Wax Lead
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Wax Lead

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | INDIE

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Rock Post-punk




"City Pages "Poised to Pop 2020""

Wax Lead
For fans of: Nick Cave, Depeche Mode

Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Ian Curtis—meet Holly Axelrod, your Minneapolis successor. The Wax Lead frontwoman gives the brash and brooding rock-poet archetype a much-needed feminist reckoning, and the 2018 EP Husband, Lord, & Master was an exquisite “fuck you” to the rock ’n’ roll establishment. But Wax Lead’s rebellion is less of a manifesto and more of an attitude. The riffs echo like a brick chucked through a stained-glass window. The bass licks can only be played while snarling. Everything about this band wakes up the pissed-off teenager in your skin and makes her want to climb into the front row.
-Jerard Fagerberg
29 January 2020 - City Pages

"Maximum Rocknroll: Wax Lead / Luna Honey split"

WAX LEAD opens with an unlikely combination of ethereal true-goth romanticism and sprinklings of bluesy twang. Vocalist Holly Axlerod’s powerful and haunting vocals are front and center, as the track winds through a maze of dramatic interludes to its brief but dancefloor-worthy crescendo. LUNA HONEY offers an extremely slow, deliberate, and poetic invocation of a ruthless curse. Velvety vocals are accompanied by sparse synth beats, distorted bass, and baritone saxophone. The artwork inside the record is beautifully printed on transparent vellum.
-Heather Blotto
MRR, January 2020 - Maximum Rocknroll

"WL//WH Track Of The Day: WAX LEAD “Honey On The Moon”"

Brewing ‘post-punk, ballads, soundscapes, and silence since 2017‘, Minneapolis-based 4-piece Wax Lead, made of Holly Axelrod (vocals, keys, guitar, bass), Cody Bourdot (bass, guitar, samples, vocals), Aaron Anderson (drums) and Sami Sati (guitar, keys), have released over the weekend their new single “Honey on the Moon” from the split 7-inch vinyl with D.C.’s Luna Honey, via Blight Records, conceived last year, over an odd concatenation of coincidences, just before a chance encounter on tour between the two bands.

With a self-released debut 4-tracker, entitled “Husband, Lord, & Master”, at the very end of last year under their belt, the quartet play a poignant, dense and vibrant, bordering on goth, noir-ish post-punk leaning on evocative layers of twangy guitars, hypnotic somber bass lines, enriched by heartfelt and moving passionate vocalizations, influenced by artists like the Cranes, Nick Cave, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Madrugada.

The group also produces a monthly printed zine, The Dark Times, paired with a Twin Cities goth radio DJ and is always interested in collaborating, breaking down barriers, and injecting DIY get-up-and-go into the sometimes reclusive world of dark music.

Rumbling and seething bleak bassline, backed by tight drums, ominously pulses unremittingly throughout, penetrated by jittery piercing guitar chords that supremely whine, rip, radiate and collide, achingly echoing murky, angry, equally fragile and powerful, female vocals weighted by deep hopeless fear and distress as a woman rebukes about greed, vanity, and indifference in the dystopian land of mass consumerism.

Shadowy and introspective, both compelling and subtly disturbing, “Honey on the Moon” is pervaded by a profound sense of reckless endangerment that speaks straight to the heart. - White Light // White Heat

"The Current"

This video makes me want to pull down the shades and head up to my attic. Once you hear Holly Axelrod’s voice on this Wax Lead track, there’s no telling what demons will spring out of your speakers. Video by Matty Lang. - The Current Radio

"City Pages: Local Frames"

Alternative rock band Wax Lead are fed up with the mining of the natural world on “Honey on the Moon,” a song that takes humanity’s selfish destruction to absurd ends. Filmed at A-Mill Artist Lofts in downtown Minneapolis by Matty Lang, the video feels apocalyptic, like the band has gone underground while corporate interests dream of milking the moon of its resources. The song is off the Wax Lead/Luna Honey split 7-inch released on Blight Records released in October.
-Jerard Fagerberg
City Pages, 3 December 2019 - City Pages

"Wednesday Was Dark Thanks to Wax Lead..."

A note to up and coming bands: Your PR pics matter! Good ones relay what your band is about, capture a casual glance and raise interest. And I have to say photographers Cody Bourdot & Kristi Fox Fräzier certainly managed that for Minneapolis’ Wax Lead. I was scrolling through the Icehouse’s show listing the image for Wednesday night’s show was oozing dark, mysterious and edgy. So of course I had to click and find out more. Long story short I found myself walking into the Icehouse ready for a night of moody darkness and I was not disappointed.

