Fact: I have been sick a lot recently, and as a result I haven’t left the 12′ X 12′ room that contains my entire life for anything more than a box of tissues and a cup of handheld soup. You’d think that’s a good time to write a lot, I’d argue otherwise. Side note, I now love the TV show Dexter.
Fact-er: Due to my short recent history of being cooped up, I desire an adventure. I now have my soundtrack.
Wildcat! Wildcat! is a band that I very recently introduced on this sight as a Feed The Beat band that hit it big this past Spring opening for Passion Pit at SXSW (as seen in the hour-long documentary “Hello Everywhere“). I feel as if a more appropriate introduction is necessary, so here goes nothing. The group is a Los Angeles indie rock/awesome trio made up of Jesse Taylor, Michael Wilson, and Jesse Carmichael. The band, up until a few days ago, had a career based totally on the mass circulation of two Soundcloud links that rocketed them into the minds of the music blogiverse (a word I just made up. Here I come, Oxford!). The mumblings around the industry of “hmm, maybe these guys are something pretty cool” quickly turned into “wow, these guys are something really cool”, and now we have a four-track EP that breeds not so many new things from the group besides making these songs come out on an official release, in the form of the Wildcat! Wildcat! EP. These songs have either been released or performed in bulk by the band the last few months but hey, let’s talk about it anyway.
The EP starts off with “Please And Thank You”, a slow starting electric organ and claps number that is polished with glowing synths and the band’s soon-to-be recognizable, disgustingly beautiful vocal harmonies. After moving through some simply dazzling chorus (with packed on basses, bells, and extra synths), the track passes through an amazing sense of dynamic and explosion, while still keeping the same almost epic and ballad-like sound. Quite frankly, I would be impressed with just this song. The next track is “The Chief”, which is much more drum heavy and groovy. The backing beat is reverb-soaked and hefty, and the bass and keys drive through until slipping into a soft interlude, and onto an impressive build up/bridge section that leads into a freaking saxophone solo. It is so awesome I actually laughed. That’s where we are at so far. The third song is “Mr. Quiche”, which, goofy name aside, is another strangely captivating one from these guys. This is the type of song that has a big heap of things you wouldn’t expect to go together smashed together in a way that somehow…well go together. The end result really is magical, and the vocal performance here is exceptional. The EP then closes out with “Garden Grays”, which is probably the most dancey of the EP’s songs. It also features some solid call and response vocals that close out the EP on a really great note, not that it hit a bad one…
My hope of this review is to get the people who’ve read my last piece about Wildcat! Wildcat! to understand something important. They are not “the band that opened for Passion Pit for SXSW”. I don’t want to be confusing, because factually that actually did happened. But my point is they should be known as “that awesome band that just came out with an awesome 4 track EP”, because they’ve proven that they are a band that deserves to have their name stand on its own. The Wildcat! Wildcat! EP gets an astounding 97/100, and I hope that they come out with an album soon.
Wildcat! Wildcat! Tracklisting:
- Please And Thank You
- The Chief
- Mr. Quiche
- Garden Grays
Yes, this includes VMA talk. But it’s short, and has nothing to do with twerking (which is now legally a word), I promise.
I bet I speak for many when I use the word “disgusted” to describe my feelings towards Taco Bell’s ridiculous amount of participation in this year’s MTV VMAs (yes, I mean the Moonman for “Artist To Watch (Presented by Taco Bell)”). I was even more disgruntled after finding out that the fast food chain had produced a documentary featuring Nutshell favorites Passion Pit, and their recent 2013 SXSW performance at the Hype Hotel with Wildcat! Wildcat! But then, after doing a bit of research, actually watching the movie, and even submitting to the power of a couple of late-night tacos, my perspective shifted. Not about the restaurant’s presence in the award show, of course. It was actually about the documentary, and the reasons behind the making of it.
First off, there’s a need to clarify. The rock-doc was in fact produced by Taco Bell…more or less. It was funded by the creator of fourth meal’s Feed the Beat program, which is entirely dedicated to the discovery and raising of new bands and musical acts. They help in ways ranging from free tour food to promotion, and even big shows. This where Passion Pit comes in, with the band actually being alumni of the program from during the time that Manners was starting to be shopped around. They teamed up with Feed the Beat again, this time to both return to a festival that they had less than amicable feelings about, and also to support the upbringing of virtually unknown indie rock group Wildcat! Wildcat!, who exploded in a ridiculously similar manner to the way that Passion Pit did a few years ago: online marketing (or a lack thereof) that led to a fluctuation in popularity of one of the band’s tracks. The rest, for Passion Pit anyways, is history. Wildcat! Wildcat!’s journey is just beginning, very specifically at the SXSW show where they opened for Passion Pit. Which is where this film just so happens to start.
The creative part about this movie is that, despite the focus on one specific concert, the content expands way past that. Between sit down conversations with both focus bands, you see many huge topics in the music industry get touched upon. One of the most notable is when Passion Pit frontman Michael Angelakos actually praises the benefits of illegal downloading and filesharing of music, even going so far as to say “Piracy is the reason that we have a career…at the end of the day it still benefits the band.” The internet is a huge part of the industry according to both bands, with the members of Wildcat! Wildcat! discussing the importance of social media sites taking the place of fans who will stick around to tell you that a show was great. Drummer Jesse Carmichael describes these thoughts as “opinions of people that 5, 10 years ago you would’ve never even known existed…that’s the way we can hear these stories.” Between these interviews, along with interviews of fans, you also get a feel of how unique SXSW as a whole really is, with almost every show being an intimate one.
However, an intimate show doesn’t mean it’s something to scoff at. The documentary goes out of its way to state that it is one of the smallest shows on Passion Pit’s tour. But to Wildcat! Wildcat!, a show at a packed 1500-capacity venue with online streaming and live documentary film crews, it’s no laughing matter. This is a fascinating part of the movie that shows how different two band’s perspectives can be on literally the same exact thing. And the cameras rolled throughout both pre-interviews, post-interviews, and the performance itself to catch every moment of emotion from both bands, whether it be fear, excitement, or anything in between.
Hello Everywhere is one of the most honest documentaries I’ve seen in a while. Maybe not necessarily the most informative or most beneficial to me in history class, but I’ve never seen a film where the topic is as up front as a simple concert, where they just dive into it so clearly. If you are a fan of music, concerts, movies, tacos, or fun, then this is a movie to check out. You can stream it for free here, and if you’re interested, you can also find out more information on Taco Bell’s Feed the Beat program here. And I feel as if, since the main point of the movie is to promote them, I should also let you know that you can check out Wildcat! Wildcat! on their website for tour dates, music, and more.