Even amongst L.A.’s expansive sea of burgeoning talent, Wildcat! Wildcat! tends to stick out. The Westlake-born three-piece has been making waves of late, thanks to a handful of shows supporting British smooth rockers Alt-J — a gig they scored despite having just a few free songs on a Soundcloud site.
The trio has only been together since 2011, but the members (singers Jesse Taylor and Michael Wilson and drummer Jesse Carmichael, respectively) have known each other for years. They met while attending school at Westlake High and have been “close friends ever since,” said Taylor.
“The band started kind of by accident,” Taylor explained in a recent phone interview. “We were meeting up and hanging out once a week and making some tunes. We all were writing songs separately, but we put the stuff we did together online and played one show and it all kind of started taking off.”
It’s easy to see why folks have latched on. Wildcat! Wildcat!’s music is a slick and pretty mix of slow grooves and danceable beats that pulls inspiration from ‘70s soul, ‘80s yacht rock, and ‘90s R&B. Take “Mr. Quiche,” the band’s infectious single with the quirky title that finds Taylor and Wilson trading high, lilting vocals over a mix of familiar piano tones and sparse, thumping beats.
“We really have a limited resource of gear, so we work with what we’ve got,” said Taylor. “It’s a basic two-channel recording setup, a practice piano with some built-in sounds, a shitty bass, and keyboard for the drums; it’s allowed us to get really creative with the vocals.”
Next month, Wildcat! Wildcat! releases its debut EP. Taylor says a full-length is also in the works. Until then, you can catch the band on its first West Coast headlining tour, which pulls into SOhO Restaurant & Music Club this Friday, June 28.
As for the live show, Taylor insists that fans will be surprised to hear how the songs come to life: “I think we really enjoy carving out the big moments. The whole experience of seeing a live show is about the engagement of the crowd with the band, so we try to make it a bit more energetic than what people might expect after hearing the recordings.”
Wildcat! Wildcat! plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Friday, June 28 at 8 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and info.