Thursday, 24 October 2013

Wet, After the CMJ Storm

Contrary to what the title depicts, this isn't about to turn into a metaphorical short story on getting caught in the madness of New York's CMJ Music Marathon. This is about Wet. They're my new band crush, and I figure it's high time I share that wonderful insight with you, the internet. (Hi, internet—it's been a minute, I know). 

But now, as music writers and photographers across New York lick their post-CMJ wounds for another year, I have to admit that Wet are one of the few bands emerging from the annual hype furor whom I think I'll pay attention to. They're reminiscent of what it would sound like if a a sparser, more jagged New Look covered Dream Cave, the new Cloud Control record. Like, poppy and breathy and going to town on the blend of crisp guitar lines and thundering bass drum samples.

Vocalist Kelly Zutrau fronts the band, backed by Martin Sulkow and Joe Valle. The trio lived and worked together intensely in Brooklyn, according to this recent 405 feature, and turned into one of those bands people were constantly talking about during CMJ. And, while wading through lists featuring the Preatures, Courtney Barnett, Eagulls, Shark Week (that literal name) and others, Wet became the band whose music I couldn't wait to listen to once back in my room and separate from all the badge-wearing, self-aggrandized posturing that goes hand in hand with press behavior at CMJ.

You're the Best from Wet on Vimeo.

The three-piece are due to play Mercury Lounge on November 21, but by then I'll be back in London and probably being drizzled on. They are, however, opening for Samson the Truest tomorrow night (Friday, October 25) at Cameo Gallery.

I always feel like going to shows right after an urban festival like CMJ, Brighton's Great Escape or London's Camden Crawl (shout out to like 2009) gives me a different appreciation for live gigs. You're so spoiled for choice when all the bands descend upon the city for a major showcase that it's easy to forget how freaking special live music can be, when played, mixed and performed well.

Then it all quietens down and you're like "oh right, this is amazing. And I don't have to rush to another six/nine/infinite shows afterwards." Fingers crossed Wet will deliver, though given the reaction to both their recent eponymous EP (out on Neon Gold) and their CMJ gigs, I shouldn't be worried.

If you're in New York, and want to check them out for yourselves this weekend, $9 tickets are going here.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Song of the Day: Widowspeak - Calico

Wait, what? So I guess September somehow happened. I'm confused. I'm choosing to let the dulcet tones and languidly-delivered harmonies of this latest Widowspeak single, "Calico," ease me into the reality of autumn's impending arrival. Duo Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas released Almanac, their second full-length record, in January on Captured Tracks (a Brooklyn-based label that's swiftly becoming one of my favorite indies). This single comes off forthcoming EP The Swamps, due out on October 29.

As Widowspeak their music maintains a dark and morose edge, speckled with western-inspired, sparse elements all hemmed in by a touch of folk. Hamilton's breathy voice floats over Thomas' guitar lines in a way that tends to remind me of Howling Bells circa 2006 and Stealing Sheep's record from last year. What I enjoy most about this single is how it seems to beg for more than one listen in a sitting--I find it hard to just walk away from. And that's usually a sign it'll grow on me and reward me over time in ways I can't always identify on a first listen. It's what I felt with Janelle Monae's "Q.U.E.E.N." a few months ago, and the track can still give me shivers when I hear it now.

You can pre-order The Swamps EP here, and scroll down to see if Hamilton and Thomas will be playing a city near you on their current North American tour.

10/02 - New Orleans, LA - Gasa Gasa
10/04 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
10/05 - Austin, TX - Stubb's BBQ
10/08 - McAllen, TX - Simon Sez
10/11 - Austin TX - Austin City Limits Festival
10/12 - Marfa, TX - El Cosmico
10/13 - Albuquerque, NM - Low Spirits**
10/14 - Phoenix, AZ - The Rhythm Room**
10/15 - San Diego, CA - The Void**
10/16 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo**
10/18 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel**
10/19 - Davis, CA - Sophia’s Thai Kitchen**
10/21 - Eugene, OR - Cozmic Pizza**
10/22 - Vancouver, BC - Media Club**
10/23 - Seattle, WA - Chop Suey**
10/24 - Portland, OR - Bunk Bar**
10/25 - Boise, ID - Neurolux**
10/26 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge**
10/27 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge**
10/28 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown Jr**
10/30 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry**
10/31 - Chicago, IL - Schubas**
11/01 - Ferndale, MI - The Loving Touch**
11/02 - Toronto, ON - Silver Dollar Room**
11/03 - Montreal, QC - Il Motore**
11/04 - Winooski, VT - The Monkey House**
11/05 - Cambridge, MA - TT the Bear’s Place**
11/06 - New Haven, CT - BAR Nightclub**
11/08 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom**
** with Pure Bathing Culture
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