Wax Fang
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Wax Fang


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"La La Land review in The Onion A.V. Club"

What's going on in Kentucky? Judging by My Morning Jacket's new record and its hometown tourmate Wax Fang, it's like a flair for theatricality is being transmitted through the Louisville water. But while MMJ's turn to prog went for funky twists, it's immediately clear from the grandiose opening of Wax Fang's La La Land that frontman Scott Carney is fully intent on creating a Pink Floyd-esque prog-rock opera. From spacey, eerie psychedelia to whistling to references to World War II, the album conveys a vision as strongly as The Wall did, but with a less-polished, basement aesthetic that provides vivid moments of needed brightness. Spanning soaring whirls of energetic guitar pop ("The Doctor Will See You Now") and rolling, break-of-dawn mini-epics reminiscent of Arcade Fire (the closing "Wake Up Sleepyhead!"), La La Land is a fiercely focused collection with an impressive, bold ambition and artistic cohesiveness. It's a strong effort, but even if Carney's dream of resurrecting Roger Waters doesn't work out, Wax Fang could probably compose some incredible Off-Broadway rock musicals.

- The Onion A.V. Club

"American Songwriter Interview"

Louisville, Kentucky-based psyche-rock trio Wax Fang is Scott Carney, Kevin Ratterman and Jacob Heustis. They’ve toured with likes of Spoon and My Morning Jacket. They’ve recorded in the likes of Ardent Studios and in a funeral home. DIY to the bone, they released La La Land last year via their own label, Don’t Panic Records. Lead singer/songwriter Scott Carney took a few minutes to answer some questions for our Writer of the Week interview.

Who are your favorite singers, past and present? And when/how did you start singing?
I started singing when I was very young, too young to remember really. I used to sing myself to sleep at night, much to the chagrin of my sister, who slept in the next room. I would learn songs I saw on MTV and heard on the radio and when I was sent to bed, I would swing myself violently back and forth, slamming my face into my pillow to the tempo of whatever song I was singing and I would just belt it out until I had no energy left and I fell asleep. Where there weren’t words, I would imitate the guitar or keyboard melody with my voice. I did this for an embarrassingly long time. I think my sister still holds it against me.

Some of my favorite singers, past and present, are: Frankie Valli, Roy Orbison, Dion DiMucci, Sam Cooke, John Lennon, Neil Young, Brian Ferry, Mark E. Smith, Jim James, Antony Hegarty and Matt Pelham, to name a few.

When you’re writing, are you working through the vocal and guitar arrangements at the same time? How does this process work for you?
Sometimes. Every song sort of dictates to me how it wants to be written. Some songs start with a lyric and/or vocal melody, some with a guitar line. Many songs began with a drum beat and/or a bass line. It all depends on the type of song I’m writing. I don’t write in any sort of linear fashion. I’m always bouncing around from song to song. I am also usually producing and arranging in my head as I write. You might say I have trouble focusing. I work in this way until I have a group of songs that are close to being finished and then I force myself to go through them one at a time until they are done.

Could you describe the impetus behind your songwriting on La La Land?
Hmmm… it’s hard to say. I was almost an entirely different person then. I was very depressed at the time, a heavy drinker, having serious anxiety issues and I think, more than anything else, music was therapy for me. Musically speaking, I tried to write things that made me happy, things that were simple and enjoyable to play. It was essentially escapism. That might explain why so many of the songs on that album were written in the major key and revolve primarily around the three chord theory. On the other hand, I was counter balancing this light and fluffy music with lyrics that reflected my anxieties at the time.

Who are some songwriters who inspire you?
Off the top of my head… Neil Young, Robert Pollard, John Lennon, Lou Reed, Stephen Malkmus, Bob Dylan, Beck Hansen, Brian Wilson, Frank Black, John Fogerty, Kurt Cobain, David Bowie, Roger Waters, Tom Waits, Andrew Rieger (Elf Power). The list goes on…

Do you write on your guitar? How do you keep track of your ideas for songs?
Yes, I write primarily on the guitar, though, lately, I’ve been writing on the piano quite a bit. In the past, I’ve kept track of ideas either in a notebook, in some crude form, or just in my head. I recently started recording ideas into my cell phone. It sounds awful, but it serves its purpose.

What gear do you use to record demos? And live?
At the moment, I’m either working at home, tracking through a small Mackie board to an ADAT, or at a friend’s place, through his TL Audio board and some borrowed Motu converters into a PC computer setup running Nuendo. The few live recordings we’ve done have been made with pieces of our drummer, Kevin Ratterman’s, studio (the Funeral Home), his PC setup, those same Motu converters I mentioned earlier and whatever gear is at venue we’re playing.

