Feral Children
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Feral Children

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Punk


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"Seattle Weekly Show Review 6/2007"

Why aren’t there more bands like Feral Children in Seattle? You can’t tell me that kids growing up in places like Kent or North Bend have nothing to say musically. The Puget Sound region is home to some of the weirdest towns in the country, and yet barely anyone has emerged from these places to document their awkwardness and otherworldliness. I recall one band from Issaquah that made enough noise that they got noticed in a pretty huge way, and the dudes in Feral Children seem to have taken the lessons of Modest Mouse to heart. Hailing from Maple Valley (how many of you just asked yourself where the hell that is?), the group plays chilling, moody indie rock that echoes the isolation of being raised in Seattle’s strange, outlying areas. There is an almost murderous quality percolating under the band’s surface, as if each song is a shotgun aimed at the next sleazy land developer looking to cash in on our lonesome crowded west.

Noise for the Needy: Wintergreen, the Prids, Das Llamas, Feral Children, DJ Jimi C

Saturday, June 9

- Brian Barr at Seattle Weekly

""Second to to the Last Fronier" Record Review"

(4.5 Stars out of 5)

Who said paying homage was a bad thing? Feral Children's gutteral, distortion-heavy shuddering may recall early-era Modest Mouse, but it is a welcome respite from the local scene's crushingly dominant indie-pop. The dark, lingering strains of "Baby Joseph Stalin" and "Lost in the Woods"? Perfect. The spacey synths of "Zyghost"? Perfect. The stark beginning of "Jaundice Giraffe" - a faint drum beat underlying the cooing of one vocalist and the aching caterwaul of another - that then erupts into a cacophony of distorted guitars, screeching keyboards and hysterical screams. Perfect, absolutely perfect.

Standout Tracks: "Jaundice Giraffe" and "Baby Joseph Stalin" - Katie Sauro at Seattle Sound Magazine 10/07

"Seattle Weekly CD Release Show Preview 10/07"

Some records are a slow burn, revealing their top notes and strengths after multiple listens and gradual absorption. That's all well and good, but it's pretty awesome when you uncork a record and it simply opens up and mercilessly head butts you. Such is the case with the aptly named locals Feral Children, whose stunning new release, "Second to the Last Frontier", wastes no time asserting itself with a rash of lucid vocal shrieks, and intriguing insturmental stutters. Even more impressive is the fact that this is no one sided rant: Just when you think you understand their method of attack, they uncover softer, humanist components to their voice, empathizing with broken, small-town characters and surreal beasts of unknown orgin. This is a fascinating, beautifuly narrated work that will undoubtedly be heralded as one of 2007's best local releases. - Hannah Levin at Seattle Weekly

"John Richards in the Morning Top 5 Albums 10/07"

The band that once called Maple Valley home does nothing but get better every time they put pen to paper and notes to song. It's a pleasure to watch this band grow from the demos I've been hitting on my show to this extremely impressive debut full length. Each song is a simmering pot of dark emotions that runs from a quiet tone to explosive rage. The future is now for the Feral Children. - John Richards from 90.3 FM KEXP at Seattle Sound Magazine

"The Stranger 1/11/2007"

"Feral Children were a near miss for last issue's "The Young Ones," a list of bands you'll be hearing about in 2007. I predict we'll be hearing a lot from Feral Children over the course of this year too. I'll probably regret saying this, but what the hell — Feral Children are the next Modest Mouse."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5UpsmrCLDU - Eric Grandy

"CMJ Review of"

This Seattle five-piece prances along on a healthy dose of shimmering, experimental indie rock that sometimes exudes a maniacal, pounding zest on this debut full-length. Jim Cotton and Jeff Keenan's co-vocal duties contort into a dark, trippy tag team of twisted hoots and hollers that swing like a jerky pendulum between succulent, hushed intimacy and a bouncy, Issac Brock-ian bark. The band follows a more singular, savage path of gloom, madness and dreariness as the keys ring hard against a dulled tidal wave of drums, due in no small part to the second duality of the band: two drummers. It's this Gypsy-like behavior that has the Children swooning through eccentric melodramas while unfurling cleverly flippant lyrics like, "Billionaires who shit on millionaires/who whine about their view like anyone cares." Hailing from one of the main hubs of American indie rock—the home to that small revolution known as grunge—seems to have caused Feral Children to retort in a way that sets them apart. If Seattle was the initial splash of indie rock, Feral Children is one of the far outer-ring ripples that crashes unpredictably against the bank. - CMJ - Matt Kiser

"Pitchfork's Forkcast of"

