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Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Shoegaze




"Music Archive: Wildfires"

Austin’s Wildfires are back with their sequel to last year’s “Aguas Frescas” EP. Reminiscent of Kurt Vile covering My Bloody Valentine, the band’s new EP is a continuation of what Aguas Frescas Part 1 started, and it further establishes the sound that makes them more unique than similar dream pop acts around Austin. This new EP sounds dreamier than its predecessor, while still keeping the same folk elements that made their earlier projects so memorable. Check out their session in Studio 1A and you can also celebrate their EP release with them this Friday, September 2nd at Cheer Up Charlie’s. - KUTX

"New Music: Austin's Wildfires drop new EP, release show at Cheer Up's Friday"

Austin shoegaze act Wildfires dropped their new EP Agua Frescas (part II) last week (August 26). While shoegaze (they like to say dream-pop with post punk sensibilities) may appear passé to some music fans, the Austin quartet has made the often imitated, rarely done well genre relevant with their latest release in the same way locals Ringo Deathstarr have brought their brand of noise rock to the forefront of the local music scene after playing for years to large crowds in Japan. We imagine should Wildfires soldier on as long as their counterparts, they will inevitably find similar success.

Wildfires has been around since 2011 but the group is comprised of experienced Austin musicians who were working on other projects when they formed the band which made for a bit of a slow start while they found their ultimate creative direction. They’re making up for that in spades with the new EP which the group claims have an Americana influence too. We suppose that’s true. We’ll let you be the judge.

One would hope (for their sake) their wide experience translates to a shorter timeline in which the group will get the kind of fan attention they deserve. On that note, Austin music fans can catch the group this Friday at Cheer-Up Charlie’s for an EP release that will also feature Axs favorites The Eastern Sea on their picturesque outdoor stage. Kodachrome will also appear.

Wildfires new EP demonstrates the band’s sharper focus on their shoegaze sound while still retaining elements of Americana and post-punk that give the group their distinctive sound. A rock-steady Chris Heckendorn on drums provides the beat behind Johanna Heilman and (Aneil Naik) on bass and guitar. (Gabe Baldwin) sings vocals. The group enlisted Erik Wofford (The Black Angels, Explosions in the Sky) to produce the record at Cacophony Studios. The result was something special.

Of the six tracks recorded for Agua Frescas (part II), opening song, Your Majesty (see video) is both upbeat and complex enough to leave the listener wanting more which leads folks further down the Wildfires sonic rabbit-hole. As we tend to like to rock out, Undead Fun and Punk Rock Moms also stood out for us. The heavier guitars on both complimented by Baldwin’s solid vocal work make the tunes extremely listenable without feeling like the group was pandering to more commercially accessible vibe. The music appears to work out that way in an organic, look-what-we-created kind of process.

Listen to the entire EP on Spotify and let us know what you think. What influences do you hear? We think Wildfires may be onto something big. They are certainly headed in the right direction as the new material indicates. And we can’t wait to rock out with them at Cheer-Ups on Friday. The show promises to be a good one. - axs.com

"Weekly Music Roundup"

VIDEO PREMIERE: Wildfires Offer A Puppets-Eye View Of The Perils Of Fame

“I never want to be famous… just universally known.” So begins the song “Undead Fun,” by the Austin, TX band Wildfires. Their second EP, Aguas Frescas (Part II), is full of shimmery guitars that evoke the dream-pop of 90s bands like Luna. The EP doesn’t come out until August 26th, but today we’re premiering the band’s new video for this track. Featuring the quartet itself and their Muppet-like alter egos (close enough to actual Muppets in appearance to be legally actionable?), the video suggests that, yeah, we all know fame is a bitch and a burden, but that doesn’t stop people from grasping at it. It’s a familiar story, but told here with wit and a bit of style: until you’ve seen a puppet snorting lines of crushed Saltines®, you don’t really know the true price of fame. - WNYC

"Aguas Frescas (Part 1) (Last Gasp Records)"

Led by Real Estate, Wild Nothing, and Yuck, the late-Aughts delivered indie pop's second waves of surf rock and shoegaze. None was novel, yet each was great. On their debut, dream-pop locals Wildfires land in a similarly not-so-mutually-exclusive territory. Opener "Bad Breath" embarks sans frills, a down-strum guitar setting singer Gabe Baldwin's reserved vocals. Despite an unabashedly foolproof "ooh ooh" chorus, it's the EP's catchiest cut. Later, "Lazy Daze" evokes Beach Fossils' similar sound, its crisp guitar tone gliding beside soft-brushed percussion. Frank Zappa was mostly right: The good music has already been written. But Wildfires isn't attempting to one-up their predecessors to re-cast shoegaze destiny. Rather, they're genre purists. That there's not a tune worth skipping on this lean disc marks their truest accomplishment.

