“The duo is at their absolute best… a musical result that’s closing in on infinity… as close to perfection as you can come.”
- New Music Michael
“An unconventional and immediately memorable sound… this self-titled debut evokes indie rock greatness from beginning to end.”
— The Daily Vault
“The new album by Wave Sleep Wave is simply R-A-D. If you get one album any time soon, this should be it.”
#7 ALBUM OF 2012 – KNIGHTS OF THE TURNTABLE
#8 ALBUM OF 2012 – NEW MUSIC MICHAEL
HONORABLE MENTION, BEST ALBUMS OF 2012 – DOA
WAVE SLEEP WAVE – WAVE SLEEP WAVE
The Daily Vault
April 14, 2012
The musical vision of New York stalwart Jerry Adler (of the indie rock greats The Blam or his solo folk project Flugente), Wave Sleep Wave actually began with some experimenting with loops at an art project at MIT. Though the inception of Wave Sleep Wave was essentially just seeing what might be able to be pieced together, after a session with drummer Yuval Lion (also of The Blam) to flesh out some ideas, Adler went home and penned the entire record.
Undoubtedly Adler’s most melodic endeavor yet, the seemingly endless guitar textures and multi-layering combined with the robust drumming make for an unconventional and immediately memorable sound. The wordplay is highly sophisticated; Adler is forever known for his intriguing storytelling, and though this certainly has the accomplished and precise instrumentation of his prior work, it hardly sounds like much of his earlier projects. While there’s a definite minimalist feel to it, here the pair meshes indie rock sensibilities with hazy shoegaze and some lo-fi post punk tones that bring to mind Frank Black if he flirted with New Wave and psych rock.
The Wave Sleep Wave story becomes even more interesting when you take into account that after just one rehearsal the duo played a sold out show in NYC’s lower east side, then recorded this record just 11 days later. A well established producer, multi-instrumentalist and record label owner, Adler has enough accolades to render him to near legend like status among underground rock, and he seems quite comfortable flying below the radar of mainstream appeal, as this self-titled debut evokes indie rock greatness from beginning to end.
Nine tracks that do just fine on their own but tell a story as a whole, though you’ll hear bits and pieces of the greats in here (Wire definitely comes to mind), ultimately this is a unique vision of expansive melodies and sparse yet carefully calculated instrumentation that only Jerry Adler could create.
March 28, 2012
The rise of the guitarist/drummer duo is upon us. Although the lynchpins of the movement, The White Stripes, have gone their separate ways, we’ve still got anthem-factory The Black Keys and rising stars Cairo Knife Fight. If you like these bands — and we do — you’ll love Wave Sleep Wave.
Teaming up guitarist/frontman Jerry Adler and drummer Yuval Lion for the first time since their days in New York’s indie-rock group The Blam, Wave Sleep Wave manages to create deeply layered sonic masterpieces. Lead single “Hey… What?” should give you some idea of what to expect from this outfit: rich, echoing guitars twinned with funky, compelling beats. And above it all, Adler regales us with stories told in a drawling, punky tone.
Although Wave Sleep Wave’s sound delves into loops and sequences, the band’s eponymous debut album was written and recorded in an impulsive, almost organic way. A rehearsal session between Adler and Lion fleshed out the musical textures that the band would play with. After that, Adler wrote the 9-track album in what seems like a furious blaze of creativity.
One rehearsal later, Adler and Lion played a sold-out show in NYC’s lower east side, performing in order what would become their debut record. When they headed into the recording studio to cut that record with engineer Danny Shatzky all of eleven days later, it was only the fourth time they had played through the whole piece in its entirety. That energy, that excitement, and the duo’s intangible chemistry are unmistakably evident in each moment of Wave Sleep Wave.
If you like your hooks catchy and immediate, this isn’t the band for you. There’s a sweet subtlety in this band’s music that rewards you with repeated listens. At first you’ll be ensnared by the trippy quality of the guitars and Adler’s reverb-drenched voice. Next time, you might find yourself paying attention to the lyrics and following the narrative within the song. Either way, it’s refreshing to hear music that doesn’t try to give all its satisfaction on the first listen, rather like a cheap orgasm.
