Contrast is the theme for Fort Lowell Records' third 7inch, which features "New Guy" from Los Angeles-based power pop quartet Wet & Reckless, b/w "Tear It Up" from Tucson-based singer/songwriter Tracy Shedd and her backing band. This release is the first release for Tucson-based Fort Lowell Records that features a band from outside of Tucson, but the Tucson connection is still present: Shedd and Wet & Reckless lead singer/guitarist Emily Wilder have been friends for years. Despite Shedd and Wilder's friendship, their musical projects are very different, but sometimes the best way to understand something is to put it up against something it's not: against the retro-pop of Wet & Reckless, Shedd's quietcore becomes all the more arresting, and conversely, Wet & Reckless becomes all the more sly.
On Wet & Reckless' "New Guy," singer and guitarist Emily Wilder bluntly points out that "It's gonna take a whole lot more than rollin' around on this little floor for me to fall for you" as the guitars sweetly dance and the rest of the band ah-ahs a la the Beach Boys in the background. The song wasn't the band's original choice for the 7inch, but when they got together to record the song they had originally intended to release with producer Manny Nieto (The Breeders, HEALTH), a fight broke out amongst the band members (which include Jessica Gelt on bass, Deanna DeVries on drums, and Whitney Blank on lead guitar). They realized the only way to end it was to sing about boys, so they decided to play "New Guy" instead, an older song that hearkens back to the earlier life of the band, when Emily had to practice her guitar on the roof of her building. The song is a party jam that dances on the grave of a relationship with grace and an energy the whole band seems to get drunk off of, which is apt, seeing as the band's name comes from an actual DUI charge one can get in the State of California.
Shedd's "Tear It Up," which features guest musician Kane Flint of Tucson's The Provocative Whites on mandolin, is in itself an exercise in contrast: the song is slow meditation on going out on the town and dancing. Set against the gleeful pop of "New Guy," the song becomes even more haunting and soft: Shedd's guitar chords mournfully swagger while the mandolin gently weeps, providing a stark contrast against Shedd 's question, "Will you go out on the dance floor and tear it up for me?" The song, mixed and mastered by famed producer Kramer (Butthole Surfers, Low, Galaxie 500), was one of the only guitar-centered pieces that Shedd has written of late, but like its piano-focused cousins on EP88 (released earlier this year on Eskimo Kiss Records), it shows the subtle ways Shedd and her band (James Tritten on guitar, Michael Hummer on drums, and Becca Hummer on bass) build evocative melodies.
Together, the songs serve as a brief study of the myriad approaches to singing about boys, and both songs are excellent examples of each band's singular sound: For Shedd, "Tear It Up" uses the spaces in-between chords and the complex relationships that can be evoked through simple images and melodies to make a piece that emits both melancholy and joy; for Wet & Reckless' "New Guy," the same emotions are released, but with jangly guitars and just enough attitude to ensure that everything is gonna be alright.
Previous Press Accolades for Wet & Reckless + Tracy Shedd
"[Wet & Reckless] edgy girl-group stylings lean toward the punk and pointed rather than the pretty and predictable." - Buzzbands.LA
"Wet & Reckless' music embodies this new generation of killer girl bands that are setting stages on fire all over the country." - Loudvine
"Shedd sings in a unprepossessing, hushed voice that recalls everyone from Mazzy Star and Lush to just about half of early-'90s Britain." - Magnet
"[Shedd] has a simplicity of style that leaves nothing behind, and delivers overwhelmingly honest songs." - Indie Rock Reviews
"Tracy Shedd has surely been someone's best kept secret!" - Subba-Culcha