The Buzz — “You’re Holding Me Down”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — January 3, 2022

307) The Buzz — “You’re Holding Me Down”

“You’re Holding Me Down” is the Platonic ideal of freakbeat. The only A-side by the (Edinburgh) Buzz, released in ’66 (of course) and produced by Joe Meek (of course), is “the stuff of legends” and an “insane slice of Joe Meek produced freakbeat mayhem” (Wilthomer), an “eternally classic slab of ’66 UK dementia” (The Seth Man), and boasts an “almost psychotically unhinged lead vocal” (David Wells, liner notes to the Joe Meek Freakbeat CD comp). The long-overdue adulation this single has received is well-deserved, and, as we shall see, seems to induce psychosis in some admirers.

Wilthomer says that:

It’s perhaps the perfect companion to Meek’s speed induced paranoia and mania manifesting itself in the three minute pop song. Though the genre moniker did not exist at the time of it’s release the record implies freakbeat in every sense of the aesthetic! The insane over compression production, the manic intensity of the tune’s delivery and the sheer savage brutality of the “fuck you” lyrics are magical. . . . It honestly doesn’t get any freakier than this . . . .

The Seth Man loves the song’s finale so much that he sort of loses his mind:

[“Holding Me Down” is] one of the very best works produced by Joe Meek ever [and] one of the most aggressive pre-punk British singles from the mid-sixties. . . . For the entire 3:05 duration . . . the vocals and guitar tracks are bathed in excessive echo to emboss them with unusual depth . . . to make it seem like The Buzz were the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse armed with beat instruments while representing archetypal garage punk attitudes towards women, which were always extreme: idealised virgin attraction, she-devil fright, whore-loathing anger and low-self-esteem frustration at said female’s unresponsiveness to any and all sexual advances. . . . [The song ends with] an extended rave-up of the utmost psychosis as a 57 megaton device in the form of Joe Meek echo and compression is dropped on top of it all. . . . It’s fucked up, fierce, flat out fried and several other adjectives that begin with an ‘F.’ It’s perfect in every way. The vocals are great and billow in bursts of echo in the chorus as stentorian Townshend-like guitar windmills blast in accent over the main verses while the traps rap out a distant dint with the bass. What was once first sung all achingly fucklorn now gradually winds up going medieval all over everyone’s ass as vocalist Tam White loses it completely over a squall of twin guitar echoes screaming at top speed with neck-veins-a-poppin’ all out of his mind and in your face. . . .

It goes on, but you get the essence.

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