The debut album is out now on Curb Cut Records. Definitely worth checking out.
New York Music Daily
March 31, 2012
If it’s absolutely necessary to pin a label on what Wave Sleep Wave does, you could call it dreampop. Reduced to its essentials, it’s a shimmering, glistening, swirling, jangly, misty vortex of guitar textures over steady drums. Frontman/guitarist Jerry Adler is a one-man orchestra, slowly and methodically building a web of textures, sometimes hypnotic, often symphonically ornate, like a late 80s British version of Jon Brion. Influence-wise, there are a million bands out there who ape the catchy, simple, major-key mid-80s sound that New Order and the Cure made so popular; here, Adler reverts back to a deeper, murkier 80s sound that also offers a nod to Wire and the Cocteau Twins. He first made a mark about ten years ago leading the Blam, the catchy but edgy indie pop band that should have been as popular as the Shins but wasn’t; a little later, he took a powerfully lyrical detour into Dylanesque acoustic rock with his Flugente project. What’s most impressive about this album is that it appears to be just guitars and drums, with no bass, yet the sonics have a gyroscopic balance. Drummer Yuval Lion — Adler’s cohort in the Blam — keeps things moving along tersely and briskly, for the most part. Fans of the dreampop canon from the Cocteau Twins, to Lush, to My Bloody Valentine, to more obscure bands like Downy Mildew, are going to love this record.
It’s best appreciated as an uninterrupted whole, considering that most of the tracks segue into each other. The opening cut, Rats starts out with edgy, percussive guitar accents against a wave of drone, then leaps into a swirling chorus, then back, with a characteristically juicy yet minimalist guitar solo midway through. Interestingly, while Adler is just as adept a wordsmith as a tunesmith, lyrics take a back seat to the guitars here. “We don’t know what’s wrong, we just know what’s right,” he intones, deadpan, on the second track, Laws, methodically crescendoing with echoes of Bauhaus and Pink Floyd as the guitar orchestra grows, and grows, and grows. Images of violence and discontent recur throughout the songs: it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out that this is a parable.
The hit single here is Hey…What?, with its echoey guitar hook and dancefloor beat: “The pot is boiling with unbearable heat/The crowd turns violent and gets ready to blow/They’re tired of dancing with the devil they know,” Adler announces ominously as the song builds to a Railway Children-style chorus-box interlude with a seemingly endless wash of attractive, jazzy chords. Zip It artfully embellishes a catchy two-chord riff to a bell-like chorus and then echoey, choppy waves punctuated by buzzsaw lead lines, while Like Filings to Magnets is the most minimalist track here, juxtaposing a gentle, skeletal lead against a quietly oscillating drone. They evoke the artsy side of 17 Pygmies with the slowly swaying 1001 and then a sort of blend of Gang of Four and Cocteau Twins with Standard Fare, an apprehensive, allusive, nightmarish scenario. The album closes with Tongues, setting bloody imagery over a dark, offcenter backdrop that sounds like it might be playing at halfspeed, and then the anthemic How Low?, which builds tension before finally resolving with a mighty “clang” on the chorus. As far as trippy, tuneful unease goes, albums don’t get much better than this.
New Music Michael
March 29, 2012
Wave Sleep Wave is a Brooklyn duo centered around Jerry Adler (The Blam, Flugente) and drummer Yuval Lion (who was also in The Blam). Mixed and mastered by Blake Morgan, the band’s eponymous debut startles and shimmers, darts and dashes, through a bevy of nine tightly-wrapped yet gripping tracks.
“Rats”, one of two tracks that clock in at exactly two minutes and thirty-two seconds, is a psychedelic drone overcast with Adler’s punctuated vocals. Later in the track a beautiful guitar chord repeats overtop of the ambient noise. A picture-perfect start to the record.
“Laws” has the pall of a deeply intriguing mystery, a combination CSI meets Murder She Wrote with a sinister feel. The third track is the single we streamed in mid-February — “Hey… What?” I love it just as much as I did then when I described it as a “revelrous cavalcade, an intertwined blender of Pixies meets new wave meets psychedelia.”
