Wet Hair is an Iowa City art rock trio whose vibe reminisces over late 60s protopunk sounding psychedelic jammed-out underground pop. USA based De Stijl Records who are “dedicated to unearthing Primo Basement Arcana” has just dropped the massively cruisey latest Wet Hair album, Spill Into Atmosphere. It basically sounds like it was born straight out of the Exploding Plastic Inevitable party at roughly 4:15am. In fact a Warhol fairy sprouts its wings in a space fruit orchid every time this album gets played. As well as the Velvet Undergroundy feel, it sits somewhere between Joy Division, Sonic Youth and The Doors. Which makes it a really comfortable and sedate kind of weird.
The band is fronted/synthed by Shawn Reed, who also runs Night People Records which has previously released fab outfits like Dirty Beaches, Peaking Lights, Broken Water and Sleep ∞ Over (just to name a few). Another cool fact is Night People does all printing via the silk screen. This proves a devotion to quality, which reflects in everything the label achieves. Fellow ex Raccoo-oo-oon band member Ryan Garbes drums, while new addition Justin Tye replaces Matt Fenner on bass. They really push the pop/rock thing with their retrograde imagery and video work, which strikes me as subtly hipster. I personally would love to see their visual aspects gonzo-ed up a little more to suit the dirty drugged out sentiment this style of music echoes. Mind you, artwork is very true to the era of influence, so one can’t complain of hipster sentiments too much here.
Wet Hair has released habitually since 2008 and it seems as time moves forward the band’s aesthetic refines. Well, by that I mean it’s not quite as loosey goosey as the previous album In Vogue Spirit. If you have been following these guys, you’ll be happy to know that this release is better, tighter etc. However, Spill Into Atmosphere has stuck with Wet Hair’s typical jagged edges in many respects — enough to keep you guessing the motives and wondering what take it was all recorded on. For instance, some parts in the recording could be considered simply a right in the zone rock out session — if it wasn’t completely intentional. Or, did they actually decide hey, that sesh is gonna become this track — and made it so? Because it does just happen to be awesome. It’s hard to tell sometimes. Notes collide and at times rhythm seems slightly out of sync. Still, it absolutely works. The whole album is consistently pleasurable.