The Wolfnotes
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The Wolfnotes


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"Ones to Watch"

Hit a guitar too hard and it might resonate louder and longer than usual. When this happens, it’s called a wolf note. Generally, it’s not a good thing. “It’s almost like the note howls,” explains frontman Kurran Karbal. “I’m not quite sure how that relates to us though.” He’s got a point. These Wolfnotes – capital ‘W’, no gap – differ greatly from that definition. Far from a sonic anomaly, theirs is a very soothing sound. They’ve been lumped in with that new-folk scene (though that’s really more a group of friends), and know the likes of Mumford & Sons and Noah And The Whale, but their songs are less quintessentially English than that. It’s the result of their rather cosmopolitan line-up. “We haven’t actually got any members who are fully English in the band,” admits Kurran. “The bassist [Ben Vanhuyse] is French, the drummer [Chris McComish] is from Northern Ireland and Natalia [Salter, glock] is half Peruvian.” He doesn’t mention lead guitarist Max Lee, but let’s assume he has an exotic background too. Not only that, but the band have a broad spectrum of in¬fluences. Listen to forthcoming debut single ‘Whatabitch’ and it’s reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel or The Decemberists. But then listen to the plaintive demo ‘Better By The Minute’ and it could easily be an outtake from pop-punkers turned- serious-rock act Brand New’s last album, who, somewhat surprisingly, Kurran admits to being a huge fan of. “I’ve even pre-ordered their new album,” he admits excitedly. “I got the vinyl and t-shirt $40 package.” Although now London-based, Kurran previously lived in Zurich. The capital is a “vast improvement”, but it’s also a lot more competitive for young bands trying to make their name known. That’s not something that bothers him all that much, though. “I think it’s good. Obviously, it’s got negative effects in the fact that bands get treated like crap and you get paid nothing for gigs because there’s hundreds of bands, but at the end of the day, if you do get some attention it’ll generally come from someone who’s seen loads of bands, not just ‘Oh, you’re the one decent band in the town. You rock.’ I like to think that the cream does rise to the top, but I’m sure there are some awesome bands in London that remain undiscovered.” Kurran And The Wolfnotes are certainly rising. Undiscovered or otherwise, this is a wolf note that you’ll want to hear more of.

‘Whatabitch’ is out on Chess Club on November 2nd. - The Fly

"The Hottest Downloads"

Kurran and the Wolfnotes - Your Four Limbs
The latest nu-folk buzz band - justified, on this evidence. - The Sunday Times

"RADAR - NME Loves Kurran and the Wolfnotes"

Considering that music journos are generally (and justly) viewed as the nerdy kids, hanging from the coat-tails of their more talented peers, it's reassuring to bag a future massive band's first interview. "If you'd told me three days ago we would be being interviewed by NME we wouldn't have believed you" says the singer and titular head of new folkists Kurran and the Wolfnotes.
Considering they're a band that mix the most sultry snippets of shoegaze with the bleeding heart of ancient folk, the polo-neck clad untouchables we were expecting never materialise. In their place arrive the 5 Wolfnotes, and they're just swell. Currently producing their debut with Stephen Street just 8 months after forming, and sounding like a less uptight Morrissey fronting The Mystic Valley Band as a front for plans for mass murder, so far they've lived a hermetic existence. Kurran explains: "We've not been together long and we didn't really have any sort of pre-relationship. This lot responded to demos I put online, then we hibernated, intensively rehearsing and throwing new stuff together. We did a gig within three weeks of playing together because we were so eager."
Drummer Chris tells us how he found a blog describing them as "travelling songs for the weary and woeful" and admits through blushes to kind of liking it. Kurran is quick to scramble back some enigmatic points. "We'd like to keep a lot of the elements of more classic folk but still be up to date," he says, "Maybe it'll end up even darker and that'll be the day we crack and the lead singer from Scouting For Girls finds his stupid woollen hat pinned to his front door with a knife."
Kurran slips the new single Whatabitch into conversation before looking nervously at the two label staff on the next table. "Sorry," he says, "They told us to mention it." Forget all the trust-fund folkies being thrust at us like a plastic Toby jug, they don't even have beards. The new school of Brit-folk has arrived. - NME

"Split Festival Review"

Kurran and the Wolfnotes are playing an acoustic set as a two-piece today, but their angst quota is in no way depleted. 'What a Bitch' has us tapping our feet, if only in impatience for a debut album that still seems a million miles away. - NME

"Introducing - The Wolfnotes"

Music, in today's digital age, has increasingly followed the world of professional sports in that it is no longer purely entertainment, but the entertainment industry. For every global stadium, sell-out tour from a successful band, there are thousands of other artists, some no doubt equally if not more talented than their superstar counterparts, whose dreams of success have been dashed not by their musical failings but their inability to convince the right middleman or find the right contact in a sea of agents and publicity companies.

