One of the things I didn’t expect when I started Life in the Vinyl Lane was that I’d start getting emails about new releases from all kinds of labels and bands, sometimes even being offered early access to upcoming albums. Which is pretty cool, but I’ll be honest – generally speaking unless I already know about the album and am interested in hearing it, I don’t often take the time time to listen. My vinyl backlog is that huge most of the time. But sometimes I get an email that’s not a form letter, but an actual note from an artist. In those cases I almost always go check out their stuff. Sometimes it’s not my cup of tea; rarely, it just isn’t very good. In those cases I thank them, but don’t write about them, because I’m not here to trash someone’s music. Every now and again, though, those emails turn me on to something I really enjoy, like MALLEVS, and that makes it all worth while.
So the other day I got an email from Miles of We The Wild, a post-hardcore group just down the road a ways in Portland, Oregon. With the holidays I dragged my feet a bit, but yesterday I sat down to listen to their new single, “Still Asunder,” which you can check out for free online HERE. I was stopped in my tracks because musically this reminds me so much of Iceland’s Agent Fresco – the seemingly strange timing, the obvious jazz influences infused into a heavy rock song, the musical layers that make you pick up something different with each listen. Should I focus on the vocals? Or the drumming? Or what about that guitar work? What sets We The Wild apart from their Icelandic brethren is the vocals, which are heavily weighted towards hardcore, but that at times break off into harmonies. “Still Asunder” doesn’t fall into a nice, cliched musical package that you can just wrap a bow around and put a label on. It’s something different. Call it what you want – post-hardcore, math rock, whatever. I don’t care. What it is is something fresh that actually forces you to think and pay attention. Some listeners find this style of music to be, for lack of a better word, “difficult,” but if you’re willing to put in the time, you’ll start to hear the layers and realize that there is more than one way to solve a puzzle.
I decided to check out their other recent single as well, “Roxy, The Cops Are Here!,” and that just reinforced my impression that We The Wild are onto something interesting and thoughtful. Both songs are part of an upcoming new album that will be available on iTunes and also through the band’s assorted online presences. I suggest keeping tabs on them, because if the rest of their songs are like this pair, I think the album will be a winner.