Wild Child did something pretty interesting in their home State of Texas ahead of the release of their new album ‘Expectations’ (OUT NOW!). They played Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio – nothing out of the ordinary hitting the home turf to drum up some excitement around a new record, right? But to have FOUR different limited-edition color release variants for all FOUR cities – well played, Wild Child! Austin (Buttercream), Houston (Coke Bottle Clear), San Antonio (Translucent Purple), and Dallas (Translucent Green) were all released with a bonus 12″ of songs before the Cherry Red Limited-Edition dropped on February 9. Damn. Our completist nerves are shot with this one dude. If you were lucky enough to acquire one of these limited-edition color variants in Texas, head over to the database and submit it so we can all be jealous of you haul!
For this installment of Essential Wax, Wild Child’s Matt Bradshaw came in hot with a pretty great story for his five albums… so let’s jump right in, shall we?
Wild Child Shares Five Instrumental Albums From Pianist/Trumpet Player, Matt Bradshaw:
Before I dive into these, I must first share the story of Alexander (vocals/ukulele) Cody (guitar/trombone) and myself, getting the first batch vinyl of our new record “Expectations” delivered to us. Alex called me around midnight, and I was in bed, about to go asleep. “I have a copy of it,” he said anxiously on the phone. “My roommates are asleep, can I come over and play it at your place?” I was so excited for this news and told him to come right over. We called our guitarist Cody, and he was equally game, (though very high on percocets after wisdom teeth surgery.) I remember standing around my kitchen table, taking it out of the shrink wrap, admiring the artwork, reading all the notes, and finally, setting it on the player for the first time. As we listened, we were immediately transported back to where we created these songs and what we were doing at the time. Listening to a vinyl record gives you the gift of all the above experiences, which is one of the many reasons why it’s a unique vessel for recorded music.
As a chief arranger of the band’s music, often helping Kelsey and Alexander flesh out the core of a song, my head is in the instrumental; what’s happening behind the lyrics and vocal melodies. These are five instrumental records I’ve been keeping close by my player.
I’ve had this record since I was a metal mouthed teenager. I’ve always been a Beastie Boys fan, and I’ve chased after their aesthetic in my own music ever since. This specific version of the record is chock full of fun and interesting arrangements and sounds, and has been a point of reference for me when writing any kind of instrumental music. I love it because it unveils all of Mix Master Mike’s strange, cosmic and mechanically charming sounds that contribute to the Boys’ signature sound, but are often clouded by the prominent vocals of the full versions, possibly at times getting “jealous of the rhyme and the rhyme routine,” if you will.
One of his latest releases, but it has already secured a spot in my regular rotation. It was a gift from one of my best friends. When someone you love hands you a record you love, there’s going to be an added feeling every time you put it on. That’s why to me, vinyl, above all mediums, is the most personal of recorded music vessels. And as far as this record is concerned, I’m pretty sure Delicate Steve is writing the soundtrack to my life, and is slowly rolling it out, one record and EP at a time. “This is Steve” conveys feeling and emotion without a single lyric from beginning to end, starting with the phaser wrapped guitar riff of “Animals” (which I’d like to add, is complimented by the critical and silent few seconds of “pop and hiss” when you drop your needle on the outermost ring.) Steve then takes you on the epic journey of a single day in the life, which very well could be your life.
They are the backbone of the greatness that is Daptone Records. Though they share many of the personnel, Menahan’s sound is far from the glittery golden stuff you’ll hear listening to Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley (may they rest in Soul). It’s a behind closed doors, mysterious sound that only comes out after dark. “The Crossing” sounds like the name of a horror film, and is perfectly matched to what you get on this record. I’d go as far to say that I get creeped out listening this record alone, and I love it. (Fun fact: if you listen closely to the very beginning of our song ‘Think It Over’ you’ll hear me quote a famous Menahan horn line from their title track of another record “Make the Road by Walking”. Jay-Z sampled it, so why not me?)
As a funk head, I am always on the hunt for old school music that has been re-created “the right way,” and these boys definitely understand what I mean. I’ve been following their consistent releases since 2011, mostly watching their YouTube videos, so when I saw they were releasing a special edition two vinyl discography compilation on white vinyl, I was a little too excited and preordered my copy as soon as they announced it. Disclaimer: Not all of their tracks are instrumental, but the lion’s share are indeed sans vox, and it is in those groovy, bass heavy backing tracks where the essence of the Vulf lies.
5. Miles Davis – Miles Davis
Some records really surprise you. I remember kicking around Baltimore in 2007 with friends and happened upon this record at a music shop. I grew up playing trumpet and was studying Jazz at the time, so you can’t help but be on high alert for unknown Miles. I bought it, took it home, and never listened to it. Years later, I rediscovered it after moving into a new house in Austin. I put it on my player and just found myself being completely sucked into the sessions. It was like the musicians were in the room with me. I could hear the clatter of Coltrane’s keys and the wooden creaks of Paul Chambers’ upright as he plucked away. I think good Jazz should always be listened to on vinyl. There’s just so much to it other than the music itself. The tiny details are what makes it special. It’s now one of my favorite records, I’m so glad it found me again.