By: Hope Ankney
It’s a quarter ‘til midnight, and the hole-in-the-wall bar you’ve found yourself in is oozing with fun crowds, delicious pitchers of drinks, and a moody atmosphere that seems to envelope the early morning hours. You settle yourself into a booth near the back of the club, smoke settling in a haze over the venue as you nod along to the lineup of local bands performing. Your friends are a blur of smiles and jokes as you cozy into the cushion of your seat, a sense of decompression relaxing your limbs.
Then, like an alarm, a booming set begins on the stage, awakening you from your midnight slumber, causing an uproar of applause and cheers to radiate from the room. The cushy atmosphere of the bar has shifted and turned into an electric powerhouse that has everyone turning their heads to view the show. You hear the raw, uncut vocals of a female burn through the speakers before an accompanying band thrashes along beside her. You bumble with the thrumming of the bass as it makes it way up your body through your feet. Peering over the heads of the crowd, you check out the group that has made this small place come alive. At first you see a confident woman, sprinkled with tattoos, commanding the stage. Around them are three men who are feeding the rowdy vibe through their instruments. You realize this band isn’t just performing, but they’re entertaining. This is what a weekend in Atlanta should look like.
That’s how Atlanta-based DIY folk-punk band Wayward Kid comes across in their debut LP Noise for New Movement. Even through studio recordings, the unruly vibe the group gives off is enough to imagine how energetic their live show would be. With influences from the likes of Against Me!, P.S. Eliot, and This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, Wayward Kid takes no prisoners with the drop of Noise for New Movement. Right out of the gate they establish a strong presence that has anyone else in the DIY scene taking note.
The opener, “Warm February,” sets the tone for what’s to come as it carries out a hot and heavy instrumental under dual vocalists/guitarists, Hannah White and Mark Mooradian’s, rambunctious voices. Throughout the record, this sound only swells with Bassist Tom Robinson and drummer Jordan Velasco’s jolting rhythm section.
Building off the foundation of both folk and pop-punk, White and Mooradian are able to slice into personal stories and political issues seamlessly. The indignant attitude their voices hold as they growl out their thoughts on things such as racism, misogyny, depression and isolation, class struggles, and even how damn hot and indecisive Atlanta’s weather is fuels their talents. The musicality drives that point home with the anger and hostility that vibrates from its core. Wayward Kid has the ability to make the listener feel something with just the inflection of their voices or key changes in their brash instrumentals. It’s almost like they were born to scream about the upsets of their lives and the world and have others vibe with it.
Interestingly enough, the group hasn’t even been together a year to hold such cohesiveness through their sound and dynamic. Forming 8 months ago, the band only had a short-term vision for where they could take their music before singer White relocated to NYC. Burning through those goals quickly (playing at least one show and releasing an EP), they realized the potential for their presence in the scene was much larger than initially thought. After the release of their EP and drop of their debut Noise for New Movement, they embarked on a two week tour of the east coast before dropping a music video once they returned. Holding onto their momentum, they’ve already planned another tour to hit in December.
If anything, the longer Wayward Kid builds their name and live shows, the more they’ll connect with the listeners of the genre. Noise for New Movement is a solid piece of work that only gives a concrete picture of what the group can achieve in such a short period of time and what can arise in later productions. They prove to be the hometown feel we all need from time to time.