*** - Austin Chronicle

"The Empty Page: Wildfires Aguas Frescas PT 1 is an Imaginative Reinterpretation of Shoegaze"

I go through favorite Sonic Youth albums the way some people change their minds about dinner. I know Daydream Nation is the pick I should go with if I want to be substantial and healthy, and Sister is a reliable favorite I know I can count on, but secretly I’ve got a hankering for Murray Street a fair amount of time. It’s a latter day work, proceeding the reviled NYC Ghosts & Flowers and preceding a return to some noisy roots, so it’s not necessarily a work that comes up on a lot of top 5 lists. There’s a dreamy charm to it that tugs at heartstrings I normally try to hide, though; maybe it’s because it came out at an important point in my life, because it musically conveys a whole slew of weird feelings I was going through in 2002, I don’t know. What I know is that the band had weird feelings of their own then, confusion not sex but uncertainty, and so they tried to make a new kind of sound, slightly familiar but out of line with the bulk of their catalog. That sound now seems to have predicted a strain of American shoegaze emphasizing slack charm over walls of sound, dreamy guitar textures murky yet bright enough to creep through the mix. It’s a shoegaze strain practiced by Austin’s Wildfires on their new(ish) album Aguas Frescas (Part I) and it’s tellingly the only version of American shoegaze I can get into.

Like Murray Street, Aguas Frescas is centrally defined by vocals that are aware of their limitations and yet aim for melodies slightly out of reach anyway. An album of stretched limbs and murmured deliveries, Aguas Frescas packs the appeal of a lover doing his best to maintain your affection, getting by not necessarily on talent or looks but good graces and a soft touch. Here experimentation doesn’t mean loops and odd time signatures but musical grafting, an ’80s UK indie jangle sewn to an American college rock vocal on “Sad Wolverine,” Jesus and Mary Chain swagger stacked on top of a Galaxie 500 Velvet Underground riff on “Graveyards.” That voice is the unifier, fearlessly devoted to making itself clear, unconcerned with smoothness or technicality.

There are curveballs, too. “Don’t Hate” ramps up like a prime Edwyn Collins track, its beat a jaunty promise of close gripped dancing with a crush, a grinning lead line eager to set a romantic mood before the Thurston Moore schooled vocals come in, pleading “don’t hate,” casually slipping into ooh ooh oohs. If there’s an Austin precedent for Wildfires, I’d suggest American Analog Set, not because these two bands share rhythmic influences or even similar song structures, but because they both excel at sustaining an autumnal mood, an impressive feat in a location as summer oriented as Austin. You can pick up on that even in what seem, like “Don’t Hate,” to be deviations, summery in their tempo and swing until the vocals arrive and that fall longing rears its head.

The closest Wildfires get to more traditional shoegaze is with album opener “Bad Breath,” with its slightly out of tune lead lick and underwater vocal production. Here the drums are thin but insistent, the chorus wordless and supported by a delay coated rhythm line. But there is no wall of sound, no impenetrable haze of effects and listlessness. “Bad Breath” has propulsion, it parcels out elements only as needed, like the synth pad that pops up in the second verse, or the “solo” that plays with the rhythm rather than doing some kind of melodic build. Modern shoegaze pretenders are too often like home chefs pretending at pretension, following recipes but wasting their time with lackluster or incorrect ingredients. Wildfires toss out the recipes altogether, operating on memory and feeling, getting to the heart of the appeal of a decades old sound without fussing over the specifics.

