Posts Tagged ‘Wand’

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It’s hard to believe that the band who came flailing headlong out of the gate with Golem just two short years ago is the same band behind Plum, one of the most thoughtfully dynamic albums to come out in 2017. The creative arch of this Los Angeles band is rooted in the grime-y sonic sludge of the Ty Segall/Meatbodies/Mikal Cronin set. It would have been fine to have regarded Wand as yet another good band living under the punk-y parasol of the neo-psych-garage revolution. But Plum has separated them completely from the fray. Plum runs like a playlist of rock ‘n’ roll offshoots, with experimentations in Led Zep riffage and Spoon-like piano-rock only the tip of the iceberg.

Title track from Wand LP/CS/CD/Digital, released by Drag City Records on September 22nd, 2017.


Wand Plum review

“Plum” is Wand’s fourth record. Yet it functionally serves as a new debut. Their first three albums saw the group, then a four-piece helmed by guitarist/vocalist/main songwriter Cory Hanson, producing wild and ecstatic, fuzzed-out psychedelic garage rock in the vein of Ty Segall and associated California bands. Wand erred to the more playful and gleeful end where Segall would lean into ecstasy and abandon,

For Plum, however, Wand sees the addition of a full-time keyboardist and a much more democratic approach to songwriting and development. This new palette brings with it a shift in arrangement and a fairly big shift in sound. The instruments are thinner now, the guitars less bustling with fuzz and distortion, the drums less rumbling and redlined.

Everything has more space now, in an uncomfortably produced sense, allowing the songs to develop almost like the way The Beatles, Kinks, early Radiohead or ’90s-era Britpop bands did. Wand reveals here a similar sense of dreamlike melodies, something that was hidden behind the walls of distortion. To their credit, it spares them one of the most damning-with-faint-praise comments made of music in the garage mold that they worked in before, being that the aesthetic covered up typically bad songwriting. If nothing else, this record shows that Wand know the mechanics of songs, can construct memorable, deft and complex melodies, and can ornament and arrange those structures well.

There is the issue of cohesion, though. When these songs get cooking, they develop in similar directions: spare, thin guitar lines playing in counterpoint to one another, trapped somewhere between the King Crimson-isms of Slint and the psych-folk of the Byrds; drums and bass locked in simple motorik rhythm; keys bridging the gap between pure ornamentation and the central melodies. And, it must be said, when these tunes get cooking, it’s compelling stuff. The launching points span from Beatles-replay indie rock cliches to smart minimal post-punk to heady psychedelia, with little emotional logic to link the songs. Listen to “Charles de Gaulle” through to “White Cat” and try to find a common emotional thread. It isn’t there.

Which proves as frustrating as it does because when on tracks like “High Rise” (far too short at a scant two minutes for as fulfulling a riff it is!) and album standout “Blue Cloud,” Wand shows that this new configuration and songwriting approach can produce some exceptional song structures and incredible playing to complement them. This promising messiness is what makes Plum feel so much like a second debut rather than a fourth album, per se; given the fact that they took on a new second guitarist and added a whole new member in their keyboard player, not to mention totally shifting how they write and develop songs.

Plum ultimately is a record of a band finding their feet again. The bad news is it doesn’t come together and leave a fully satisfying record in their wake. The good news, however, is that they give themselves plenty of fertile ground here. “Blue Cloud,” as stated before, is easily the most successful song on the album. Record closer “Driving” is a Neil Young-style massive emotional closer, something I never would have imagined this band capable of before.


“The Trap” is an alt-country ballad that focuses on being beautiful, an aim I never expected from this band.


Kicking it off (like they won the toss) is Wand, whose Next Album has been eagerly anticipated probably since right after their last one came out. Remember, when 1000 Days hit way back in the summer of 2015, it was the third Wand record to appear in a calendar year! Back then, if you didn’t like what Wand was doing, just wait a month and they’d announce another one.

A length of two “whole” years later (with, sure, time carved out for Cory Hanson‘s stellar solo set, The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo), Wand are back and with songs like “Plum” and “Bee Karma”, this new-phase sounds right promising! Since we of course have heard even more than those two (yes, awesome) songs, we can confirm .


