Led by Nathan Daniel William, who, when not watching Cops or drinking 40's in the park, blogs on classic rap and records waves of effortlessly great slack / crust / beach / punk compressed into 4 track cassettes in his San Diego bedroom.
Review by Jason Lymangrover
To set things straight, Wavvves is the second album by Wavves. The word "Wavves" is a multifaceted one, functioning as the name of Nathan Williams' solo project, the title of his debut album, and as one of that first album's best songs. In a continuing convoluted fashion, the cover photos for both albums (Wavves and Wavvves) are merely snapshots of a young skateboarder; no text. The first release (differentiated from the second by the skater kid's positioning, pictured here perched on the edge of a rustic wheelbarrow) was put out by Woodsist in early 2009. It's a slightly lopsided listen, wavering between self-indulgent filler ("Yoked," "Space Raider") and fantastic surf-punk gems buried in a shimmering lo-fi grime ("California Goths," "The Boys Will Love Us," and "Side Yr On"). The follow-up (adorned with the same tubesocked teen, this time truckgrinding on a ramp) has alternate track listings depending on the release date. Various copies were leaked early to the public, including one by De Stijl, and although it fared well on blogs due in no small part to the ultra-catchy "So Bored," the disc's better material was compromised by the lackluster tracks "More Fur" and "Ghost Ramp." Fortunately, this version was discontinued not long after the promo copies were distributed, and afterwards Wavves jumped labels again to Fat Possum, and a newer, more widely available, much improved record was released. All that said, Fat Possum's Wavvves not only beats out all other versions, but everything else leading up to it, including the two 7"s, a cassette, and an EP also concocted in 2009. Solving the initial problem that plagued Williams' earlier work, many of his trademark filler songs of purely noise static are eliminated on this Wavvves, leaving a well-sequenced album of fully realized, killer material. Like Times New Viking and Lovvers (yep, another lo-fi project with dual "v"s), the crude boombox-tape recording style and ever present buzzy fuzz surrounding these songs make them more edgy and endearing in their mangled volcanic state. Williams' careless slacker attitude and D.I.Y. aesthetic shines especially bright. Along with the brilliant slice-of-life pop single "No Hope Kids" and instantly hummable "So Bored," the chirpy hooks and fuzzy clatter of "Beach Demon" and "Gun in the Sun" surge with sunshine-filled boyish nostalgia.
Wavves is the one-man noise-pop project of 22-year-old San Diegan Nathan Williams. Since his homemade cassettes and mpfree turbulence started damaging ears last year, Williams has become the focal point of what reads and feels like a maelstrom of chatter. Once something of a left-field mystery, the hype around him has built steadily throughout this young year. Now with drummer and a press photo, Williams has probably played about as many shows as he has songs to be heard. A spate of recent outings in New York a few weeks back had the scene in such a tizzy, The New York Times sent a dispatch to bear witness. And, just a few days later, to capitalize on the swell, his new label expedited the digital release of Wavvves , his second full-length in just four months.
Without delving too deeply into the muck of Williams' proper (and purely self-titled) debut LP, Wavves , it's worth noting that each of his twin long-players share more than just a menu of goths, weeeeeeed, demons, breakers, and vintage skate photography. While his second is the marginally less abrasive, more realized of the two efforts, both feature the same roach-encrusted punk pop. Be it in the opening power chords of "Beach Demon" or "To the Dregs", there's a couple of fried amps' worth of trusted guitar tropes and distortion-- tricks borrowed from the Wipers and Sonic Youth-- enveloping Williams' carbonated choruses. The vocal hooks themselves come fast, usually propelled by titanic drumbeats nicked from 1960s girl group music. It's not immediate--- and hardly the "pop" record that some have characterized it as-- but deep in the froth of highlight "No Hope Kids" lurks more than just a thick dose of teenaged ennui or even volume. There's thrilling evidence of compelling, thoughtful craftsmanship as well.
Wavves' no-fi bent has been compared to No Age's. But while those guys tend to reach far outside of their own feedback for spaces more expansive, Wavves' music feels more insular, self-contained, and unsettling. These aren't shouts from a house party, but from a solitary bedroom. And Wavvves ' outbursts are often tempered and sandwiched between clipped electronics (opener "Rainbow Everywhere" and "Goth Girls") or experimental noise ("Killer Punx, Scary Demons") that help congeal the album as a whole.
As the hubbub surrounding his music and name game began to gather serious cybersteam over the past few months, the San Diego native wisely moved his signature from small-time imprint De Stijl, to the bigger, much more historically distinct Fat Possum. Business measures and consonant gimmicks aside, the hop down South makes perfect aesthetic sense-- this young man is most certainly singing the blues. Hopeless stoner/loner incantations are scattered throughout, though two of the album's most bulletproof moments are also it's most deliciously bleak. Next to the pains of "No Hope Kids" (no car, no friends, no family, no friends, no girl), "So Bored" leaves memorable blisters. It's the record's one slam-dunk earworm, and it's a total bummer. Over three melted chords and his own back-up oooooooh's and aaaaaah's, Williams' moans a mantra that's bled into every track: "I'm sooooo booooored, I'm sooooo boooored." Not for much longer.
— David Bevan, March 4, 2009