Just as memory can supercede the actual events it chronicles– making my Murray Street your Terror Twilight, perhaps– new strains of old genres are best when they’re deviating from the source like this. Aguas Frescas (Part I) may not be a vital work to shoegaze fans seeking out Loveless clones, but to my ears it’s a work of charm and ambition and taste, capable of cutting through my own prejudices against its peers, giving me sonic deja vu in the comforting rather than disquieting sense. - Ovrld

"August Music Reviews"

Aguas Frescas Part II
3 1/2 Stars
The follow-up to last year’s inaugural installment, Aguas Frescas Part II finds dream pop band Wildfires creating similarly faraway, echoing songs but with greater confidence and more propulsive energy. Consistent in tone, the collection’s unified aesthetic emerges as a greater strength than any one track. - Austin Monthly

"Wildfires Aguas Frescas (Part I) ep dreamy deep summer music"

‘Aguas Frescas (Part I)’ is the latest superb EP from Austin indie alt-rock band, Wildfires, The Deli's March 2015 Band of the Month (check our EP preview from a while back right here). This newest offering takes listeners on a surreal journey of textured soundscapes and ethereal vocals summoning up memories of shoegazing bands of yesteryears such as Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine. The understated vocal delivery and dreamy guitar effects present on the tracks takes audiences to familiar psychedelic terrain along with melodies that are charming, yet laconic, Wildfires draw you into their breezy hippie-fueled wall of sound slowly and effortlessly leave the indelible mark of a band acutely aware of what they are. Imagine floating down the river into the fading sunset with a cold beer in one hand and one of those wacky tobacco cigarettes in the other, and you’ll get the feel for the serene and dreamy music the group creates. Check out Wildfires’ EP, ‘Aguas Frescas (Part I), below and come back for updates on upcoming music from the band. - Deli Magazine

"Wildfires is the Austin Deli's Artist of the Month"

Yet another poll hath gone, and the people have spoken: Wildfires is your Austin Deli Artist of the Month, coming in hard with a big push in the last few days that rocketed them straight into first. We've got a pretty good idea where Wildfires' roaring race to the win got its fuel, as this dreamy and deceptively-named indie outfit had a recent EP release at Cheer Up Charlies on March 11. Wildfires has transitioned over the years from a more acoustic-heavy American roots sound to poppy indie with a hazey shoegaze bent, which is what you'll get from single "Sad Wolverine" off the new EP and found below. The digital release of the album is said to be available soon, and we think it's a pretty cool coincidence that the band was able to time its release to match so perfectly with the weather, as this airy indiepop entry goes quite lovely with the light spring weather we've got in Austin right now. We suggest making Wildfires your spring soundtrack for all the hours of driving about looking for parking you're about to do this fest, so get listenin' and happy goddamn SX, y'all. - The Deli Magazine

"A Sunny Day In Glasgow at the Mohawk (REVIEW)"

Wildfires were on first and can be characterized as your prototypical indie rock sound with some singer-songwriter influence akin to Ty Segall, Kurt Vile, and the band Tennis. Wildfires is at its best when the synergy of their guitars begins to sound more like shoegaze rock, in a similar vein to the bands like Oshin and Wild Nothing. - Lee Ackerley

"Week in Pop 6-17-16"

Austin’s Wildfires prepare to release their second EP Aguas Frescas (Part II) available August 26, and we present the campfire cadence, flicker & glow that is “Canelo”. This is the sound of those summer’s spent enjoying the desert heat by day, and getting cozy by the bonfire flames as the cold of night begins to descend upon the arid land of dust & sand. - Impose

"Week in Pop: Motel Pools, Pat Moon, RAINE { Babygirl, Fovea, Jónó Mí Ló, Spritzer, Vinyl Williams, Wildfires, guest selects by Adult Jazz. }"

Wildfires lit a match on some dried-driftwood as heard on their single “The Lame” taken from their album Aguas Frescas (Part II). The Austin group makes music that encapsulates the weirdness & wonder experienced along the dusty & winding trails. The band embodies the live for today feeling, celebrating the sweetness of colors seen & places been, mixing the agony & the ecstasy, sweetness & sour bitters, & more that make for an all around transcendental listening experience. Life is observed like something of a psychotropic journey where notions of “we destroy and we dethrone” are seen like mirages of a miraculous nature appearing before all like an apparition that materializes within an arid & barren landscape. Wildfires shared some exclusive thoughts with us, reflecting on the making of Aguas Frescas (Part II):

