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Catching Wavves: Band drops excellent new album on iTunes, drummer really needs to shut up

By David Malitz

In 2009, there was no bigger lightning rod for controversy in the indie rock world than Nathan Williams of Wavves. (Sorry for partly contributing to that.)

But thankfully, Williams took a deep breath (if you know what I'm saying), persevered and has escaped the lo-fi foxhole with his pretty excellent new album, "King of the Beach," available now on iTunes. It includes titles such as "Baseball Cards" and "Super Soaker," (listen to a live version of the latter recorded at Sirius XM above), but is actually a more grown-up effort than his previous bedroom productions.

Wavves played at Rock & Roll Hotel last Friday and it was a fun 40 minutes. Just ask all those kids with Xs on their hands who were moshing up front. But even though Friday's set featured a better selection of songs, it wasn't as good as last fall's show at the same venue.

Why? Because last time, Williams's drummer was wild man Zach Hill. This time it was endlessly annoying Billy Hayes. For minutes at a time Hayes would ramble about weed, wanderlust and '80s sitcom theme songs -- and then he would sing said '80s sitcom theme songs. If Williams wants to rhapsodize about the Big Buck Hunter arcade game on the Rock & Roll Hotel's second floor, that's fine. But Hayes? Dude, you're the drummer. Shut it.

Hayes wasn't always such a talker. The drummer, along with new Wavves bassist Stephen Pope, used to serve as the rhythm section for the late, great Jay Reatard. Maybe the reason Reatard never stopped for a breath between songs was so that Hayes couldn't start yakking.

Want to hear what we're talking about? Check out this recent video from a New York show. Babble on, dude.

By David Malitz  |  July 1, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  News  | Tags: Wavves  
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I streamed this yesterday and found that it - unsurprisingly - doesn't come close to living up to the hype. That said, it's catchy, engaging, and I liked it. It's a huge step forward in clarity compared to the practically unlistenable crap that made up the bulk of his 2 previous over-hyped and overrated albums. But new-found clarity and good sonic vibes can't change the fact that there are plenty of bands/artists doing more with less. Hell, plenty of bands/artists doing more with more, too, while we're on that track. Those looking for catchy, lo-fi-ish, primal outbursts of shout-a-long rock, should ignore Wavves and look into Japandroids, They're the real deal....

Posted by: skaboom | July 2, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

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