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Wussy Live


Erik made the trip from Rhode Island yesterday so we could see a rare gig by the Cincinnati-based band Wussy, who we’ve mentioned before. In 2005, they released Funeral Dress, one of my very favorite albums of the last decade, and they’ve followed that up with 3 more regular releases and multiple collectibles of similar quality with a new record (which they’re making available in advance at the concerts) pending.  Our Ohio-based colleague djw assured us that their live act lived up to the records and how, so I’ve been excited about the gig for a while.  And while I’m sure Erik will weigh in himself, I’m confident he’ll say that it was more than worth the 3 hour drive — seeing a band of this quality in a tiny club was mind-blowingly good.  I don’t have the chops to adequately describe their sound.  Based around the first-rate songs and weaving guitars of co-founders Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker, they bring to invoke antecedents like the Velvets, late-60s Stones and Television while being too unique to really sound like any of them. They also have a fiercely good rhythm section, and particularly considering it was only their third or fourth gig of the tour they were remarkably tight.  It’s easy to see why the recordings are of such high quality given their palpable attention to their craft; they’re a flat-out great band.

While it’s a terrific opportunity, as most coverage of the band makes clear they also merit a much bigger venue, and I’ve never been one to want to keep an unknown excellent band to myself. For one thing, I want them to be able to make a decent living.  They’re on a tiny label and a search reveals that they still have yet to get a single mention from from our deeply fallible gatekeepers at Pitchfork.  This tour is definitely not a pampered rock star operation.  (I felt guilty asking Walker to sign my CD because she was busy dismantling the guitar switches, but she did so graciously, and they immediately sought out Cleaver before I could even ask.)  I hope that the new record finally gives them some fraction of the attention they merit, but in the meantime readers in Burlington, New York, Philly and Baltimore have the chance to see something really special in the next week.  If you think you might like it, check ’em out.

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  • Hopefully they will make it to Milwaukee soon. For obscure bands like this, it can be hard because they need to have regular jobs, and mostly can’t get the time or cash to get out or far afield.

    Saw a great meme on FaceHell the other day. “That band t-shirt got a band 50 miles further down the road”. Hope you guys bought some swag.

    • Hope you guys bought some swag.

      Yes, do this. I feel bad when some out of town band plays and they walk away with $40 from the door. Buying their stuff is the only sure way to keep them going.

      • Scott Lemieux

        We definitely did.

  • awesome: in my mind, tiny sweaty clubs are the only place to see real rock bands. (the last arena rock show i ever attended – indoor arena, that is, i have seen some larger outdoor shows in the interim – was neil young’s “rust never sleeps” tour).

  • Robbert

    I hadn’t heard of them before, but I like that song you post a great deal. They remind me of Sons And Daughters, or rather, I imagine that’s what S&D might have sounded like had they been American, rather than Scottish.

  • Jason

    I’ve probably listened to “Little Paper Birds” a hundred times this year. “The days all run together/in an angry pack and now they’re catching up/I finally got your letter/and your punctuation hit me like a truck”. And the guitar parts are even better than the lyrics. Kick-ass band.

  • Luke

    I got tickets to the house show in Baltimore on Saturday and can’t wait to see them.

    • Good choice!!

      • Luke

        Yeah, I will miss the Hold Steady in DC on Monday because of it. But this is a rare occasion.
        I too promote Wussy to my friends. Unfortunately my friends are few and poor.

        • Luckily it is a cheap ticket! Much cheaper than Hold Steady anyway I’d think. How is the new Hold Steady album anyway?

          • Luke

            I have listened to it a few times but haven’t really digested it. The first few times I thought it was too slickly produced by half, cutting off all the rough edges and making Craig Finn sound like a singer. Then it began to grow on me. I don’t think I would put it in the same category as Boys and Girls or Separation Sunday though.
            I would have been happy to pay just as much for the Wussy show as the HS show. The venue promises to be interesting and intimate and the music is, of course, top notch.

            • There were probably about 40 people at the show last night and they seemed genuinely surprised it was that large.

              • Luke

                I think the house show has a capacity of 50 and it sold out the same day it went on sale. I hope to buy the new CD and maybe a t-shirt. Although wearing a T-shirt that proclaims Wussy right off around the hoods of Rocaville, MD might get my butt kicked.

                • AstroBio

                  Thanks to Loomis with the Wussy tip last month and the infinite information on the internet, I would wear an Ass Ponys t-shirt. I sure hope Wussy comes south again soon.

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  • Dogen


    I went off to bandcamp.com to try to buy some Wussy mp3s. The site uses fucking PayPal but claims you can just buy as a guest.

    Nope. It took my credit card details and then asked me for an email address to email the receipt to. There was a box (checked) that said “Sign up for a PayPal Account”. I unchecked the box and put in a valid email address for me and hit enter.

    Then it said my credit card had been denied by the issuing bank and I should get in touch with the bank about that and give them another credit card.

    So I called the bank’s fraud dept and they said the charge never reached their system to be accepted OR denied. They could see other charges from this morning that had gone through.

    So I tried again while the rep was on the line, and same result–still no record of bandcamp.com (or paypal or anyone) trying to use the card.

    So I (stupidly, I know) tried another card from another bank. Same result. So now I’ve given my card info to what looks like a scammer site. Shit. What a pain.

  • Dogen

    ps Amazon has their music too, so I got it there. It’s less expensive on Amazon, but I assume that means the band gets less which makes me a little sad. Still, they need to dissociate from scammers like Paypal.

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