“Zip It” has a plethora of interesting background sounds as Adler seemingly struts back and forth across an imaginary stage in your head, taking time off to hit various buttons on a keyboard to add even more feedback and sound effects. “1001″ is an epic, far-reaching track, the first half of which is instrumental, then panning into a bleak panorama of pointed psychedelia that ends with an exclamation mark.
“Standard Fare” is anything but, an interesting track with plenty of white space. A sad, morose tune, on par with any of the more desperate U.K. bands you’ve heard before and loved. “Tongues” features exaggerated guitar notes over a subtle drum track and features lyrics like “they’ll cut you with their tongues / faster than the speed of sound / kills like a bullet”.
The album concludes with its longest track (5:44), “How Low?”. I love it when a band does this — instead of being sad that the album’s coming to a conclusion, you get to enjoy more of the album because the song is the longest. This track is deservedly getting a lot of attention from across the blogosphere as well, perhaps the most ‘new wave’ of any track on the album, but still seeing its musical journey through to completion.
While much of the album’s tone is sad if not outright depressing, Adler is an extraordinary songwriter, pouring every emotion in his body into his work; his casting of Lion as his only complement further accentuates his abilities as well as Lion’s. The collaboration is a harmony of amazing feats and epic in proportion. Definitely one of my favorite albums of the entire year so far.
August 12, 2012
An extended exercise in controlled guitar harmonics, and with a notable Pixies/Black Francis influence amongst its 9 tracks, Wave Sleep Wave is the latest project of NY musician Jerry Adler, who has been making music in various forms for over a decade now, firstly with The Blam and then with the folk based Flugente. An experienced musician who produces and releases his work on his own label, Wave Sleep Wave is the sound of a musician entirely shaking off the artistic compromises perhaps imposed upon him by circumstance, and while this might leave him open to accusations of self indulgence and downright arrogance, Adler is more than up to carrying his work on his own terms and while Adler is artistically influenced by both REM and the Pixies there’s a defined scope to his musicianship, and after his folk excursion there’s also a perceptible sense of his own personality in Wave Sleep Wave, something that folk musicians are often more adept with than rock ones.
As a guitarist and technician, Adler is a lot more than merely competent, and brings a texture to his sound that marks him out as an actual original. On ‘How Low’, he gets more milage out of one repeated guitar chord than I’ve heard some get from an entire song. ‘Laws’ begins in a deceptively minimal manner, but Adler understands the dynamic of echo and delay in a way Graham Coxon could take lessons from, (definitely a few Blur albums in the Adler collection) and maintains the tension of what could’ve turned into a bit of a dull tune with practised skill. ‘Rats” is constructed around a single repeated chord perhaps run through a delay pedal and when the song proper begins, it’s easy to envisage a slightly different world in which Adler takes the place of a temporarily incapacitiated Pete Buck halfway through an REM tour. ‘Zip It’ takes this approach one step further, referencing Black Francis in its structure and tone but very much to Adler’s interpretation of his solo and Pixies output, and perhaps there’s a reference to Smashing Pumpkins in the tightly scored guitar and percussion interplay.
After listening to so much music over the previous couple of years I found myself highly impressed by Wave Sleep Wave on several levels and in a way that isn’t usual for me, slightly beyond the ‘it’s ok/it’s actual genius’ response I give to albums I like. Jerry Adler is one musican I’ve heard for whom the description ‘maverick auteur’ isn’t quite sufficient, and he’s just made the album I think he’s always wanted to.
July 12, 2012
Jerry Adler and Yuval Lion were both members of The Blam, a Brooklyn based band that was in on the early days of what was later referred to as the Williamsburg Scene and that recorded three albums prior to splitting in 2005. Perhaps their albums made less of an actual impression in the Indie world than they deserved, one commentator wondered why it was that, given the similarities between the bands, that The Shins were more popular, although at least one of The Blam’s songs found a wider audience when it was soundtracked into an episode of The Office (the US version of the British TV comedy written by former Suede manager Ricky Gervais). Listening to The Blam, it does sound as if they struck lucky to some extent. With so many bands and musicians writing in the hope that some influential media production company will pick up on their work and turn it into an advertisment or or even just background noise in one of those scenes where the protagonists of some comedy/drama go socialising, The Blam can rest upon their laurels to some extent, and despite the fact that The Shins got more press and album sales I think I need to point out that luck is only part of the story for a musician like Jerry Adler.
