COME JOIN US, if you dare…
Three years ago, Dave Holmes found himself to be a stranger to himself and to his surroundings. He was in a foreign land, cut off from his friends, his family, and his home. He was alone, emotionally and psychologically gutted – he had followed his heart to dire consequences.
As a singer/songwriter/guitarist, and lifelong punk rocker, Dave found that the only uplift was writing to process these painfully complex times. The new songs coming out of him were urgent and transcended established punk rock conventions – they were primal songs, songs of survival. With a clutch of fresh material, and in an impulsive act of self-preservation, he hopped on a plane back to his Bay Area home. It was reboot time. Shortly after arriving back, Dave summoned a pack of like-spirited musicians to form Wolves In Argyle.
Now, the four-piece rock n’ roll band issues its darkly cathartic debut, Dangereux, produced by alt-rock icons Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney) and Tad Doyle (TAD). The 9-song album is a fiery collection that blurs the lines between punk, grunge, desert rock, and 1990’s Sub Pop alt-rock.
“Writing this music was a huge catalyst to heal from an emotional roller-coaster and get my identity back. It was a better outlet than therapy,” Dave shares.
The Oakland, California-based quartet lures the listener into a film noir-ish sonic and emotional landscape, frothing over with anthemically tuneful songs, boasting shadowy tales of lies, betrayal, and hard-fought enlightenment. The four-piece has garnered favorable comparisons to Hot Water Music, Queens of The Stone Age, The Damned, and the classic 1990’s Sub Pop-era sound. Highlights in the band’s first year of existence include earning a distro deal with Street Scholar/Bungalo/Universal Music Group, and garnering support from Bay Area Rock station 107.7 The Bone who shared Wolves In Argyle’s “Dangereux” video via its website. In addition, senior curators at Reverbnation have rallied behind the Wolves In Argyle track “Northern Lies.”
The band is Dave Holmes (Oozzies), singer, songwriter, executive producer, and mastermind; Steve Moriarty (The Gits, Evil Stig), drums; Joe Garcia (Naked Aggression, also featured in The Decline of the Western Civilization 2), bass and backup vocals; and Josh Philips (The White Trash Debutantes, Pet Rocket, Dead Hello), on incendiary lead guitar. Dave’s partner, Charmagne Eierman looms large in the Wolves lore as something of the band’s spiritual adviser, manager, webby, and all around guru.
The name Wolves In Argyle conjures the group’s collected survival instinct to rise beyond their esteemed pedigrees, and to transcend the pain and inner turmoil that initially connected and bonded the guys together. The wording playfully juxtaposes the fierce loyalty of a hunting species within the context of punk rock and ska/rude boy culture, where men and women softened their punk stylings with the whimsical pattern of argyle. Worded together, the phrase slyly conjures the evergreen “wolf in sheep’s clothing” sentiment, perfectly encapsulating the themes of betrayal and deceit lurking within Wolves In Argyle’s music.
The band’s grisly roots date back to Dave’s wanderlust of being an expat, following an ill-fated relationship headed full speed on a dangerous course. Amidst the debris of his life, he sought solace and centering in creating music. Writing and recording was the door that led out of the toxicity, and walking through bestowed him with a myriad of blessings and, ultimately, the path to healing.
During this time, he met Charmagne who introduced Dave to Steve Moriarty, the former drummer of one of his favorite bands, The Gits (who were also plagued by tragedy in the rape and murder of legendary firebrand front-woman Mia Zapata). The pair’s meeting was a surprise orchestrated by a mutual friend and Charmagne, who sensed the twosome shared inner tumult. Joe came into the fold from the punk scene, bonding with Dave over having a punk pedigree but also wide listening tastes. In a strange coincidence, Dave met Josh in the wake of the passing of Josh’s best friend. Upon Josh sharing the painful news, Dave eerily sensed the deceased friend was his childhood best friend who had just passed – he proved to be right.
Debuting is a 9-track, 32-minute sonic and emotional white-knuckle ride. The title song, and first single, opens with an ominous rubbery bassline and shards of jarring noise guitar before locking into a swaggering grunge riff. From there, the hooks come fast and with heft, recalling the hypnotic hard rock grooves of Queens of The Stone Age. Once the song takes flight, the band is lockstep tight, an unstoppable machine featuring melodic, yet scrubbed-raw vitriolic vocals. The engrossing “Dangereux” video melds fiery live performance footage with menacingly psychedelic imagery.
The true meaning of many of Dangereux’s tracks are cloaked in mystery, but the smoldering mid-tempo groover, “Northern Lies,” does openly address a transformative moment for Dave. “That’s about me coming to grips with coming back to America. It’s about seeing the true colors of someone and deciding you need to move on. I wrote the lyrics in the airport, it was a time of new beginnings after a broken situation,” Dave reveals. Among an album rife with infectiously catchy dark anthems, another standout is “Next to You.” The track’s slinky grooves and slithery riffage showcase the band’s telepathic interplay and the band’s Godzilla-sized rhythm section pocket. The track’s title is deceivingly romantic, masking a desperate need to intimately connect to feel warmth and redemption.
Dangereux was produced by Jack Endino and Tad Doyle, who each helmed separate sessions.
Drummer Steve Moriarty’s ties to the Seattle scene through The Gits helped foster a connection to the esteemed producers who both were eager to work with Wolves In Argyle upon hearing demos. One snapshot from the sessions was an unexpected moment of cuteness from Tad, known for his imposingly large stature, who was spotted in a moment of pure uninhibitedness shaking his booty to the group’s newly recorded tracks. To give the album cohesion, and a sense of collaboration between the producers, Tad mixed the album and Jack mastered it.
Up next, Wolves In Argyle are collaboratively working on new material and priming for an active schedule of gigging and touring. “This band and this music have been responsible for a lot of positive emotional growth for me, and it’s helped me rebuild my confidence,” Dave says laughing, adding, “If I died tomorrow, I would be pleased where I got to, going out in style with a smile on my face.”