Walter TV 2

On Friday, we showed an expedition with Canadian indie musician Mac DeMarco during the 2014 RBC Ottawa Bluesfest (click here). Coincidental or not, Mac’s backup band members have recently released or are in the process of debuting their new albums, so today’s articles are dedicated to these fine gents. Peter Sagar’s forthcoming album under the pseudonym Homeshake, In the Shower, is looked at in a separate feature, which you can find here. For this one, we look at Walter TV, who are often referred to as Mac DeMarco’s touring band. However, in their early days, Mac DeMarco was an active member of Walter TV and still plays part-time as the band’s bass player.

In its current composition, Walter TV is composed of Pierce McGarry, Joseph McMurray and Simon Ankenman. With the trio recently joining Sinderlyn Records, the sister label to Captured Tracks, they have re-issued their fun and eclectic 2012 album, Appetite. While they take an oft-kilter approach to making music like Mac DeMarco and Peter Sagar, their sound is much different. Whereas DeMarco and Sagar focus on lo-fi, low-key indie music, Walter TV’s music is rooted in their deep and frenetic percussion, dense bass lines, and echoing, whirling vocals. At times, the music seems to be inspired from the sounds of Haiti and the Caribbean, the Middle East, north and western Africa, Polynesia, and even parts of southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

Some of the tracks on the album have been named in recognition of these areas. “Africa”, which has more of a Middle Eastern feel, has the upbeat nature of a Vampire Weekend song but the psychedelic feel and hallow vocals of Thee Oh Sees. “Hawaii” doesn’t sound like a song from Hawaii, but it gives the vibe that one is running through one of the state’s rainforests or maybe just going berzerk at a luau. “Puka Shell Necklace”, another tribute to the Aloha State, is deep-bass driven song that could be a young man’s call to freedom and independence. It’s a terrific track. “Siddhartha”, the closing number on the album, is the birth name of the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha. The track whirls deliriously and is a stunning number.

The opening number, “Nose Bleeding” is a great introduction to the band – a little zany yet catchy, from the song’s title to the sputtering, ’80s-esque noodling on the guitar and bass. “Neccessitty” and “Neo Sweet Neo” are blistering tracks and just awesome. They surprise you with their intensity yet anthemic sound. The tracks are brilliant from their composition to the metaphors that litter each song (including the titles). With Appetite, Walter TV have made a record that leaves this writer wanting more. Apparently, we may not need to wait too long as a new album, Blessed, is expected in the near future. It was to be released last year, but it has since been delayed.

Appetite can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon and eMusic. A special edition LP, which includes a poster, a DVD of shorts filmed by Pierce and starring Joseph, and a zine, can be purchased at Sinderlyn Records. Two tracks are below, but you can also hear the entire album on their Bandcamp site. As bonus, a track from Blessed, “Paranormal Witness”, is also, included, and the video, as expected, is a little bizarre and features a guest appearance by Mac DeMarco.

Walter TV will be heading on tour, starting today in Brooklyn. Tour dates are below.

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North American Tour Dates

10/06 – Brooklyn, NY – Death By Audio*
10/07 – Harrisonburg, VA – Blue Nile*
10/08 – Lexington, KY – The Al’s Bar*
10/09 – St. Louis, MO – Billiken Club*
10/11 – Austin, TX – Red 7*
10/12 – El Paso, TX – The Lowbrow Palace*
10/13 – Phoenix, AZ – Trunk Space*
10/14 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar*
10/15 – Los Angeles, CA – Los Globos*
10/16 – San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar Music Hall*
10/17 – Oakland, CA – One Fam Community Center*
10/18 – Portland, OR – High Water Mark Lounge*
10/19 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey*
10/21 – Sacramento, CA – Witch Room
10/22 – Oakland, CA – 1234-GO! Records
10/23 – Santa Cruz, CA – Catalyst Club
10/25 – Los Angeles, CA – Beach Goth Festival


Photo by Jesse Thompson

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