New Music Monday: Wardell

WardellBy Nick Mattos, PQ Monthly

Enjoy the sunny, sad sound of Wardell in today’s New Music Monday.

Sasha and Theo Spielberg grew up with an array of silver spoons custom-fit to their mouths — their father, director Steven Spielberg, is a certifiable billionaire. However, with their musical collaboration Wardell, the Spielberg siblings capture something radically different than the high-gloss sound of the young and well-heeled; instead, they summon the retro ghosts of old Los Angeles, crafting music more appropriate for surfing or sunset drives on the PCH than sojourns on the family jet.

Paul Lester of the Guardian explains more about the Wardell experience:

It’s a perennial theme in alternative music: the notion that privilege is the enemy of creativity. Well, they don’t come much more advantaged than a billionaire’s 22-year-old daughter, who has attended Brown University and appeared in one of her old man’s Indiana Jones movies. But having a couple of quid in the bank has done little to diminish the sense of aching sadness in their music… It reminds us of Marianne Faithfull just before she became the nicotine-ravaged harlot of Broken English. It’s not quite that weathered and worn, but it’s keen to communicate that it has been there, done that. “I was so helpless trying to admire you,” she sings [on “Opossum”], with the first hint of infatuation and the damage it can do, (especially) when you’re 22. It’s a voice that is not remotely deceived by the romance or innocence of rapture. But does she sing “our love is buried in the way”, or “buried in the wake”? Either way, love gets short shrift here. Musically – and Theo is the music here, but then, he could afford the lessons – it knows all about drama, tension and release. It surges and scalds, and it’s striking, as promising as it is poignant. God knows how they would sound if their dad wasn’t a billionaire movie legend.

Listen to “Opossum” and live cuts of “Uptown Era” and “Call It What You Want,” all off The Brother/Sister EP. Makes you quite psyched for their full-length album to drop in early 2014, right? Right.

As always, folks: we at PQ LOVE hearing your New Music Monday recommendations. Feel free to send them along to the address listed below — seriously, nothing thrills us more than new music. Do it!