For a band that claims to have been “influenced more by Cocteau Twins than DNA” yet sounds like a double-stranded helix of Vampire Weekend and the Talking Heads, Seattle’s own Week of Wonders continue to push the boundaries of what they call “tropical punk.” In January, the band released their first EP--the awesome sleeper Failures--and next Tuesday (8/13), they’ll issue a 7” titled Piggybacks on Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records.
I chatted recently with frontman Leif Anders, formerly of rising ‘60s pop group Orca Team, about the new venture. He said it wasn’t easy to get his label to cotton to a brand new idea.
“They were like ‘Oh, my God. You had this release [the well-received Restraint], and you toured in England, and everything’s going fine, and you’re telling me that’s it over.’”
This was, Orca Team was over. His bandmate Jessica B. (guitar) moved to Austin, and Anders was spending more time in New York with his girlfriend.
Spending all that time in New York had Anders itching for a new project as he was unproductive with his new found spare time. “If I put myself outside a box, I can’t create anything with all that time and space and room,” he says. “For me, when I confine myself to something, like this band, I have these limitations. My guitar sounds like a steel drum, there’s a reggaetone feel, and I’m always asking myself, ‘How much can I do within that? How can I stretch the limits of that?’”
Luckily for HHBtM Records (an Athens, Georgia imprint), response to the new band--which also comprises Tim McClanahan on bass and David Dempsey on drums--has been positive. Respected indie label Rough Trade signed on to distribute the Piggybacks single in the UK and in September, the band will embark on a huge tour of the states. Oh, and they’re playing an AWESOME showcase this Sunday at the Highline, “an event that will hopefully live in the homage of Pizza Fest now that The Funhouse has gone away,” Anders says.
Back to that 7”. OK, B-side “The End of the Day” does have a dreamy, percolating guitar riff that might be inspired by the Cocteau Twins, but where that band’s ethereal reverb lifted their sound into the atmosphere, “Day” is rooted firmly in the here and now, with a steady beat that overrides Anders’ dejected lyrics, “All things grow old/my feelings for you will, too.” Flip side, “Piggybacks” is just an awesome summer jam.
Some have wondered, will Orca Team get back together?
“Orca Team is on indefinite hiatus,” Anders says. “Which translates to probably not.”
Week of Wonders play The Highline this Sunday with Audacity, The Wild Ones, Bad Tats, Big Eyes, Summer Twins, Primitive Hearts, and Bummer City. 7 p.m. $10.