On the Verge: Wild Moccasins

Wild Moccasins Live In Studio

The Houston-based, five piece indie-pop band Wild Moccasins did a few things differently when they came to the WERS studio. For one, they were short a member, arriving without drummer John Baldwin. Secondly, the band, normally electric, decided to go with a mostly acoustic set for their songs in-studio, bringing with them only two guitars (played by Andrew Lee and Cody Swann), a bass (Nick Cody), and a tambourine (held by the lovely frontwoman (Zahira Gutierrez). The acoustic quality to their performance varied from the aesthetic Wild Moccasins fans have come to known from their first release, 2011’s Skin Collision Past, but regardless of whether or not they were plugged in, their sound was still distinctly Wild Moccasins. Citing influences such as Blondie, The Talking Heads, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Beatles, and others, their sound comes together to be a sort of dreamy, sort of poppy sound with addictive guitar riffs complemented by Gutierrez’s vocals, almost serpentine in the way they wind themselves around the music.

The first song the band played for us was “Gag Reflections,” one of their new tracks released from their upcoming album, a song with a distinctly airy quality to it, particularly with Gutierrez’s repetitive “Ooohs” as she gently shook the tambourine, which served as the only percussion for the song. Again, the “Gag Reflections” that filled the WERS live mix room varied from the studio version the band has released, but it still encompassed the sweet, easy-listening aesthetic the band has cultivated, poppy and modern, yet with a hint of nostalgia—many of the tracks have a certain ‘60s quality to them, which can most likely be attributed to Gutierrez’s peculiar style of singing and the sound that comes from the vocal harmonies created by both Gutierrez and Swann.

Still, there is something peculiar about Wild Moccasins’ music. Yes, it is poppy and many of their tracks have an addictive hook, but the songs are in their own little pocket of “pop,” varying from the typical structure of most indie-pop music these days in how they utilize choruses (or don’t, as they shy away from repetition) and in song length. There are also the lyrics, which are perhaps the dreamiest aspect of Wild Moccasins’ work. The words accompanying the music in “Gag Reflections” are truly out of this world, creating a strange, fantastical narrative, full of abstract imagery and clever turns of phrase—for example, when Gutierrez sings, “Gag reflections/proved me capable of/shedding waters of body.”

“Gag Reflections” was also the track that the band chose to use for their first music video, an equally quirky accompaniment for the music, featuring the band assembled in a dark, red and black lounge area, dressed in all red, expressionlessly playing their instruments as it escalates into a full-on, fun performance.

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Following “Gag Reflections,” the band performed “Eye Make Up,” the studio version of which is arguably one of the more dance-heavy tracks Wild Moccasins has recorded. Of course, this comes as no surprise, as Gutierrez told WERS that the band felt they were moving in a new direction with the next release, choosing to utilize more dance elements on the new record. Unlike “Gag Reflections,” this track is lyrically more rooted in reality, describing more tangible situations as Gutierrez sings, “You asked me if I’d ever done this before/Yes, yes, I’m going on four,” and, “I took my make up off/Eye make up off/You said I looked tired,” a song that seems to be about the relatable issue of being disillusioned with someone you once knew. It’s a lamenting, depressing idea but presented neatly by Wild Moccasins in a song that invites you to bop your head right along with the music.

It was an absolute pleasure to welcome the energetic Wild Moccasins into our WERS studio, but we aren’t the only ones taking notice of their unique sound—the band is starting to attract attention from various facets of the music industry, including the bizarre, creative souls that make up Of Montreal, the band of which Wild Moccasins has just been touring to support. We see bright things ahead for the whimsical, addictive music being produced by Wild Moccasins, and if you’re interested in finding more information, head over to the website here.

By Libby Webster

If you liked this, check out:
On the Verge: Marcella Rose
On the Verge: Escondido

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