Owned since: 2012
Genre: Lo-fi hipster blog punk anno 2008
Where I bought it: Discogs
Year: 2008 and 2009
Label/pressing: Woodist and Fat Possum, formerly on cassette
These records turned 13 and 14 the year i’m writing this, which is making me feel very old. 2008 was the prime time for me being an obnoxious little hipster. Endlessly going through blogspots, getting on to the stuff that inspired acts I liked and one-upping people online with obscure garbage. It was a digital bloodsport that took place partly in long wiped last.fm shoutboxes and forums. When one of those big hype bands finally came to the Netherlands to tour, you would just stand around and kind of look awkwardly at people trying to piece together which avatar, if it wasn’t their face, belonged to which person. Fun times and a bit of escapism I needed from my small hometown
Wavves were/are the essential band of that wave beside No Age, who we covered already. Punky bratty shit that released a tape and record in their year of forming. You can say a lot about Nathan Williams projects but lack of output has never been one of their problems. Still going strong in 2022 with an album out last year that sounds lightyears removed from these two, they’ve become one of the few bands of that generation that have always kept going. These two records can easily be lobbed together as William’s home recordings.
That is what they sound like also– home recordings. Scuzzy, lo-fi and full of a punky infectious energy that hide some good 2 to 3 chords hits. Because while the later stuff more clearly showcases it, there are a lot of catchy hooks here through the radio static. With the first one, it is all clearly not there yet completely even though we do get the tremendous Loser Goth and Side Yr on from it. But with Wavvves, it’s all there in it’s full glory. Is it an all time classic? No, of course not. It’s some bratty young adult’s home recordings, but it clearly showcases Williams influences a shit-ton more for the better. Classic 70’s punk, mid 00’s garage-rock like the Epsilons and even older stuff like The Gories are all clearly audible in the over-fuzzed mics.
Where the album really shines is the beyond punky To The Dregs and, of course, So Bored. A near inescapable song in 2009 if you liked fuzzy guitar music, it remains a brilliant slice of 3 minute 2 chord boredom. Even more with the deadpan chorus of Williams’s stretching out the ‘I’m so boooooooooooored’ which spoke to 16-21 year olds everywhere. It’s a record to get too drunk to and (watch) people skate, just see the cover. Young adult rebellion music if you ever heard it, but now in hip, cool, lo-fi flavors.
Relistening to these records back has just reminded me how rudimentary they are. At most, it’s Williams guitar, a drum kit and his over-fuzzed vocals. Something he dropped completely for the pop-punk King of Beach, which a lot of people liked but I never could get into. Showed too much how the band relied on old boring punk tropes which the lo-fi production on these records hide. Here, the power lies really in how ramshackle it all is. Songs that sound like they will fall apart the second they start playing, but with a real earworm edge to them that makes them stick around. The endless shitty synth ambient tracks all over this album clearly made to fill it out just feel charming. It’s all just so full of stupid teen rebellion energy, that is honestly by far not the worst sound or atmosphere you can can go for.
The first time I saw Wavves live must’ve been on their first EU tour where Williams was so stoned, he could barely strum out his two chords. It was an amazingly bad show which still stands out in my mind as one of the funniest shows I ever saw. Got to the point the very frustrated stage manager for a split second saw me as Williams and tried to get me on the stage while Williams was outside smoking. Just an absolute shitshow and, honestly, a perfect fit with these records. After this, the band became a lot more professional and it took away a lot of its charm for me personally. Luckily, we still got the stupid home recordings some kid made and then released as records.
This album just reeks of Blogspots and everyone having horrible haircuts because it was 2008. It’s like watching a faded Polaroid these days for me. Sure there are some things I still make out from the memories from the time, but mostly my brain goes back to the embarrassing stuff I did surrounding the record. Ah well, you’re only young once. This was partly the soundtrack of me spending way too much time online and just the period where I didn’t do anything except really listen or discuss music. Which, boy, was insufferable but hey isn’t every teen that.
Sloot Thouuughts: Need a shave after all this fuzz