Wild Nothing is the name Jack Tatum, formerly of Jack and the Whale and Facepaint, uses for his musical endeavors, which began as shimmery, synth-washed indie pop in the summer of 2009. Starting with an early batch of demos that included a glimmering cover of Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting," Tatum embarked on a career devoted to pairing his tender melodies with soft, echoing musical backing and his whisper-intimate vocals. After a couple albums and EPs spent honing this template to near-perfection -- especially on 20102's Nocturne -- Tatum branched out into a more mature and well-produced version of the sound on 2016's Life of Pause and slick '80s territory on 2018's Indigo. Captured Tracks picked up Wild Nothing soon after the project's first demos came out in 2009, and it wasn't long before Tatum recruited bassist Jeff Haley, guitarist Nathan Goodman, and drummer Max Brooks to round out the group's live sound. Wild Nothing's first single, Summer Holiday, was released on Captured Tracks before 2009 came to a close. The band's debut full-length, Gemini, was released in the spring of 2010 and garnered Wild Nothing all kinds of critical acclaim. After releasing a follow-up EP, Golden Haze, near the end of 2010, Captured Tracks reissued Gemini in February of 2011 with the addition of Tatum's cover of Kate Bush's "Cloudbusting." For his next record, Tatum worked with producer Nicolas Vernhes at his Rare Book Room Studios. The result was 2012's Nocturne album. Another stopgap EP arrived in 2013 in the form of the stylistically scattered Empty Estate EP. After a move to Los Angeles and some time spent rethinking his musical approach, Tatum and producer Thom Monahan began working on 2016's Life of Pause album. Recorded in Sweden (with contributions from Peter Bjorn and John drummer John Ericsson and marimba player TK of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra) and Los Angeles (with Medicine guitarist Brad Laner), Life of Pause's intricate arrangements and slick production marked a step forward artistically for Wild Nothing. Always reexamining his process, Tatum decided to switch things up on 2018's Indigo. After carefully constructing demos himself, he spent four days at L.A.'s Sunset Sound studio with drummer Cam Allen and guitarist Benji Lysaght doing live versions of the songs. Next, he and producer Jorge Elbrecht spent time adding new parts and layering in sounds from the original demos. The result was the most carefully arranged and '80s-influenced Wild Nothing album yet, while also being one of their most intimate. ~ Margaret Reges
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 31, 2018 | Captured Tracks
For over a decade, Jack Tatum aka Wild Nothing has served as an indispensable ambassador for dream pop in all its splendour. Wrapping up his larger-than-life, dreamy melodies in guitars that reverberate out to infinity, the Virginian always pays equal attention to the microphone and the pen. His voice carries the same narrative thread, light and blurry, that Morrissey or Robert Smith used to unfurl amidst clouds of melancholy and surrealism with an uneasy charm... Wild Nothing retains this facility for ill-at-ease music that relates untellable stories. With Indigo, Tatum expands his palette, taking on board more synths and Eighties sounds. "I wanted it to sound like a classic studio record, as close as I could get it there", explains our sculptor of crystalline melodies. "It just boils down to me wanting to fit into some larger narrative, musically, in terms of these artists I love. The records that have influenced the actual sound of Indigo are by Roxy Music, Kate Bush, and Fleetwood Mac; Roxy Music’s Avalon is one of my favourite records ever. I think about how my music will age. Ideas of 'timeless' are going to be different — so if Indigo is not timeless then it’s at least 'out of time.'" Jack Tatum's strength lies in perfectly fusing these archetypal influences with Wild Nothing's unique characteristics. At the outset, his fourth album offers a cinematic dream pop, as if the four walls of the student digs where Wild Nothing was born had melted away, to reveal wide open spaces...© Max Dembo/Qobuz
Alternative & Indie - Released May 25, 2010 | Captured Tracks
If Wild Nothing's debut album, Gemini, consisted of nothing more that the song “Summer Holiday” and 25 minutes of a dial tone, it would still be one of the best records to come out of the lo-fi, reverb pop scene of 2010. The song's four minutes of achingly pretty guitar chime, soaring vocal melodies, and rhythmic charge that’s easy to get swept up in result in what can only be called perfect pop. The vocal-bass-drum breakdown halfway through is the kind of heart-stopping moment that bands dream of capturing in their songs. Incredibly, Gemini is filled with songs that rate just below "Summer Holiday" -- some, like “My Angel Lonely” and “O, Lilac,” are arguably just as good. Wild Nothing's main (and only) man Jack Tatum may have been a recent high-school graduate when the album was recorded, but he proves himself to be a scholar of music that was for the most part dead and buried long before his birth. There are sounds traceable to OMD, the Cocteau Twins, New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen, and scores of post-punk dreamers and synth pop romantics. The cheesy synths, heavily treated guitars, tons of cheapo drum machines and heavily layered production are totally '80s, but unlike most bands of the era he so loves, Tatum’s vocals don’t dominate the sound. Instead, he blends them into the arrangements, using them as just another element of the overall texture and feel. It’s a choice that could have led to the songs losing some impact, but the melodies are so strong and Tatum’s ability to create a mood of quiet desperation is so perfectly calibrated that you wouldn’t want to change a thing sound-wise. It’s a mood with many variations, too -- from the echoing, distant-sounding “The Witching Hour” to the quietly pulsating, almost bleak “Pessimist,“ Tatum makes sure to alter the sound and rhythmic approach enough to keep the listener engaged. His melodic gifts are powerful enough that even if he had no production skills at all, the album would still be great. In fact, he easily could have made 11 variations on "Summer Holiday" and had a hit record. That he explores different avenues and does so successfully bodes well for future releases. ~ Tim Sendra
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