There are thrill rides and then there is Racecar Orgasm, the fast, loud and out of control new album from Chicago singer-songwriter Xoe Wise that accelerates from her folk pop starting line to delve deeper into electro rock fantasies. “Some people will assume the obvious, that the music is fun and it’s sexual. And it is. But it’s also a metaphor for how fast we are advancing as a society. We want everything at a high speed and that is where both thrill and danger reside,” says Wise of the subliminal message behind the upcoming 2015 release, which will be preceded by the equally gratifying Foreplay EP this spring.
To achieve the heavier, textured sounds heard in the slinky Garbage redux of “Cannibal,” the mechanical rainbow of “Crocodile Tamed” and the Imogen Heap-style programmable confessional “Where Do You Go,” Wise expanded her stable of keynote producers to include Matt Ritchert, Howie Beno (Ministry, Depeche Mode), Ethan Stoller ( V for Vendetta), Bjorn Thorsrud (Smashing Pumpkins, Dandy Warhols) and Zak Jablow (Kids These Days, Chance The Rapper.)
Racecar Orgasm and the Foreplay EP follow the trajectory the North Carolina native has already built with previous releases, such as 2009’s debut Echo, 2012’s folk pop release Archive of Illusions, which reached #41 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart and was promoted to the “New and Noteworthy” section, and 2013’s minimalist alt rock Breakfast EP that reached #20 on iTunes’s songwriter charts. The latter offered a collaboration with MC Nikki Lynette, “Too Young,” that qualified for NPR’s NewSong Regional Finals.
On each of her records, Wise has continued to build her relationship with prominent media including Chicago Tribune’s Redeye that called an early single “spiritual,” Chicago Innerview who recognized Wise as “easily the singer/songwriter and pop counterpart to Columbia native Chaz Bundick’s (a.k.a. Toro Y Moi) laconic chill-wave synth ballads” and The Deli Chicago that named Wise a best emerging artist of 2012. Wise has also been a Tunecore featured artist and enjoyed spotlights on MTV, WGN television, Fearless Radio and WLUW college radio.
The road is where Wise really thrives, logging considerable hours playing gigs from Hotel Café in Los Angeles to the House of Blues in Chicago. She previously toured with Lisa Loeb, Greg Laswell, Tyrone Wells, Daley, Tim Fite and once had Microsoft foot the bill for her headlining 25-date tour. When she’s not in the Racecar seat, Wise also plays keyboard and sings lead vocals for Chicago synth pop act Kinky Love. A record release show is planned for Schubas on May 13 as well as a full tour to be announced soon. [Selena Fragassi]