CT5 - Five Years of Captured Tracks Day 2: Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils

Wild Nothing

Nocturne is the follow up release to Wild Nothing's critically acclaimed debut 'Gemini'.
Ask Jack Tatum what 'Wild Nothing' means and he'll answer: 'a contradiction'. In 2010, 21 year old Tatum released one of the finest cult pop records of the summer whilst ensconced in his senior year of college in Blacksburg, VA, a small mid-atlantic town better known for producing football fans and engineers than musicians. Tatum lives in contradictions. You'll often hear Wild Nothing referred to as a 'one man pop band'. Jack creates in the studio, alone. On the road, he's with a band. There are two Wild Nothings.
The critically acclaimed debut 'Gemini' was underpinned with summery childhood longings, and shot through with the instant dichotomy of anxiety and almost whimsical paranoia. The album, which was home recorded by Tatum and rooted heavily in 80's indie-pop, quickly gained popularity throughout the internet. Tatum assembled a band of Virginia friends and hit the road for the first time. 'Gemini' showed a promising future for a songwriter who wore his influences on his sleeve while still approaching pop craftsmanship in his own way. When asked about it in regards to 'Nocturne', Jack states:
I don't think it's going to be a secret to anyone that I care about pop music, but it's definitely more my sense of what pop music used to be or even what pop music would be in my ideal world.
The new album 'Nocturne', is a window into Tatum's "ideal world" of pop music. Written largely while living in Savannah, GA during 2011, the songs that became 'Nocturne' speak to a new Wild Nothing where the lines between Jack's influences and personality have been further blurred. The album features some open references to past music just as 'Gemini' did, but it's also an album that feels much less rooted in anything in particular and, well, more adult.
'Gemini' was written before there were Wild Nothing fans or even a live band; 'Nocturne' is different. With an unexpected fan base to turn to, Jack spent more time perfecting his craft. The obsessiveness of 'Nocturne' is inherent in it's gentle harmonies, orchestrated synths, wandering voice, and songs that speak of his post-Gemini experiences as he explores new paradoxes of pop.
And yet Nocturne' isn't obvious, it is a strange and distinctive musical beast, the product of an obsessive pop vision that creates its own reality.

Beach Fossils

Beach Fossils began in 2009 as the solo project of Dustin Payseur. Before and after the 2010 release of the S/T debut LP and 2011’s What A Pleasure EP, they performed around the world with a lineup that once featured Cole Smith (DIIV) and John Peña (Heavenly Beat). They quickly became known for their highly energetic stage show, bringing the recorded work to a volume and tempo that would make even the indie-est of crowds wind up in a frenzy. With the exception of drummer Tommy Gardner, that lineup dissolved to pursue their ambitions with the aforementioned projects. Wanting to bridge the gap between the live and recorded aspects of the band, Dustin began writing Clash the Truth determined to capture the urgency, human flow and spontaneity of the live performance.

Now with a full time drummer (and co-writer of two tracks on the LP) Beach Fossils entered the studio in the fall of 2012 with producer Ben Greenberg of The Men. Instead of merely going from a “bedroom DiY” project to a “better fidelity studio project” the deliberate decision to work with Ben was determined to capture, if not in style, the spirit and enthusiasm of punk and aggressive music in general. To ensure that dynamic, the drums were recorded live in a room with Dustin on bass to give the album a driving and energetic force. Consider the titles “Generational Synthetic,” “Caustic Cross” and “Burn You Down,” it’s easy to see how the record, while not a punk or post-punk record by strict definition, certainly nods to the first major influence of Dustin’s creative spark. The first two notes of the title track that kick the LP off are a clear indicator of where his head was at.

The LP also sees Dustin stretching his songwriting muscles, with the acoustic Lennon-esque “Sleep Apnea” and the dreamy “In Vertigo”, which features the vocals of Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead). During the recording period, the studio was flooded and destroyed by hurricane Sandy and the band had to relocate to another studio to finish the LP in earnest. It all came together when the work of legendary video artist Peter Campus was finalized to be featured throughout the release and on the striking cover. Clash the Truth marks a clear progression in the ongoing story of Beach Fossils. Drawing from the previous works’ melodic strengths and uncanny guitar textures emboldened by a sound closer to their energetic and cathartic live set, it’s the clear next step in the trajectory of the band and the dis-association from the home-recording boom from which it originated.

Widowspeak is an American band comprised of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas, known for its dreamy, western-tinged take on rock and roll. The outfit formed in 2010 and released two singles in 2011 (Harsh Realm, Gun Shy) followed by a debut album (self-titled) in the summer of that year, all on Brooklyn label Captured Tracks. Widowspeak was praised for its reverential spaciousness, Hamilton’s haunting voice, and Thomas’s spindly, Morricone-esque guitar lines; both drawing on 1950’s pop ballads and 1970’s psych, creating languid call-and-response melodies. The band then toured extensively, wearing in their warm, nostalgic sound.
The Swamps is the newest release from American swoon lords Widowspeak. It arrives as bridge between the duo’s sophomore album, Almanac, and an as yet untitled third studio record. Here the band’s characteristic sonic landscapes, haunting harmonies, and layers of delicate guitar-work usher in a new chapter in their dark and dreamy catalog. Inspired by the light-choked wetlands of its title, The Swamps brims with songs about fears of stagnation and the pitfalls of nostalgia, but never relinquishes Widowspeak’s melodic optimism.
The Swamps will be released October 29, 2013 on Captured Tracks.

"Portland duo Soft Metals are Ian Hixx and Patricia Furpurse (or, at least, that's what they say their names are). Together, they make electronic music that borrows from both dark wave's menace and the glassy gaze of Italo disco. "The Cold World Melts" is anything but chilly -- rather, the interlocking synth lines that make up the tune are so hot that they might just melt your face off." --Pitchfork

Alex Calder

Edmonton, Canada is is better known for its oil exports than its songwriters. However, 23 year old Alex Calder is taking a strong step in towards this changing. Shifting to Vancouver saw Alex pairing with fellow Edmontonion Mac Demarco (that’s Alex as the female lead in the “Only You” video) playing in Makeout Videotape, scraping by, sleeping on couches and washing dishes. A move back to his mom’s in Edmonton was when Calder began to write and record his own material honing his craft only ever showing close friends his work.

A strong love for classic 60’s/70’s guitar pop (Beach Boys, Beatles) as well as soft spots for Prince and Hall and Oates display his self proclaimed ‘fascination with pop music’. While his influences certainly shape his work it is his natural ear for melody and movement, which make Calder’s work both fluid and engaging. His knack and ambition both in his song writing and production provide a solid foundation for Calder’s music to drift in an out of psychy realms.

‘Suki and Me’ has an air of mischief as it is tardily pushed along by it’s bass line, (apt for someone who’s perfect evening involves unlimited pinball and Bud) while avoiding the temptation that often comes with self-recording/producing to over layer his work. There are no over drenched chorus or walls of sound, instead leaving space for melody and texture to be neatly co-existent. Alex has found the sweet spot between slacker pop jangle and snug rhymtic production to create reassurance his songs have a are going somewhere.

To call his music lazy would be misdirected however, the sense of dragging is delicately addressed in almost voyeuristically in Lethargic. Intimate handclaps and shakers make it easy for one to visualize the living from which it came as Calder’s questions what to do with his time both literally and existentially.

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CT5 - Five Years of Captured Tracks Day 2: Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils with Widowspeak, Soft Metals, Alex Calder

Sunday, September 1 · Doors 3:00 PM at The Well