Wolf City Radio is an Oakland, CA-based heavy rock band, making noise in a way they haven’t heard yet, with elements of stoner rock, power pop and noise rock bent around monster hooks. Pointing toward a bolder, weirder, more beautiful future, they take a gut-level approach to answering the question “Why are we like this?” Their primary mission is to rock this beautiful future into the present, louder than the forces of evil.
Formed in a karaoke bar, immersed in the sounds of people lifting themselves up by channeling their favorite singers and songs, this spirit carries the band on their mission to illuminate a beautiful path through life’s tremendous, ordinary difficulties. Though they are new, their sound has already been labeled by critic Dave Barlow as “the future of rock.”
Mike Lawson, Laura Wren and Max Hodes forged this sound from disparate influences. Kyuss, Tool, the pAper chAse, The Beatles, and the War on Drugs all played prominent roles in their early songwriting process. Originally working with just drums, a guitar, and vocal harmony, the band fostered a taste for the epic, which they expanded with the addition of bassist/keyboardist/producer Steve O’Connell, who recorded the band’s first album, “Take the Remains.” Now a quartet, the band is pushing their conventions to the breaking point, while dialing their depth and intensity to 11.
From the beginning, the band have demanded of themselves the courage to look lovingly and honestly at the viscera of loss, relationships, death. In “To Cast a Spell,” they focus on their imposter syndrome and offer intentions to heal from the brokenness that follows. In “Take The Remains,” they splay open a toxic relationship nearing its end, where no one is willing to get out. In “Blue Mustang” they memorialize a friend suddenly lost by illustrating the kind of dizzy, late-night togetherness that seems to suspend time.
Lofty as the subject matter is, none of that would matter if the band didn’t bring the rock, which they gleefully do. “We’ve All Got It Coming” kicks off their debut record with a study in total domination, using minimalism to create perpetually escalating tension, which ultimately reveals the song’s protagonist to be both executioner and victim. In live-favorite “Salem” they tell the story of one woman, so determined to destroy the relgious dogma and patriarchy driving the Salem witch trials, that she actually does call on Satan for dark power, and burns the town down to a soundtrack of Old Metal. In “The Circle,” they bring a cosmic joke to a crushing apex to
excoriate their own failed relationships.
The band continues to develop new forms of heavy and will do so on the road and in the studio this year.