Sold My Soul
Sold My Soul is available from:
The album, Sold My Soul is available via:
This staggering 23-year-old arrives from California (via Australia). Her Punk palette may not to everyone’s taste, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest a big future talent. Don’t let her beauty do the talking. Wilde is a name to watch closely…
I may have written off mainstream music a little too quickly.
I have stated in previous postings, that the music being produced this year is not going to be too overwhelming. Most of my focus is trained towards new music, and I have always felt that this realm is going to produce the most exciting prospects. A lot of great albums are starting to sneak their way to the surface, and I am left in a bit of a quandary. This month sees the new release from one of my favourite bands, Wild Beasts. Their latest L.P., Present Tense, is imminent an album I didn’t even know was in-the-works. I was captivated by their debut album (which left some critics cold), and bowled away by Two Dancers. After the release of their third album, it seemed that the Yorkshire band had covered so much ground; matured and grown as an act- whilst retaining their mesmeric core. If you have not heard the band before, I implore you to seek them out. Their lyrics are intelligent, infused with literary references and tongue-in-cheek lines. Their lead singer, Hayden Thorpe, has a stunning countertenor (as well as tenor), which was the case of derision amongst some critics when the band released their debut L.P. The new album will see the stunning pipes put to work, covering a whole host of new ground, and captivating fans and non-fans alike. This is an album that I will be desperate to hear and cannot wait to hear what the boys have come up with. Away from the Beast lads, there is also a release due from Beck (both artists release on February 24th). Beck has been a little quite over the last few years, and he is an artists that has always fascinated me. Aside from some of his kooky and bizarre personal beliefs (Scientology for one), his music is endlessly brilliant. I have charted his career since Odelay, and adore the way he fuses genres and sounds. In the same way as acts like Beastie Boys and Massive Attack mesh and splice sounds and sensations, Beck is a master of cross-pollination and wunderlust. He suffered a debilitating back injury a while ago, and that put recording duties on the back burner. Early press indication suggests that his latest album, Morning Phase, and is a down tempo and stunning collection that will rival his best work. I am still playing his 2008 album Modern Guilt, and am sure the Californian will keep the momentum going. From the album cover itself, through to the track list, it is an intriguing prospect and will turn a wet and miserable February into something redeemable. Aside from the two albums I have mentioned, there is other work mooted, and some great albums afoot. The point I am making is this: great music sneaks up on you. I had no idea that two of my favourite musical acts were releasing new material, which brings me to another point: why hadn’t I heard? I know there is a sense of secrecy and subjugation with new music. Acts do not want to disseminate information too freely, in case anticipation is temporized when their music is released. It just seems that the music press is a little remiss when it comes to alerting the public of new material. I follow N.M.E. and The Guardian when it comes to music news, yet it seems that a stronger link needs to be cemented with social media. Unless you follow a particular band or act, it is hard to hear about their music. It would be helpful is social media stopped shining and buffing their pages; redesigning and updating- and instead made the service more useful and worthy. I have bemoaned social media for the fact that it appeals to self-promotion and self-obsession. It caters for those- me included- whom want the rest of the world to hear their every mundane thought, yet there is little utility when it comes to anything else. I would love a social media site that made it easier to connect to new music; make people aware of important local events; tied every social search tool and function into one site- as well as tied in all the best aspects of the best sites from the Internet. It would not be too hard, yet it seems that the public are largely concerned with themselves as opposed to other people. I have many online friends whom promote worthy causes; output terrific music and are kind-hearted. There are many more whom are not like this, and it is something that needs to change. As I say, I follow some music sites when it comes to seeking out new music, and stumble upon some wonderful examples. A lot of the talent emanates from the U.K., yet once in a while an international act arrives that makes me stand to attention. Last year I encountered a wide swathe of sounds from across Europe and the U.S., and today I come across a quite unique act. I shall examine her a little closely soon, yet for now, I want to talk about a particular subject: Australia. Here is a nation that is a little shy when it comes to music. I know that there are a lot of great acts from that fine nation, yet few arrive at our shores. I have reviewed the likes of Matt Corby previously, and know that there is a thriving music scene across the country. It seems that when it comes to public exposure, it is best to be located in the U.S. or U.K. Many Australian acts have made their way to these lands, yet it is a shame that a lot of native talent are being overlooked. When I featured Joe McKee last year, I was amazed I had never heard of him. He was raised in the Darling Plains, yet had spent time in America and the U.K. He feels at home at home, and it seems that if you wish to remain in Australia, attention is harder to come about. I am not sure who- if anyone- is to blame for this sorry state, yet it seems staggering that artists feel the need to emigrate to get themselves heard. In an age that is as technoclogically-advanced as its ever been; where the Internet connects everyone to everyone; where thousands of acts ply their trade- why is it the case that the lines of connection and publicity are so frayed?
