Small Wigs // New Wig
Recommended Track(s): New Wig
All musicians should have a goofball side-project band, a sort of safe haven in which to try out unserious ideas without fear of rejection from their existing fan base or the pressure of expectation that comes with being a Big Important Band making a Big Important Record. Think Cadallaca or the Teardrops or the Frumpies: all bands that were off-shoots of Big Important Bands but who, in their finest pie-in-the-sky moments, created tunes that surpassed those of their progenitors (okay, well, maybe not the Teardrops but you get the idea.)
In the case of L.A. band Small Wigs, said Big Important Band (BIB?) is the much ballyhooed FIDLAR, who share two members with Small Wigs (titian-headed bros Max and Elvis Kuehn on drums and guitar respectively, with Mikki Itzigsohn of yet another local group, Isaac Rother and the Phantoms, on bass) and whose up-the-bracket vibe is hard to miss on rollicking A-side “New Wig”. But once you get past all those januty guitars and snappy drumfills, it’s clear that Small Wigs differ from FIDLAR primarily in disposition. Small Wigs know what they are—”Well we aren’t Big Wigs, baby,” the band told Impose—and, more importantly, they know what we need, which is a bit of that ol’ straight up, good time, get down, beer guzzling party music of the sort you swear you’re too old for until the needle hits the groove. Where FIDLAR would probably stick in some lyrics about being depressed or drafted to add some levity to their feel-good riffs, Small Wigs exhort us to fix our hair and keep the party going.
Yes, “New Wig” is a party platter that you’ll be glad to have on wax when these summer days fade into winter nights. The title track is all rockabilly guitars wrapped around a fist-pumping chorus about cutting loose for the sake of your health, with the band demanding to know: “Baby why you freaking out? Gonna make your hair fall out!” B-Side “Hangdog” takes an unexpected yet enjoyable detour into cow-punk, sounding a bit like what might happen if Southern Culture on the Skids got lost on their way to a house show in 1986 and all the extras from the B-52′s “Love Shack” video decided to fill in on the spot. I do want to give props to Small Wigs for how GOOD their record sounds; all clear and sparkling and polished to a gleaming finish without losing any of their punky edge. My respect is double due to the fact that Small Wigs, with all their resources, could easily have gone the lo-fi route for street cred and didn’t, the result being two clean cuts that could fit just as easily on KROQ as on KXLU.
The beauty of “New Wig” is precisely that it isn’t too ponderous or strange. It doesn’t invite deep thoughts about life or academic prevarication about the meaning of rock and roll or anything at all. This is an endless summer single for endless summer people, the kind who don’t care about the consequences of their actions because there aren’t any. There’s just flipping the record over and over and over again. Even if you wake up face down on a stranger’s floor, covered in someone else’s vomit, there’s no need for alarm. Small Wigs have discovered a cure for all of life’s miseries: “What you need is a brand new wig.” Perfect hair for everyone always? Now that’s a gimmick I can get behind.