Name your top five albums of the moment.
1. The Features, Some Kind of Salvation
2. Gavin Bryars, The Sinking of the Titanic
3. Neil Young, On the Beach
4. Patto, Patto
5. Penguin Café Orchestra, Penguin Café Orchestra

- American Songwriter

"La La Land review in Jambase"

This is a journey and if you consciously forget to pack preconceptions in your bindle then you're gonna have a great time with Wax Fang's La La Land (released October 14 on Don't Panic Records), which trundles headlong like a modern day child of Their Satanic Majesties Request or Magical Mystery Tour punctured by angular, darkly hued '80s post-punk and sprinkled with bone deep amusement. Where "World War II (Pt. 2)" captures Queen's pomp, "Cannibal Summer" is post-modern thickness stuffed with cock rockin' riffs. Their laughter hangs out on "The Doctor Will See You Now," which encourages us to stay away from medical practitioners unless there's something actually wrong with us. "Avant Guardian Angel Dust" is like something Eno-Byrne might cook up if they weren't so sleepy together, and Wax Fang perfectly follows it with a beguilingly folksy ditty, "Oh, Recklessness," expanding on the stillness of the previous instrumental but not succumbing to it. And they take similar turns throughout, shifting away from each movement with subtle intelligence, so it makes sense for the pretty bits to mingle with the near metal-prog of "Black & Endless Night Revisited" or other prickly bits. Ending by telling us "Wake Up, Sleepyhead," Wax Fang trail off in a cloud of twinkling lights that illuminate tattered stars 'n' stripes, a bruised sort of patriotism that celebrates liberty by living with few constrictions.

http://www.jambase.com/Articles/15436/Wax-Fang-La-La-Land - Jambase

"La La Land review in URB"

Scott Carney took what started out as a solo rock and roll dream project, and turned it into a band, Wax Fang. After finding Kevin Ratterman on drums and bassist Jacob Heustis, the direction of Carney's vision has taken Wax Fang to their latest studio release, titled La La Land.

La La Land is no The Darkness, no Jet, no average rock comeback album. La La Land is a rock and roll evolution...it is where rock and roll is right now, at this very moment, if you define rock and roll from a context of believing the 60s and 70s were when it was at its peak. If your definition of rock lies within Linkin Parks and My Chemical Romances, this is not the album for you. The album opens with "Majestic," starting off slow and leading into only what can be described as an Elton John inspired, piano driven rock number. A great way to start off an album with such a diverse musical range. This trails off into "World War II(Part 2)," the album's second beginning, if that is sensical. Where "Majestic" introduces the album slowly, "World War II(Part2)" clearly states, "hey, listener, welcome to the rock and roll." The song also ends in a glorious chant closely following that you'd hear in a drinking song. That is rock and roll. "At Sea" is a three minute instrumental of drowsiness that leads into "Cannibal Summer," a clear Bowie inspiration. Carney even sounds like him in this song. "Avant Guardian Angel Dust" is somewhere in between Baba O'Reily and U2's Joshua Tree, which only further exemplifies the range on the album. "Oh, Recklessness" acts as the signature acoustic track, where the closing track, "Wake Up, Sleepyhead!," is how a rock album should close: nine minutes and forty seconds of ballad and fade out.

Wax Fang, you surprised me. For an album that so shamelessly continued to promote itself as "Rock and Roll," which usually leads me to believe it is anything but, this album really caught my attention. It had all the right qualities, all the ingredients for a good, different, yet somehow familiar rock and roll album. Even putting the genre aside, La La Land is just plain good music. On point instrumentation with great vocals to match; great harmonies, great melodies, and music that shoots for something greater than it's image. A grand piece of musicianship with enough distortion to still throw your lighter up and band your head a little bit. Oh, and, not to mention an offsetting, but amazing album cover. Which probably deserves a review of its own.

- URB.com

"SPIN.com It Happened Last Night SXSW Night Four"

Previous touring partner to acts like My Morning Jacket and the Whigs, Louisville, Kentucky's Wax Fang demonstrated their incredible capability and candor, defining the image and sound of the token rock power trio. Alternating between punk-rock rage with thumping bass and vocal sensitivity akin to Cat Stevens or Jim Croce, the trio was close to innovation while in disguise as a small town bar band. -SAMI PROMISLOFF - Spin.com

"New York Times: Celebrity Play List – Jim James"

“…It’s [Black & Endless Night] got futuristic energy, a lot of elements I’ve never heard work before. A combo of all these things you remember from the past. You can sense some David Bowie in it. It’s so unique, it’s hard to place. The cool thing about it is he [Carney] made it by himself. Every single instrument is played by him and he paid attention to the details….The production is amazing, the songs are amazing. It takes you to a different place.”