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Just as in European art around the time Paul Gauguin was taking an extended tropical vacation, a new "primitivism" has been sweeping through indie rock, as bands like Animal Collective, El Guincho, Ruby Suns, Vampire Weekend, and Abe Vigoda borrow from African and Micronesian musics. Seattle quintet the Feral Children sound like the Pacific Northwest incarnation of this loose movement, naming themselves after the world's real-life Mowglis and Tarzans while putting spastic Isaac Brock-meets-Avey Tare shouts and atmospheric guitars over dual tribal drums. All that stuff gets raised by howlin' wolves on "Jaundice Giraffe", from the band's Scott Colburn (Animal Collective, Arcade Fire)-produced debut LP, Second to the Last Frontier. Droning electronics and wordless chants give way to squealing distortion as singer Jeff Keenan shouts, "They love your yellow skin." Gauguin certainly did. Unless we're actually talking about a sick giraffe? - Marc Hogan at Pitchfork.Com

"The Wig Fits All Heads 7/15/07"

"I kind of wish I’d gotten trashed before I listened to the Feral Children's EP. Their five-songs together have what I think would be the memorable impact of a brawl at a small town bar: numb jaw, ringing ears and the feeling that you’ve somehow hardened inside and out. “They’re Gonna Kill Me” makes my head throb, in a good way. The industrial sound of “Baby Brother” is almost as sadistic as the lyrics and it’s still catchy. Pissin’ on graves, shit-eating grins and sharp fingernails are littered throughout the tracks. Yeah, I could use a drink. Eternity Emergency is surprisingly eclectic despite a running theme of constriction and uselessness; you can see where all the Modest Mouse comparisons come from. These guys’ grumbling is barely intelligible sober, but becomes damn intelligent after a few listens. Kind of harsh and tragic, but intelligent. Eternity Emergency is a Northwest record. It’s somber, gravelly and clashes with our current, rare bout of sunshine. Jim Cotton and Jeff Keenan’s vocals remind one of the best days of Mark Lanegan, and Christian Dorsett’s drums take a lot of their punch from the early 90s, when bands began to look like they drove pick-up trucks and were too busy gritting their teeth to shave. Except I think these guys really do drive trucks."

Feral Children
Eternity Emergency
by Nicholas Hubbard

http://www.thewigfitsallheads.com/feralchildren_review_album.html - the wig fits all heads

"Live Review"

On their way down the coast, Seattle’s Feral Children took the stage next. The biggest component to Feral Children’s sound is percussion. With two drummers, Bill Cole behind a full set and Jeff Keenan behind a set of toms, their music is fleshed out with guitar, bass and keys and could be held in slight comparison to Animal Collective (they even worked with the same producer/engineer, Scott Colburn). Yet feedback noise, falsetto “who whoos” balanced by startling screams, and mid-song detunings all contribute to the band’s distinctively unique sound. Its songs are like miniature epic stories and make for a dark and unsettling but brilliant brand of indie rock.
-Review by Nicole Sheikh, Performer Magazine - Performer Magazine (West Coast)

"Second to the Last Frontier Review"

Feral Children is a five piece originally from rural Washington and now based in Seattle. With the help of producer Scott Colburn (Animal Collective, Arcade Fire), the band has crafted a standout full-length debut of experimental, turbid, slightly-unhinged indie rock with Second to the Last Frontier.

There’s a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ from bassist/vocalist Jim Cotton and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Jeff Keenan, and their lyrics are wordy and surreal. Keenan and Josh Gamble’s guitar sounds are all over the map, from Pixies-esque post-surf to early-U2 atmospheric pings to effects-damaged skronk (in full bloom on the multi-layered, throbbing, buzzing instrumental “Space Face”); heavy echo is a common denominator throughout. A few songs are partly piano driven, like “Billionaires vs. Millionaires,” and keyboards from Sergey Posrednikov add further flavoring. Bill Cole’s drumming ranges appropriately from rudimentary beat-keeping to fancier rhythms.

The album’s best song, and the one receiving local radio airplay on KEXP, is its weirdest: “Jaundice Giraffe” is haunting and inscrutable, driven by shivery drone and tribal chanting and punctuated by primal yelping and weird electronic noises. It’s followed by the fuzzy, danceable “Ex-Blindman,” one of the album’s more accessible songs, though the lyrics remain as strange as ever centered on this nonsensical narrative: “It was almost love at first sight but then some blind man stole your eyes and gave them to his ex-wife for a birthday surprise.”

Feral Children have a knack for memorable song titles — “Baby Joseph Stalin” has some silly lyrics as might be expected and “Cannibal Prison,” with its faint echoes of new wave and even Billy Joel, is another album highlight. The seven-minute-plus “Lost in the Woods” lives up to its title with some lengthy meandering and contains the amusing line “The Bible Belt held up your pants.”

