Haunting Shoegaze from Be Forest

Wanted to wrap up today with something eerie, so I’m grateful that this new single from Be Forest just dropped. There’s an ominous tone from the get-go, built on these dancing guitar lines atop a thundering rhythm section. It’s beautifully contrasted with the softness of the vocals, though the vocals seem to be frightened away as the song builds towards the track’s middling interlude. Then it returns, only to fade away into the back of the track, quietly slipping away from us all. The group will release Knocturne on February 8th via WWNBB. Also, since its time to look at SXSW, the band will be coming in from Italy to play here in Austin, with a few other scattered US dates.

Show Review: Wild Nothing @ The Mohawk (05/16)

Wild Nothing, or the project of Jack Tatum, is a genre band. What I mean to say is that each of his studio albums explores a different sub genre of indie rock. Gemini saw Tatum trying his hand at jangly guitars and bedroom synths, Nocturne was a 70s disco piece with plenty to dance to. His latest effort, Life of Pause, which came out earlier this year, was a wall-of-sound piece that combined the past genres into a more straightforward rock sound. Going into Monday night, I was interested in seeing how the band would weave these sounds into a their live setting, and I was far from disappointed. Read on after the jump.

Read more

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]

Show Preview: Wild Nothing, Abe Vigoda @ Red 7 (2/4)

Date Friday, Feb 4th
Location Emos
Doors 900p
Tickets $8 from Frontgate

February has already kicked off with some great shows, but I reckon to bet that there won’t be a better ticket in town than this, whether it’s snowing or not!  First, Wild Nothing won over fans last year with Gemini, and continued kicking ass with the Golden Haze EP.  Their combination of bedroom pop and electronica just fits perfectly into our lives.  Then, you have the incredible Abe Vigoda, and since this is their first tour since the release of Crush, you know they’re going to bring their A game.  On that alone, two amazing bands for $8, you should go.  But, because life sometimes can get better, you have two of the hottest bands in town opening with Bali Yaaah and Superlitebike.  Haven’t gotten to see Bali Yaaah just yet, but Superlitebike is ridiculous live.  Do it folks, lets keep each other warm.

[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

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]

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]