Nathan Williams' Wavves embark on UK tour
San Diego garage band get it together to support King of the Beach
Wavves’ slacker dude main-man Nathan Williams’ very public meltdown onstage at the 2009 Primavera festival threatened to prove the defining episode in the San Diego garage band’s short career. But they’ve since pulled back from the brink by cleaning up their act a bit and making an album that lives up to some of the hype.
Thanks to reams of wobbly YouTube footage, Williams’ notorious rambling one chord performance in Barcelona has become a minor rock’n’roll car-crash classic. The upshots were a cancelled European tour, Williams admitting he had to reign-in his drugging and boozing, and drummer Ryan Ulsh quitting the band.
Wavves’ ranks have since been replenished with the recruitment of a couple of the late Jay Reatard’s backing musicians. Their third album King of the Beach, released in the summer, has seen the band push on from its beginnings as a lo-fi (often unlistenably so) Williams bedroom recording project to a full studio LP with purpose, power and production values, marrying the oddball harmonic pop of the Beach Boys to the bratty attack of grunge.
That’s not to say fascination with Wavves is now focused purely on the music, because there’s always the matter of Williams’ romantic relationship with Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast, this year’s big American buzz band. The twosome have become a kind of Kurt and Courtney of scuzzy indie, whose baked little world can be followed daily, micro soap opera style, via their respective Twitter addictions. Truly the days of the enigmatic rock star are behind us.
The Arches, Glasgow, Mon 8 Nov