Artist of the Week – Warpaint

Warpaint, our Artist of the Week, has steadily gathered a following since their  formation on Valentine’s Day in 2004. Their music is a potent mix of elements, which may be difficult to define, but fit perfectly into the dynamic California indie scene — proving that you don’t have to be Radiohead to create something both original and appealing. Currently, Warpaint is Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Stella Mozgawa. They just dropped a new album this month on Rough Trade Records and their world tour gets back to the US in March, so now you have the chance to see these talented ladies in action.

Warpaint Return with New LP

The smoggy skies of Los Angeles seem like the perfect backdrop for Warpaint’s complex sound: a dreamy haze of lulling vocals set above a multitude of aggressive elements, fighting for attention. The music is testament to the importance the band places on weaving its individual voices into a coherent work. Warpaint’s first EP, Exquisite Corpse, shares its name with a surrealist concept denoting the same idea.

Exquisite Corpse was self-released in 2008 and released on Manimal Vinyl the following year; if you’d like to get acquainted with Warpaint, the it’s a great place to start. Among other things, it features mixing by John Frusciante and drum and guitar-work by current Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer. Exquisite Corpse is perhaps the band’s most obviously dynamic work. The range of vocal styles is particularly notable; at times they are as smooth as a lullaby, and at others as boisterous as Siouxsie Sioux. Although the songs often meander in different directions, you never get the feeling that they’ve lost their way. One thing is for sure: In 2008 Warpaint already knew what they wanted from their sound.

After signing with Rough Trade, Warpaint established a significant international following by opening for the xx on a tour through the United States and Europe. Their first full-length album, The Fool, was released to warm reviews in 2010. Their debut is haunting and experimental — at times verging on lethargic. Warpaint’s video for the almost-upbeat single, “Undertow,” has nearly 2.5 million hits for good reason. The song begs to be played on repeat. However, we may see that number eclipsed by “Love Is to Die,” a catchy tune with a dark shadow and the pre-released single off this year’s self-titled album.

On their new self-titled album, Warpaint reveals a new facet of their ever-expanding experimentation: the straddling of the line between reclusive indie music and pop. It was produced by the band itself and British producer and engineer, Flood, along with some help from Nigel Godrich (Radiohead’s producer; go figure). Again, Warpaint stressed that they would continue to experiment, but this time focus on retaining a more simple sound. Playful beats occasionally punctuate, but most of the rest of the new album rarely seems to get out of bed, and instead takes dreaming to a menacing, cerebral place.

Will Warpaint ever stop stretching the limits of their sound? Despite being a relatively young band, Warpaint has managed to establish a solid presence and a compelling commitment to evolution. With a new album and a world tour, you might just say that they’re on a warpath. Don’t miss your chance to see them this year.

Notable Upcoming Concerts:

Fri MAR 21 – 7PM

 at  New York, NY


Sat MAR 22 – 8PM

 at  Philadelphia,PA


Tue MAR 25 – 8PM

 at  Toronto,CA


Mon APR 21 – 8PM

 at  Austin,TX


Tue APR 22 – 8PM

 at  Austin,TX

Article by Kari Belsheim

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