An interesting tension pervades this album, between whimsical and menacing, primal and complex, brambly and celestial. It’s a debut worth noticing. (Buffalo Shoe Recordings)
-Mike Baehr, Performer Magazine - Performer Magazine (West Coast)


"Brand New Blood" LP
(Sarathan - January 2010)
Track List:

1. Kid Origami
2. Castrato
3. Group Home
4. Rivers of Forever
5. On a Frozen Beach
6. Conveyor
7. Universe Design
8. Inside the Night
9. Woodland Mutts
10. Enchanted Parkway

"Second To The Last Frontier" LP
(Buffalo Shoe - September 2007 / Re-release Sarathan - July 2008)
Track List:

1. Spy/Glass House
2. Billionaires Vs. Millionaires
3. Jaundice Giraffe
4. Ex-Blindman
5. Me, Me, Just Me
6. Baby Joseph Stalin
7. Cannibal Prison
8. Lost in the Woods
9. Saint
10. Space Face
11. The Beast = Goldmine
12. Zyghost

"Eternity Emergency" EP
(Buffalo Shoe - September 2006)
Track List:

1. They're Gonna Kill Me
2. Sympathy for the Drambuie
3. Baby Brother
4. Seahorse Scores!
5. Russian Fingers/Roman Hands



Not long ago, a group of genuinely backwoods dudes from the country moved to Seattle and began playing shows that burned with primal intensity and soared with pop sensibility. They called themselves Feral Children—a wholly appropriate name for a bunch of wild boys from rural Maple Valley, WA—and were ready to stake their claim in Seattle’s celebrated music scene. And when they arrived, they adamantly let it be known they would not be playing any of the following: “fucking California pop”; “classic rock covers”; or “shitty indie pop.”

Instead, Feral Children would be making their music—music from the Pacific Northwest. When they released their 2007 debut LP, Second to the Last Frontier, bassist Jim Cotton proudly stated: “It actually sounds like the first Northwest record that I’ve heard in 10 years.”

And it didn’t take long for them to catch the ear of KEXP FM and the local press, who jumped all over this debut with rare and unanimous praise: "will undoubtedly be heralded as one of 2007's best" (The Stranger), "the future is now for the Feral Children" (John Richards, KEXP), and even "Perfect, absolutely perfect" (Seattle Sound Magazine).

In a city known for “hey-no-worries” politeness, there are countless interviews in which local indie rockers come off like glad-handing chimps toward their peers, often hiding their real opinions under a veil of niceness. The boys in Feral Children, however, have been ready to separate themselves from the pack and to claw their way to the top if need be, and they don’t seem to care who gets scarred along the way; "Yeah, we live in Seattle, but only because we have to." In fact, they would prefer the soggier and stranger outskirts of town.

Luckily, they haven’t had to claw too hard to get attention; they’ve perked the ears of many on the strength of their music and the visceral ferocity of their live shows. And if Brand New Blood is any inkling, they’re set to garner even more acclaim, well beyond the hemline of the Cascade Mountain range they call home.

Like their last album, Brand New Blood contains music that evokes Feral Children’s home territory—sprawling, chilly, vast, strange, and, at times, violently stormy.

Comparisons have been made to another great Northwest concern, Modest Mouse, and that comparison is not without merit. But after listening to Brand New Blood, it’s obvious Feral Children share more in common with Modest Mouse philosophically than musically. The fact that they are from Maple Valley, WA, and not the big shitty of Seattle, has cemented their outsider status and shapes every lick of music they play. They also share that band’s mournfulness for nature—as natives of the Washington hills, these Feral Kiddies have watched Mother Earth raped time and again by greedy developers. They don't approve of excessive wealth and would likely have no idea what to do with the wads of cash this album stands to earn them. To some, their perspective may be askew—but they are proud of it and don’t feel like conforming to anyone’s standards. Why should they? They’re from the real Washington State, so fuck you.

Take a listen to the album’s centerpiece, the colossal “Conveyer”, in which the band’s wonderfully wonky perspective of society is on full display. “This world is like a video game controlled by lonely boys with attention deficit disorder,” sings Jeff Keenan in a huffy manner that suggests total exasperation with everyday life. The song eventually erupts into full-throttle Arcade Fire-like pounding with Keenan frothing and barking the lyrics: “The milk calls the coffee black/ and Mother Nature’s getting so fat!”

Scott Colburn produced this album, and his ability to push a band into the stratosphere is all over Brand New Blood. This sucker is all about atmosphere; specifically, the Pacific Northwest woods featured in Twin Peaks or Twilight. In fact, the band doesn’t sound like they are playing in a studio at all. The cold blankets of synthesizer (“Kid Origami”), the tooth-clattering percussion that sounds like the breaking of bones (“Castrato”), the volatile guitars (“Enchanted Parkway”)—this album feels as if it were recorded along the banks of the Green River Gorge at 3 a.m. in the middle of January.

The legion of hyphen-wielding indie rock critics will likely be compelled to draw parallels between Brand New Blood to Lonesome Crowded West. But that would be a lazy comparison based on little more than geography. A deeper listen will reveal that while there are philosophical similarities, Feral Children are on to a whole other trip musically, one that feeds off of isolation and loneliness, the ghosts of their working-class pasts and the awkwardness of trying to fit in to Seattle’s hyper self-aware music scene. Desolate as it may sound, though, it’s obvious they are happy to have each other for company. Fucked up individuals they may be, but they seem to understand each other and speak fluently through their music. Feral Children are prou