Adler formed his own project, the folk based and perhaps more favorably received Flugente after The Blam imploded, and while I can’t provide very much info as to Flugente’s success in those wider fields of the media, his Wave Sleep Wave project which also involves former Blam drummer Lion looks set to repeat the experience of The Blam, insofar as the determinedly Indie presentation — the album is released on Adler’s own CurbCut label — will perhaps keep Wave Sleep Wave on the periphery of the Indie music world and it’s perhaps fair to say that you are reading one of possibly very few reviews or even mentions of the album. As the kind of musician who can comfortably keep his activities very nearly off the radar entirely, Adler is perhaps aware that while he both wants and needs to make music, that retaining control of his own work is a must, for any number of reasons.
Enough preamble, although I found the background to Wave Sleep Wave and their eponymous debut an interesting one. Actually about their music, two things are instantly notable. The first is that Adler’s practised explorations into electroharmonics, utilising a combination of effects to extend his guitar notes into cycles of droning repetition work with fully realised skill, the guitars and their apps combining seamlessly to produce alternately grinding, ethereal and disssonant sound patterns. The other, and 2nd track “Zip It” reveals this, is the influence of The Pixies, with both the guitars and vocal referencing that band’s “Doolittle” heyday. There is however a less strident note to Adler’s vocal and playing than the cacophony of Black Francis and his cohorts at their early 90s peak, and “Hey What” has both Adler and Lion displaying a lighter and more melodic approach than the shrieking discordancy The Pixies were capable of, the songs midsection breaking the air of developing claustrophobia with sudden brilliance. “Laws” is Wave Sleep Wave assimilating their influences into their own craftsmanship and while Adler’s vocal carries a note of grim desperation, the instruments are given space to develop the song toward a tightly scored and continually developing conclusion, with Lion’s percussion providing a rattling adjunct to Adler’s six string histrionics.
It’s “1001″ that really shows us what Wave Sleep Wave are capable of though, a thudding, near deranged blast of sensation and emotion that only Jerry Adler has ever experienced or can actually express and it’s also the track that reveals the paradox at the heart of Wave Sleep Wave. Jerry Adler’s talent is a quite real and far from pretentious one, and his capabilities as a musician and songwriter are exactly those that the Industry Machine might only too readily wish to reshape to its own designs. An actual auteur and canny enough to keep his own abilities in check, Adler’s latest project isn’t quite his magnum opus although I for one am left in no doubt that the next or perhaps third Wave Sleep Wave album will perhaps see him receiving the kind of fulsome recognition his music rightfully deserves. Until then, anyone chancing upon a copy of Wave Sleep Wave might wonder exactly where it sprang from and, like this reviewer, make a point of checking out the highly varied and idiosyncratic back catalogue of one NY musician whose work still might find itself sliding into the ‘neglected greats’ category.
Pure Grain Audio
March 5, 2012
Wave Sleep Wave might be a name new to you, but if you’re at all a fan of NY indie rock or even folk, then you just may have already heard of Jerry Adler. Adler not only fronted The Blam, but also a solo folk project dubbed Flugente. Taking various elements from his career to date, Adler recently finished a new, self-titled debut and is set to release it via his own label Curb Cut Records on March 27th.
The new effort is not only unique in sound and composition, but also in that over it’s 9 songs it tells a story (sort of like an electronic album, the songs work on their own or seamlessly tie together forming one long track). Regardless of how you consume the music though, Wave Sleep Wave is fresh and fun and yet another bold new direction for Adler.
April 12, 2012
The new album by Wave Sleep Wave is simply R-A-D. If you get one album any time soon, this should be it. The self-titled debut album from Wave Sleep Wave, featuring band members Jerry Adler and Yuval Lion takes us listeners on a wonderful, eloquent, personal musical exploration. Beautifully crafted with guitar, drums, and multi-layered gems, the music begs for a listen and does not disappoint!
