Pink Moon live in East Hollywood
The Angst Blues… (ELASTIC RECORDS / DISTRIBUTED BY COBRASIDE)
The Angst Blues of Jon Wahl and the Amadans contains all of the trademarks that made the Claw Hammer front man/guitarist an avant garde blues hero to underground musicians restricted by the confines of their own musical scenes. Intricately layered guitar parts, howling vocals and intense, tremolo-laden crescendos contrast with delightful melodies. While Claw Hammer served up roller coaster thrills, Wahl’s latest is a slower, more granular ride through the mind of an edgy, contemplative artist seeking meaning and happiness. Featuring five songs, the album carries a richness and intensity that belie its brevity. Claw Hammer fans will immediately recognize Bob Lee’s thunderous tom-toms on a very special rendition of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, however are also treated to a jazzy, funkiness suitable for dancing or strutting. Bassist William Tutton (Geraldine Fibbers) delivers a beautiful musicality that cements this seamless trio. –The Los Angeles Beat
Iron Nails Run In (RUDEK RECORDS / DISTRIBUTED BY COBRASIDE)
Threnody for Saint Cecilia
Sunrise Moon Dies
The Day It Rained Pigeon Shit
Sour Suite (BIRDMAN RECORDS)
You’ve got to admire Jon Wahl’s perseverance. The L.A.-based musician has been at it for years now, but he’s never managed to shed the “critically acclaimed” tag and enjoy anything approaching the broader success he deserves. Since leaving the Pontiac Brothers in the mid-’80s, he’s lent his multi-instrumental talents (sax, guitar, drums, harmonica, keyboards) to numerous acts, from the Bassholes, the Red Aunts, and Midget Handjob to Bad Religion, Slowrider, and Wayne Kramer. But, of course, his main gig was as frontman for Claw Hammer, a phenomenal live act whose mad punk hybrid of hard rock and blues didn’t always fully translate to the studio. After two albums for Interscope, the band went on what now seems to be a permanent hiatus and Wahl set about recording his solo debut. Claw Hammer aficionados will remember Wahl as the frazzled, wailing presence at the center of fast ‘n’ loud songs that, while highly disciplined, frequently seemed only seconds away from chaos. Aside from the noisy guitar-fueled “Maybe,” however, Sour Suite is less rock-oriented than much of his work with Claw Hammer. Written mostly while walking the streets of L.A., these songs find Wahl in a quieter, slightly more restrained mood. That’s not to say that he forgoes the eccentric sensibility of his previous recordings; rather, his distinctive surreal vision is preserved and fleshed out in rootsy, off-kilter numbers that showcase, more than ever, his talent as a writer and performer.
First demos in 1999.
May the Road Sing With You
Sing Low Steve Marriott
Myopes and Dreams (BIRDMAN-O-PHONE RECORDS)
2001 Blues live on Fred Kiko’s Demolisten show, KXLU.