It can paint a rather depressing picture of the musical world, but in many ways it has stimulated others to set about circumnavigating the process. Today there are a whole host of free music websites online, with more and more bands happy to release their early material for free to gain fans and attempt to fund their careers by playing shows and spreading their sound through file-sharing and word of mouth. The battle between the two is fascinating.

Another method is that currently being used by The Wolfnotes, having done away with their previous 'Kurran &' prefix and got back to what they do best – thoughtful, introspective and yet refreshingly uplifting indie-folk with all the blissful accompaniments that fans have come to expect from the band. As ever, it's back-to-basics goodness, melodies and hooks galore in a sun-drenched sound that occasionally veers into darker territory.

Their potentially revolutionary new method is Pledge Music, a system designed to reunite artists with their audience. Each member of The Wolfnotes has spoken of the added joy of knowing that they are working thanks to their fans, and that their output has improved as a result. Pledgers are now able to hear their 'Static Bleed' EP as a thank you, and if this small sample is anything to go by, it's a fantastic reward for their support. Closer to the fans and on top of their game, The Wolfnotes are showing everyone else how it's done. - Shout4Music

"Interview #580: Kurran & The Wolfnotes"

London band Kurran & The Wolfnotes have been busy making a name for themselves on the underground music scene for quite some time with their modern folk-inflected indie. The release of their second single, Your Four Limbs, now looks set to bring them bigger things with support from the likes of BBC 6Music.

I Like Music caught up with the band for a brief chat about where they’ve been and where they’re going, future releases, the new-folk scene, and their inspirations.

“I Like Music because…music is a way of life, love it and live it.” Kurran & The Wolfnotes

ILM: When and how did Kurran & The Wolfnotes come together?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: All the members of the band were in different projects and knew each other from the London music scene. Kurran wanted to start his own band and we met up and started working on tracks, and here we are.

ILM: Momentum is really beginning to build for you, but what’s been the hardest part of the journey so far?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: The journey so far has been paved with a lot of ups and downs, it is a fickle industry and it is important to keep belief in your own abilities, there are many parts to a band’s success that isn’t anything to do with music unfortunately.

ILM: And what about the most fun part of the journey?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: Some great tours, gigs and festivals so far with Lightspeed Champion, The Kissaway Trail and Port O’Brien. Latitude festival was a highlight this summer.

ILM: Both the singles - Whatabitch and Your Four Limbs - appear to be about romance; is that your main lyrical inspiration, or just a coincidence?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: The songs are experiences that are written down from other perspectives, they are just stories to be interpreted and personalised.

ILM: Beyond Your Four Limbs, what more have you got planned for release in the near future?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: Hopefully releasing the debut album in the new year.

ILM: You’ve been described as part of the new wave of folk bands, how do you feel about being aligned with that or any other scene or movement?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: Scenes are healthy for music, they encourage bands to develop their sound in a supportive network, but there can be downsides to being lumped in with a scene, it encourages lazy journalism. We have been branded in with the London new-folk scene but really we are just fans of what Communion are doing and are friendly with the people behind it. We have folk influences but don’t necessarily see ourselves as a folk band. We also have very broad tastes in music so we don’t come out sounding so traditional.

ILM: Which artists’ records do you find yourself constantly returning to?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: Fleetwood Mac – Rumours, Brand New – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, Radiohead – The Bends and Neil Young – Harvest

ILM: What have you been listening to recently?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: Lots of stuff, mainly Bowerbirds, Local Natives, Bombay Bicycle Club, Blitzen Trapper and Arcade Fire.

ILM: Are there any plans for a tour in the near future?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: We are working on recording the album, so after that yes.

ILM: What do you look forward to the most about playing live?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: It’s fun to hear reactions and see people enjoy your music.

ILM: Which bands/artists have you seen live and really been blown away by?

