1.5 hrs of Sporcle app later, Brandon Bown, Zach Smith, and I stepped into the white-roped lobby of the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It was the fully realized pardisio of my reoccurring dreams – stuffed coyotes wearing pink plastic necklaces, clear glass showers, and poolside servers offering chilaquiles and designer drinks, all together in one convenient desert location. After steeping in the artificially-cooled pool for 9 hours, we ducked into the the King’s Highway lounge for the melodic pleasure-set of the electro-indie trio Wildcat! Wildcat!.
W! W! is a marketing and promotional grindhouse. They have released 0 full-length albums, 0 EPs, and 0 singles. They have, however, released 3 free tracks on various music blogs and underground radiocasts. It has been a surprisingly successful campaign, their white knight track “Mr. Quiche” toppling Katy Perry at #14 on Hype Machine, and their follow-up “The Chief” reaching #19. Canadian dance duo The Dirty Tees picked up “Mr. Quiche” and remixed a murkier version, promptly tweetjaculating it everywhere and expanding W! W!’s fanbase far beyond the LA subscene.
With the increased press, Wildcat! Wildcat! even managed to turn the heads of top unnamed film executives, who requested that they submit a song for the next installment of a major franchise. ”Yeah, I know what you’re thinking because I was thinking the same thing,” Zach quickly added as he told me the news. “But then I looked up the soundtrack and saw Bon Iver and Thom Yorke and Iron & Wine on the list, and I decided that if they were on it, it was fine.” All of this without any semblance of an album, or a single Amazon or iTunes release.
W! W! thrives live, but their limited stable of recordings are a sonic technicolor combining Active Child, Miike Snow, Junior Boys, M83, Justice, and Grizzly Bear. They use 0 guitars, instead filling their mids with two sets of wavering synths and a smattering of layered falsetto vocals. The arcing harmonies hover atop tightly bonded beats that drive emotional hues, all executed with model restraint. The results are concentrically energy-revved and cascading. The band’s three members, Jesse Taylor, Michael Wilson, and Jesse Carmichael, have known each other for over 15 years, and their childhood connection clearly animates W! W!’s stunning live production.
The show is littered with gems, including a cover of XTC’s 80′s hit “Making Plans for Nigel” that shape-shifts the tune with eerie oohs and dark drums. Their final song is always “Marfa,” the danciest one of all. After cropping into a nasty groove, the song breaks for a trioed chant. A feeling of triumph washes over the crowd, and we all join in, slowly building to a final beat bath that causes everyone to lose their minds.
Music aside, the members of W! W! are magnificent people. They travel with a bit of an entourage; a close-knit group of 20 or so, some of whom have known the band since childhood. It felt a bit like Edward Sharpe’s consort, but without the hint of polygamy. I spent the most time with Jesse Carmichael, W! W!’s drummer. He was shoot-from-the-hip hilarious and immediately likable. Carmichael’s wedding had been held at the Ace only weeks before, and the excitement was still in the air, infusing the band’s live show and enveloping the rest of the weekend.
Below are links to their songs, again, all free.
If you would like to see them live, the band is beginning a residency at The Echo in August, playing for free every Monday night. We hope to see you there.