Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wild Child

Like most folks, we've got our tendencies, foibles, and favorites. We like the latte milk regular, not fat free. Salsa on the breakfast taco. Coke, not Pepsi. Shaken, not stirred.

Musically too, natch. We love going unknown electronic metal monsters, served up raw and in their natural state (or city, as the case may be). Not that we despise other forms - we don't - we're just not educated (or interested) enough to comment on (or pursue) other genres.

Well. Variety is the spice of life. Got Wild Child?

There ya go. Left-to-right, we've got drummer Carey McGraw, keyboardist Evan Magers, and cello-ist Sadie Wolfe. Back in the very back, in the sunglasses, is Alexander Beggins - Lead vocalist and strummer on the baritone ukulele. Right in front of him is singer/violinist Kelsey Wilson. On the far right is Matthew Mares, in charge of banjo, bells, and other percussion.

Kinda hard to tell much from that angle, how about a caught-in-the-act shot?
Don't look all that punk or electronic, do they? Kinda hard to pull that off with a tiny guitar and a stringed instrument that requires a bow.

So we'll come clean and admit we're out of our depths here. We won't spout that these guys and gals are pulling off state-of-the-art, bleeding edge musical compositions - We have no idea how to judge indie folk (or a lot of other forms, for that matter). We'll just say we like what we hear, and that you probably will too.
And there's a good reason for that - You know how punk takes us back to our rock roots? This kind of music moves us even further back down the timeline, back to an even more primitive generation. Same bloodline, we'll say, only a different priority. Whereas most forms of contemporary punk and electronic and rock make a priority of instrument-driven melodies, this genre aims us at the lyrics and vocals, with the instrumentation typically providing a rhythmic chord progression and little more: Don't be looking for your screeching guitar solos or frenetic keyboard arpeggios here. Still, be prepared to be charmed.

Take this one, for instance, the title track from their brand-spanking-new release, "Pillow Talk". Starts off with that innocent little ukulele, carving out a nice rhythm and chord progression, but then gives way to the star of the show - Wilson's curly-Q vocals:

Like reggae, there's an association with this sound that's like comfort food for the ears. Try this one, keeping an ear open for Wolfe's cello up against some 60-ish shoo-be-do-whops:

With acoustic-based productions, it makes a huge difference when your lead vocalist can soar past the instruments and carry the load, sonically. And with the Wilson/Beggins pairing behind the mic, Wild Child pulls that off with panache. Try this one on; watch how Wilson's apparently-effortless vox not only soar, but also draw you into the story of the song:

That's the charm here; the primitive nature of the acoustic instruments, played with excellence and coupled with the brilliant over-riding vocals, gives it an intimate feel - like you're in the kitchen holding the fridge door open, and suddenly you hear them in the back of the house somewhere, spontaneously giving air to song.
(Pic by Davis Ayer)
They've played all over town, but their next gig is a don't-miss-it at The Parish: It's their CD release party for "Pillow Talk", this Thursday, 10/27/11, and the details are all laid out for you right here. For a taste of what to expect, check out this vid taken primarily at this years' Wild Frontier Fest:

WILD CHILD Plays Cocaine Hurricane, Sells Pillow Talk from Bob Peck on Vimeo.

Typically, we embed the latest at this point in the post. Instead, let's carry the charming/intimate theme out, leaving you with this uber-casual, yet spot-on "basement tape" performance. In the kitchen. With the dog.

ADDENDUM - We were just about to post this, when the entirety of Wild Child's latest became embed-able. We'd be remiss if we didn't give you a chance to take in their excellent "Pillow Talk":

Find out more about Wild Child on Facebook, SoundCloud, Twitter, and Home Base.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We'll Go Machete

It was one of those glorious, unforeseen moments that the searcher lives for, that moment when he/she morphs (or gets morphed, it's not really clear) from explorer to discoverer. Yep, happened here, and not too long ago, either - Just seconds, really, after finding We'll Go Machete on Bandcamp.
Here they are. Left to right, we've got John Christoffel on guitar, bassist Chris May, Rachel Fuhrer is behind the drumkit, and the singer/guitarist is Paul Warner.

Though we thought we were the great discoverers, it turns out we're a little late to the show: We'll Go Machete has been racking up some serious critical clout long before we found 'em, with some great reviews on, New Artillery, and a few other blogs. Even the Chronicle gets in a good word, describing their first CD as "...Jagged and unrelenting, Machete launches post-hardcore tantrums in an early Dischord Records vein on opener "Red Maddens the Bull," while "The Old Beast Will Crumble" teeters toward sludge metal. It's a promise and a threat."

Heh, apparently we're slower than everyone else. But catching on, as you will too - Their sound is at once harshly familiar and refreshingly sparse (which partially explains the "punk" label), abundantly hook-ish yet reeking with well-known rhythmic progressions. Watch this one reel you in with that promising rhythm guitar, snatch you up with the drumkit and bass line, then nail you down with the emphatic vox and crunching guitar:

There's a path in rock music that punk and metal both fork off from, but We'll Go Machete has blazed their own trail betwixt 'em; a bit too disciplined and clean for a mohawk; a bit too modest for a leather codpiece. Here's a good example, starting us off with a metallic axe grind, then pumping into the steady, simplistic bellow of a punkish chord progression:

Here's another excellent emphatically-metallic punk piece; with those tiny, familiarly-metal intervals giving the melody that sinister touch; then nudged over into punk territory by Warner's vox:

That's how they do it, with Fuhrer's punkish, too-much-crashing cymbals, Warner's vehement bellowing, the bass and guitars dealing out healthy doses of death metal thrash punk; and all of it wrapped up with some excellent production values. You'll go machete too, if you're not careful.
They've played all over town, Emo's and Flamingo Cantina and Red 7 and Mohawk and Beerland and ... So catching them live isn't a challenge (they're playing Scoot Inn October 7th, you oughta catch that one).
We can't let you go until you've taken in their latest, the steadily-brilliant "Strong Drunk Hands". We insist:

Find out more about We'll Go Machete on Facebook, Last.FM, and Home Base.