The Illegal Wiretaps
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The Illegal Wiretaps

Katy, Texas, United States | INDIE

Katy, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band EDM Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Illegal Wiretaps, "Jesus, What Have You Done?""

The Illegal Wiretaps, Jesus, What You Have Done?

My first and only question for this album is whether or not the title is said in an offhand manner to someone at random or if it’s a direct question to the son of God.
In either case, The Illegal Wiretaps are back with a vengeance. Of these ten songs, the band explores through three different styles; okay, really, it’s more like two and a half.
Some of these songs are simply electronic without vocals, but they have enough complexity to them to stand out on their own as something other than background filler noise. At times, it can feel like the instrumental songs are singing more than the few songs on here that actually have vocals.
There also exists a type of song (done a couple of times) where it’s that electronic instrumental sound, but there’s a female voice talking over it, such as a sound clip maybe. The one very important thing that you must remember about the instrumental songs is simply that they are not just to be thought of as bridges between the songs with vocals. They’re a very real part of this album and perhaps even more important than the songs with vocals, since they seem to outnumber them.
Now, some of these songs do have actual words being sung in a way that makes them sound like an actual band, but it’s still different from what I’m used to from The Illegal Wiretaps. The vocals still remind me of Joy Division. but the accompanying music no longer does. In fact, on a song such as “Next Time,” the music that goes with the words sounds a lot like the musical equivalent of a tree being sawed down. (Which, surprisingly, sounds a lot better than you’d probably imagine.)
I will admit to being a fan of The illegal Wiretaps. I own the majority of their back catalog, and even though it can vary from song to song, I still find it all to be exceptionally well done. If you’ve never heard them before, this is the best place for you to start, as it gives you a good overall idea of their sound. You need to own “Jesus, What You Have Done?” — and then, after that, everything else they have ever recorded. - Space City Rock

"The Illegal Wiretaps, "A Secret I Can't Decode""

Recently, I’ve been downloading and listening to music like crazy from Band Camp. This is a review of a group of songs by the same band I got from Band Camp- usually it constitutes an EP. This is a song-by-song review and it is never to exceed six songs. At the end, I will tell you the “Recommended Downloading Level”, which means whether or not I think you should spend your time downloading these songs. It’s on a scale from 1 to 5, 5 meaning that you should stop reading my review and download these songs immediately and 1 meaning that if you even think about downloading these songs your computer will be infected with a horrific bad music virus. Enjoy.
The Illegal Wiretaps “A Secret I Can’t Decode”
01: “Promises” [3:28] -- We open with what sounds like something out of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. This is like a much better version of Depeche Mode to me. It’s not quite as dark, as it’s slightly more upbeat, but it has a nice sort of fast pace to it. Wow, I’m in love with this song after hearing it just once and it’s not really pop.
02: “Like It’s the End of the World” [5:47] -- This song is a bit slower, but still maintains the overall sound we heard in the first one. It kind of reminds me of the “(Don’t You) Forget About Me” song, which brings me back to The Breakfast Club, which really makes me happy.
03: “Comfort Colored in Black” [3:46] -- Another fast paced song like the first one. Amateur writers would compare this to the sounds of The Killers, but I think it sounds more closely like Joy Division.
04: “A Secret I Can’t Decode” [5:39] -- You can really hear the synth in the start of this song, like Nine Inch Nails but not quite as heavy yet. Awesome title track. He will not let you get away with it.
05: “Death by a Thousand Cuts” [7:27] I really like the vocals on this one, and let’s face it, by this point you really shouldn’t have to be convinced to like this EP any more. You should already be sold on it.
Simply put: You need to download this EP because it is free and it is awesome.
Recommended Downloading Level: 5/5 - Raised by Gypsies

"At Least Their Name Isn't Pregnancy Farts"

?Craig Hlavaty called us into his office, which is little more than a refrigerator box with Lady Gaga lyrics scrawled on the sides and an iPad we're 90 percent certain is made of an old Atari, and demanded that we get our skinny rear in gear and find out why a band would call itself the Illegal Wiretaps. We saluted and left him to his puppet show.
When we heard the name we said, "Punk band. We bet the little finger on our left hand." Well, it's really hard to type between the bandages and the painkillers because if there is anything the Illegal Wiretaps ain't, it's punk. Point in fact; we have no idea what we're dealing with.

Part of what a track like "Promises" calls to mind something like the Church, but not nearly as soothing. Instead a buzz and harshness always tingles in their songs like the pain of an amputated limb. It's no less beautiful for all that, but it does lend a certain unsettling quality to it.
Most of what we've heard from the band's EP, A Secret I Can't Decode, released earlier this year, does indeed unsettle. As head of the Gothic Council, we think we're going to go ahead and induct them to the dark side. Somewhere between the esotericsm of Bauhaus and the slightly more eye-rollingly dark moments of the Cruxshadows is where the Illegal Wiretaps seem to make their home.

?That name though... the Illegal Wiretaps? You can't call yourself that unless you are going to impotently rage against the machine. You're album cover needs to have George Bush's face defaced upon it. That just makes since.
Usually, we go directly to meet the band and harangue them about their name, but it seemed much more appropriate this time to just call Stephan Wyatt and do a phone interview to see which one of us later got picked up by the NSA.

Rocks Off: Where did you come up with the name the Illegal Wiretaps?

Stephan Wyatt: An enormous gentleman with cheeks like fish gills was yelling at non-assuming pedestrians crossing the street by Main and W. Alabama one evening in 2006, "The government can hear everything we say! They can hear everything we do! They can see what we think! They have illegally wiretapped our minds!"