When it came time to record Aguas Frecsas Part II, we knew we wanted to work with Erik Wofford at Cacophony Recorders. We were blown away by his handling of Part I and were excited to keep a good thing going. This time things got pretty intense. We tackled six songs in three days. There wasn’t much room for error so I think we felt a little pressure. We recorded Part I and Part II over a year apart so there was always a fear about continuity. We wanted the two EPs to be solid records on their own, but to also relate to each other as two parts of one grand concept. We felt really comfortable at Cacophony but there’s always a bit of alchemy involved in crafting a good record. We were really pleased to end up with a recording that builds upon the sound of our previous EP but also takes us into new territory. - Impose

"Local Love: Wildfires Share New Shoegazey Single"

ATX’s very own Wildfires have got a new single out today that is well worth your time. The track, called “The Lame,” is available for you to download below, and it features everything we loved about the band when they released their last single, “Canelo” about a month ago. It’s got this pleasing shoe-gaze esque sound to it from the start when the guitars jangle in to the song. Later on, you get this laid back break down from the group that will have you returning again and again to the song. Take a listen, enjoy, and then look out for their upcoming release,Aguas Frescas Pt. II, which is out August 26th. - Austin Town Hall

"Perspectives: Wildfires Release 2nd Single From Their Sequel EP: Aguas Frescas 2"

The abundance of influence on modern music is resulting in a vast, echoing melting pot of genres. Most contemporary bands are generally, indefinable. 2016, being a turning point in music history, yields the creation of new sounds and a capitalization on sounds from the past.

“Shoegaze” is a genre of music existing in a space between psychedelic rock and dream pop. It is dark. Shoegaze produces reflective insight upon listening, often teaching you a lesson you previously left unperceived. The form stings with nostalgia but shines with promise through its dreamy, synth reverb. Austin’s dominant shoegaze outfit, Wildfires is diligently working on their second EP–Aguas Frescas 2, a sequel to it’s well perceived predecessor- Aguas Frescas.

The band is composed of four musicians–Gabe and Johanna combine guitar and vocals; third member Aneil handles bass; and drummer Chris contributes a steady beat as well as vocals. The dynamic is in simple taste but yields a large, shimmery sound.

Their 2nd lead single from their upcoming album is titled, “The Lame.” Combining similar sounds of dream-pop sensation M83, paralleled with their own acoustic twist, Wildfires is paving the way for the future of shoegaze in Austin.

“The Lame” rocks and rolls and twists and turns with just enough grace to stir and soothe the consumers senses. It is cosmic but worldly–a perplexing sound. The cut possesses a considerably lo-fi resonance, done so with a purpose. Low fidelity recordings often have a chilling effect on its listener, it’s an archaic approach that plays with a film noir ripple.

Although Aguas Frescas 2 is not scheduled for release until August 26, the praise has already begun. The first single, “Canelo” was revered by Austin Town Hall:

“Musically, there is a feeling of pleasant meandering that courses through the song, a sense of learning, which would fit with the EP’s themes of growing older and reflecting upon life’s great meaning.”

Wildfires is engineering a hazy and intellectual sound, crowning them pioneers of a misunderstood, new genre. Shoegaze is on the rise. While there is much to capitalize on, Wildfires is setting a precedence for the future in regards to progressive music. As the musical melting pot continues to incubate, undiscovered and overlooked genres are preparing to change the world of music, starting with singles like “The Lame.” - ATX On Record: On Vinyl Music

"We Recommend: Austin Shoegaze Band Wildfires to Release their 2nd EP"

A full year after releasing the very well received “Aguas Frescas EP“, Austin shoegaze band Wildfires is set to release their 2nd EP “Aguas Frescas (Part II)” on August 26th.

In 2012, Central Texas was suffering from epic wildfires, Austin included. Gabe Baldwin, Austin-via-Memphis song-writer, had been working on solo songs in his bedroom. After the heartbreak of shuttering his last project, Gabe had decided to go it alone, using keyboard and drum loops to back himself, but the project was inherently lonely.

