WILD NOTHING and ABE VIGODA
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.
If you want to know how kids can get so fucked in the head growing up in southern california, you gotta know about Abe Vigoda. Chino is the home of this sort of No Wavey sort of Pop oriented sort of twisted punked 4 piece. You can see it in the way they pound the living shit out of the instruments they play, and you can see it in the way they talk about things they are interested in, these kids are fucked, but in a good way. Fucked in the way that they can make a good record and play really good shows above all odds, like having terminal cancer and mental illness. Juan will kiss you if you ask and they are HUGE in England.
Those who clocked Abe Vigoda’s transition from 2006’s debut Kid City to 2008’s startling tropical-punk Skeleton should know the LA quartet aren’t ones for repeating themselves. To Skeleton’s hot-hot-hot template, they now add glassy shards of ‘cold wave’ pop, with synthesisers, sequencers and altogether broodier beats. Scorching temperatures, icy currents... CRUSH is a thermal column of vertiginous brilliance!
But let’s not get bogged down in categories. Just as Skeleton was difficult to define, Crushis a similar collision of sound, another helter-skelter joy ride through four boys’ private party. Even so, there was a thought process behind this new surge. In 2009 Dane Chadwick replaced drummer Reggie Guerro, introducing a new style of regimented beats as well as other musical ideas to the table. “More than just rhythmically, Dane helped with melodies and most of the electronics on the album,” says vocalist Michael Vidal.
Meanwhile, guitarist Juan Velasquez had already posted the fact he dug UK dreampop and goth. To which Vidal adds, “My favorite kind of music is instantly nostalgic and emotionally confusing. And reverb has always been a big part of our sound. We were definitely inspired by cold wave and minimal wave stuff, as well as Arthur Russell.”
From the pell-mell pop of "Sequins" to the New Romantic crush of "Throwing Shade" and the title track’s MBV scree, Crush feels a long way from the Smell Club band scene of AV’s roots. For one, they’ve added so much emotion to their sonics, to which the album title bears testament - crush meaning both the infatuation kind of love and the act of destroying something..
Wreck is the debut full length LP from Minneapolis three-piece Claps. With 9 tracks of surging synth tones and dark bass notes, a breath of pop is found in it's dark whispers. Wreck beckons fans of Depeche Mode, OMD and Joy Division, though stays true to their alliance to minimal synth by relying decidedly on the heart of the analog synth. Claps prior EP's No Party and New Science featured exclusively analog synths, stripped down melodies, detached vocals as well as remixes from local Minneapolis musicians.