Spacewolf
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Spacewolf

Jackson, Mississippi, United States | INDIE

Jackson, Mississippi, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative

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Magenta and green spotlights hit the smoke-covered stage, casting nearly opaque beams of light as a crowd draws near. Dust particles in the smoke swirl and reflect, resembling the twinkling stars of distant galaxies. They expand and contract in unpredictable ways—a cosmic theater of chaos and creation that played out in seconds. As my focus shifts through the smoke, images flash on a projection screen, interlaced with flashes of the word "Spacewolf."
The new—yet familiar—band Space-wolf made its debut last month at Martin's in downtown Jackson. Spacewolf had formed only two months earlier from a collision of vastly different musical elements. Guitarist/vocalist Drew McKercher and bassist Don Hawkins were members of Roosevelt Noise, one of Jackson's most popular indie groups that had recently gone on hiatus. Meanwhile, drummer Murph Caicedo was playing with heavy metal and punk acts like The Tuff Luvs.

Fans knew Roosevelt Noise as a band that added pop-infused sweetness to its rock sound— a world away from the genre Caicedo was accustomed to. But no one knew what to expect when Caicedo met McKercher and Hawkins, and they agreed to give Spacewolf a go. Even before its first show, the group had achieved a high-level of hype through social media outlets and word of mouth, drawing a large crowd that first night curious of about the new band's sound.

“We all had the agreement that if it didn't work, we'd walk away,” Caicedo says as he wipes the sweat from his face at an intense practice two weeks before the show. Caicedo’s energetic and hard-hitting style could have been at odds with what McKercher and Hawkins wanted to do. Instead, the dynamic seems to have worked out, as there is a palpable level of trust between the new bandmates.

“What has influenced me is the way that these guys play and the way that I can still be me," McKercher says as he looks up from his array of effects pedals. "I can still play like me."

"Murph will play something, and I'm like, 'That's exactly what I wanted him to play!”” Hawkins adds. “(Drew and I) haven't changed our style, either. ... It’s been a good meld.”

The proof of the meld’s success is in the tightness and creativity of the band's songs, which it only practiced a handful of times before the first show. Spacewolf's aural assault recalls ’90s radio-friendly alternative acts such as Dinosaur Jr. and early Radiohead, mixed with a little of the darker Seattle sounds of Nirvana. McKercher's vocals, filtered through his beer-can microphone, have a coolly detached drone to them, reminiscent of Matt Berninger from The National, and his guitar playing is similar in character and energy to "The Bends"-era Jonny Greenwood, using feedback and effects to create textured walls of sound that embrace the sharply syncopated flow that Hawkins and Caicedo supply.

Spacewolf's songs, like the downbeat pop of "Wolf" and the prog-rock-like "Crystal High Heels," are complex and surprising, sounding as if the strong pop melodies ran through a deconstruction process.

“It started off, Drew had lots of verse/chorus type stuff," Caicedo says. "Then we started playing here, and we were like, 'We can do better than that.' So then we started adding stops and stuff ... and that's when it really started becoming fun.”

That’s when it started becoming really good, too.

“Murph has a thing about strong song structure … which is something that Roosevelt Noise didn't worry about too much," Hawkins adds. "The structure is definitely stronger as far as parts go.”

As the band honed its skills, it was in the tightly precise, yet unexpected rhythms and arrangements that Spacewolf found its teeth. Two weeks later, the moment had come to bare those teeth for the first time.

The audience stands in anticipation, waiting for that first chord. The electrical hum of amplifiers warble as frequencies reverberate off each other like repelling magnets. As the band makes their last adjustments, the lights zero in on the stage, and the imagery on screen increases in intensity. Suddenly, the particles I had observed suspended in the smoke swirl away as the speakers push the air away from the stage. And then, like a meteor impact, the bass thump hits my chest.

Spacewolf howls at last. - Jackson Free Press


Discography

Spacewolf - Self Titled - Released March 12th, 2011

Photos

Bio

SPACEWOLF occupies a sui generis slot in the Jackson, MS music scene, which you’ll see by going to their shows, populated as they are by neck-tattooed hoodrats in TOOL shirts, pompadoured garage fans, and bros in pink Izods. Born from the ashes of Roosevelt Noise, the heavy trio is defined as much by its thundering backbeat and distorted vocals as its almost pop-level lyrics and melodies. While Spacewolf is heavy, they’re not oppressive, and they manage to be metal but not morbid and radio-catchy without being dumb. Album highlight “Millionth” promises “if you’re waiting on me, you’re going to wait for a while,” and edges the band nearer to Superchunk territory with its angular guitar solo and crunchy pace. At well under three minutes, it also provides a stellar glimpse into an alternate reality where Nirvana and the Cure fueled hundreds of bands in the 1960s instead of the Stones and the Beatles.
-Hymnal

Spacewolf's songs are complex and surprising, sounding as if the strong pop melodies ran through a deconstruction process.
-Jackson Free Press

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Shortly after the disbanding of Jackson indie rock outfit Roosevelt Noise, singer/guitarist Drew McKercher and bassist Don Hawkins joined with former Tuff Luvs and Redneck Trucker punk/metal drummer Murph Caciedo to form Spacewolf.

Though aware of each other's presence in the Jackson music scene, none of the members knew how Spacewolf would flesh out (if at all). But after one short test-run, there was no doubt that there was something not to be ignored in the chemistry they had found…

Hawkins (bass) and Caciedo (drums) deliver structurally intense arrangements under McKercher’s angular guitars, frantic leads and intrinsic vocals (which are delivered through a homemade microphone constructed from a beer can and an antique NYC payphone receiver):

“I was in atrophy but / you had needles / mental needles / stuck into my chest
I was an artifact but / you had shovels / mental shovels /stuck into my chest”
- “Mental Needles”

Spacewolf recorded their self-titled debut at the legendary Malaco Records studio in Jackson, MS during the summer/fall of 2010, releasing the record before the legendary studio was tragically destroyed by a tornado in April of 2011. Spacewolf is the last rock band to have had the privilege to record an album in the 1967 era studio. The self-titled debut record is out on Business People (Music) and is available through most major online distributors such as iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby.

Also look for the "Mental Needles" Music Video by www.the-flying-chair.com on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gK-bZXtQx8o