Kurran & The Wolfnotes: Manchester Orchestra at Heaven last year was amazing. The National at latitude this year was outstanding. - I Like Music

"Your Four Limbs review"

Kurran and the Wolfnotes continue their steady ascent to wider acclaim with their second single, ‘Your Four Limbs’, which sees lead singer Kurran pining after the object of his affections over the kind of insistent melody that’ll cling to your subconscious like a limpet. The band themselves cite Neil Young and Interpol as influences and it’s that combination of classic folk songwriting with contemporary sensibilities and concerns that makes them such an interesting prospect, add a bit of the Byrds and the Decemberists to the mix and you’re onto a winner.

Building on a gently picked, looping guitar line, ‘Your Four Limbs’ details the protagonist’s lustful longing after an unattainable inamorata (“And how I long for your four limbs / and long to sleep amongst their bends”) sung in Kurran Karmal’s resigned lament. The harmonies lift the song to another level when they edge their way in and ensure that you’ll be humming the song long after the final note.

Having previously toured with Lightspeed Champion, with whom they share a sense of pained urban romance, and worked with A-list producer Stephen Street, Kurran and the Wolfnotes seem to be laying a solid foundation for a long and fruitful career. The onus now falls on them to show that they have the quality/intelligence/sheer blind luck to stick it out when the Brit-folk bubble bursts. While you can never be sure about these things, the early signs are looking good.

‘Your Four Limbs’ is out now on Chess Club. - There Goes The Fear

"Bands To Watch"

Following the timely demise of the nu-rave scene, attention has turned to the burgeoning Brit-folk scene that has brought forth Laura Marling, Noah and the Whale, and Mumford and Sons among a host of others. While many of these bands will inevitably fall by the wayside (thankfully so in many cases), there will be one or two that will stand the test of time. One act hoping to stay relevant when lumberjack shirts and beards are little more than an embarrassing memory is Kurran and the Wolfnotes.

Merging melodies and harmonies that seem plucked from late 60’s California with lyrics of longing and heartbreak sung in New Yorker Kurran’s plaintive croon, the band seem set to win a lot of people over in the coming months. Having teamed up with legendary producer Stephen Street for their debut single ‘What a Bitch’, a song written about a relationship that Kurran had with an older woman while he was doing his A-Levels (‘What a bitch / to say you could have seen us in love / and I was robbed / of my youth before I knew what it was’), the band will release new single ‘Your Four Limbs’ before continuing work on their upcoming debut album. The smart money’s on it being something of a belter.

Check out the performance of ‘What a Bitch’ below and keep your eyes peeled for more Kurran and the Wolfnotes news soon. - There Goes The Fear

"The Wolfnotes"

Kurran, Chris, Ben and 'Queez' formed as a musical trio three and a half years ago and released two singles via Chess Club Records. Now back with renewed vigour, they are working with Pledge Music to release their first full length album of americana/modern folk/indie rock sounds. Catch them at November's Breakout event in Camden. - Music Week

"Gin In Teacups session"

3 song session - Gin In Teacups

"Your Four Limbs 5/5 Review"

This British five-piece has only recently assembled and already they look like a band worth watching out for. Still busy producing their debut album, their recent double-side single, is only their second. With what looks to be a year where folk/alternative is dominating, Kurran and The Wolfnotes are bound to have a howler of a victory.
Kurran and the Wolfnotes claim that a major recent influence of theirs has been Bombay Bicycle Club. This is evident as they propel folk traditions into a Nu-Folk British sound. Your Four Limbs is a dark and haunting track that comes across very bittersweet. It's a great track that combines it's quite tragic message with an uplifting melody. Only one listen and you'll be caught by its hook. Whilst adhering to folk ties, it is definitely evident that is not a song stuck in the past. Yes, it may even have a dark resembling to Johnny Cash's music, but the heavy drums and bass ensures that through its production, this track has had a modern stamp of approval. Your Four Limbs deserves to be a hit because it is obscure in its evocative, and quite disturbing, theme and hopefully it will be successful 'in the blink of an eye', as their lyrics suggest.
The B-side track Hit the Bottle reveals another side to this eclectic band. Hit the Bottle resembles a José González track, and again we encounter a melancholic track filled with loss and regret. There are more obvious folk undertones in this track with use of acoustic guitar and the harmonica. Therefore, this track, compared to Your Four Limbs, tends to verge more on the traditional, but this certainly does not hinder the track. Lead vocals, provided by Kurran himself, give the song depth and a quite-strange wisdom in the lyrics reveals an unexpected profundity. This song works very well counterbalanced with the much faster-paced Your Four Limbs.
Collectively, this single is a brilliant outing from this band. Yet to release their debut album and set to unveil new tracks on their UK tour in September, this definitely is a band worth looking out for. It is shocking that a label is yet to sign these guys because they are creating some great music. They may seem to be doing what a lot of bands are starting to do, which is jump on a folk bandwagon, but Kurran and the Wolfnotes are doing something entirely different. By placing their unique slant upon a tradition and making their music appeal to today's generation; they are a pack of wolves that are proving their bark is definitely worse than their bite.
Nima Baniamer - Contact Music