Laura Wilde was a unfamiliar face to me as recently as a few days ago. Before I get down to some biography and investigation, let’s get the unimportant (and shallow) point out-of-the-way: she is stunning to behold. Incredible beautiful and drop dead gorgeous, she is a striking talent. I hope that her looks will not be the focal point of her music, yet it is something that needs to be gotten out-of-the-way. There are some incredible and talented solo female acts currently making waves, and Wilde is a name that should rank amongst them. Solo artistry is possibly the hardest nut to crack. A lot of the time, the voice has to do the talking- as opposed to the overall sound. With a band, there are multiple members each contributing to the sound. The singer often takes focus, yet a lot of time it is the overall sound that impresses the most. It is easier for a group to impress as there are several minds contributing to the sound, and shouldering the burdens. When it comes to the lone artist, everything has to be covered by the one person. It is always impressive when a truly unique solo act comes along, yet it seems that the band market still rules the roost. As I stated, there is a lot of emphasis placed on the voice (when it comes to solo artists), and the sound and template is often overlooked. Wilde is an artists whom is synonymous with sound, electricity and sensation- yet still has an impressive voice. She unveils and offers the anticipation of a full band, yet has a unique and personal voice and style- that is her and her alone. Before I get down to some personal details, let me unleash two terrifying words: Hair Metal. As disturbing images flood into your mind, let me go on record by stating that Wilde’s music is a lot more credible and memorable than the likes of the Hair Metal acts of the past. A lot of critics and magazines have labelled Wilde’s music along these lines; others have compared her to the likes of Avril Lavine and teen pop sensations. It is not an insulting comparable, yet it does not do her music justice. Her sounds may not be to everyone’s instant liking and tastes, yet it will burrow into your consciousness before too long. There are few solo female acts that have any real attitude or punch- there is still an emphasis on raw emotion or cuteness. It is not the case that the 23-year-old is a relic of a bygone age, or a plastic fad: her energy and personality has all the merit of the legends of rock and metal. Wilde has drawn comparisons with the likes of Vixen, and she has an edge of Suzi Quatro and the female punk bands of the ’70s and ’80s. In spite of whether this sort of music appeals or not, her passion and conviction cannot be faulted. She is a blonde and beautiful woman whose life began in Melbourne. This city has produced some terrific modern talent, and is a location that is sun-drenched and picturesque. The scenic and sunny climbs inspire creative mind, and the bonhomie of its citizens, combined with the bustling city energy has spiked the attentions of local musicians. Wilde’s Grunge/Surf/Punk roots are probably inspired by U.S. talent, yet Melbourne (and Australia) has a large swathe of similar acts and sounds. Her website quotes the following: “Originally from Melbourne Australia, her talent on both guitar and bass quickly made Laura a heavily sought after musician which led to work with a who’s who of Australian artists. She also worked for a time as a presenter on Beat TV as well as being part of the house band of Australia’s Got Talent which brought her much recognition. “That was all great experience,” Laura admits, “but I’m a songwriter and a musician and I wanted to play my own music. When she was 18 years old, Laura went out on her own 22 show tour, attended university, continued her session work, held down a job at a local guitar store and even played a private acoustic show for the Saudi Arabian royal family. At 19, she moved to Los Angeles, and began work on her debut album, Sold My Soul, which earned Laura great respect and strong reviews“. It is clear that the teenage years were filled with eventfulness and prosperity for Wilde, and her rise to prominence has a Hollywood sort of story to it. I can see the appeal of locating to L.A.