Saturday night, I ventured out to The Sidewinder to catch two bands that have been all the buzz around the indie rock world as of late– Ne-Hi and American Wrestlers. What I got was proof that sometimes there’s a good reason for buzz. Both of these bands brought it hard, playing to a not nearly crowded enough venue, but throwing their whole selves into their sets. Read on for some brief thoughts about the night.
Yea, I know you’re all about making the most out of your Saturday nights in a city that always gives you more than one great option for music. However, I’m here to tell you that your best option is at The Sidewinder tomorrow night to catch two great touring acts as they pass through our city. First off, you get the ever-delightful Ne-Hi out of Chicago, who are blowing up in the music world with their youthful jangly indie rock. They’re about to release their sophomore LP,Offers, just around the corner in February, so you can bet we’ll get to hear some fresh tracks off of that album.
While that should be enough to get you out to the Sidewinder, let’s not forget that American Wrestlers are the second half of this great bill. This groupout of St. Louisreleased their sophomore record, Goodbye Terrible Youth,last fall to some mighty praise, so you know you’re going to be in for a night of high energy indie rock.
Doors are at 9pm and tickets at 12$ here. No excuses!
I really enjoyed the first American Wrestlers effort, and now that they’re back, readying Goodbye Terrible Youth, I’m paying close attention. This tune’s interesting, as the vocals are delivered in a rather calm manner, almost as if they’re resting during the verses. Of course, that’s all purposeful as they explode during the chorus, which you can feel as the guitar builds tension throughout the track,ringing heavily in the background. Their new record is being handled by Fat Possum, with a release date of November 4th, just in case you needed to pencil in some time.
Refined lo-fi? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Well, maybe, but if you’re at all familiar with American Wrestlers‘ music then you’ll understand what I mean when you press play on this new song, “Amazing Grace.” In the past, the tunes we’d heard from Gary McClure and company were gritty– super fuzzy and washed out tracks with McClure’s voice hanging high in the mix. This new track shows a ton of growth for the band in that the mix has cleaned up a bit to allow for a variety of sound to be expressed. You get the tinkling piano that carries the tune, but the overall vibe is anthemic and soaring, something along the lines of The War on Drugs. This track is from the bands’ forthcoming album Goodbye Terrible Youth, which is due out November 4th via Fat Possum Records.
This new track from American Wrestlers is great, but at the same time, I’m a bit perplexed. Vocally, there’s a nod to modern indie rock sounds, but the guitar work is straight-up jangling indiepop; I have no way to pigeonhole this band! I guess in the end, that’s a pretty great thing, as we can just focus on sitting back and enjoying this song. It’s the first listen we all have to their forthcoming album, Goodbye Terrible Youth, which will be released on November 4th via Fat Possum Records.
When I heard the first single from American Wrestlers, the lo-fi project of Gary McClure, something about the tune gave me the strong conviction that I wouldn’t want to miss this debut album. Now, here we are, able to savor the 8 tracks of American Wrestlers that are equal parts lo-fi and American rock and roll, but all parts a bit different than what you would expect from either of those genres.
The album opens with “There’s No One Crying Over Me Either,” which is a synth/piano driven jam that doesn’t seem to really fit into the two aforementioned genres. Mechanized drumbeats bounce in at a steadily low-key beat, which establishes a mellow tone to the album so far. Piano, acoustic guitar, vocals join this mix early on, all of which fall under this super gritty production that casts a layer of intrigue upon the track as it slowly chugs along. McClure twists and spits his lyrics atop this slow-boiling instrumentation, his mild yet utterly emotive vocals providing the perfect counterpart to the music. Slowly this song builds up and then simmers down, transitioning into the blazing outright rock and roll “Holy,” which is definitely one of the highlights of the album. As soon as you hear the flaming electric guitar riff that cuts through the mix, you’re already falling in love with the track. This number is purely lo-fi goodness, with the electric guitar distorted and slightly fuzzy, but then you get a little bit of piano that bounces back from the first track and your mind goes to Americana, or folk music. Just wait for the little break down at the end of this song.
And of course later on you get the superstar pair of this album starting with “I Can Do No Wrong,” which takes the style that’s been established thus far and sets it into a catchy track with pop hooks throughout. This song particularly utilizes the lo-fi production: it sounds kind of like you’re hearing the music from a thin layer of water, but somehow this tones down those blazing guitars from ever being too heavy. Trust me, you’ll want to play this one over and over, but before you do, let American Wrestlers take you to the next jam, “The Rest of You,” which cuts out the hooky pop and switches over to buzzy-as-all-get-out rock. But as you’ll notice on this release, nothing is too simple on this album, and you get little nuances on this song—the chorus-like backing vocals, the layers of acoustic and electric guitars, those barely audible drums—that push it beyond your average fuzzy rock jam.
American Wrestlers is a rather good debut album, but one that requires a bit of time to really sink in. Repeated listening has gleaned me insights to my favorite tracks, but in reality at only 8 tracks in length its hard not to spread the love evenly over the whole album. Perhaps with a bit more time the whole debut will sink in even deeper, but for now good is enough.
Feels like the new American Wrestlers album should be out already, right? They had a bunch of great buzz built at the end of last year/beginning of 2015…then things went silent for a wee bit, until you hear this new single. It’s a tune build upon the backbone of a solid piano, holding space for the coated vocals to dance across the top whilst an electronic beat holds things in place. There’s fine touches like a soloing guitar that add some differentiation in the middle of the tune, just so you don’t get weary and ensuring the track is a success. The band’s self-titled album will be out on April 7th via Fat Possum Records.
It took me a few days to really sink my teeth into this American Wrestlers single, but I’m really glad that I gave it the appropriate time…what a great song. It’s got the little bits of pop that make me swoon, from the sound of the vocals to the track’s volume burst that kicks in just after the 1 minute mark. It’s the brand of pop songwriting that has me tapping my toes and bobbing my head. It’s another impressive dose of craftsmanship presented to us by the Scot (now Missourian) songwriter. Look for his self-titled debut album to come out via Fat Possum on April 7th.
The folks over at Fat Possum Records are notorious for putting out records from excellent artists, so it should come as no surprise that they’ve got yet another great band to introduce to us. American Wrestlers is the name behind a Glasglow born gentleman who finds himself transplanted to The Good Old US of A, and now making tunes. The debut 7″ from him is due out on January 27th and features the song below, “I Can Do No Wrong,” and its got the perfect balance of gritty garage production as well as sweet melodically jangly guitars. The vocals are light and breathy, floating above the groovy instrumentation. It’s a wonderful track that I can’t seem to get enough of, so have a listen and rejoice in finding a new band to jam to.