"The Wolfnotes are back in the game - for good"

When The Wolfnotes describe themselves as a “garage band from islands, states and land masses,” they’re not just being vague about their origins. The alternative folk rockers, who are releasing their debut full-length through Pledge, hail from points in Northern Ireland to France to England to New York.

Just a few years after debuting as Kurran and The Wolfnotes, frontman Kurran Karbal says the band (now just The Wolfnotes) are back in the game and ready to share their music. With easy candor, Karbal lets us in on the band’s start, the rough patch they faced and a little something you didn’t know about him.

You guys are from all over the world, and you joined up in London. Tell me a little about where you’re each from and how you ended up as a band.

Yeah, well, Chris is from Belfast, Ben is from Lille, Qeez is from Cheltenham and I’m from New York but we all met in London. Chris and I came over here originally to be in other bands that fizzled out or moved on for whatever reason. And Ben came over here looking to join a new band.

The three of us started playing together about four years ago with the mentality that we couldn’t be bothered to try and adhere to trends or whatever was flavour of the month in London. Then some dick said nu folk – why?! We all met Qeez about two years ago, and he’s helped us out for a long time, helping us demo, and on tour and stuff. Now that he’s playing with us “full-time” so to speak, the lineup really feels complete.

How would you say your cultural differences impact your sound and writing process?

It’s pretty hard to say how it impacts the sound. The only one that comes to mind is Chris being great at harmonising cause of his childhood growing up singing in church. But we all grew up listening to American and British bands even before we lived over here.

I grew up in the Middle East for five years, and all I listened to was my mom’s record collection, because there was no English radio station. So Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Jim Croce – they remind me of Abu Dhabi, but that’s not really a cultural influence is it? More influenced by the culture to seek out another or something …

Do you have similar or very different influences?

There’s definitely a lot of overlap, and that ranges from a select few modern day bands like Manchester Orchestra, Bowerbirds, Bon Iver, to a lot of older stuff, mostly Americana, from Pixies and Mountain Goats to Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The thing is we never really openly talk about that stuff. We don’t start rehearsal and say, “OK, so let’s do Manchester Orchestra-style thing here into a Neil Young verse or whatever.

No, that stuff’s all best left subliminal if you ask me. If that’s where the song wants to go, it’ll go there.

You mention in your Pledge video that you have resolved all the problems that arose after releasing your EP “Your Four Limbs” a year and a half ago. What were those problems and how were they resolved?

We had a few disappointments, and I wish I could get into particulars, because I know I just end up sounding like some crazy ass conspiracy theorist when I talk about it in generalities, but I don’t really want to dwell on it.

Let’s just say we’ve been dealt a few shit ones but we’re actually through it now. And after years of dealing with major bullshit, it feels so good to be rid of it. Pledge is like my Mecca now! Make the music and share it! What a simple concept to be swollen out of proportion by the ‘companies’ in between the artists and the fans. Let the majors burn (laughs)! Rant over I promise.

You guys are super active on your socials and on your Pledge page, so you obviously have a great relationship with your fans. How would you describe your fanbase?

I wish I could say we’ve always been so good at that. To be honest we’ve only really kicked into gear with that in the last three months. In our preparations to launch our Pledge page, the peeps at Pledge very clearly showed us how important it is for bands like us. But once we started we got so hooked on it.

I’d like to think that we have a very creative fanbase. By that I mean artists, other musicians and so on. We’ve had fans helping us with the artwork, the concepts and trying to show them that we do want their influence. We’re going to take that even further by having album forums where they help us out with instrumentation and stuff. We’re even going to get fans in to play on the record like extra BVs, claps, tambourines – all that stuff.

What’s one thing your fans don’t know about you?

Ummm … I have a glass eye. That’s why I can’t help but sing with my eyes closed. When they are open I get some serious Thom Yorke moments. - Pledge Music

"The Wolfnotes"

You may, or just as easily may not have, realised that it’s been some while since HMCMB has been at full strength. Writer’s have been dipping in and out over the summer but the lure of summer’s drinking (sans good weather) and a needed break has kept us perpetually at half mast for what was seeming more and more like a permanent decline. Suffice to say that hopefully that’s now changed.

