit was every bit as taut and emotionally charged as 1998's Different Section Wires. Uzeda was founded in 1987 in Catania, a city on the Eastern Coast of Sicily that is home to Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in the nation. The group's original lineup featured vocalist Giovanna Cacciola, guitarists Giovanni Nicosia and Agostino Tilotta, bassist Raffaele Gulisano, and drummer Davide Oliveri. The band spent several years playing live shows and refining their approach before they cut their debut album, 1991's Out of Colours, for the A.V. Arts label. While the album didn't capture the full impact of their music, it attracted enough attention to raise their profile, and they found a friend and ally in Steve Albini, the musician and recording engineer who had recorded albums for Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, Poster Children, the Breeders, Slint, and many more. Albini agreed to work on Uzeda's second album, and he traveled to Catania to record 1993's Waters. The dryer and sharper audio was a more accurate reflection of Uzeda's sound, and the celebrated British radio DJ John Peel gave the group his stamp of approval, inviting them to record a live session for his show during a tour of the U.K. (Uzeda's BBC recordings would appear on the 1994 EP The Peel Sessions.) In 1994, guitarist Giovanni Nicosia left Uzeda, but the remaining members continued as a quartet, and in 1995 they released a four-song EP, 4, which was their first project released by the groundbreaking American independent label Touch & Go. In November 1997, Albini and the band met up in Western France to work on Uzeda's next album, 1998's Different Section Wires, at Studio Black Box in Noyant la Gravoyere. After the album came out, the members of the group took a break, in part informed by their desire not to allow financial necessities to dictate their schedule or their creative process. The members also pursued other projects; Giovanna Cacciola and Agostino Tilotta launched a side group, Bellini, while Raffaele Gulisano and Davide Oliveri recorded with Gianna Nannini and composed film music. In 2006, Touch & Go staged a three-day music festival in Chicago to celebrate their 25th year in business. Uzeda were invited to perform, and with a visit to America on the horizon, they decided it was time to record again. With Albini once again behind the board, the band completed 2006's Stella in time to be in stores once the festival took place in September. Following some touring in support of Stella, Uzeda returned to working at their own pace, playing when they felt like it and as their schedules permitted. In May 2018, Uzeda celebrated their 30th Anniversary by staging a festival in Catania featuring some of their friends and personal favorites, including Shellac, the Ex, June of 44, Three Second Kiss, and the Black Heart Procession. The event sparked a new burst of creativity, and in July 2019 Uzeda delivered their first album in 13 years, Quocumque Jeceris Stabit.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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