Centre Of Your Universe is the new 2014 album from Wax Witches, the solo project of Bleeding Knees Club frontman Alex Wall. Wax Witches' first release, 2013's Celebrity Beatings was born out of a particular set of circumstances - bored at home alone between Bleeding Knees Club tours, Wall taught himself to record and came up with a collection of bratty lo-fi songs that reflected his formative influences of Cali punks The Descendents and Black Flag. Touted as a side project, Celebrity Beatings surpassed expectations after receiving support from national Australian broadcaster triple j and community radio alike, alongside a US release via LA-based label Burger (home to records by The Black Lips, Ty Segall and OFF!).
After great response to the album and encouragement from the American label to make another record right away, Wall saw an opportunity to expand the Wax Witches universe with a bigger and brighter set of sounds, and relocated his home base to Brooklyn, New York. While still nodding to Wall's garage-psych roots, the impetus for this new Wax Witches album was somewhat different. He says "I had so much time and inspiration while recording this album! The thrill of New York gave me the energy to make a much more ambitious album."
Mixed by Berkfinger (Feelings and Philadelphia Grand Jury) at his Golden Retriever studio in Berlin, and mastered by Dan Walker (The Death Set) in New York, the 11 songs on Centre Of Your Universe reel in a wider set of reference points. There's the grinding grunge of Sonic Youth ("Too Young To Die") and anthemic punk-pop of Weezer ("Ultra-Outcast"), to the hypnotic space-rock of Spacemen 3 ("Codeine Crush") and shoegaze trippiness of Brian Jonestown Massacre ("Serotonin Syndrome"). "I listen to such a big range of music styles and get so obsessed with all of them," Alex admits. "I really tried to add little bits from everything thing I was into at the time onto the album. Sometimes it's hard to fit everything you want to express onto one album."
Lyrically, Centre Of Your Universe touches on typical twentysomething concerns of awkwardness ("Social Introvert") and celebrity worship culture ("I'm Not Your Idol So I Shouldn't Be Yours", sung by Wall's teenaged sister Grace), but it also examines rock's mythical death club ("Twenty Seven") as well as including joyous odes to sun and beer ("Summer Suckers") and burritos and Xbox ("Head Shave").
On the live front, Wax Witches have played chaotic shows with Thee Oh Sees plus homegrown heroes The Grates, Step-Panther and Go Violets. Since landing in the USA, Wax Witches have completed a West Coast tour including a slot at the label's Burgerama III extravaganza in Santa Ana alongside The Black Lips, Mac DeMarco and Fidlar, plus an East Coast run supporting The Death Set. "I'm super proud of this record," says Alex. "And I can't wait for people to hear it! I think it's the best thing I've done musically. I'm really lucky to have awesome labels in the USA and Australia releasing it too. I'm itching to get back out playing shows with these new songs as soon as I can."