Wax Fang bites with La La Land debut 

As most dreamers do, Wax Fang creator Scott Carney put together his first album in his bedroom, playing all the instruments. But soon after releasing his solo debut, Black & Endless Night, in 2006, Carney hired a rhythm section and went on tour with fellow Louisvillians My Morning Jacket. He got his first taste of Atlanta at the Tabernacle.

"I felt like I was fighting for my life on that stage," says Carney. A rowdy crowd hanging over the balconies on three sides of the stage waving their fists and screaming reminded Carney, a film school graduate, of the '85 Mel Gibson and Tina Turner flick Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. "There was a very gladiator feel to it. Felt like I was playing in a coliseum, like a lion would come up."

Guitarist Carney, drummer Kevin Ratterman, and bassist Jake Heustis prove they're up to the challenge with Wax Fang's debut, La La Land, released in October. A couple of cuts, "WW II (Pt. 2)" and "The Doctor Will See You Now," have a U2, arena-rock vibe with an Edge guitar feel. Carney says he leans more toward the balladry of Neutral Milk Hotel as an influence than Bono, but admits he shares an affinity for the delay pedal, as Edge does. Overall, Wax Fang shares more in common with the English psychedelic prog-rock style of Brian Eno and Pink Floyd.

Recording in a working funeral home owned by Ratterman's parents added a surreal edge to La La Land. The drummer has a studio upstairs, but recording time had to be scheduled carefully. "They're not the kind of businesses that can overlap during their hours of operation," Carney chuckles. He did creep downstairs occasionally to play the parlor organ on a couple of cuts, however. "It's kind of creepy," Carney says of the experience, "but I have a macabre vibe that fits in with our thing."

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