Wild Nothing – Indigo

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Indigo marks the fourth full-length studio release of Wild Nothing, the moniker for Jack Tatum’s sonic explorations in the realm of shimmery indie rock. We’ve seen Tatum’s style change with each release; a devotee to growth and expansion, Tatum is not one to rest on the early success of the band, but has pushed himself in entirely different directions. Indigo sees yet another direction, but one that functions essentially as a patchwork quilt of past soundsyou can hear elements of prior albums, but Tatum has reimagined them into an album that burns brighter and bigger than the past.

 

Opener and lead single, “Letting Go,” positions Tatum to soar higher on this release than before. The guitars, ever jangly and bright, ease past fans into the sound. While familiar to Nocturne at first, the track then surges into infectious pop with the choral hook. Tatums vocals are high and resonate starkly at the top of the mix, cueing us into the glossy production that is present all over Indigo.Here is a more proto-typical pop song than weve heard from the dark and simmering Wild Nothing and it’s refreshingly glorious. Not to be outdone by sultry, “Partners in Motion,” whose echo-y percussion and vocal effects make for a 80s synth banger. When Tatum sings lines like, “I had a temper/but now I’m delicate,” the vocals are doubled over and drenched with reverb, urging you to join along. A toe-tapping bass line, playful and snappy guitar licks, and saxophone flesh out the tune into something great.

 

While the production on this album is glossy and clean, were not so far away from the humble beginnings of Geminithat we feel alienated by Tatum’s new sound. On the contrary, at a cursory listening this record is very easy to cling to with its catchy choruses, danceable synths. You get swoon worthy moments all across the eleven tracks, but probably the most sincere chunk of is the combination of “Shallow Water” and “Through Windows.” Both songs dive into what it means to be in a loving relationship through life on the road, the former a sweeping ode and the latter a tightly wound jam. With lines like “When I’m home/ there’s nothing I’m looking for/ that you havent already found,” Tatum crafts the wonderfully genuine “Shallow Water” as a number about being off the road and completely comfortable with another, the kind of love that people yearn for. Conversely, you get “Through Windows,” about being on the road and not wanting to give it up, but recognizing at some point Tatum will give it up, but that wont be entirely a loss: “Quit this circus life/ and take off my shoes/ I’m still paying what I owe/ to be noticed by you.”

 

It’s not all sunny pop though–the brightest gem, for me, is “Canyon on Fire,” which is a guitar heavy track that you are immersed in for its five-minute duration and then immediately play again. A brief moment of pause between the previous instrumental interlude of “Dollhouse” washes over you before the squall of electric guitar announces itself with a roar. Soon, you’re hit with dueling riffs that perfectly compliment each other while an even bass line chugs away and airy percussion keeps everything just on the verge of chaos. Tatum weaves us a picture of Los Angeles through his eyes, each line hitting with a soothing cadence that provides lovely juxtaposition to the snarling guitars. He asks, “Who would I be without you?” addressing a love or potentially the city itself, and then answers the question with “Someone I dont know,” acknowledging that Tatum is married to the subject–be it LA or a significant other. That kind of bond has made it impossible to imagine life otherwise. This all takes places within a simmering bridge before the track surges once more into full volume for a glorious victory lap. “Canyon on Fire” merges Tatum’s impeccable songwriting with the infectious guitar riffs from Nocturne-era to make for the best track on this album.

 

In the end, Indigo, is a well written record about love and being deep in the waters of it. Unencumbered by irony and disdain in an otherwise bitter world, the soaring pop of this album makes for a sincere feel-good (and just damn good) eleven tracks of escape, though far from devoid of introspection. Tatum has found his stride, crafting a collection of songs that youll find hard to turn from. Indigo is both intimate and lofty, hoisting you up with each track as it flies to new heights for dream pop.

 

 

Wild Nothing – Life of Pause

lifeofpawz

Rating: ★★★½ ·

When you hit the ball out of the park on your musical debut and sophomore album, I imagine its somewhat of a daunting task to try and create something that will repeat your success and move into different musical territory. Whether or not this was on Jack Tatums mind when he was working on his third full-length record remains to be known. Regardless, Life of Pause strikes a balance musically between the straightforward dream pop of Gemini and the well-orchestrated synth heavy pop of Nocturne.

Reichpop, begins the album in classic Wild Nothing fashionboiling electronic elements create the undercurrent of the instrumentation as the song heats up. About a minute and a half of build up later, the song coming into itself, the guitars and bass join the mix, adding their lush influence to the simmering track. This song in its easy and steady coolness sets the tone for the rest of the album.

