Americana/Country group Wilder was formed last year by singer/songwriters Kelly Thomas and Randy Steffen after their previous projects had come to an end (Thomas’ Fabulous Pickups and Steffen’s Sleepin’ Dogs). Building into a full band and establishing a presence on the local club scene, Wilder is now set to release its debut EP with a special show Saturday at Southgate House Revival (111 E. Sixth St., Newport, Ky., southgatehouse.com). Falling on the same day as the Kentucky Derby, the 9 p.m. show will have a derby theme (Wear wild hats! Drink mint juleps!). Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound, Mad Anthony and Danny Mecher and the Home Demos are also on the bill. Admission is $5 (or $7 if you’d like a copy of the EP on CD).
Wilder’s self-titled EP is fleshed out by the impressive guitar work of Zach Rowe, impeccable drumming from two of the city’s best — Kevin Hogle and Christopher Alley — and some brilliant harmonies. But what makes Wilder such a compelling introduction is the fantastic songwriting; the band’s bio says the group was started around the basic idea of “(writing) songs that stand on their own.” Mission accomplished. The band’s sound shows elements of classic Country and its modern cousin, AltCountry, but Steffen and Thomas’ writing is timeless.
“Bottom of the Barrel” is a rollicking, heartsick rumination that glides on a vintage honky-tonk strut, while on the empowered “Downfall,” which musically bares resemblance to an early Dire Straits track, Thomas sings of a broken relationship with resilience (“You think you got the best of me/You can think you got it all/But there’s so much left of me/You won’t be my downfall”). Elsewhere, “Midwestern” is a trickling, ethereal ballad about leaving old, painful haunts behind; the chugging “You’re Not Coming Back” is an anthem of quiet resignation, acceptance and moving on; and the fiery “Perfect Storm” bursts with animated, soulful vocal turns by both Steffen and Thomas, fittingly singing about an explosive yet passionate relationship (“When we get to fussin’ and cussin’/We know we’re just working on a perfect storm”). (wilderbandky.com)
More Local Release News
• Indie Pop/Rock band Plastic Ants put out their excellent debut Falling to Rise last fall, but this Friday the group will celebrate the recording’s release on vinyl. The band dubbed its lush sound “Maximum Chamber Pop,” a play on The Who’s classic “Maximum R&B” self-description and a reference to the band’s mix of musicians from the Classical and Rock worlds. Plastic Ants features guitarist/vocalist Robert Cherry and keyboardist Guy Vanasse, plus The Afghan Whigs’ John Curley on bass and Wussy’s Joe Klug on drums (Wussy’s Lisa Walker duets with Cherry on the title track).
At Friday’s free release show at Northside Tavern (4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidetav.com), Falling to Rise will be available on clear, 150-gram vinyl that’s packaged in a gatefold sleeve with a lyric sheet. Showtime is 10 p.m. and The Perfect Children open. The album can also be ordered at plasticants.bandcamp.com, where you can also stream the LP and purchase it digitally. (theplasticants.com)
• Cincinnati Alt/Pop/Rock crew Automagik recently had its trippy music video for the track “Pop Kiss” premiered on Interview Magazine’s website. The song is featured on the quintet’s new EP, Beach Fuzz, which was to be celebrated with a release party this Friday at Newport’s Southgate House Revival. The 9 p.m. show (which will also feature sets from Coconut Milk, Orchards and Dayton, Ohio’s The Nightbeast) is still a go, but the EP will not be available for purchase at the gig. Drummer Andy Cluxton couldn’t say much about the delay of the release, other than it being due to circumstances beyond the band’s control (“pretty awesome circumstances,” he added). Sounds like more big things are on the horizon for Automagik. (automagikmusic.com)
• Local Indie Pop duo Ellery is playing a release celebration of a different sort this week. The twosome (joined by drummer Joshua Seurkamp) are performing a “book launch” concert in honor of singer Tasha Golden’s book of poetry, Once You Had Hands, which was published by Humanist Press in late March. Described as a book that “gives voice to the silence surrounding issues of domestic violence and women’s subservience in the name of religion,” it also features the photography of renowned local artist Michael Wilson.
For Friday’s 8 p.m. launch event at Hoffner Lodge (4120 Hamilton Ave., Northside, hoffnerlodge.com), Golden says there will be poetry and conversation, a display of some of Wilson’s photographs and, of course, lots of music. Advance tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com for $10. (ellerymusic.com)