Hearing Aide: WOLF! ‘1-800-WOLF!’

If you’re looking for some new music to wind down your day or rev up your evening, dial up 1-800-WOLF! for a good time. WOLF!’s new album was released today by Royal Potato Family.

The band consists of guitarist Scott Metzger (JRAD, RANA), bassist Jon Shaw (Cass McCombs, Shakey Graves) and drummer Taylor Floreth. They were booked as the backing band for a singer at a Williamsburg club one night a few years ago. When the singer never showed up, instead of cancelling, the trio decided to play as an instrumental trio. With no material to go on, they winged it, filling the set with straight improvisation. It went exceedingly well and they were asked back for a regular gig. Thus WOLF! was born.

Most of the music on the record, the follow up to their 2015 self-titled debut, was borne of improvisation, either on stage or in the studio. The only preconceived track is the Metzger-penned Ennio Morricone-esque “You Are No Longer My Friend, My Friend.” Each song soundtracks short scenes the listener can almost visualize. The environment of the music is so clear, and while certainly borrows from music’s past, emerges as an original thought that is entirely of WOLF!’s making. There’s the surf rock late-night blues of “Furry Freedom,” the slinky Cuban groove of “Tomatillo Verde,” the swinging gypsy of “Oaxaca Ox,” the dripping Western romance of “Denim Love Affair” and on and on. “Bohemian Grove,” lilting and lazy, swells like the tide on a secluded island until it crashes in a wave on the sandy shore.

The only thing that raises questions on this breeze of a listen is the band name WOLF! The music doesn’t have the scream of all-caps nor the exclamatory punctuation. The music moves effortlessly from song to song, scene to scene, location to location. Perhaps, since the band backed into it’s existence, it would make more sense to read the name backwards? Indeed, the name “flow.” would suit this music quite well.

As good as the album is, a band born on stage is surely best enjoyed on stage. The tri-state area has multiple chances to catch WOLF! live in the coming weeks, including opening for, and backing, Nicole Atkins on a few dates.
10/14 – The Acoustic – Bridgeport, CT
10/15 – Still Partners – Sea Cliff, NY
10/ 20 – Hometown BBQ – Brooklyn NY
10 /23 – Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA
10/25 – LPR – NYC*
10/26 – BSP Kingston – Kingston, NY*
10/28 – House of Independents – Asbury Park, NJ*
* notes dates w/ Nicole Atkins

Key tracks: Tomatillo Verde, Bohemian Grove, Slow Stuff