The new quintet version of Wand seems to have even more up their sleeves than the former crew – but really, it’s just different stuff up those sleeves and probably different sleeves too. With the addition of a designated keyboard player and a second guitarist, the core Wand members now find themselves in an ever-expanding palette – just the way Wand likes to fly! Plum is rich and sumptuous, spun with dense webs of sound and stasis, mélange and melody, as Wand push farther into the strangeness of uncharted territory while also locking it down as a class-act modern pop outfit! To frost the cake most excellently, the September 22nd release date also acts as the opening flag for a mammoth run of tour dates: a month in the US, followed by the holidays and then more in the UK and the EU and the rest of this world, provided it’s all still there! Plum around, with Wand this fall.


Keep it locked in your mind Corey Hanson’s band Wand’s incredible new batch of jams, called “Plum” is on track for release on September 22nd, Wand present the video for new single “Bee Karma,” and all its ascendant riffs! “Bee Karma” has everything you’d want from a music video,  beautiful shots, emotional narrative, Super 8 footage, and a clown! Say what? Yeah, as Wand’s Cory Hanson puts it: “The video stars my brother Casey as the clown that I drive around.  Abby Banks shot all the footage of him in the car, then I shot all the double exposure dancing parts on a high school assembly stage. It’s an age old story.  In the end, the good clown wins and gets to be free. He dances.” In the end, we’re all looking to win and be free, aren’t we.

Track from “Plum” by Wand, available on LP/CS/CD/Digital, released by Drag City Records on September 22nd, 2017. Video directed by Cory Hanson.

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The exploratory transition into solo song-scribe found on Cory Hanson’s “The Unborn Capitallist From Limbo” put newly formed strengths as a songwriter and lyricist on display with palpable acuity. After its release at the end of 2016 and the fantastic February tour of the Pacific Northwest that followed, it’s about time we approach The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo from a new angle, and through a lens: yes, Cory has a fresh music video ripe for consumption! “Garden of Delight” was shot earlier this year, blending cerebral melancholy and lush arrangements of song with the soothing western sun and earthly, botanical surroundings, guiding us on a trip through the looking glass.

Shot on 8mm and mini-DV, directed by Elise Tyler and edited by Wand’s Evan Burrows, “Garden of Delight” looks as timeless and wistful as it sounds.

Song from “The Unborn Capitalist from Limbo”, released on November 11th, 2016. Available on LP, Cassette, CD, and digital from Drag City Records.

Cory Hanson: The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo (DC663)

Cory Hanson’s solo debut is one of the things happening that allows us to think that the final generations of this burning and chaotic sphere will indeed offer some of the finest young things that history will ever  Cory is of course the singer from the band Wand, whose solo album you’ve doubtlessly been clamoring for all these  well at least since the last Wand album, when you lay ears on , it’ll all become clear. Cory‘s songs stand in stark contrast to the all-or-everything hive-mind of Wand, and the austere nature of the arrangement Cory on acoustic, with sparing rhythmic accompaniment and a careful use of string quartet – lends weight to the straightforward narratives wove into the songs. Tales of apartments being torn apart; walking in nature; escape from a sealed bag; people fornicating and drowning as mom floats in space

Terrible things are happening here – but dry-eyed Cory details savagery and seeming non-sequitur with compassion and perseverence, as the strings color the space around the songs him with inflections from phases of pop music, all of which evokes the mission style of his homeland, the sunny (yet-shadowy) south of California. The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo is a profound departure from the world of Wand, and, fully-formed, it takes its place in the firmament of orchestrally-lit pop albums, it’s earth-bound issues allowed to take flight as music.


On November 11th, people of all nations who require some kind of healing are free to welcome The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo into their quietest places.

