Wolf Eyes, legendary industrial noise group from Detroit found themselves in Memphis. It was a Sunday night show at Glitch Gallery. A small art gallery lived in and ran by Adam Farmer. It was a beautiful night. The yard was littered with folks waiting for the show to begin – hands clutching beer cans in bags. Wolf Eyes hung out inconspicuously on the porch among the attendees. Widely considered the “kings of US Noise,” Wolf Eyes often exist within their own self-made world outside of American noise music. They use traditional instruments like sax, flute, and guitar that morph into monsters by the end of the song – the traditional sound is reinvented into a cacophony of reverb and echo. BUT FIRST! J Fernandez.
At 9ish the Chicago bedroom pop group, J Fernandez, took the stage. They were booked last minute. Adam, relieved, shouted, “so I don’t have to DJ!”
J Fernandez is the brainchild of Justin Fernandez. Their sound is reminiscent of the weird pop group from Montreal, TOPS, breaded with Viet Cong-like punk drum beats, shaken up with some Bradford Cox and fried with DIIV‘s dreamy guitar riffs to create a fun and noisy pop fritter.
Justin Fernandez playing keyboards and guitar at Glitch.
Check out their video for No Luck. A release from 2012 on Morning Ritual.
Next on stage is local neo-pop producer, RPLDGHSTS – Memphian named Quinton-JeVon Lee. He is best known for producing Cities Aviv‘s songs on Black Pleasure and on Cities’ 2014 Come to Life. RPLD set up his Mac on a tall square table, going back and forth between mic and computer keys he both sang and rapped to echo-laced, dreamy hip hop sounds. Just when he started to bring the energy his set wrapped up. After just two songs I was left wanting more, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. We stood there for a moment thinking, “for real?” Indeed.
Released 10 months ago on Soundcloud is RPLDGHSTS’ “crime.” His latest album is Universal Lingo.
With RPLDGHSTS short set, Wolf Eyes (Nate Young/John Olsen/Jim Baljo) took the stage around 10:45. Wolf Eyes, as journalist Marc Masters describes their sound, is “the influence of the dirge of Swans, the clang of Einstürzende Neubauten, even the dark hardcore of the Misfits.” They’ve also been called too abrasively noisy even for noise fans. The show last night was somewhat more mellow than that. Yes, you have Young’s busting-ear-drum shrills and static, but there was also Olsen’s elegant yet distorted sax and flute that flowed into Baljo’s screaming guitar.
The trio started off with steady, tribal-sounding drumbeats and piercing, high-pitched whistles – like we were in a jungle from hell. Glitch’s leopard back-drop set the exotic scene as harmonica, sax and guitar took on new, wild lives as hissing snakes, shrieking birds, and snarling beasts. The show was an hour long – with around five songs played.
Check out a snippet of Wolf Eyes live at Glitch Gallery below.