After showing a few songs to the soon-to-be drummer and collaborator, Chris Heckendorn, the idea of Wildfires was born. After a couple of performances as a duo, it was obvious that the group had legs and needed to grow. First adding lead-guitarist Johanna Heilman, then bassist, Aneil Naik. The gang gelled quickly, and was able to collaborate in a fashion that was new to all involved.

Now a four-piece band, their music centrally defined by vocals, is a work of charm and ambition and taste and comes highly praised.

Musically, the band settled into a sound that is both surf rock with post-punk sensibilities. Evolving from their Americana roots, the band has slowly become more in line with the dreamy charm of the shoegaze genre.

Riot Act Media says, “Their mission was to create songs that made you feel the way you did when you first heard shoegaze, or the feeling you get on an overnight drive when your favorite mix tape was playing. Nostalgic, shimmery, but new.”

As Part I of their Aguas Frescas EP included the themes of birth, morning, unrequited love, and nostalgia, Part II includes opposing themes of death, evening, growing older, and finding real love. Part II also reflects the band’s growth, producing a stronger, more ambitious follow up.

Check our their first lead single, “Canelo”‘ here– - ATX On Record: On Vinyl Music

"Out of Focus"

Wildfires strike me as unapologetic dorks. Their music mines a very specific time and place in ’80s indie music (1987 in the UK, more or less) and their live performances have them shuffling around like a bunch of high school teachers who are avoiding papers for the night to indulge in some throwbacks to their adolescence. The band themselves declare on “Undead Fun” that they “don’t want to be famous, just universally known.” That’s a smart goal for an act whose entire persona is wrapped up in better known signifiers, and it’s even smarter to make the video for “Undead Fun” a celebration of that. The clip has a group of lo-fi puppets popping in a video within a video, featuring Wildfires performing in front of a number of cheesy locales and backdrops, like an early ’90s Merge MTV submission. There’s a little bit of Beavis and Butthead to the puppets’ meta-consumption, but then the puppet drugs are brought out and we get a slew of cheesy visual puns, like crackers subbing in for crack. The whole thing has the production value of late period MST3K and it’s almost as lovable as the garbage bin epics they skewered. - Ovrld

"Keep It Local: New Video From Wildfires"

I’ve been posting a lot about these folks from Wildfires, but when a band is on a roll, it’s pertinent that they get the attention they deserve. Wildfires have released a new video for a track off their upcoming EP, Aguas Frescas Pt. II and it’s a great way to fit a jam into your day. The video below, for “Undead Fun,” has fine green-screen technology, and…puppets, which will undoubtedly give you a laugh. Meanwhile, the song itself is a great shoe-gaze hit, with infectious jangly guitar riffs andgarage-rock vocals. Personally, I really love the way this song starts on the mild-side and then ramps up to close with a bit of a bite. Take a listen and thenget excited for that EP release, which is happening August 26th. - Austin Town Hall

"Exclusive Video Premiere: Wildfires “The Lame”"

here has always been a sweet, innocent undercurrent to the music of Wildfires, working with the shoegaze textures and ’80s indie influences to instill a sense that your inner child is getting an audio holiday. The band’s new Raphael Umscheid directed video “The Lame” capitalizes on that, pitting the band against a gang of kids in animal masks who journey through drain pipes and smoky woods to find the band’s secret stage. It’s a nice little break from the mayhem and horror of our actual reality and a pleasant reminder to pick up their new album Agua Frescas Part II if you haven’t already. Take a peek for yourself below: - Ovrld


"Wildfires-Uno Año EP" -2013 demo

"Wildfires-Aguas Frescas (Part I)" -2015

"Wildfires-Aguas Frescas (Part II) -2016



Wildfires is a shoegaze rock band, but we don't sound like what you are imagining. Like listening to a good mixtape on a long overnight drive. Shimmery and nostalgic.

"charm and ambition and taste, not just another Loveless pretender" - Ovrld.com

"Dream-Pop...That there's not a tune worth skipping on this lean disc marks their truest accomplishment"- Austin Chronicle

"Reminiscent of Kurt Vile covering My Bloody Valentine"-KUTX

"Dreamy Deep Summer Music"-The Deli Magazine

Band Members