-Jim James of My Morning Jacket
From the New York Times
- New York Times

"SXSW Review - LA Times"

Discovery of the night: This belongs to Louisville, Ky.-based band Wax Fang. Believing that most of those in Austin would be trying to get into R.E.M., I was feeling overly ambitious about getting into other venues, and had pegged three artists to catch between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. Along with Wax Fang, I had been curious about jazzy hip-hop act Kidz in the Hall and the bluesy Americana of Saint Bernadette.

Wax Fang, however, tore those plans to shreds.

The three-piece possessed a Who-like grandeur and psychedelic bent, and kept me parked in one venue for the hour. Wax Fang is epic guitar rock, with melodic solos breaking free from hypnotic loops. The band's "The Doctor Will See You Now" rode a rattlesnake rhythm and a pummeling drum break, which hooks the listener by sputtering and starting. Yet the song's full payoff isn't revealed until more than halfway in, when a playfully electronic bridge cuts through the seriousness of the band's guitar force. It was the best song I heard all day, and it came from a band I didn't know existed until last week.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/extendedplay/2008/03/sxsw.html - LA Times

"Wax Fang in SPIN magazine"

"Singer Scott Carney has got a shot of Broadway in his vocals, and hearing his dramatics framed by gutsy guitar solos and thunderclap drum work makes for a compellingly weird combo out of Louisville. Imagine The Wall with a Bonnaroo beard." - SPIN - SPIN

"The Guardian: Top 5 New Bands from SXSW"

Wax Fang: My Morning Jacket affiliates straight outta Louisville, Kentucky, load up on psychedelia-infused epic guitar rock.
- The Guardian


Wax Fang - 'Black & Endless Night' LP.
Wax Fang - 'La La Land' LP.



Wax Fang began as one man's basement vision of how rock 'n' roll might sound if it simultaneously existed in the past and future, stopping in the present just long enough to stupefy listeners.
In creating the core of Wax Fang's catalog, Scott Carney dedicated months to overdubbing intricate layers of music for what initially was a solo project in every sense. The resulting album, BLACK & ENDLESS NIGHT, is the sound of a record collection imploding, combining glam-rock, pop, and surf riffs with the dreamy ambience of vintage Brian Eno and David Bowie.
Carney then decided to do a little exploding. He found a fierce band in drummer Kevin Ratterman and bassist Jacob Heustis, who took the album's warm precision and blew it apart in all the right ways. With those two providing a deep, resourceful bottom end, Carney was free to indulge in his distinctive, aggressive guitar playing.
Following their first US tour in August of 2006, Wax Fang embarked on a more grandiose journey, supporting fellow Louisvillians, My Morning Jacket, on their Fall Tour. Upon their return, they eagerly headed to the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN to begin recording their forthcoming album, LA LA LAND, with engineer Doug Easley.
After spending New Year’s Eve ’07 in style, opening for MMJ at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, Wax Fang entered Ratterman's enchanting studio, The Funeral Home (housed on the 2nd floor of the family owned and operated funeral home located in a 150 year old building in West Louisville), for their second round of recording.
The self-produced LA LA LAND was then mixed with renowned indie producer, Mark Nevers, in Nashville, TN, shortly after being hand picked by Spoon to open for them in the Music City. Spending so much time in Nashville during an age of a struggling music industry provoked the unsigned Wax Fang to preserve their DIY aesthetic by creating their own label, Don't Panic! Records, for the release of their new album.
LA LA LAND expands the dense, spacey layers echoed on BLACK & ENDLESS NIGHT into a whole new psychedelic universe. Opening track 'Majestic' finds the band channeling their inner Pink Floyd through delicate sound collages and soaring guitar riffs, held together with the mortar of the Ratterman/ Heustis rhythm section and christened with Carney's vivid lyrics and uncanny form of delivery. The air swells like a swarm of ten thousand bees on 'At Sea.' The thunderous pop of 'The Doctor Will See You Now' unites the noble families of Led Zeppelin and Brain Eno through an unadulterated marriage of sound. The instrumental fury of 'Avant Guardian Angel Dust' bends your mind into an aural oblivion while the warm, acoustic tingle of 'Oh, Recklessness' recalls your coming-of-age.
With LA LA LAND, Wax Fang have created music that's instantly familiar and yet vaguely other-worldly — it exists just slightly left of reality, where bar clocks are always 15 minutes slow and the bourbon is endless. It's a world you want to visit. Just don't count on leaving.