For the review of the new single from psychedelic southern California band Wand, I’m joined once again by fellow traveler Funky Donny Fred.
FDF: Duuu-uu-uu-ude… new album from WAND! Wait a minute — didn’t you write about a new album earlier this year?
LN: That’s right, Funky Donny Fred. Sound It Out also covered their first album not even a year ago. I guess Wand have become an emblematic SIO band, and with good reason: they have an awesome, distinctive sound that’s heedless of musical fashion, and they unfailingly push themselves into new creative territory. This third album, 1000 Days, is a doozy, adding an electronic element to their grizzled psychedelic fare as featured on new single “Stolen Footsteps.”
FDF: Whoa. This sounds like vintage Gary Numan, or maybe late-period Hawkwind.
LN: I’ll admit it’s a curious lead single, insofar as it gives almost no indication of how Wand can play a crunching, epic alt-rock that could reach a wide audience. But “Stolen Footsteps” does prepare listeners for their left turn from the relentless attack on the last album. There are places on 1000 Days where I hear the exquisite acoustic melodicism of Love’s Forever Changes, for example. And this almost perverse choice for a single to announce the new album is consistent with Wand’s modus operandi — a fantastical, idiosyncratic perspective that the band pursues even at the expense of mass communion.
FDF: These guys are out there. And this is being released on Drag City Records!
LN: Their graduation to the legendary indie-rock label seems on par with the scope of their ambitions. Wand’s remarkable run of records within the span of a single year — all recorded, I might add, while on seemingly endless tour — is for me one of the most exciting stories in independent music recently.
FDF: It’s like no one told Wand that bands can’t make a career like this anymore! Who’s gonna buy all those albums? Who goes to concerts to see the opening bands play anymore?
LN: With their pupil-dilated frenzy of recording and touring activity, you know who Wand remind me of? The Flaming Lips.
FDF: Huh… yeah, I can see that. The Lips even have that song “The W.A.N.D.”
LN: You’re right! Although I don’t mean their later, more accessible period…
FDF: With the giant hamster balls and stuffed animal people…
LN: … right, so much as the early Flaming Lips: the freaky, dirty road warriors who released those weird, seemingly non sequitur albums out of nowhere and would upstage headlining bands with their smoke machines and strobe lights.
FDF: Whoa — flashback.
LN: Oh Funky Donny Fred, veteran of a thousand psychic wars…
WAND ON TOUR: Aug. 28 – Paris, FR @ Rock En Sein Festival
Aug. 29 – Geneva, CH @ L’Usine
Sept. 1 – Zurich, CH @ Kinski Club
Sept. 3 – Lisbon, PT @ Lux Fragil
Sept. 4 – Vlieland, NL @ Into The Great Wide Open Festival
Sept. 5 – Maastricht, NL @ Bruis Festival
Sept. 6 – Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, UK @ End Of The Road Festival
Sept. 7 – Bristol, UK @ The Exchange
Sept. 8 – Brighton, UK @ Green Door Store
Sept. 9 – London, UK @ Electrowerks Upstairs
Sept. 10 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Sept. 11 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
Sept. 12 – Birmingham, UK @ Rainbow House
Sept. 13 – Le Havre, FR @ Le Tetris
Sept. 14 – Tilburg, NL @ Incubate Festival
Sept. 15 – Copenhagen, DK @ Loppen
Sept. 16 – Helsinki, FI @ Kuudes Linja
Sept. 17 – Antwerp, BE @ Trix club show
Sept. 18 – Angers, FR @ Levitation Festival
Sept. 19 – Leffinge, BE @ Leffingeleuren Festival
Sept. 21 – Barcelona, ES @ BAM Festival
Oct. 31 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
Nov. 1 – Seattle, WA @ Narwhal
Nov. 3 – Missoula, MT @ The Real Lounge
Nov. 5 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Entry
Nov. 6 – Iowa City, IA @ Witching Hour Festival
Nov. 7 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
Nov. 10 – Toronto, ON @ Adelaide Hall
Nov. 11 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz
Nov. 12 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East (upstairs)
Nov. 13 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
Nov. 14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade NYC
Nov. 15 – Washington, DC @ DC9
Nov. 16 – Asheville, NC @ Tiger Mountain
Nov. 18 – Atlanta, GA @ 529
Nov. 19 – Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone
Nov. 20 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
Nov. 21 – Austin, TX @ Red 7 (inside)
Nov. 22 – El Paso, TX @ Lowbrow Palace
Nov. 24 – Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture
Nov. 25 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.