Scattered throughout Wicked Man's latest EP Terranean Tremors are varying experimental sounds and rhythms, from the glacial synth of "Soil Leaking Water" to the intricate plucking of "Belly Ache." Stretching the limits of folk, the Oakland-based band is made distinct by Yonatan Tietz's vocals, sometimes growling and buzzy, sometimes a whisper, and often endearingly wavering.
The four-piece has clear influences from all genres, from electronic, to indie, to soul. Stream the exclusive premiere of their EP below, and learn which artists had the biggest impact on each track, as told by different band members.
Stream Terranean Tremors below:
Songs that inspired both the production and recording of Terranean Tremors:
1. "Simple Pleasures"
Alt-J - "Tesselate"
"About once a year I listen to music obsessively. The rest of time, the addiction of playing and writing takes precedence. Every now and again, some band comes along that somehow gets my incredibly distracted mind to focus. Alt-J was that band for me in 2012.
Their album, An Awesome Wave, was on repeat that whole summer. On this song in particular, Joe Newman gave me some vocal homework to do. There is no doubt that some people are repelled by his voice, but those that aren’t attend to every enunciation as if it were scripture, especially when you can’t understand what he is saying. So compelling and so unique.
The way Alt-J substitutes high hat sounds for bells and samples got my toes jingling in uncomfortable ways. I wanted to dance and sing, and was so unsatisfied with how well I could do both. After my summer stunt with Alt-J, I went back to months of only hearing sounds I forced out of my mind and body.
There is no doubt that some of those sounds came from Alt-J." — Yonatan Tietz
2. "Soil Leaking Water"
Flying Lotus - "Beginner’s Falafel"
"The influences behind the production of "'Soil Leaking Water" came from a number of places. First, the percussion used on this track is the only song on the EP that uses sample drum sounds that we rearranged on the computer.
We looked to the late great master beat-maker J Dilla in that we placed the some of the hits slightly out of time to create a percussive sound that wasn't as rigid, in a way that has more "pull" to it and sounds less grid-like.
The synth sounds and the subtle delay effects on the keyboard on this tune were inspired by the shimmering, bright synthesizers and colorful layering found on Animal Collective's 2009 masterpiece Merriweather Post Pavilion and Flying Lotus’s "Beginner’s Falafel."
The somewhat abrupt shift in the outro conjures images of Hiatus Kaiyote's adventurous changes in time signatures while still holding onto an infectious groove." — Andrew Kunz
3. "Belly Ache"
Steve Reich - "Music For 18 Musicians"
"When we were recording the album, Yona would wake up at 7:30 am or so at our Berkeley home studio, work on his parts until about 2 pm, and spend the rest of the day exploring outside, at which point I was just getting off from work.
It was a pretty weird job catering lunches to techies in SF. I’d immediately start recording bass, guitar, and any vocal overdubs that were needed.
One particularly productive day in the middle of what became a great routine, Yona was playing around with a little kernel of a song he’d picked up. He’d slept at my place a few nights previous and was left with a house full of my left-handed guitars when I went to work. In the meantime, he picked up my Taylor acoustic and because of the strings being upside down, something totally unique came out. He played around with it for a while, recorded his ideas, layered them upon themselves, added vocals, and by the time I came home from work, it was ready for my ideas to be added.
I grabbed my danelectro, did the bass parts real quick-one take I think-laid down clave, grunted a bit into the mic, and it was pretty much done. We’d had the idea of bringing in another vocalist, so we called our friend Linnea and she really took it to a whole new level.
My favorite part about it was that the whole song was made in a day, and that’s what you hear on the record. I was listening to Steve Reich and Tom Waits’ record Real Gone a bunch during the recording process, so for me this song is inspired most by Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians." — Justin Kohlberg
4. "Maybe Later"
Tinariwen - "Toumast Tincha"
"I started learning music by trying to play along to the recordings of the blues greats like B.B King, John Lee Hooker, and Jimi Hendrix. African guitarists were quick to follow. Folks like Ali Farke Toure and S.E. Rogie blew my mind, with their ability to express so much without the need for chord changes or fancy production. Their melodies were as ancient as their musical souls.
With the help of my mother, I discovered the immense amount of talent based in West Africa. Tinariwen came to my radar, and only an hour after my first listen, I bought tickets to see them in Santa Cruz. That show melted my fragile prepubescent heart, forcing me to come back for seconds. And thirds. And forever and ever. " — Yonatan Tietz
5. "Cry For Once"
Lauryn Hill - "Black Rage"
"'Cry For Once' is about an issue that by no means I could grasp the reality of. I am only able to perceive racism, but am never in danger because of it. Black people in this country are not granted the liberty of feeling safe in their own bodies, and white people have the liberty of being unaffected and apathetic." — Yonatan Tietz