Carsick Cars – Wild Grass (Stream)

by Steven Spoerl

After two days enduring a seeming avalanche of new content from nearly every corner of music, Thursday has gradually tapered off of that relentless pace. Still, there were rippers from Thee Oh Sees, Tweens, Palehounds, Broken Gold, and Donovan Wolfington (especially Donovan Wolfington). There was also a new video from post-hardcore titans La Dispute (the band responsible for “King Park“, one of the most stunning pieces of songwriting in the past few years) and a beautiful, humorous, genre-encapsulating medley video from Don Giovanni’s Shellshag. At the end of the day, though, the song that stood out strongest was “Wild Grass” from Chinese trio Carsick Cars’ upcoming 3.

Carsick Cars may not be a huge name stateside but the band’s reputation in their homeland is certainly well-established and somewhere over the past nine years they managed to catch the ears of Sonic Youth (and subsequently play shows with them before their split). While Sonic Youth is, sadly, no more (at least for now), it’s easy to see their influence on Carsick Cars. If someone claimed that Steve Shelley was the person behind the kit on “Wild Grass”, there’d be no reason not to believe them. Their clean guitar tones are reminiscent of Moore and Ronaldo’s in the band’s latter-era run (Rather Ripped, in particular) and their pop sensibilities are similar. In fact, while “Wild Grass” does come off as an extraordinary Rather Ripped outtake (albeit one that’s sung in Chinese), where the bands do differ is in how far they take that pop sensibility. Carsick Cars are a few notches less noise-prone than their predecessors but they compensate for it with an emphasis on melody. That effortless powerpop melodicism is what makes “Wild Grass” really stand out and bodes well for the rest of 3.

While “Wild Grass” is certainly promising, it’s always been impossible to pin Carsick Cars down from record to record. They’ll likely have a few surprises in store for 3, which will be released later this month. If the past is any indication, those surprises will be worth the wait. Hear “Wild Grass” below and hope that the rest of winds up being as good or better.