with DARTO and EVERYONE IS DIRTY
Plum is Wand’s fourth LP since the band formed in late 2013 but their first new album in two years. After a whirlwind initial phase of writing, recording, and touring at a frenetic clip, their newest document marks a period of relative patience; a refocusing and a push toward a new democratization of both process and musical surface.
In late winter of 2016, the band expanded their core membership of Evan Burrows, Cory Hanson, and Lee Landey to include two new members—Robbie Cody on guitar and Sofia Arreguin on keys and vocals. From the outset, the new ensemble moved naturally toward a changed working method, as they learned how to listen to each other and trust in this new format. The songwriting process was consciously relocated to the practice space, where for several months, the band spent hours a day freely improvising, while recording as much of the activity as they could manage. Previously, Wand songs had generally been brought to the group setting substantially formed by singer and guitarist Cory Hanson; now seedling songs were harvested from a growing cloudbank of archived material, then fleshed out and negotiated collectively as the band shifted rhythmically between the permissive space of jamming and the obsessive space of critique.
This new process demanded more honest communication, more vulnerability, better boundaries, more mercy and persistence during a year that meanwhile delivered a heaping serving of romantic, familial and political heartbreak for everyone involved. They learned more about their instruments and their perceived limitations. Much else fell apart in their personal lives, in their bodies, and the bodies of those near to them. In this way, Plum lengthened like a shadow underneath a dusking Orange; or rather “Weird Orange,” an affectionate name given to the color of a roulette-chosen, tour-rushed batch of Golem vinyl…an idiom, an inside joke, a talisman, a bookmark, a mood ring. And meanwhile all the shifting weather, the wireless signals, the helicopters overhead. Weird orange softened, darkened delicately, and rouged itself to a Plum.
The music of Plum focuses teeming, dense, at times wildly multichromatic sounds into Wand’s most deliberate statement to date, with a long evening’s shadow of loss and longing hovering above the proceedings. Plum delicately locates the band’s tangent of escape from the warm and comfortable shallows of genre anachronism, an eyes-closed, mouth-open leap toward a more free-associative and contemporary pastiche logic of that more honestly reflects the ravenous musical omnivorousness of the five people who wrote and played it.
Had some fun the other night. The wind blew down a tree. I ate an orange.
Formed in early 2013 in Oakland, Everyone Is Dirty has been steadily rising on the strength of their hard-hitting home recordings described as “bedroom-tapes on bath-salts” and their explosive live show, distinguished by frontwoman Sivan Lioncub’s exotic electric-violin antics and emotionally charged performance. Her violin style has been described as punk, noise, romantic, ethereal, and it encompasses all that, but her violin is a captivating tool of self expression that you really just have to witness. As she moves across the stage wielding her fiddle like a weapon, co-songwriter/engineer Christopher Daddio culls monstrous tones out of his beat-up acoustic guitar, while heavyweights drummer Tony Sales and bassist Tyler English keep that rhythm section cooking hot hot.
Their debut LP, Dying Is Fun, was released on vinyl & digital formats in September of 2014 on SF’s Tricycle Records, and made the year’s top 10 list on The Bay Bridged, SF Weekly and KQED, and they played BFD, Noisepop, and Treefort. Strange, but shortly after Dying Is Fun was released, Sivan became deathly ill due to a penicillin allergy, and was hospitalized for several months. Looking back on that time, she feels that the album was a prophecy for the illness she later endured. If you want to know if she still thinks Dying Is Fun, you’ll have to ask her.