- it is now home to the likes of Laura Marling. In some much as it is sunny and warm most of the year, it has a rich and vibrant music community and is in the glare of the music media- as well as being close to the epicentre of the moviemaking industry. Wilde has not forgotten her homeland, nor adopted a faux-American accent. Wilde has toured the U.K. and has a fondness for this wonderful land; yet at the moment she is busy in her new home. Wilde is a lot more than her stunning beauty; a lot more in fact. Wilde is an incredible guitar player, and is influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. There are few modern soulless acts amongst Wilde’s cannon of influences- she favours the greats and aspires to replicate their majesty. She is a guitarist I would kill for in my band (when it happens), and her axe-wielding skills have seen her play some illustrious gigs. As well as spending a lot of time performing in Las Vegas, she has toured with Ted Nuggent- as well as been playing across the U.S. It has been nearly two years since her debut album Sold My Soul was released, yet it still warranting praise and adulation. Wilde has a clear fashion sense and identity, yet is not a prefabricated figurine moulded by a P.R. company (there are plenty of female pop acts that we can all think of). Wilde is a strong and feisty talent, and is making music that is at once familiar, and at the same time, original. There has been some derison and haughty snorting, due to the fact that some critics see her as a Hair Metal throwback. I feel that there is still too much attention put on to solo artists’ shoulders. Many go into listening to an artist with preconceived notions and narrow-minded cliché. It seems that many feel that female solo acts should sound like Adele or Amy Winehouse- or else be a cute and meagre folk artist with a sweet-natured voice and not a lot else. I have reviewed artists such as Lydia Baylis, and found that her incredible voice and songwriting talents were begging for bigger attention. There are still too many solo acts that sound the same, and sound like everything that goes before. Unique acts like Baylis, Abi Uttley of Issimo- as well as Little Violet and Annie Drury- are not getting their just rewards. These are amongst a small band of brave artists breaking from a tired dust-filled mould, and making their own sounds- on their terms. Wilde will take some time to get her music appreciated widely, yet it is clear that she is going to a huge name to watch. She does not rely on her voice; her lyrics; her guitar-playing skills: she has so much going for her that it is hard to ignore. At the moment, Wilde has a heavy period of touring ahead of her, yet it is clear that more music is imminent. This year will see her play more gigs across the U.S., yet I hope she also stops by London and the U.K.- as there will be renewed and new demand for her music. In a year where stalwarts such as Beck and Wild Beasts will be keeping me occupied, I am always excited by what new acts can offer. Over the first few weeks of this new year, I have witnessed diverse and bold sounds. Wilde is another puzzle piece that is bright and memorable. Last year was an important one for the punk goddess, and some website snippets give an insight into the day-to-day life of the Australian musician: “… When their hectic touring schedules allow them both the time, she will be writing a song with Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath and is hoping he may even produce a track or two. Recently Laura received many accolades and rave reviews having just completed over 50 tour dates across America during the summer of 2013. Here fans saw Laura play arenas, theatres and clubs across the USA. She also recently earned the title of ‘Best New Female Artist’ and was honored at the ‘Vegas Rocks Music Awards 2013′ with the legendary Zakk Wylde and DJ Ashba“. It is clear that the U.S. is treating her kindly and latching onto her potential, so I hope that this is blown across the oceans back to Australia.
With a guitar swing and burst which- upon first listen- resembles Get It On by T-Rex, there is a certain glam rock punch to proceedings. With hand-clapping accompaniment, the guitar coda struts and swings its arms defiantly; setting up a huge amount of intrigue, energy and testicular fortitude. The layers and teeth marks of ’70s glam rock and punk are laced into the intro. You can hear the affection Wilde has for the era, as one is instantly put in mind of a past era, where the hair was brighter and more striker; leather-clad legends like Quatro were ruling the scene- and the quality of music was a lot more consistent. After a few seconds a pattering percussive roll is introduced. It heightens the tension and excitement, and adds an extra layer of weight. After a tee-up from the drums, Wilde’s vocal enters the scene. The first verse begins with some itinerant painting. Our heroine is traversing New Orleans and “Every city in-between“. The vocal is intense and punchy, with a slight distortion. It puts me in mind of modern singers such as Alison Mosshart, as well as legends like Joan Jett. Instantly a sense of punk authority and blues rock swagger in introduced. The roots and embryonic strands are firmly in the U.S., and the sound of Detroit-via-Los Angeles-via-New York is explored. Wilde is hitting the tracks, and is doing so with staunch intent: “Kissed my mumma/Said goodbye/Want look back/To see her cry“. A semblance of The Kills-cum-Quatro electricty keeps the hairs on end, and Wilde does not let the mood or pace relent, as she continues her travels. “From Tennessee to Idaho” our heroine doesn’t know