The key to understanding this record comes in the title track, which marks the center point of your listening journey. Synths soar and bubble into the groovy beat, Tatum sings repeatedly at the crux of the chorus, How can we want love? and the synths stutter coldly in the background as he questions human desire for affection honestly and openly. Herein lies the detached emotion that the entire album is entrenched in. On the first few listens, its easy to mistake this for a lack of emotional accessibility, but upon further investigation, Tatum comes through quite vulnerably as searching for something and narrowly skirting jadedness. This is where Ive found the album to be quite raw and not the icy-cool sleek collection of eleven tracks that it may sound like at first.

While the album becomes more accessible with this in mind, the vulnerability is still subtle, hidden under those loud synths and danceable 70s grooves. Life of Pause has immediate hits that will grab you upfront, but there are some slow burning gems that take a bit of time for you to gravitate towards, like Lady Blue, which ends in a switch in rhythm that is simply impossible not to turn up loud and jam out to. Of course there are those reach out tracks like TV Queen and To Know You, that are wonderful examples of Tatums skills at crafting solid tunes that bridge the gap between dream and synth pop.

At the end of Life of Pause, theres a bit of a longing for more; while theres no denying the artful skill that Jack Tatum has poured into the record, you sort of wish that there was more of a fire within the tracks on here. Still a remarkable and worthwhile listen nonetheless.

 

Are You Stoked For Wild Nothing’s Life of Pause Yet?

11958077_970211316378664_2723550751892443815_o-2No? Really? It seems almost impossible that you could have missed out on the excellent singles that Jack Tatum’s Wild Nothing has been doling out over the past few months in anticipation ofLife of Pause, but if you’ve been under a rock or something, you’re in luck. Today, we’ve got yet another single from the upcoming record with its title track, which you should immediately press play on below. This song is perhaps the single most resonant of Wild Nothing’s past collection of synth drenched pop tracks, and it’s every bit as good. Pulsing synths really drive this song, and the mellow beat grounds it in a danceable rhythm. All that’s left for you to do is preorderLife of Pausehere and wait a little while longer for the February 19th release date viaBella Union.

 

ACL Interviews: Wild Nothing

Today officially marks the beginning of the 2nd weekend at ACL festival here in Austin.  I’m sure many of you rocked out last weekend and will be nursing your wounds this weekend at home.  For those of you heading out to Zilker, good luck in the rain!  For those of you staying indoors, check out this fancy interview we put together this week with Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing.  It’s pretty rad.  Click read more for interview.

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Wild Nothing – Nocturne

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Perhaps one of the greatest things about listening to Wild Nothing is being aware that the project began as an intimate bedroom affair, possibly not even meant for mass consumption.  But, as with all good things, it’s made its way to our ears, and with Nocturne the sounds have become more fleshed out, creating a more dynamic sound that bodes well for Jack and friends.

With a title like Nocturne, you immediately get a darker image than what you might have gotten from the early works such as Gemini.  “Shadow” works with that meaning, both in title and in its emotional pull.  Sure, there’s still a bit of an angular guitar chiming in, but the lush string arrangements bring out an undercurrent of heavier sentiment.   Similarly, the title of “Midnight Song” implies the exact sentiment, but there’s something more energetic lurking here.  I’m not sure if it’s the guitar sounds, or Jack’s vocals, but I feel as if there’s more emphasis in this tune; it’s a personal standout for me.

But, one of the things I like from this new recording by Wild Nothing is the smallest of tweaks that demonstrate a branching out of sorts for the group.  If you skip through the album to “Paradise” you’re going to find an entirely different guitar line than what you’re used to from the band.  It’s almost as if Jack switched up his homage to C86 bands, trading it in for some Northern Soul guitar licks.  That being said, the electronic wash present on the track, and the deeper vocal tones still tie it nicely into the thematic darkness of the entire album.  It’s a good song to contrast with earlier numbers like “Only Heather,” which gains its energy from the frenetic pace of the drumming here.  I can see how the vocals have a similar weight to them, but the guitars are much brighter, and your toes won’t be able to avoid a bit of tapping as you listen to the record at your desk.

Personally, I think there’s sort of a magical quality to Nocturne, and I don’t mean in the sense that it’s going to possess your soul, though it just might.  Lyrically and emotionally it seems to carry with it an other-worldly quality that combines bits and pieces of the group’s earlier works with touchstones of its contemporaries.  Yet, with all those bits and pieces, something inevitably captures you, pushing your thoughts beyond the mundane.  Perhaps wistful is a fitting term to use here, as the title and the mood are affected by a feeling of sadness; I honestly don’t know how to put my finger on it, but I think listeners will completely understand the sentiment after a few runs through.