It would be easy and probably satisfyingly cathartic to bore you with the motives and reasons for the lull, but perhaps it would be better at this point to simulataneously offer our condolences and point you towards, fellow blog Tympanogram who have just lost a founding member who, to come back around to HMCMB’s plight, has surmised in a refreshingly honest way sentiments for leaving that I feel we echoed here at HMCMB this summer.

What did it take then for that to change? Rather poetically, it took some great music. The music at hand comes from the recently renamed Wolfnotes. Formerly Kurran and The Wolfnotes – an act who have marched through our pages a fair amount back in 2010. With seemingly renewed vigour they’ve set out on a new path. In a brave gamble they’ve left both the stresses and security of a record label for a new Pledge campaign towards their debut album. The icing of the cake for which is the 8 track ‘Static Bleed’ EP that comes as a part of pledging, in preparation for their new album that is to be released in November. So for your £8, you can receive a more or less unreleased back catalogue of brilliant tracks, as well as the knowledge you will get a whole album full too, later this year. That’s a deal.

With little knowledge of what their debut album other than it will include their all too brilliant ‘Your Four Limbs’, it may be safer to stick to reviewing what’s at hand, the ‘free’ EP. The EP takes a revitalised looked at the now stripped back 3 piece. All the tracks have been given an Americana twist that keeps you on your toes. It works well for the most part and is juxtaposed well with the lead, Kurran, and his ominous vocals. On ‘Static Bleed’ and ‘Here To Fill You In’ in particular you can really see how this new slant will work well for the band. Unfortunately it’s a bit less clear on the re-recorded versions of Whatabitch and Hit The Bottle, upon which the lack of a distinct 5 piece and the added depth of which we expected from the former Kurran and The Wolfnotes leaves the new versions sounding hollowed out.

Having acknowledged that though, and still considering the overall quality of an EP worth your money, the EP suggests good things for the Wolfnotes and their debut album. The strength of the acts songwriting and execution with a renewed American edge is an exciting prospect. One that got me back to writing things for HMCMB. I hope you too can be inspired by the Wolfnotes, or at the very least enjoy their totally renewed enthusiasm and talents.

If you do, head over to their Pledge site and throw your money at them at:

In the mean time, check out the eponymous track off the ‘Static Bleed’ EP below.
- Hey Man, Check My Band


Headright (free download single) – September 2012
Static Bleed EP – (exclusive release via PledgeMusic) September 2012
Your Four Limbs (single) – September 2010
Whatabitch (single) – July 2010



Formed in 2009 as Kurran and the Wolfnotes, the band has brought an unmistakable noughties twist to the alt-folk sound, with a playful hint of The Strokes complementing their folk sensibilities. With New Yorker Kurran’s faltering, heartbroken croon and textbook Isle of White Festival circa-1968 guitar jangle, they are half medieval minstrel, half basement bar sleaze.

They have caused a stir with singles Whatabitch and Your Four Limbs (Chess Club) winning fans at radio and storming live shows including literally bringing the tent down at Latitude festival. The band’s early work culminated in the Static Bleed EP, which they made with producer Richard Causon, who has made music with artists including Ryan Adams, Ethan Johns, Rufus Wainwright and Kings of Leon.

Now renamed The Wolfnotes, Kurran, Chris, Ben and new member Queez have recently completed work on their first full length album We Share A Ghost with producer Cam Blackwood (We Are Scientists, Viva Brother, CSS). The album builds on the majestic folk vibe of the Static Bleed EP, with Kurran’s compelling lyrics meditating on everything from mortality to indecisive girlfriends. But this time around his band is unafraid to show its pop sensibilities, as demonstrated by first single Upper Atmosphere, which blends Beach Boys harmonies with Kurran’s trademark barroom drawl in the band’s most upbeat offering to date.

The Wolfnotes are currently running a successful campaign with Pledge Music to release the debut album. All those who Pledge instantly receive the ‘Static Bleed’ EP as well as pre-ordering the debut album We Share A Ghost which will be available to those who Pledge in November 2012 prior to a traditional release in Spring 2013. The band credits the Pledge campaign as giving them a renewed energy and excitement to interact with the fanbase to create and share their music, and has been making a whole host of exclusive content and session videos available to fans throughout the campaign.