Wildhoney is a band from Baltimore that makes guitar-pop music drenched in chorus pedals and saccharine fuzz. It’s sweet and sticky, like cotton candy on a hot day, and just as persistent. Just like the residue of the spun sugar clings to your hands after indulging in cotton candy, the vibrations of this music dance around your brain long after the notes have reverberated into nothingness.
The band appears to have no idea how good it is. When City Paper speaks to guitarist Joe Trainor by the phone, he laughs about how hard the band is on itself.
“If you ever asked any band who has toured with us about us,” Trainor says, “they’d probably say, ‘They are so nice, but they really think they suck!’”
The band is currently working on new music. Over its last few albums, Wildhoney has continued to be loud, while consistently moving in a slightly poppier direction, shedding the “shoegaze” tag that many music critics assigned the band early in its career.
“With our newer stuff, we’ve tried to pull back a little bit, but still make things sound weird and interesting, even if we’re using less pedals,” explains Trainor. “While we like guitars, and pedals are fun, it’s ultimately about the song. If we stripped away all the extra crap and just performed it on acoustic guitar, is it still good?”
It has been two years since Wildhoney released Sleep Through This, and since then the band has only released tracks on compilations. The members are in no hurry to rush the process just to get a new album out.
“We’ve been hard at work on the next LP, but we’re taking our time. We have no deadline this time,” explains Trainor. “If songs don’t have enough time to breathe or percolate, they aren’t as good.”
Wildhoney will be playing four of those new tracks on this upcoming tour, but the final recorded songs may sound a little different. “Playing these songs on tour gives us the chance to experiment with them,” says Trainor. “It’s good to take time and try not to rush, because we’re really hard on ourselves. We’ve never been collectively happy with any of our releases [that were rushed.]”
The band is excited for the upcoming tour. The members booked it themselves, choosing a low-key string of gigs that would feature bands they liked in different cities.
On the Pittsburgh date, the band is playing with Hearken and The Bird Hour. During our conversation, it’s clear that Trainor did his Pittsburgh Bandcamp homework when looking for bands to open the show, mentioning IT IT and Same as well.
It’s no surprise that Trainor has the scoop on Pittsburgh bands. During our conversation, he passionately talks about dozens of bands he loves at the moment, even sending a YouTube playlist of some of the bands he digs, including fellow Baltimore acts like Wume and Romantic States. When CP points out that he sounds like a music journalist, he laughs, responding with the humility that threads through everything the band does.
“People have told me that before,” he says, “but, you know, I have terrible grammar skills.”