For those that expected Nocturne to be a complete return to where Wild Nothing left off with Gemini, you might be disappointed.  It’s definitely an album consumed by the nature of the title, offering a fair balance between beauty and the vague hints of darkness.  Light splashes of energy come and go, but what you’re left with is a record that immediately transports you beyond your status quo; such is the quality of truly great music that can consume us wholly, yet still maintain its intimate qualities.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/08-Paradise.mp3]

Download:Wild Nothing – Paradise [MP3]

New Number from Wild Nothing

We’d be remiss if we didn’t hit on the big news of the day, the return of Wild Nothing to the music-making fold.  When Pitchfork premeired the track earlier today, they talked of main songwriter, Jack Tatum, working in a professional studio for the first time.  I’m not sure how I feel about that, as I felt like a lot his charm came from the fact that he crafted those sounds in his bedroom.  Still, after listening to this track, so far everything seems well; I’ll be pleased if its half as good as Gemini, their first full-length.  For now, expect this single to come out via Captured Tracks, in order to hold us over while the band is recording.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Nowhere.mp3]

Download: Wild Nothing – Nowhere [MP3]

New Music from Wild Nothing

Remember when I raved about how great Wild Nothing‘s Gemini was?  Well, the band, the one project of Jack Tatum, will return with the Golden Haze EP this fall on Captured Tracks.  If you pass judgement based on the following track, it seems like Wild Nothing will definitely have another gem of pop music to win the adoration of listeners everywhere.  Label me excited.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Wild-Nothing-Golden-Haze.mp3]

Download: Wild Nothing – Golden Haze [MP3]

New Music From Wild Nothing

Jack Tatum and his project known as Wild Nothing is grown in fame all over the internet as you’re reading this.  The guy recently dropped one of our favorite LPs of the year Gemini and already just released a new EP entitled Evertide.  Needless to say, the guy’s been a busy bee.  Enjoy a new track from the EP out now on Warmest Chord below.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Your-Rabbit-Feet-1.mp3]

Download: Wild Nothing – Your Rabbit Feet [MP3]

Wild Nothing – Gemini

Rating: ★★★★ ·

A lot of people work their whole life struggling to make music a life pursuit, switching bands, touring and such.  Often times it comes to nought, but occasionally it leads you on a path of your own.  Such is the case for Jack Tatum, the man who composed the music under the moniker Wild Nothing.  His debut record Gemini is something of a hidden gem; it’s not overstated, yet there is a quiet beauty that lies beneath it all.  Such is our luck.

Instantly you can tell that this album is going to be accompanying you on those days when you’re lost in your own mind, as the ringing guitar sounds, reminiscent of New Order come in real low and soft.  Tatum’s voice enters the picture in a similar manner, resting lightly atop the steady percussion and guitars.  You can feel yourself lost in thought as the song plays into the next, “Summer Holiday,” which has a very similar appeal.  Here you’ll find a more upbeat pace pushing you along, and female backing vocals that add to the overall layering of the song.  It’s as warm and soothing as the title suggests.

While the first part of the song features some prominent guitar work, other aspects of Gemini are filled by electronic loops that provide a different sensibility to the record. Take “Bored Games” as an example, with a vibrant guitar wash splashing against the electronic beats.  It pushes the songs in a bit of a speedier direction, which is contrasted by the rest of the sound breezily pushing against the beat to a wonderful effect. Still, the nostalgic musical references mixed with current fads such as warm washes over the vocals is where Wild Nothing earns its paycheck.

“My Angel Lonely” has some dark undertones that exist outside of the title itself.  Echoing effects used on the vocals, along with that chiming guitar, give it a haunting sensation.   Once again, as the wash effect billows in the background you find yourself in a state of bewilderment, completely absorbed in the song.  Yet a few tracks later you find a somewhat stomp of electronic happiness fused with angular guitar lines walking beneath.  Perhaps it might encourage you to circle about your room, but if not, you’ll at least have a slight boost to your step as this song comes through your speakers.  This is just an example of Jack Tatum’s ability to mix things up, all the while staying in a range where he feels comfortable.

Stay tuned in until the album draws to its close, as you surely won’t want to miss the final moments of “Our Composition Book” and “Gemini.”  This one-two punch is surely as rewarding as the rest of the Gemini, which really proves the point of our discussion here.  Throughout a career as a musician it finally seems that Tatum has found his calling with Wild Nothing.  It’s a creative album of melody and beauty to get lost amidst, which is all we really need sometimes from our favorite records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/02-Summer-Holiday1.mp3]

Download: Wild Nothing – Summer Holiday [MP3]