April 23, 2012
Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover or at least its name. Wave Sleep Wave could not be a better band name for this group of New Yorkers who feature one member of The Blam and Flugente. “Who?” you’re saying and honestly I don’t know either but it sounds cool doesn’t it? Anyway, living somewhere being perpetually catatonic and lost in a dream, Wave Sleep Wave’s debut album is like the happy middle ground between Sonic Youth’s sleepier material and the entire genre of post rock.
Wave Sleep Wave is a noisy, lackadaisical trip through the haze where guitars have twice as many effects pedals than strings, drums sound like broken hammers, and vocals waft in and out of consciousness. It’s all very murky, hazy, and slightly weird here and my guess is that’s just the way Wave Sleep Wave likes it. Songs don’t necessarily stick with you as much as they dwell in the same space with you. In other words, this thing is so atmospheric, swirly, and flipped out that there’s very little time for verse chorus verse song structures that are memorable. Wave Sleep Wave, instead, just kind of envelopes you with it’s wall of sound and captures you as a result. It’s all very good, just a bit more atmospheric than upbeat.
Wave Sleep Wave is the soundtrack to the feeling of getting up on Sunday morning after a long night. This is a slightly exhausted, gloomy, worn out kind of thing that despite what that might imply is actually quite good. Wave Sleep Wave has done a good job of conveying emotions and creating a sense of something throughout. The record’s ambience, downtempo vibe, and slightly gloomy sound might not make it the feel good hit of the spring, but it does make it a great listen. Now, if I can just pull the covers over my head and drift back to sleep that would be awesome.
April 4, 2012
Undoubtedly Jerry Adler’s most melodic endeavor yet, the seemingly endless guitar textures and multi-layering combined with the robust drumming make for an unconventional and immediately memorable sound. The wordplay is highly sophisticated, Adler forever known for his intriguing storytelling. Though this certainly has the accomplished and precise instrumentation of his prior work, it hardly sounds like his other projects (The Blam, Flugente). While there”s a definite minimalist feel to it, the duo mesh indie rock sensibilities with hazy shoegaze and some lo-fi post-punk that brings to mind Frank Black if he flirted with New Wave and Psyche-rock.
March 28, 2012
Wave Sleep Wave is the new project from Jerry Adler, formerly of indie rockers the Blam and his quieter solo project Flugente. This new foray into music features just Adler on guitar and vocals and drummer Yoval Lion, but you wouldn’t know this was a duo to hear it. Wave Sleep Wave is an expansive, grinding, haunting album, sounding as much like a Spaghetti Western soundtrack as a dingy basement show. Feedback swirls and scours these songs, while Adler’s guitars cut through the murk and over his whispery vocals. One song bleeds into the next and the whole thing seems to take on a bigger trajectory. The propulsive bounce of “Hey… What?” gives way to the shadowy, slowcore textures of songs like “Like Filings to Magnets” and “1001″ before working its way back to energy and hope on the album closer “How Low?”. The album is a solid exercise in shaping big, seemingly formless noises into something sweet yet ragged. The pace may get stuck in that mid-tempo trudge in the records middle, but the layers here invite you to peel them back to find what’s under all these undulating sounds. And though you may find little clarity in the lyrics, there is something there, a feeling worth finding.
New Music Michael
February 14, 2012
Jerry Adler is anything but new, as the lead singer and guitarist for New York’s The Blam, or his own solo folk project Flugente. But Wave Sleep Wave is anything but old. But in some sense they are. Their sound is a revelrous cavalcade, an intertwined blender of Pixies meets new wave meets psychedelia. The duo, whose other member is Yuval Lion (also in The Blam), is releasing a nine track self-titled album on March 27 (Curb Cut), which I think you’ll like quite a bit; I’m deeply impressed by the first release off the album, “Hey… What?”
February 26, 2012
Wave Sleep Wave is one of the newest projects from Jerry Adler, a musician that has found plenty of ways to express different ideas. You may know him from groups such as The 527S, The Blam, or his solo act Flugente but don’t expect this new band to sound exactly like any of the others. On their debut self-titled album Wave Sleep Wave merges elements of indie rock, shoegaze and some post punk with a minimalist aesthetic. This melding of styles is sure to remind listeners of a number of different bands, but this album still manages to feel different and grab your attention.
