Release Date: June 10, 2014
Studio: Recorded and produced by Blake Wilkinson
Genre: Punk/Crust Punk/Hardcore Punk
For Fans of: Dead to Fall, Death From Above 1979, Blood Brothers, Municipal Waste, Misfits
Chicago is one area of the U.S. that is known for a varying collection of cultural events, atmospheres and public figures. While Chicago’s jazz scene has been very long standing, what fewer people know about is the underground metal, hardcore and punk scene that has been sustaining itself for an impressively long amount of time as well. One of the latest additions to greater Chicagoland’s roster of daring punk bands is Wolf Party, and they began unabashedly contributing their sounds to the scene in early 2014.
Feeding Grounds is a very quick run at just under seven minutes in length. “Bush Meat” is seemingly over before it even begins, and the band dives right into the thick of their sound.
Just like the number of tracks on Feeding Grounds, Wolf Party is a three-man band, comprised solely of vocals, bass and drums. Since this is not the most common lineup even within punk or hardcore bands, this aspect of Wolf Party alone is perhaps a warrant for attending a live performance. The band is quickly earning a reputation for one of the most widely performing bands throughout greater Chicagoland, and have a number of shows coming up for the fall.
Vocalist Taran Reddy maintains no conventions as he performs his vocal lines, taking himself wherever the song may lead in order to fully implement the band’s style. His vocalizations lie somewhere in the middle ground of yells, shouts and pointed remarks. While Wolf Party list themselves as punk, crust punk and hardcore punk on their Bandcamp page, these sub-genres are only occasionally discovered in the rascally irreverent and jocular tone that the band strikes on their debut release.
Bassist Marc Bonfiglio utilizes a distorted, slightly digitized tone for his bass lines that assists the band’s sound in being slightly more full-bodied. Bonfiglio pumps out surprisingly catchy lines of melody, and effectively handles his 33.3 percent of the band. Drummer Lucas Fuechsl appropriately compliments the contributions of his bandmates with simple but effective rhythmic elements of his own.
On “Internet Famous,” the band cranks out another crunchy, rhythm-driven tune that properly showcases just how much fun the band is having. Wolf Party is the type of band that largely wants to cultivate a following that understands the value of a good evening’s entertainment, and the enrichment that comes with having a blast with one’s friends at a show.
Before the listener even realizes it, Feeding Grounds is coming to a close with “Dead Skin” and what may be the most complex track on the EP. Seemingly out of nowhere, Fuechsl serves up a few brow-raising phrases of sixteenth notes and faster drumming for this song, and even switches into a jazz-influenced pattern later on. The band caps off their EP with a proper breakdown, and their fans are no doubt waiting to hear what they will produce next.
With an EP that is this short, it actually likely works in the band’s favor more than not. Issuing only three tracks on a debut release can keep fans guessing as to what is next, giving Wolf Party a unique upper hand in being able to adjust their sound about as much as they please.
Feeding Grounds is the perfect example of how a few friends can come together and produce music that can be performed openly without the need to stick to guidelines, and subsequently be able to bring it into the real world very quickly for greater enjoyment. Wolf Party’s next release is likely to be as engaging as their first. Grab Feeding Grounds for free on their Bandcamp below, and check out their performance schedule on Facebook.
Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.
Review by Brad Johnson