You may not know it, but SFAppeal favs Best Coast have a brother band in the form of Wavves. Not only are the two linked through love (Best Coast frontwoman Bethany Cosentino is dating Wavves frontman Nathan Williams) but also share a cat and a similarly coastal vibe.
Wavves started as a solo project for Nathan Williams, who later brought on drummer Ryan Ulsh. A few lineup shifts and parting ways with Fat Possum Records saw the SoCal group making their latest album on their own dime and on their own ambiguous schedule.
“Different types of records benefit from different processes,” bassist Stephen Pope tells the Appeal.
“Some of the best albums are super minimal and were recorded in a few days. We just had the time to utilize a nice studio and didn’t have any pressure put on us of when to get it done so we went for it and were pretty meticulous about everything. The next album will probably be a completely new process.”
The band enlisted the help of producer John Hill, who helped straighten the split ends of a loose group in flux. Songs took shape more collaboratively, a far cry from the solo endeavors of Williams early incarnation of Wavves. After playing previous shows with Jenny and Johnny, the iconic Jenny Lewis also lent a hand to what would become Afraid of Heights.
Clacks of percussion usher in perhaps the poppiest vocals that Wavves have ever cut on “Afraid of Heights”, a song Pope had held onto for years and the title track off their latest LP. Though neither Nathan Williams nor Stephen Pope are acrophobic, they’re happy to set off in uncharted territory exploring fears with their signature punk sensibilities.
“I brought the demo [of ‘Afraid of Heights’] in early on and we spent the entire recording process trying out different sounds for that song. I really like the way ‘Dog’ and ‘Mystic’ turned out too because they’re so different from what we’ve done before,” Pope explains.
Wavves returns to SF just a few months after playing a set at Outside Lands, where they’ll be playing at Slim’s this Wednesday. As chaotic as a large-scale festival can be, Pope and his bandmates prefer a more intimate setting where they can really let loose.
If the band isn’t pulling out all the stops as they slog their way through choice tracks, suspect beers, and innumerable joints, it’s their fans who are the ones turning a show into a sonic battle.
“So far on this tour kids have been going nuts,” Pope says. “In Austin somebody almost knocked the 15ft P.A. on top of the crowd when he jumped off of it. Luckily nobody got hurt.”
Catch Wavves at Slim’s Wednesday, October 16. Purchase tickets here.