One of the main reasons that this group maintains a minimalist feel is due to the fact that they are a guitar/drum duo. Adler uses his guitar riffs to fill the sound with hazy melodies that stretch across the entire song, at times almost coming to near silence before transitioning into another passage. In this way Wave Sleep Wave is able to create a lot of sound with sparse instrumentation, and listeners may be surprised to find just how textured each song is. The overall sound has the haziness of shoegaze and psychedelic rock mixed with some traditional indie rock ideas, but everything is kept fairly down-tempo to allow the melodies the chance to expand. Due to the looping nature of the instrumentals each of the nine songs flow into one another and towards the middle of the release it can be a little difficult to tell some of them apart, but taken as a whole the album is still enjoyable.
Jerry Adler is not only the guitarist of Wave Sleep Wave, but he also is the group’s singer. Adler has a voice that suits the mellow nature of the instrumentals, although his pitch doesn’t seem to change all that frequently. But despite the fact that the vocals have the tendency to drone along with the instrumentals, they never become repetitive and are often one of the most prominent elements thanks to the sparse production. Admittedly this type of singing is of the love it or hate it variety, so I would recommend checking a song or two out on the Curb Cut Records website first to see if it’s your style or not. I personally found myself entranced by his delivery style though, and this kept me returning to the album on a regular basis.
This group has attempted to move away from some of styles that their members have been playing for years and gone for a subtler mix of sounds that feels unique. Although the droning nature of the instrumentals makes Wave Sleep Wave an acquired taste, if you’re in the mood for a mellower release that does a lot with a little this album is worth investigating. There’s plenty of room for this project to expand and my hope is that it will be given the opportunity to do so in the coming years.
New Musical Releases
March 30, 2012
Jerry Adler is back at it again. The NY powerhouse producer has combined forces with this project to circumvent some ideas that he had formulated and this act Wave Sleep Wave is his “most powerful creative departure yet.” The self-titled album provides vigour and unanimous sophistication. The highly ubiquitous rendering deviates no further from the norm than being some higly provacative, in that it will have you tenaciously appraising the vindication, and selecting the promoted resonance with a deep-seated veneration and piety. You may find yourself spinning in the flames of some bonfire of yesterdays tomorrows. This one rises to the occasion like the burning sensation that we feel more at the helm of some defining resolve and resilience from the cusp of being acrimonious. This one seems to be the conveyance of some malleable pertinence. Riveting and select in its portrayal of life strung up at the hands of a puppeteer. The invisible hand moves with permeable fermentation; indescernable and irreverent. Grasp hold of those who need the thrill, majestic in its formative progression and plant your feet as the world will soon tear free from the entity of relegation. Hope is not lost. Indie-rock born to mesmerize and promote atonement.
Pure Grain Audio (Single Review)
March 5, 2012
My friend and I compiled a list of strut songs one summer. These so-called ‘strut songs’ all sound rather different, but rely on one definitive aspect: a stellar underlying beat that you can’t help but walk in cadence with. Simply turn your volume to max capacity, zone in on it, and let your body act accordingly.
Wave Sleep Wave, the newest offering from Jerry Adler (formerly of The Blam and Flugente), will be releasing their debut album on March 27th and the lead track “Hey… What?” is a shoe-in for my strut song playlist. The song has the right amount of guitar-echoed mysticism, a stellar lead vocal and an unwavering backbeat. I can’t help but let myself get excited for the album’s drop – let’s just hope it follows the lead, because summer’s coming and I tend to do a lot of walking.
The Deli Magazine (Single Review)
March 21, 2012
Wave Sleep Wave is a NYC duo made up of Jerry Adler and Yuval Lion, who released two college radio hits in the early 2000s with indie band The Blam. Adler also received praise for a solo project under the Flugente moniker. Wave Sleep Wave’s self-titled debut album is due out March 27th on Curb Cut Records and features the track “Hey… What?”. The song, loopy, layered and droney, features a bleak and sparse atmosphere which allows every sound to serve its own purpose, with Adler’s thoughtful lyrics sung with a punk attitude reminiscent of the early post-punk days.