I was fortunate enough to catch Wand this past week; I left with one thought, that this was not the same band I’d seen a handful of times before. Cory Hanson seems to be guiding the band into newer, bolder directions…and I can’t really think of a Wand LP that sounds exactly like the one before that. This song has this pulsing groove that almost seems to emulate the sound of a ringing fire alarm; it’s a sound that works in contrast to Hanson’s almost Yorke-like vocal performance. Still, underneath the pulse lives noodling guitar work and tight percussion, perhaps the remaining mark that this is still Wand. Laughing Matter will be out April 19th via Drag City.
How does Wand keep growing and evolving, all the while still sounding wholly incredible? As they announce their new double LP, Laughing Matter, it comes with this wondrous new single. It begins by teasing you with this measured guitar line over piano and drums, all before Cory even enters the picture just after the 1 minute mark. Once he makes his vocal appearance, backed by Sofia in the distance, the song takes on a more elegant tone…like a far less pretentious Radiohead; it’s accessible, yet still relies upon the musicianship that’s made the band so powerful over the last few years. It’s a musical adventure, and we should all welcome that. Look for the new LP via Drag City on April 19th.
So if you’re not going to that ACL thing that’s going on in our city or attending an after show related to the fest, it’s time to make your Friday night a slam dunk. LA’s Wand are coming down to Barracuda with their psych rock in tow, and you should be there. Their latest effort,Plum, which came out last month, showed the band headed down a slightly different direction than the past, with more focus on the vocals of front man Cory Hanson and in creating more in depth song structures. The result is an excellent release, and I’m stoked to see how the band fleshes them out at Barracuda. Doors are at 9, and make sure you get there early to catch openers Darto, Hidden Ritual and The Maples. Tickets are only 15 bucks– scoop ’em here. Also fall in love with the band’s new stuff with “Blue Cloud” below.
We’re about two weeks out from the release of Plum, the new LP by Wand. I like their approach thus far, giving us little glimpses of the band’s future, all with slightly different turns, musically speaking. This one is really something, a 7 minute opus carefully structured with varying movements from start to finish. Lofty folk vibes radiate from the song’s early moments, and rides that wave for a minute before slinking back, leaving an opening for the band to take a heavy-handed jam through the song’s close. Seems like there is so much going on in this record, but we’ll have to hold back judgment until it’s released via Drag City on 9/22.
I continue to be impressed by the shifting sonics of Wand; I thought I had them pegged, but clearly not at all. This new video has some heavy handed indie rock riffs, but the way Cory’s voice is recorded in between those riffs gives off a slight Thom Yorke vibe…and then there’s that restless dream bit that floats in just after the 2 minute mark, punctuated by the ethereal notes seeping through your speakers. It closes with a bit of an emphatic jam (and clown dance), leaving me to remark that the song goes all over the place, only to stay stationery. At this point, its safe to assume that Plum is going to be a real joy to listen to, though exactly what we can expect, only the folks at Drag City (and the band) know…look for it on September 22nd.
Long ago, for some reason, Wand got lumped in with the Ty Segall crowd; that’s fair, considering songwriter Cory has played with Ty in various projects. But, as we’ve seen over the last two releases, Wand is entirely an act on their own territory. This latest single finds the band walking the territory between bouncier elements of Spoon and the lingering melodies of Radiohead. Maybe this is what California’s version of Spiritualized sounds like? Whatever it is, there’s no heavy riffs needed anymore, just the creative process and the perfect execution. Look for the band’s new album this September via Drag City…surely we’ll be hearing much more leading up to its release.
It seems like every one on the Internet today is posting this Wand tune, which is fair considering I think it’s going to propel the band to the next level. Up until now, I’ve felt that the band have been living just beneath the cusp of stardom, crafting heavy-handed psych rock that’s a little more developed than many of their peers. This tune sees the band dropping full on into the pop spectrum, though they still employ those huge fuzzy guitar riffs. You’ll be able to hear this crunchy number on the band’s new album, 1000 Days, which is being released by Drag City on September 25th.
For what is going to be their third full length album in a little over a year, Wand has returned with a new single as well as news that 1000 Days will be released through Drag City. This single, “Stolen Footsteps” is an eerie psych track that hinges on a mellower sound than we’ve heard from the group, but one that definitely caught my attention. If you watch the video, you’ll hear the subtler sound, but then there’s Cory Hanson’s enticing vocals that hook you in while fuzzy synths ground the song. Get ready for another great release from these guys coming September 25th.
This year SXSW got the best of me, and since I’m still living with the aftermath of the fest in terms of a nasty cold I figure I’d share my own superlatives of SX. I had a very different festival than the dudes of this site, which I’m referring to as SXSWJR: hitting up the low key events and only ever standing in one line for the whole fest, which I daresay is some kind of feat. Read on for my distribution of praise and a few super special secret awards that Nathan and RayRay didn’t include.
It wasn’t too long ago that the LA boys of Wand put out their debut album, Ganglion Reef. In fact, it was only August of last year that they first jumped on to the garage rock scene and started wowing audiences with their own take on the buzziest genre of the indiesphere. Now they’ve returned quickly with this sophomore release, moving to a more straightforward and all out rock approach than their first album, which adds to the overall energy of the music and creates for a loud and fun second effort.
Immediately on opening track “The Unexplored Map,” you can already hear the sonic differences that the band has made in the short time period of their first and second releases. There’s a newfound heaviness to those garage guitars, which put them more on the metal/grunge side of things versus the laid-back noise of those lighter sounding riffs found for the most part on Ganglion Reef. Of course there were signs of this band’s deeply rooted darkness on that first album; the dark approach isn’t out of nowhere. This first track lets you hear the change in pacing as well from Wand—the song sounds deeply grounded and involves a lot of stop and go percussion that points you again to the hardcore side of garage rock. Next up is “Self Hypnosis In Three Days,” a similarly loud and rambunctious number, but one that hedges on the psychedelic genre of rock. The vocals of Cory Hanson are all psychedelic, reverb drenched and wafting in and out of the ever-changing style of this song. One moment you have distorted guitars going hard, and then a little later the band cuts out to just vocals and some gentle strumming, giving you a reprieve of the hard trip before they launch right back in.
The sound gets changed up a little bit on “Reaper Invert,” which comes third up on the album and continue this into “Melted Rope.” The first of these two songs is on the edge the whole time, constantly threatening to switch from eerie to murderous at any second, but it doesn’t ever fully launch into the super hardcore sound that we’ve already encountered on the album, but lingers in the ominous zone. Don’t get me wrong, this song still brings the rock, but it’s more psychedelic than grunge. “Melted Rope” has this same psychedelic twist, but on a slower and calmer level. There are acoustic guitars on this tune, and the vocals take center stage, providing a softness that is unheard on the rest of the album.
But what Ganglion Reef had a little more of that Golem doesn’t is variety; yes, this album is more spirited and rocking this second time around, but in this transfer it sometimes feels like Wand has slightly lost a little bit of nuance in their music. This, however, may just be a matter of taste: if you’re inclined to like your garage rock on the more hardcore side, then Golem will surely win your heart.