As the saying goes, there's no such thing as bad press, and Nathan Williams, the guitarist/vocalist behind San Diego's noise-pop duo Wavves, has learned it's true. After an onstage temper tantrum at the Primavera Sound Fest in Barcelona last May, Williams became the man that bloggers love to hate. He even took a public lashing from Black Lips singer/bassist Jared Swilley, who suggested he stop playing music altogether. (See more on their ongoing beef.)
“It has legitimately helped," Williams humbly admits regarding the criticism. "I'm new to this, so it's a trip to see how these things work."
Williams' hissy fit caught the music world's eye, but his sloppy California pop melodies and distorted coos have kept people's attention. He is by no means a virtuoso, but his songs are fun, hypermanic, no wave dust devils that unwind in loose, chaotic motion, usually alongside drummer Ryan Ulsh (who will play with Wavves in Atlanta), or more recently Zach Hill of Hella.
In February 2008, Williams recorded two albums; the first was a self-titled LP for Woodsist. The second, confusingly titled Wavvves (with three V's), appeared in March on Fat Possum. Throughout both, the songs are simple, melodic and shrouded in hiss. "Cool Jumper," from the first album, builds on mangled feedback and trebly riffs pushed into the red. "I didn't necessarily want to create something so lo-fi," Williams says. "I set out to make something that has a Beatles-meets-Sonic Youth feel, but the sound of the records is the result of me not knowing how to record."
These elements carry over onto Wavvves via "Rainbow Everywhere," "Beach Demon" and serial goth pokes in "Summer Goth" "Beach Goth" and so on. "Saying goth over and over again is kind of a stupid move, but it's a joke in and of itself," he says. "I love that people take it so seriously, though. I get asked about it in every interview."
But has that or any of his other media grief been a hindrance? "Fuck no, man! I'm having a great time doing this."
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