I knew it was going a good night when I was greeted by the sounds of the Cruxshadows as I walked into the venue. DJ Mercury played a very interesting dark set that also had Tom Jones “She’s a Lady”.
Wax Lead took lights and sound a bit darker than their opener. Singer Holly Axelrod wrote the first song “Pit Of The Apricot” when she was 19. It instantly set the mood for the set. There was an eerie quality to Wax Lead’s sound. In part it was the vocals but I found my eyes being drawn to a strange instrument on stage that looked like it came out of a science fiction movie. Turns out the instrument was a Theremin and actually was created in the 1920 by a Soviet / Russian scientist as an offshoot to proximity sensor research. Checking out the Theremin on YouTube led me down a bit of a rabbit hole (how cool is a laser harp?), but I digress.

Wax Lead’s sound immerses the listener, at one point I was reminded of scenes from Apocalypse Now. Axelrod’s vocals remind me of Fiona Apple, but without the “the girl is troubled” aura that Apple projected early in her career.

Turns out it was Axelrod’s birthday – band and audience sang “Happy Birthday” over her protests. A love song on the setlist was dropped by mutual consent. “We’ll skip the love song, and go straight to regret”, she informed fans.

All said, I enjoyed both bands they will remain on my radar. They should be on yours as well.

Set List: Pit Of The Apricot / When I Learned Your Name / 16 Candles / I Hear You’re Here Again / Shoals & Shallows / Honey On The Moon / Out Of The Light / Lucky In Love / No Man’s Land / Forgive Me / Walk On Water - Twin Cities Media

"Crushed Velvet video review"

Minneapolis darkwave quartet Wax Lead has released a music video for their track "Crushed Velvet" off the band's debut EP "Husband, Love, & Master."

"Crushed Velvet" is a letter of lament from the band to warn the listener of the dangers of losing one's self to another person. This is evident from the get-go with the opening line "I was in love once, long ago." From the first chord, you feel like you're being transported to a past memory still clouded by warbly lead lines that take away some of the pictures clarity.

On this track, Wax Lead really wear their influences on their sleeve in the best way possible. Poetic lyrical phrasing mixes with the soulful voice of vocalist Holly Axelrod to evoke a moody tone that is similar to the work of Nick Cave. The instrumentation and arrangements on this track (and EP) create a vibe that not only supports "Crushed Velvet's" narrative but adds a dreamlike quality to the track.

The smokey black and white music video for this track really completes the mood. It is shot from a low angle which highlights the power and intensity given off by the band. The subtly found in the music translates well on screen with a small movement or gesture made by a member punctuating the slight rise and falls found in this song.

You can watch the video for "Crushed Velvet" was shot by Swa Media Productions as well as find a link to Wax Lead's Bandcamp page below. - Ear Coffee


Out of the Light single, Feb. 2017

Husband, Lord, & Master EP, Dec. 2018

Crushed Velvet video single, Jan. 2019

Wax Lead/Luna Honey split 7", Oct. 2019

Punx to the Bone #6 (comp), Nov. 2019

Honey on the Moon video single, Nov. 2019



Holly Axelrod (vocals, piano, guitar) and Cody Bourdot (bass, guitar, sampler) formed Wax Lead in January 2017. The band's first single was written and released in a day. A deceptively-simple love song, "Out of the Light" belied an intensity that attracted the attention of Twin Cities' luminaries Mark Mallman and DJ Jake Rudh.

Still a duo, Wax Lead immediately started gigging. A live drummer joined seamlessly by the third show. The band was invited on programs as diverse as Radio K's Off The Record, Back to the City: MPLS Music Conversation, KFAI's Gothic Radio Hour, KUMD Duluth, and Locust Lecture. 

The debut EP, "Husband, Lord, and Master,"  came at the dark end of 2018. A sardonic echo to a world hell-bent on inequality, its four-song punch of seduction, hope, and bile had little precedent in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the live video single "Crushed Velvet" saw more airplay and demonstrated an appeal to a wider audiences.

Now a four-piece, Wax Lead embarked on a constant pace of regional shows, radio appearances, and festivals in 2019, supporting artists as diverse as DBUK (Slim Cessna), Amanda Palmer, Light Asylum, Norman Westberg (Swans), Rosegarden Funeral Party, Bambara, and Panic Priest.

More releases followed, including a split 7" with Luna Honey (D.C.) on Blight Records, another video, an exclusive track on Dilapidated Records' punk compilation, singer Holly Axelrod's solo debut, and three zines. These led to national airplay, more interviews, and features on post-punk blogs, White Light // White Heat and Post-Trash. 

Watch for a west coast tour in March 2020.

Band Members