(Record Release flier by Carlos Salas)
In late 2011 three friends who’d never made music together started working on what would become Wild Moth, a driving, jangly, post-punk band with infectious songs and distinctive aesthetic. In the four years since, they’ve expanded their lineup, released over 30 songs, toured the West Coast extensively, and made brief stops around the rest of the States. Unlike the dark, lead-driven post-punk the Bay is known for, Wild Moth’s sound is anchored on big chords, and upbeat rhythms – a unique style that’s made them one of the most recognizable names in the thriving Bay scene.
In 2013 Wild Moth released their Asian Man records debut – Over, Again – 11 tracks of spindly, angsty punk indebted to Drive like Jehu and Mission of Burma – aggressive, grainy music grounded with pop sensibility. Almost exactly two years later the band have released their 2nd LP on the small but careful curated New York label, Iron Pier.
Inhibitor is a distinct change in what’s been a delicately administered sound and visual style. The LP cover art is a step away from their deeply rooted iconography of black and white images paired with stark text; a collaboration with Justin Gallegos (Dream Decay), Inhibitor‘s cover features a clean image of two hands in motion, pushing through a stream of thick, pink, paint-like fluid. The music is more polished as well, moving away from the frantic, jangly sound of past releases and taking a more ‘big-rock’ approach – longer songs, carefully choreographed leads and large, accented drum fills. The vocals have also shifted from largely call and response between Carlos (bass) and Austin (guitar), to highlighting Austin’s singing, which has shifted up a bit in range since their last LP, cutting through the dense wall of guitars more effectively than the baritone vocals of past releases. Songs like “Buried” showcase the stronger emphasis on pop song writing, with drummer Calbert Tung providing light, airy harmonies during the chorus. Rather than obscuring their influences, the band make direct references, recalling Isn’t Anything era My Bloody Valentine on “V” and the pitch-bending harmonics on “Mirror” and “Drain”.
This Friday the band are celebrating the new record and a planned US tour at Oakland’s Humanist Hall, a large community space that will be hosting Wild Moth and friends Nervous, Terry Malts, and Composite. The show emphasizes the friendships the band have made over the years, including not only other ‘rock’ acts but also local artists and food vendors. Although not uncompromising, the band push for primarily all-ages shows in alternative spaces, preferring to avoid the atmosphere of bars and traditional venues. After half a decade together in the Bay, the band’s bassist and man behind almost all of their show fliers, Carlos Salas, will be relocating to Brooklyn at the end of the year. Although by no means the end of Wild Moth, their appearances will be a bit more infrequent. All the more reason to get to the gig this weekend.
~Listen to Inhibitor in full below~
(Inhibitor cover by Justin Gallegos)