Wild, hip darlings

Wildly cute: Sacramento is home to some serious Wild Child devotees.

Admirers at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub last Tuesday knew all the words, recorded many of the songs and all around gushed over Austin’s latest and greatest indie act. Truly. The Austin Chronicle dubbed Wild Child “Best Indie Hipster Band” at both the 2013 and 2014 South by Southwest music festivals, an event and a city flourishing with excellent indie hipster bands.

Part of the hype owes to singer-violinist Kelsey Wilson’s voice—it’s a rich tone suitable for jazz ballads—mixed with her delightful exuberance. When she harmonizes with the folkier singer-ukulele player Alexander Beggins, they channel Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos of the early Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros days—without the 12-piece backing band. But much more darling.

Wild Child is officially made up of six members, but on this particular night an extra worked the brass lines. They played indie folk pop, yes, but also some rootsy sounds, some quiet waltzes, some gypsy jazz-esque interludes. Those interludes in particular are where the band shines most—they make for a unique, old-timey blend of violin, ukulele, cello, keys, trumpet and drums. Songs off the band’s 2013 album The Runaround, like the title track, “Crazy Bird” and “Living Tree,” were upbeat, playful crowd-pleasers.

Other times, Wilson and Beggins stripped things down. While sweet, these moments didn’t feel quite so special. Same with Wild Child’s more simple country tunes, like “Cocaine Hurricane” off the debut full-length Pillow Talk, though they were plenty charming.

“It’s so weird you know any of this stuff,” Wilson screamed in delight.

Yep, darling.

Two-for-one: Expect Shine Cafe to sell out on Saturday, February 28, over double the excitement over a double album release show.

Singer-songwriters Xochitl and Andrew Castro will both celebrate the releases of their second EPs, titled Lion Heart and Inside/Out, respectively.

The pair met last summer at an open-mic at the now-shuttered Marilyn’s on K. Soon, they started hopping from open-mic to open-mic together—sometimes hitting ones in Folsom, Elk Grove and downtown Sacramento all in one night.

“It was nice to find a partner in crime,” Xochitl said.

Xochitl quickly gathered fans in Sacramento for her light, entertaining yet clever lyrics. What can fans expect from Lion Heart? Xochitl calls it her “most thought-out, professional, best work yet.” No big stylistic departures here, but she is singing deeper these days.

“I figured out I’m Amy Winehouse, not Taylor Swift,” she said.

Castro, meanwhile, is newer to the scene, having relocated here from the Bay Area last year. He agreed that his songwriting has improved, matured, but sticks to that familiar acoustic pop style. Live, he’ll utilize loops as well as collaborations with Xochitl and a couple of hip-hop artists. For her set, Xochitl will front a full band—a rarity.

Remembering Witch Room: At the end of 2014, music lovers at the mini-festival Sac Go Home Fest said farewell to Witch Room with two full days of eclectic local music and general bittersweetness.

Drew Walker, the venue’s old sound guy and organizer of the event, doesn’t want the memory of that amazing energy and those rad tunes to fade anytime soon. He’s been quietly editing together a compilation of live recordings from the weekend, which he will release for free online Wednesday, March 4. Side note, it’s also his birthday.

Anyway, I listened to a few premixed tracks, and they sound pretty special. Besides, when was the last time we had a compilation of emerging Sacramento artists? Especially recorded live, at one memorable event?

“I picked what I felt were the strongest performances and songs,” Walker said.

Walker enlisted the help of three people to master different tracks, depending on specialty. There will be 18 altogether—Instagon’s jam set wasn’t recorded, and Separate Spines declined to be part of the compilation due to the band’s upcoming album release.

Walker chose a few covers, including Dog Party doing Ty Segall, Musical Charis doing Johnny Cash and Nick Stanifer and Kali Williams doing T. Rex.

Other artists on the comp include Appetite, Christopher Fairman, Cove, Dad?, Doofy Doo, Honyock, the Kelps, Lite Brite, Nick Reinhart/Carson McWhirter Duo, Pacific Gas and Electric Warriors, Pets, Pregnant, Proper Subjects, Removed, Silver Spoons, So Much Light and Squidz.

Keep your eyes on Walker’s blog, www.doofydoo.tumblr.com.

—Janelle Bitker