It's not often you find a great band that you never heard of in your own back yard, but that's just what I did near the end of last year. With two cds under their belt, (Seltzer and Flexi Slacks) The Wigg Report are hitting on all cylinders and hints in their sound rushed me back to my college years. When I say college years, I want it known that I'm not saying they sound like a band from 10 years ago, but the feeling they create when you hear their music, and especially when you hear them live, is an amazing rush of energy and pure emotion.
I keep telling myself that uttering The Wigg Report in the same breath with The Pixies, or The Violent Femmes even, would be blasphemy, you can't compare Black Francis and crew to anyone, but the more I hear the whole of their work, the more I have to draw a similar parallel between either one of these bands. It's not so much a "sounds like" comparison, but it's more a feeling I get when their music rushes through my headphones. Stephen Mullaney, Christine Fantini, and Ben Riseling , make up Durham's own, The Wigg Report.
Ben gave me a shout about the band and a gig they were playing late last year. It was a small venue, (shop side of 305 South) but in some ways, was the perfect place for me to see The Wigg Report for the first time, not to mention $1 PBRs. So much energy was placed into their stripped down punch that from that day, I was a huge fan.
Their music is a wonderful blend of minimal acoustic punk rock, mind blowing horns, electronics, and Mullaney's raw, alcohol soaked vocals. A sound that might be overlooked to a casual listener, but sample the tracks below, or see them live and I guarantee you'll be hooked.
Acoustic guitar, the remains of a drum kit, and a saxophone make up the base...yeah, that's right I said saxophone, but this provides the foundation in which they erect their layered structure of sound. It's an intoxicating ride and the sum of their creation is a sound that brings a unique touch, making The Wigg Report really stand out from the rest of local music.
*side note (This isn't their intent so much though, because from what I've experienced in my short time here, the Durham music scene is more like an interchanging working family. Band members from other bands will walk up on stage and help out their friends for a song or two while other bands in the audience dance and cheer their mates on. It's an amazing and embracing community that will most definitely be featured here regularly.) Back to the post already in progress...
And while I love the sax, madly played by former Beulah member Riseling, I must say I keep coming back to the tracks when he drops the brass and starts knob twisting (as witnessed on Barstow below). A great element of ghostly depth to provide a backdrop to the loose strings and the offset blending of Mullaney's and Fantini's vocals. On Barstow alone, we witness an intertwining chorus of a call and response feel, at first with each other, culminating with Fantini's cry between man and machine, all with an underling romance of "I'll be there when you fall". This may be my favorite track and it's one that has been on constant play for over a month.
There are other tracks provided below to round out the experience that are equally as good and I hope you enjoy the selection. The Wigg Report is hands down a great band with much promise and a bright future. If you are local, I highly recommend checking them out February 9th at the Anti-Folk Festival in Durham. They will be playing alongside P&S favorite, Midtown Dickens, and Charles Latham, The Future Kings of Nowhere, and Billy Sugarfix. Hope to see you there.
.: Bucket of Blood
.: New York
.: Sun Is Out
.: Street Music