where she is going to go, but is keen to get away and get on the road. The vocal evocations are at the forefront and are clearest, yet Wilde’s guitar skills add venom and fisticuffs. Throughout the percussion keeps the beat and backbone straight; it is not too intrusive and infuses machismo and authority into the proceedings. In spite of the fact that our heroine sold her soul “to rock and roll” the initial third of the song is a trip around the states of America. Our Australian idol has been to some far-off places; been travelling wide, in search of…well, I’m not sure. Wilde is having a ball, seeing sights, sensations and smells that enliven her senses, and living the life of a Punk/Grunge persuader. There is a sense of rebellion detectable throughout. Wilde is certainly not coming home, and whatever has compelled her to hit the tracks, is clearly not something that can easily be undone. When listening to the track, vivid imagery comes to mind. One can picture and feel the sticky floors of a bar somewhere out west; dust-strewn roads where our heroine drives down; sunglasses on and wind in her hair. She travelled to Illinois, where- and conveniently from a poetic sense- “met a boy” (not sure how she’d make it work if she was in Oklahoma). Wilde’s heart belongs to Texas, and her soul and blood is running down a multitude of roads throughout the U.S. Her itinerant mind make be something that Kerouac could write about, but she is in pursuit of music and good times: self discovery and philosophical answers perhaps not. It is not until the 1:30 mark that the swinging pendulum of guitar and percussion abates. When it does, the vocal is isolated (and more distorted), as Wilde interjects more truths about her travels and pursuits. With regards to the subject matter of the song, it perhaps has more in common with the Punk and glam rock themes and artists of the ’70s than it does today. In that sense, Wilde is less the modern-day pop idol and more the leader of disaffected youth. One may foolishly think of a tattooed, raven-haired chain-smoking singer when they hear the voice; hear the words and let their mind wander. The fact that our vocalist is a dreamy blonde-haired Siren makes it more impressive- you cannot help but smile. In spite of the wind and rain, Sold My Soul is infused with sunshine, heat and summer. In the same way that the Queens of the Stone Age’s My God Is The Sun was an axiomatic paen to the desert roads and sun-drenched highways, one gets the same sense here. Our heroine moves on to Louisiana, yet still is selling her soul to rock and roll; she encounters a new high (and sensation), before moving to the next state. It seems that home is far away, and lost to a hurricane of fury: we’re not in Kansas anymore. The final line says it all “And I’m not going home“. The girl has become a woman, and is someone not willing to do things according to someone else’s way. By the end of the track you are somewhat exhausted, and left in no doubt as to Wilde’s intentions. Afterthoughts on the track? The guitar work has some elements of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Spread Your Love (as does the percussion); as well as a little bit of Black Holes-era Muse. Unlike Bellamy and his cohorts, our heroine is punchy and less extravagant with her fretwork. She unleashes an indelible and ephemeral rift, gathering momentum and pace throughout the track. The song is instantly and lastingly catchy, and is based on a simplistic and nomadic lyrical theme. Wilde keeps the lyrics memorable yet straightforward; employing an effective device and stretching it to its ends. It is an odd introverted 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover-esque track, but one will a lot more middle finger raising. To my mind, the most lasting and effective aspect of the track is Wilde’s vocals. They were probably be seen as second fiddle to her guitar playing, yet it is her pipes that shout the loudest. I mentioned Mosshart earlier, and there will be some comparisons with the Dead Weather singer. A little Quatro/Jett/Bolan affectation and styling is into the mix, creating a ’70s Glam/Grunge/Punk-cum-’00s U.S. blues rock hybrid. I have heard the rest of the Sold My Soul L.P., and there are few comparable tracks to the title cut. Each song has its own mobility and energy; each sounds different and offers something striking- yet Wilde keeps her voice true and focused. The album’s finest cut is here and has its alarming charms and not-teenage-anymore-kicks. Its metre and pace almost calls to mind an army drill/marching song, and our heroine has conviction and intention throughout. Do not think of some pseduo-rebellious teenage punk wannabe like Lavigne: Wilde is all grown up and in her own league. The album itself may be a two-year-old, yet it deserves wider investigation. This year will see the Australian preparing new material and thoughts: I cannot wait to see what she comes up with.
