The Wildbirds
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The Wildbirds

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"The Aquarian Weekly"

Obviously idolizing their still-kicking heroes in the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the like, The Wildbirds do their best to channel that major-key, high-energy pop on their first full-length, Golden Daze. The four-piece seem determined to prove that there is something untouched in the canon of rebellious guitar-driven rock with high-gain amplification and steady 4/4 beats. - New Jersey


"SPIN"

Who? Hailing from Appleton, Wisc., the Wildbirds' Nicholas Stuart (vocals), Mathew Reetz (guitar), Jon Jon Fries (drums), and Hugh Masterson (bass) have a slight reputation for making noise. This comes according to the local cops, who apparently bothered the band about their loudness on a regular enough basis to necessitate them heading for the hills, literally, to record their first record. Reetz's rural cabin became the setting where the Wildbirds created the axe-heavy sound for Golden Daze. The 11-song set drops Aug. 14 via Pat's Record Company.

What's the Deal? Golden Daze is the kind of record you'd expect to hear from four long-haired, cop-dodging dudes from the Midwest. It's the sound of beer, groupies, and roadhouses that serve sloppy, BBQ-sauce covered ribs. But that isn't to say that Stuart and his cronies are simply playing the part. Sure, they may look like good ol' messy rockers, but this is a tight ship they're sailing (think Kings of Leon, Jesse Malin, Cheap Trick). Songs such as the slightly boozy "Way Down Low" and the shimmying twinkle of "Shake Shake" show that a band can fit the bill of disheveled rocker without playing completely slapdash rock.

Fun Fact: The Wildbirds life on the road. Just three weeks ago, the band purchased a short bus and converted it into their new house. "We built bunk beds and installed a proper stereo system," Stuart tells SPIN.com. "Everything we own is in this bus, and that's the way we like it. Being on the road, it's the only place we feel complete…besides, if you have a cooler of beer, and a few great records, any place feels like home." KAITLIN FONTANA - Band of the Week


"ink19"

From the sexy opening drum roll that leads into the Chris Robinson-like howl of vocalist Nicholas Stuart, it is apparent that The Wildbirds are not of this era. They are clearly a newly dug up fossil from the bygone decadence of the '70s. The age of big arena rock, free love and whiskey-soaked tight pants; it is of this time that these Wisconsin boys were bred. Like Tennessee boys Kings of Leon, these dudes sound like the real deal, not a corporately derived attempt at authenticity.

As the opening song, the incredibly strong "421 (Everybody Loves You)," leads way into "Shake Shake" I have found that I have stumbled upon an album that will stay on my playlist for the remainder of this long hot summer. It's a porch record, even for those without a porch to sit on. It's a driving record, even for those without a road trip to take advantage of the enhanced experience of repeated listening. It's at once rockin' and soulful, and bluesy enough to have depth without being too deep for a mindless sweaty August afternoon romp (turn on "It's Alright Now" for that one, thank me later).

Closing out this surprising bit of wonderment is the acoustic and soul-dripping "Suzanna." Very Zeppelin meets Black Crowes, and very very good! - ink19.com


Discography

Suzanna EP - Pat's Record Company
Golden Daze - Pat's Record Company

Photos

Bio

Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley is a fine place to grow up, especially if you’re into winter sports and the great outdoors. But if you’re into rock n’ roll, it leaves plenty to be desired. “People really love folk music up here,” laughs Wildbirds vocalist and rhythm guitarist Nicholas Stuart. “But to us, it’s just depressing. Music with youthful energy, excitement and heart, it just didn’t exist.” It didn’t, that is, until the Wildbirds came along…

From the Keith Richards-channeling guitar riff that opens “421 (Everybody Loves You)”, through the droning pop-psych freakout of “It’s Alright Now” and the boogie-riffic stomp of “Someday We Can Fly Away”, to the soulful strums of the closing ballad “Suzanna,” the Wildbirds’ debut album is filled to bursting with energetic, exciting, heartfelt rock n’ roll. It’s the joyful noise of 21st Century boys putting their own raucous spin on the tuneful template forged by the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Band, Humble Pie, Cheap Trick and early Tom Petty. Willfully oblivious to the latest fads and trends, Golden Daze is the sort of timeless record that could have been made in 1972, 1979 or 1991, but it also packs the immediate punch of a slug of bourbon on a Saturday night.

Most of the material on Golden Daze was written in the woods of northern Wisconsin, where Stuart, lead guitarist Matthew Reetz, drummer Jon Jon and original bassist Michael Belliveau (who left the band after the album’s completion, and has since been replaced by Hugh Masterson) went to escape the harassment of their hometown constabulary. “We’d try to write in the basements and garages of Appleton, where we live, but the cops always came and shut us down,” Stuart explains. “So we’d take a week off here and there, and head up to Matthew’s cabin up near the Upper Peninsula. It’s on a secluded lake, and you have to drive fifteen miles in on logging trails. We’d hunt and fish for our food up there; we didn’t have to touch our instruments if we didn’t want to, and we’d play until six in the morning if we did.” The songs came together quickly and naturally in this idyllic environment, and the results are noticeably imbued with the rural dust of their birthplace. “The record’s definitely got a bit of that down-home vibe,” says Stuart proudly. “It doesn’t sound like anything from the coasts.”

Though Daze was recorded at LA’s famed Sound City and Hollywood Sound studios with Greg Fidelman (U2, Johnny Cash, Jet) producing, the music still retains the loose and convivial vibe of those all-night backwoods jam sessions. “Most of what you hear on the record is just us four in a room,” says Stuart. “Some of the vocals were recorded live with the band, so occasionally you’ll hear laughter and random talking, false starts and all that stuff. We’d just set up, tweaked a couple of tones, and hit ‘record’. Greg Fidelman and our engineer Greg Gordon were just incredible to work with; if they weren’t bobbing in their seats and singing along, or rocking out in the control room, that was our gauge that the part or the song wasn’t cool enough.”

A vibrant anomaly amid the glut of too-slick rock records on today’s airwaves, Golden Daze is happily devoid of studio trickery and technical fairy dust, leaving songs like “Shake Shake,” “Way Down Low” and “Please Don’t Go” free to crackle like a live power cable. “I listen to modern records, and my brain just shuts off,” says Stuart. “You know exactly what’s coming next; you know there’s not going to be a frequency that, God forbid, will maybe tweak your ear a little bit. We didn’t use any auto-tuning, beat-replacers, or anything like that on this record; it’s pretty much just us doing our thing. God knows, there’s mistakes and imperfections, but that’s the stuff that makes it interesting to us. The key is that, when I’m 43, I can go back and listen to this and say, ‘Yeah, that’s who I was when I was 23! That was me, doing my thing with my friends, and singing about what I went through.’ It’s my journal, my documentation, my scrapbook.”

Already seasoned from a couple of years playing Midwestern dives — as well as what Stuart describes as “200-person drunk-fests in our hometown, where the kids bring their flasks if they’re underage” — the Wildbirds are ready to spread their wings and take their music to the rest of the world. “We’re northern boys, but we don’t have to stay here,” Stuart muses. “We’re all still in our early twenties, we’re a pretty tight family, and our leases in Appleton are gonna run out soon, so there’s really no reason not to hit the road. A lot of people in our town can’t handle that our lives are so ‘impractical,’ and we’re choosing to give up financial security for this kind of a life, but they just don’t get it. We’re all wandering spirits; and when we’re not on tour, we’re going to take our tents out, and find a field to sleep in and make music in. We’ll do it just to keep our minds in the clouds, because that’s where they’re the happi