Wavves, “King of the Beach”
Each week, WMSE reports its airplay charts to the College Music Journal (CMJ), tracking what our DJs spin the week-prior (check out the weekly, updated list *here*). Part of the business of tracking involves ‘adding’ what we think will get lots of spins right out of the gate. Whether we think these releases will grow to be popular because of general buzz, or it’s a reissue of something we just know the WMSE DJs will play the heck out of, or something we hope that’ll get a ton of spins, WMSE chooses five ‘adds’ each week from several add choices that promotes and publicists throw at us.
The musician’s promoters or labels tell us what’s what: who’s been getting praise and why we should add their releases. This all helps in the decision-making process. How did it all add up this past week? Read some of their convincing words, below, then listen to a track from each artist and make your own decision. Will these albums be popping up on WMSE’s charts over the next three months like nobody’s business, or will they be a flash in the pan?
Wavves: King of the Beach / Fat Possum
While the promoters of Wavves nary sent us a schtick-y email, WMSE knows this release will be a hit with all the garage/psych/lo-fi rock fans out there. We’ve been watching Wavves ever since they’ve gotten the nod from the media in 2008 and have subsequently put out two stellar releases. The line-up’s a bit reconfigured (drummer Billy Hayes and bassist Stephen Pope, formerly of Jay Reatard’s band now join singer/guitarist Nathan Williams) and the resulting new album is a fierce blast of gritty beach sand and triumphant sunburned glows.
Autolux: Transit Transit / TBD
Graham from The Syndicate says this of Autolux: “Transit Transit is the sophomore album from LA-based trio, Autolux. The band have been crafting the songs that make up the album since 2006, as well as playing sold out shows, an appearance at the Flaming Lips’-curated ATP, and opening for Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace. There is a notable sonic progression throughout Transit Transit: vintage synthesizers and manipulated ambience glue the songs together, several tracks are built around piano, each member takes turns with lead vocals, harmonies are abundant, and even a bit of trumpet: all coalescing into beautiful, complex songs. RIYL: Deerhunter, A Place To Bury Strangers, Film School, Asobi Seksu.”
Colour Revolt, “Our Names”
Colour Revolt: The Cradle / Dualtone
WMSE had to a bit of scouting around for info on this band, but what we turned up we liked, in the form of prior Paste Magazine coverage. In 2008 Paste writes of the Oxford, Mississippi band, “fun fact: Three members of the band are also in a Pavement cover band that is so good it “even f****up correctly. Why Its Worth Watching: Colour Revolt combines the more adventurous side of indie rock with soaring dynamics and a Southern mentality.” Sounds alright to us…
Mt St Helens Vietnam Band, “Leaving Trails”
Mt St Helens Vietnam Band: Where the Messengers Meet / Dead Oceans
Cora from Distiller Promo says, “Where The Messengers Meet is in real time, an expansion of the sound of Mt St Helens Vietnam Band’s eponymous debut. They take the same frantic and skewed elements and stretch them out, giving them room to breathe and blossom. Thematically, Where The Messengers Meet is an exercise in contrasts: the delicate and gentle, the dark and furious. And while it has only been 18 months since Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band’s self-titled debut, they have traveled what feels like thousands of miles.
“Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band collects powerful compositions into one cohesive whole held together with lush production and a haunting atmosphere. They are imperceptibly inching away from an angular style influenced by Modest Mouse and Wolf Parade, instead incorporating an epic sound recalling both the modern masters such as Arcade Fire, and classic pioneers, like Pink Floyd. Lead track “Leaving Trails,” was rightly described in SPIN Magazine as a cut that ‘showcases Benjamin Verdoes’ distorted yet atmospheric vocals and commanding yet subtle guitar work, which switches from ominous to uplifting. Fleshed out by Jared Price (bass), the song’s sound is simultaneously chaotic and soothing.’
“Still true on Where The Messengers Meet are classic rock-informed guitar leads and thundering anthems, but the band carefully melds those elements with subtle organ sounds, layered strings and a measure of restraint. This band has taken their past, and transformed it. The hooks are still prevalent, the catchy sing-along moments not forgotten, but with the help of engineer / co-producer Jonathan Warman, they arrived at something much grander. The songs feel related to one another lyrically, musically, thematically–it feels like a true album, something that holds together from start to finish.”
Colleen and Paul, “Mermaids and Surfer Girls”
Colleen and Paul: S/T / Boompa
Jerry from Vitriol says, “Colleen And Paul merges the multi-faceted talents of two highly respected members of the Toronto music community, Colleen Hixenbaugh and Paul Linklater. The creative chemistry between the duo dates back to a first encounter five years ago. Colleen was then touring internationally and recording as guitarist in Canadian indie rock band, By Divine Right, while Paul was beginning to get noticed on the Toronto scene via his own band The Scribbled Out Man. A mutual respect and instantaneous rapport lead to the formation of their first musical partnership, the recording and touring rockband Jackandginger. Their respective other commitments then took over and the outfit disbanded, but the strength of the creative bond between Colleen And Paul kept the writing partnership alive.
“The two soon had enough material to record and album and decided they would make it a proper release and tour behind it. The folks at Vancouver-based Boompa Records took notice and signed the duo. Equally unadorned, simple, and honest, the self-titled album is a labour of love that unites these friends and musical kindred spirits. Colleen And Paul are singers, songwriters and guitarists with unique creative visions. She’s a highly imaginative wordsmith; he’s a musical wizard with an intuitive flair for melody. Together, they have forged a unique style: ‘60s folk-pop with indie rock influences, with hues of psychedelia painted with Colleen’s sometimes surreal but always engaging lyrics.”