It is clear that there is more than meets the eye, when it comes to Wilde. She is a woman who will be dropping jaws because of her beauty, yet dropping more because of her talent. There is nuance to her music, which means it will grab people in years to come. You have to put any prejudices and incorrect thoughts aside. The song- and L.P.- Sold My Soul are not the creations of a teen idol wannabe; not the makings of a second-string replicant of the punk greats. There has been too much ignorant negativity placed on Wilde by some. She has edge, rebellion and force, yet there is no gimmick or false promise within these protestations. Wilde is a strong and bold woman who knows what she wants, and is going out and getting it. She is barely in her 20s, yet is proving to be one of the most exciting acts of ’10s. There is a market gap and a hole that needs filling. Too many examples of the type offered up by The X Factor and The Voice. There is a soulless clan of dead-eyed singers, each with nothing to say, and a desperate desire for fame and excess. Wilde is a distinct and impressive figure as she does not seem to be of this generation. There are plenty whom play music honest and differently, yet it seems that this art is being lost. You cannot ignore her guitar-playing skills; you would be foolish to overlook her potential, and her focus and drive are to be applauded. Her album showed that she has the talent and ambition to be around for a long time; it is early days and will be interesting to see how she develops. I hope that her music gets picked up by more people, as I have grown tired of too many listless and acoustic-driven solo acts. They have their place in the market, yet I have always favoured music that offers up more intrigue and passion. I feel that 2014 will see Wilde keeping her sound intact, yet pushing herself a bit. I feel that there may be bluesy or more romantic sounds mingling alongside ’70s Punk and Surf- as well as some modern-day metal edges. Whatever your opinions are of Sold My Soul, it would be churlish to overlook Wilde in the long-term. Her L.P. offers up tantalising titles such as Freeek!, Classic Guitar Star and Love Buyer; there is some profanity and stark declarations, but above all, is the sound of an ambitious young woman whom wants to remain in music for many years to come. She is someone I would be desperate to have in a band with me (I have at least two others I am trying to chase), and it is not often I am as instantly impressed by a talent. This year is going to see many acts come and go, and there is certainly going to be a lot on offer. There is a place on the scene for everyone, yet those who remain in the memory are those who do things differently- as well as expand their sound and keep fresh. Wilde has clearly benefited from the air of California, and seems pretty content there. I hope that the multitudinous and variegated sounds enforce her next L.P., and it seems that her U.S. fans are taking her to heart. I want to leave you with a thought; or more of an invocation. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook will see their days numbered, as new and brighter websites come along. The nature of social media is predicated towards, and synonymous with promoting an individual’s every thought. Few take time to promote worthy causes or bring to light important developments. I would be naive to think that these sites consider music, and find a way to bring to light great new music- to everyone. It would nice, however, if there was a music website that offered this. I have encountered too many acts retrospectively. It is annoying finding an act and then realising that they have been making great music for years. I know there are so many acts out there that it is near-impossible to bring all of the greats to the public consciousness, yet to my mind, there is no effort to do anything. If it weren’t for a select few websites, I would be unaware of a lot of great bands- some of whom I stay in regular contact with. Wilde is a jaw-dropping beauty with snarl and mega talent in her arsenal. They are dangerous weapons and alluring chalices; I hope that she will utilise her focus and momentum to unleash she fresh sounds this year. On the evidence of the track Sold My Soul (as well as the album), there is plenty to suggest L.P. no. 2 will be snapped up and brought to the attention of the masses. Musically, Wilde has a great range and can produce toe-tapping kicks, plenty of psychotropic fuzz and haze, and some evocations of the ’60s and ’70s masters such as Hendrix and Page. There is some home-grown AC/DC sounds; pieces of Quatro and Joan Jett- as well as some spike of The Ramones. These facets account for a modicum of Wilde’s whole, and she has her own unique flavour and business plan. I hope that some diversity and differing themes come into her lyrics. The profanity and f***-you attitude is needed, and works wonderfully over some songs; yet it would be great to see something more romantic; some different genres and influences thrown into the mix. L.A. plays host to some terrific new and established acts, and I hope that Wilde employs a little of their majesty into her mix. Her debut L.P. shows what she has to offer, and it is only a matter of time before that is augmented and bolstered. Where she goes next is anyone’s guess, yet it is evident that she will be busy over this year. As she states, herself:
“I play the rules to a different game“
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