Nashville, TN: Rock trio THE ETTES return with a vengeance with Wicked Will, the band's fourth long player and their first through their own imprint, Fond Object (a joint venture with Krian Music Group/ILG). The album will also available as a vinyl release through long dormant indie Sympathy For the Record Industry, who put out THE ETTES' 2005 debut. It's a coming of age album for the Beat Punk trio and reunites them with producer Liam Watson (Bobby Long, The Kills, White Stripes), who recorded their debut, Shake the Dust, at his London analog sound lab Toe Rag Studio.
Written on the road and in the band's adopted hometown of Nashville, Wicked Will encompasses everything you've come to expect from THE ETTES and more - up-front, fearless vocals, fuzz bass runs, primal, driving drums beats, searing guitar lines and of course, tons of black eyeliner and attitude. Female attitude. Lead singer/lyricist Coco Hames channels the best and sassiest of '60s Girl Group vixens - the leatherette clad bad girl rockers who teased their hair and the boyz - but she and Ettes' co-founder Poni would definitely kick your ass themselves before waiting for their boyfriend to get back. And you better believe they'd be riding alongside the Leader of the Pack rather than in his sidecar. Or, better yet, they'd be leading their own hot Russ Meyer-esque outlaw girl bike gang/rock band.
With 13 original tracks and a sizzling, sympatico cover of Lee Hazelwood's "My Baby Cried (All Night Long)," this kaleidoscopic, album finds THE ETTES delivering their most confident, varied disc to date. While the intensity and guitar/bass/drum attack are constants, there are both beautiful and defiant moments, along with a newfound sense of vulnerability and knowingness in Coco's lyrics. Says Hames, "In general, I find this to be an album largely about women, my relationships with women and my perceptions of women; my meanest songs are about myself."
The gorgeously melancholic vocal line of "The Worst There Is," with its spare arrangement and Coco's wistful lyric, "When you're the worst there is, There's nothing to fear," touches a nerve and has the feel of a lost '60s Marianne Faithful track. Coco gets personal about what to expect in a relationship in the aggressive rocker [Youre not going to break] My Heart, singing, You're not faithful but you're true," and asking herself if thats enough. Pendulum has a fuzz chorus to die for, with the tambourine loud and up front and the reverb cranked this is like some insanely cool lost garage rock nugget.
These rock nomads, who've lived in LA, NYC and now Nashville, have earned their rock stripes the hard way - on the road. Theyve toured with the Black Keys and Kings of Leon and spent a chunk of 2010 on tour with both the Dead Weather and the Greenhornes. Coco, Poni (Maria Silver) and Jem (Jem Cohen) have been spending their time either in their home studio in Nashville or on tours and fests here and abroad, playing their own unique brand of "Beat Punk." They've had synchs in such TV shows as NCIS Los Angeles, Sons Of Tucson, Entourage and currently featured in the national Kotex television campaign. You can also hear them in Drew Barrymore's roller derby flick, Whip It.
THE ETTES' musical peers have always been among the band's biggest supporters: the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach is recording a second 45" single, "The Girl I'll Never Be," with the band; look for it in summer 2011. Coco also formed a band with the Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright, The Parting Gifts, whose album Strychnine Dandelion came out in 2010 and featured Jem on bass and The Greenhornes's Patrick Keeler on drums. Pitchfork said of the collaboration of Coco and Greg: "The Parting Gifts provide a Loretta to his [Cartwright's] Conway, a Nancy to his Lee," and the Guardian UK compared Coco's vocals on the album to Ronnie Spector.
With Wicked Will, the ETTES have thrown down the rock gauntlet and they are daring you to pick it up. After a CD release show in Nashville, the band will kick off a national headlining tour with two NYC shows in the beginning of August, 2011.