wylie hunter & the cazadores — someone you used to know

promo shots: wylie hunter & the cazadores

Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores — Someone You Used To Know. Out 3/31 with a release show at Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC. 9PM with Onward, Soldiers and the Tomahawks.

Based on my could-I-borrow-a-PA test, I probably shouldn’t write about the full-length debut from Wylie Hunter and his merry band of Cazadores, since they’d all probably bail me out of a Sunday PA emergency if I needed them to, but I’m so terrifically fond of this album that I have to — and it’s such a phenomenally good indie pop record with rock and roll sentiments that it should be poised to blow this band up all over.

The first thing you have to say about Wylie is that yeah, he’s a Springsteen fan. He wears it on his sleeve — last year at the annual January covers benefit at the 506, he and the Cazadores absolutely slayed the only all-Boss covers set, and yeah, you can hear it in their sound, the guitars, if not necessarily in his songwriting. Wylie writes more in a pure pop love song kind of way, with a clever twist to the situations, than the Boss does, but the sound, yeah, it’s Springsteen. It’s not all Springsteen, but it’s there, and you have to say it up front before you can say anything else.

But Brian Fallon is a Springsteen fan, too, and The ’59 Sound is a glorious genius piece of work, so who cares who a band loves?

The first strength in this release is Wylie’s songwriting, like I said: pop sensibilities — choruses that hook you, clever word play, a sunshine sound that is pretty damn hard not to groove to. The two singles, the title track and my absolute favorite “Tattoo’d Girls”, are bar rockers that could fill an arena just as easily. They’re also the strongest tracks on the album, but that doesn’t mean the rest of it isn’t great — it is. “Child of Summer” is a love rocker, and “Sweet Marie” is the purest sort of indie pop love song, and the pairing of them behind the slightly sleazy, definitely charming “Tattoo’d Girls” works incredibly solidly through the center of the album. It’s a perfect showcase of Wylie’s versatility as a songwriter; they’re all love songs, in their way, and they’re all completely different.

The second strength are the Cazadores: yeah, I love them all as individual dudes, they all have their own interesting projects, but as Wylie’s band, they are stellar. William Taylor is one of the best young guitarists in the Triangle, Paul Fisher is a beast behind the drums, and Seth Barden manages to play bass in his own Afro-funk Brand New Life, the string band skiffle Sinful Savage Tigers, and Wylie’s hard-rocking pop quarter, which takes some talent. They are as tight a unit behind Wylie as he could have found, and the thing is, the songs he writes are fun — and there is never any denying that these guys are having fun playing them. With strong songwriting and great musicianship, there’s a reason I’ve had one version (unmixed) or another (final masters) in my car and on my iPod since we did promo shots back in January –Someone You Used To Know is a hooky, must-hear Triangle release this year.

And, if all goes well, it should be a hooky, must-hear national release, too.

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