For those of you unfamiliar with the process, I ask for people to suggest songs to me from bands I’ve never heard before. Based on the band name, song title, and sometimes the album cover, I offer my best guess as to what it sounds like before I hear the first note. Then I listen and see how wrong or right I was.
I used bandcamp.com today to pick this song. Here was how I ended up with this band.
(1) Bandcamp has a new feature where they show what’s “selling right now.”
(2) Because I’m desperate to get in on the front end of new trends, I’ll follow suit.
If you want exact science, you’re at the wrong place.
What you see below is my real time review of this song….
Who it sounds like before I listen to the first note:
Creepy Ass Madame Tussaud Museum House Band: I’m not sure how I’d best describe this sound, but it would be one part haunted house, one part cartoon, and a heavy dose of 70s stylings that, when the museum opened up were fresh, but now sound dusty. There might be a little bit of a disco sound going on, but because it’s more than thirty years old and the batteries aren’t at full strength, it’s slowed down to a pace that’s more heroin than cocaine.
Pat Boone and a bunch of Pat Boone backup singers: The Wax Idols sound like they could have been a second generation doo wop band. And in my experience those bands fell into two categories–the real deal, soulful, talented AND the imitation knock off copycat versions–first we get Fats Domino and then Chubby Checker shows up. “It’s your cousin, Marvin Berry.” You know, that kind of thing. Anyway, I picture the Wax Idols as this family of four brothers, all of them with slicked back hair and plastered grins singing about holding hands and praying together at church. Offensive in their lack of edge.
Sparklehorse w/guest Billy Idol: I wish I had more than three guesses, because I’m not doing a very good job of narrowing things down to a likely candidate. I’d thought about that episode of the Brady Bunch with the tiki doll idol and how I always wished that tarantula would have torn Peter’s face off so we could have gotten “A Very Special Episode of the Brady Bunch.” And then I thought about Billy Idol singing “White Wedding,” but slowing it down to 64 bpm. Then that made me think about the Sparklehorse song “Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain” and I figured it’d be awesome if Billy Idol and the dude from Sparklehorse had collaborated on a remixed version of “Dancing with Myself” before the dude from Sparklehorse rode off into the permanent sunset.
I’m going to shut off Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See” and give Wax Idols a chance.
:04 Holy Shit! That opening riff actually sounds like “Dancing with Myself.” That might be the most random guess I’ve made that sounds scientifically accurate. I almost don’t want to listen to anymore of this song just so I can assume I’ve stumbled onto my genius.
:16 I kind of hear Berlin’s “The Metro” going on with this. If you told me that the Wax Idols recorded this in 1983, I’d believe you and would chalk it up to them being a band I’d never heard of but was probably famous.
:25 Either this was recorded twenty five years ago or the people doing sound are amazing and have captured it perfectly.
:26 I’m also hearing Joy Division in this. Maybe even Legacy of Brutality era Misfits (except not nearly as lo-fi as that album).
:50 We’ve run through the chorus once. I’m digging this. Though it isn’t anything complicated, the bass is really the backbone of this song. Driving. In its own way, it’s cinematic and makes me want to drive a car really fast and dangerously through rainy streets.
1:15 Ok, there’s absolutely no way this was recorded after 1985. There just isn’t. If it was, I’ll eat my hat. It so perfectly captures that sound from then, a mid-step evolution of punk into something a little more melodic and a little creepier.
1:29 This is really catchy. As we know, I love punkier/edgier bands with female vocalists and that’s what this is. If this is older stuff being reissued, I have no idea how I don’t know about the Wax Idols. If it’s newer, I’m glad I found it.
2:00 Going out with a little drum chaos.
2:12 Song is over. It was tight. Haunting. Lean.
I liked this. I’m convinced it was recorded a long time ago and I’ve just never heard of Wax Idols. There’s a little bit of the Creepy Ass Madame Tussaud Museum band going on. And I could totally see these guys hanging out with Billy Idol. So I was remarkably close, though the Pat Boone thing is way off. The note about sounding like Berlin is also not far from the truth.
If you’re familiar with music from that time period and you liked it, you’ll feel at home immediately with the sound. From an instinct/buried memory standpoint, this song resonated with me faster than most of the things I’ve reviewed favorably as part of this series.
Take a listen while I go investigate. I need to know the story here.