When you’re listening to music and writing a review on a swelteringly obnoxious 100-degree day in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, you kind of look for any positive thing to say about the region. Learning that the unpredictably crazy-cool and eclectic band Wild Wing was formed by four lifelong friends from the area fills that bill nicely.
Good to know the oppressive smog inspires such creativity, as David Gantz, Max Garland, Zach Miller and Theo Cohn spin offbeat yarns in a whirlwind of styles ranging from country and synth-punk to blistering raw rock that could only have been cultivated in those suburban garages.
Bless them for inspiring this veteran journalist to Google a genre heretofore unknown to me; their bio says their early work was deeply rooted in rowdy cowpunk, which is a country-folk sub-vibe of punk. Wow, who knew anything creative to emerge from The Valley (since “Valley Girl,” anyway) was that interesting?
Also cool is that, true to their punky Valley Boy aesthetic, all the songs on New Futures sound like they’re from a different group. When does that ever happen? That means, after rumbling and headbanging through the monotone 80’s influence (the Timbuk 3 influenced “Moma’s Got a Brand New Bag”), they treat us to the otherworldly distortion and percussive snarl of “Killing Joke” and a dreamy, loping and spacey but occasionally edgy “Me ‘n Mine.”
A road trip down the 210 finds them exploring the slow, countrified confines of the folksy “Ontario,” while “Dark Ages” is as snappy, silly and percussive as pop-punk gets. It’s also nice to have a soft spot in the midst of all this zaniness with the plaintive, vulnerable love song chant “State of the Art.” There’s kind of an unwritten rule that when you live in 818 (area code), nobody from the West Side (310) comes over the hill to hang out with you. Maybe if Wild Wing plays a local venue in support of New Futures (and truly, its a bright one for these guys), I can shift that dynamic!