It’s been a while since Wand have dropped a new record or video! 250 whole days have come and gone since the release of the wonderful 1000 Days, and there was a tour and a video awhile back, but then nothing! Thankfully our Wandlessness has been noted by none other than the band, who have waved their magic you-know-what, and-poof, we have a video AND some shows! Picked from the still ripe 1000 Days, “Passage of the Dream” receives the video treatment with a seamless mix of claymation and buoyant crossbred animation with lithographic textures! In other words, it’s visual ecstasy for the expansive acid drenched guitars and ethereal vocals that can be found in the slow burn of “Passage of the Dream”.

West coasters in the USA are encouraged to keep the dream in their minds through next month, when Wand fly up their land for a lightning-fast week of shows! Europeans get a heavier, denser batch of shows but sorry y’all – you’ve got to wait all the way til November! Still – saddle the unicorn now and plan ahead, it’s looking to be
Wand heck of a ride!

Song from the LP/CS/CD “1000 Days” on Drag City Records.



By our count, it was less than 365 days from the moment last year when Wand was supporting Ty Segall at the 9.30 Club to the release of their third album in approximately a year.  1000 Days was instantly a big breakthrough and a minor classic , an incredibly ambitious work combining Eno-esque synths and prog song structures with the punk’n’thunder of this young band’s previous two releases. Cory Hanson has to be added to the roster of West Coast phenoms along with Ty, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees, and Tim Presley of White Fence — keeping rock’n’roll alive and kicking in a hostile world.  The thing about 1000 Days is that it both seems like a mere extension to Golem and the other excellent album  Ganglion Reef, Wand’s previous two albums, and is conceptually bolder, suggesting Hanson’s songwriting is growing magically, a sorcerer’s conjuring of talent that should bring them their deserved audience over the next 1000 days.

We could’ve probably filled this years best albums with 2015 releases by Wand, Hey Colossus and Jerusalem In My Heart amongst so many others , but luckily quantity doesn’t always want for quality – especially not with these guys. March’s Golem album was great, but the ridiculous amount of tunes squirting out the sides of 1000 Days takes Wand to another level. Cory Hanson appears to have nicked not just Marc Bolan’s vocal chords, but his knack for a killer hook too.

WAND – ” Self Hypnosis In 3 Days “

Posted: August 1, 2015 in MUSIC
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Employing the go-to man of the moment Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, Fuzz, Mayyors) on the knobs and his Hanger studio in Sacramento, they have made the rock album of 2015 already – and it’s going to take quite some considerable beating. There’s been so many amazing lps out of the west coast recently we’ve been positively spoilt for choice but ‘Golem’ from the band WAND just has that little more punch, a little more bite and a little more pure fire! From the off it’s 100% proof – pulsating riffs, huge drums, killer hooks but above all it’s got tunes. Take Nirvana’s ‘Bleach’, add a sprinkle of late 60’s metal then dip in the best psychedelic party you’ve ever been too and it’s a hit from start to finish.


A new Song taken from the LP/CASS/CD “1000 Days” by Wand, due to be released September 25th, 2015 on Drag City Records. New Wand aloft!  Wand manufacture a little life within an elaborate craftwork of sound amongst the endless social contrivances of popular music .On their Drag City debut, 1000 Days, Wand move restlessly and gracefully through different divergent phases of music in a single passage of a song. This is how they make their music. Recorded in their hometown of Los Angeles and San Francisco, 1000 Days finds Wand searching in corners and finding extra texture via synthetic animation. The atmosphere is quicksilver and the space acoustic; as a beacon sparks electric, a cascade of hi-fi noises for everyone’s ears – raucous, impassive, inevitable musical expressions.

1000 Days is Wand‘s third album in what can only be called the relative blink of an eye, and their best album too. August of 2014 saw the release of Ganglion Reef, Wand‘s debut album release on God?. Following that, they ranged from their south-Cali base playing shows of all kinds home and abroad. And suddenly, it was March of 2015, with a second album entitled Golem trailing Wand‘s sound farther down the road. No time to spare; more dates to be played across the landmass. And another set of European dates later, 1000 Days. is out September 25th and available for pre-order now; sneak a peek at the first song revealed from 1000 Days here titled Stolen Footsteps.