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Page last updated at 11:10 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 12:10 UK
Introducing... Wax Fang

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

Louisville, Kentucky's epic-rock threesome recorded their latest album above a working morgue - but their sound is very much alive.

Wax Fang
Wax Fang are Scott Carney, Kevin Ratterman and Jake Heustis

Some bands will go to any lengths to capture some rare 'atmosphere'.

The Rakes bunkered down in an converted Soviet radio station for their most recent LP and My Morning Jacket - ironically Wax Fang's biggest champions - once recorded in a grain silo.

Louisville, Kentucky natives Wax Fang might look like juvenile mischief makers, but their latest album La La Land was laid down above a morgue. A real, working morgue.

Not that it means their output is particularly deathly.

Funeral studio

Lead singer Scott Carney explains: "It's our drummer's studio - it's where his father grew up and his grandfather. It's over a 150 years old.

"We don't actually spend too much time in the actual funeral parlour business end of the building. There's definitely a boundary there that we don't see very often."

Wax Fang, the facts

WHAT: Louisville, Kentucky experimental rockers

FOR FANS OF: Menomena, Pink Floyd, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket


LIVE: Expected in the UK sometime this year

But let's backtrack for a moment.

After playing in various groups at University in Pittsburgh, Carney returned home to Louisville, Kentucky down on his luck and with a half complete solo record.

"I had a number of set backs in the recording process," he says. "I lost my space at one point, at another point I fell down some stairs and cracked some ribs just as I was about to do some vocals.

"I was basically running out of steam and realised I couldn't finish it on my own."

Fortunately the only way was up. Carney met - Wax Fang's now drummer - Kevin Ratterman, owner of the aforementioned funeral parlour studio.

Together they finished the album - Wax Fang's debut Black & Endless Night.

A couple of years on and the situation is a whole lot brighter. With bassist Jake Heustis recruited the band were the toast of the American alternative press last year and stars of South By South West 2009 along with the likes of Local Natives and Girls.

Their latest effort is LP La La Land - a rich, spite-filled multi-layered rock record. A progressive but poppy album which has seen them invited on tour by the likes of Bon Iver.

I lost my space at one point, at another point I fell down some stairs and cracked some ribs just as I was about to do some vocals
Scott Carney, Wax Fang

Thinking for a moment Carney describes himself as "a big disciple of Brian Eno and of all things Roxy Music - and I'm a big fan of British progressive rock in the 60s and 70s."

Centre piece of the La La Land is WWII PT 2 - a lung-cleansing racket of political rage.

A song Carney wrote some years ago as the US deployed troop in Iraq - it's something which still plays on his mind.

"That was a real downer," he recalls. "It was just so disappointing to live through that even though it was happening thousands of miles away. It was a huge decision and a worldwide protest and we [America] did it anyway."

With their stock rapidly growing, work is already underway on their third album.

"It's exciting, reassuring and motivating right now," says Carney, signing off.

Good times ahead then for Wax Fang.


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