I stood and listened to his rant, from a comfortable distance, and wondered, "If I could have access to the innermost personal thoughts and scenes of someone's life, would I be invasive and look? Heck yes!

Our own lives are boring; the lives of others are far more interesting than our own. The failures of others can be both comforting and entertaining. So, the idea stuck. It was between that name and The Pregnancy Farts. I believe we have chosen wisely.

?RO: What does the Illegal Wiretaps mean to you?
SW: Some nights - good nights - it means free tasty adult beverages. During our more paranoid episodes, however, it means people are laughing at us when we are not looking. We have collectively cried on stage because of this; yet, our sobs soften when our paranoia wanes and we see that people were just busily concentrating on their smartphones.

RO: Is eavesdropping ever justified?

SW: Privacy is an illusion. Eavesdropping is an art - a necessary art. Part of our survival instinct is predicated on our ability to trespass moral boundaries. Yet, given the information that we pry into, do we fully understand the depth and meaning behind the conversations of others without the full context?

Keyboardist Dylan Barnes and I come from a family (we are cousins) that prides itself on making a mushroom cloud out of a molehill. If the suspicion of someone mentioning a family member's name surfaces, he and I have to get the family embroidered strait jackets out of the closet.

?RO: How likely do you think it is that someone is listening to our conversation?
SW: I am sure the NSA listens to our Ambien-inspired conversations a sleep therapy: "What do you want for dinner?;" "Don't forget to pick up the kids!"; "Did you know that Mrs. Pennington is making a pipe bomb in her kitchen?!"

R - The Houston Press

"Jesus, What Have They Done?"

I was first introduced to the Illegal Wiretaps when they graced the electronic pages of my What's in a Name? feature. I didn't know how really to describe them then, and I still don't really know now.
Electronica is a safe term, as is experimental. Nonetheless, these are by definition vague genres that don't really set any limits other than that the band involves beeps and boops, and is not otherwise concerned with sticking to a conventional song. For what it's worth, both those do apply to their new album, Jesus, What Have You Done?, but it is really delving deep into the comically oversized bathtub where a plugged-in toaster perches precariously nearby.
Often their tunes come across more as an endurance test than as progressions of melody. They use a continuous repetition of stanzas as a kind of cyberpunk mantra to drive in a certain buzzing discontent.

Lyrics and vocals are almost completely missing on the album, and are really only prevalent on a couple of strange, stark acoustic guitar tracks. Mostly, it's the incomprehensible murmur of the machine that drives the songs.

What most called to me was the fact that they have somehow mastered the ephemera of a thousand half-remembered Numbers dance anthems. Every time I've listened to "With Respect to Your Demise, I Concede all Empathy" -- yes, all the tracks have such names -- I'm convinced I've heard it before watching goth girls twirl through a Cape Cod haze.

In general, the album becomes much less danceable as it progresses, moving ever more into the "Glasshouse/The Man with the Cut-Glass Heart" area minus the incomparable poetry of Edward Ka-Spel.

In places, especially in "In My Heart, a Caution," you start to realize that if Al Jourgensen had gotten really into New Age music, this is the kind of thing he might put out. Then again, these are all flails in the ether.

In the end, the Illegal Wiretaps remain indefinable. Whether that is for better or worse is hard to say.

Certainly there are moments when it feels more like fucking around than honest experimentation. The last third of the album in particular seems to suffer from a lack of coherence, though songs like "The Weight of Damp Air" and "Sounds of Lust from Teen-age Springs" show their quality even if they don't exactly skip hand in hand.

"Damp Air" alone is proof that the Illegal Wiretaps are the masters of modern minimalism and the darkness between notes. - The Houston Press


"A Secret I Can't Decode" E.P. (June 7th, 2011)
"Of Atheists and Lovers" L.P. (September 13th, 2011)
"The Somnia Sessions, Vol. 1: The Disambien Remixes (February 2012)
"Wilder Shores of Love" L.P. (March 2012)
"The Somnia Sessions, Vol. 2: Indefatigable Moments" E.P. (April 2012)
"Factory" E.P. (April 2012)
"Am Unstable" L.P. (April 2012)
"Jesus, What Have You Done?" L.P. (May 2012)
"Psycho Nancy" L.P. (May 2012)
"Singles of the Week"--An ongoing series of singles released free of charge!



The Illegal Wiretaps began as a wish and a fervent prayer to blend wiry post-punk minimalism with 80's electronic ambience. Two musicians, Stephan Wyatt and Anthony June, have played together for nearly twenty years. Hard working is a massive understatement. Taking cues from their respective musical pasts, the duo is finally able to wed industrial/atmospheric rock with traditional songwriting and experimentalism. Indeed, they haven't given up on Front 242, Wire, and Xymox.They have nine releases in the last year alone. Their goal is to continue our prolific pursuit of sonic discoveries, tour moderately and within reason, and continue to release music in numbers that will boggle the mind. Both members are bi-polar, yet well-medicated. They are also public school teachers.

"In the end, the Illegal Wiretaps remain indefinable. Whether that is for better or worse is hard to say.

Certainly there are moments when it feels more like fucking around than honest experimentation. The last third of the album in particular seems to suffer from a lack of coherence, though songs like "The Weight of Damp Air" and "Sounds of Lust from Teen-age Springs" show their quality even if they don't exactly skip hand in hand.

"Damp Air" alone is proof that the Illegal Wiretaps are the masters of modern minimalism and the darkness between notes." Jef Withonef, Houston Press, April 27th, 2012