I wrote about the Vivian Girls’ new ouput a few days ago; the more I think about it, the more it seems that the band I’m writing about today, Wavves, have, to some extent, been the Vivian Girls of 2009.
Sonic and geographical similarities aside, they’ve had similarly rocky roads into ‘hypedom’.
These days most bands that arrive on this hallowed ground do it something this:
Gain some rep through a few blogs, get blown up from relative obscurity after a few favourable write-ups in some of the higher echelons of the independent music press and then a Best New Music review from the ultimate, unarguable arbiters of good music, Pitchfork, and your rough’n'ready, lo-fi, and slightly amateurish part time band is suddenly touring the world and giving interviews to the press who follow your every move and chronicle your every utterance with baited breath.
The Vivian Girls got a few vaguely sexist swipes made at them, but for the most part, they came through 2008 scratch free and are still mostly beloved – by those that loved them in the first place, at least. Sure there were the infamous bathtub ‘normal people’ and the snobby ‘just write a good song‘ interviews, but we’ll put that down to some self-aware, hipster, brooklynite irony – or maybe, not, whatever.
Wavves, on the other hand, have barely avoided breaking up completely as they shot through the stratosphere after gaining that most valuable piece of hype.
There was the drug-fueled meltdown at Primavera, admittance of an alcohol addiction that saw their European tour cut short, and then, to top off a bittersweet year to say the least, Nathan broke his wrist skateboarding on the eve of an appearance at Pitchfork’s music festival in Chicago.
He pushed through the pain barrier, though, and his performance at that festival was a redemptive experience of sorts, not quite a comeback – is it possible to have a comeback when it was merely months ago that you ‘came’? – but at least a return to an upward curve.
And that upward curve seems to be continued with Cool Jumper, which is easily one of his best tracks yet, which is saying something considering that the album is one of my picks of 2009. Clocking in at six minutes it’s pretty long by Wavves standards, but it loses none of that trademark aggression or immediacy in doing so. Same old fuzzed out, lo-fi guitars, relentless percussion – made particularly relentless by a guest appearance by Zach Hill – and surf-rock style ‘woo-hoo’ vocals.
Check it out.
MP3: Wavves – Cool Jumper
MP3: Wavves – So Bored