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Wimps debut Seattle punk in Savannah for the first time

 

Wimps debut Seattle punk in Savannah for the first time

12 Jun 2017

Seattle’s Wimps are trading their rain-soaked homestead for the sunny south, touring their own tongue-in-cheek punk through the region for the first time.

A conglomerate of veteran punk musicians, Wimps formed in 2012 after playing in other bands over the last 10 years. Frontwoman Rachel Ratner’s old project was disbanding and so she hit up bassist Matt Nyce. Nyce was moving in with drummer Dave Ramm (formerly of The Intelligence), and so convenience led to a jam session. The trio hit it off pretty quickly.

“Our first couple of practices we had already written songs; it was happening kind of easily,” Ratner recalled. “Playing house parties and stuff. It kind of just came together. We always liked playing music. We always wanted to play music that we wanted to see if we were going to see a show. That kind of fun punk.”

Through five studio releases, they’ve continued that idea with catchy punk songs mostly dealing with the trivial aspects of adulthood. On tracks like “Nap,” “Slept in Late,” “Couches” and “Old Guy,” Wimps pull from a depth of musical influences the include the likes of DEVO, The Ramones and Sonic Youth, to highlight mundane moments in everyday life, always with an overtone of lighthearted fun.

The Wimps’ punk emerges out of the legendary Seattle music scene, made famous by the grunge of the 1990s with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, who were preceded by punks bands like Solger and The Fartz, and heavy metal acts like Queesnsryche. Not to mention, Seattle is also the home to Jimi Hendrix, The Ventures and Heart, as well as juggernaut independent label Sub Pop.

“I think it’s because the weather is so depressing,” Ratner said of Seattle. “People are just forced to hang out indoors together. It’s starting to change, but for a while, it was pretty cheap to just rent a house and practice in your house. It was cheap and you’re stuck indoors, so I guess that made everyone a little weird.”

Grunge has long since faded there, but the punk scene in Seattle is very much alive these days. While bands from around the globe pull influence from the heyday of Seattle grunge, the city itself, through the filter of Ratner and company, has shifted.

“For friends of mine who were born here — which I wasn’t, I moved here in 2001 — they got tired of the grunge thing, because they were inundated with it,” Ratner said. “For someone like me, who moved here after the fact, I was always like enamored with it as a kid. I was always excited to hear a story about someone who knew someone who knew Nirvana. I like hearing all that stuff.

“I think there is some kind of grunge revival stuff going on. I think for the most part, the scene here sounds less like that for us.”

Wimps garnered attention in their hometown after a demo release. In 2013, they signed with End of Time Records and put out their debut album, “Repeat.” They followed that with 2014’s 7-inch, “Party at the Wrong Time,” and the self-released “Couches.” They signed with Kill Rock Stars Records in 2015, releasing an EP, “Super Me,” followed by a full studio release, “Suitcase.” They’ve toured nationally for years, earning attention from This American Life, Pitchfork Music and SPIN magazine.

For the current tour, they are hitting up cities they’ve never been to, mostly in the southeast. Their tour setlist includes a handful of “new-new” songs from a forthcoming album, and a mix from all of their releases.

“We have square day jobs now,” Ratner said. “We have to break up our tours into chunks. When we were younger, we could tour for three months. Last year we toured the northeast and central part of the country. Now we’re excited to tour the southeast. We’ve never been there. We’ve never played any of the places we’re touring this time around. It’s a new adventure!”

The free show June 22 at El-Rocko Lounge, presented by Neurosound Booking, will also feature Savannah’s The Gumps. The trio —featuring an electrified ukulele out front — is one of the Hostess City’s most intrinsically fun live acts. Expect wild stage antics and night full of fun punk.

IF YOU GO

What: Neurosound Booking Presents: Wimps, The Gumps

When: 9 p.m. June 22

Where: El-Rocko Lounge, 117 Whitaker St.

Cost: Free

Info: thesewimps.com

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