Release Date: Feb 4, 2014
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Indie Folk
On his debut album, Juan Wauters is equal parts anti-folk hero Adam Green, 1960s Bob Dylan (but without anything to protest against) and his own unique concoction of lovable, lo-fi pop. On the surface, the short songs are straightforward both in lyrical content and composition. He sings about his desire to sleep, for example, overtop easy guitar-strumming and shakers.
As a songwriter and founding member of Brooklyn Luddite garage rockers the Beets, Juan Wauters' songs often took the form of bratty two-chord stompers and ramshackle oddball loner punk that called on the lineage of the Velvet Underground, the Modern Lovers, and the Feelies. With his first solo album, NAP: North American Poetry, Wauters takes a somewhat gentler approach, leaning toward a breezier and more laid-back tone with carefree acoustic pop and low-key songs occasionally sung in Spanish. The album was recorded at various sessions at Marlborough Farms between 2010 and 2012, and thusly has the pleasantly drifting feel of a collection of ideas cobbled together over the course of several years.
N.A.P. North American Poetry is a collection of songs recorded by the Beets’ frontman, Juan Wauters, between 2010 and 2012. It represents an only-slight turn away from the band’s garage-pop, towards something more stripped down, folkier, but also representing the same basic pop constructs and energy. The difference here is that you can see Wauters up front and center, not buried in the band’s fuzz or attitude.
If Juan Wauters’s debut solo album N.A.P. North American Poetry has a theme, it’s cycles, circles: repetition with the same old result. He sums this up in a few lines, first uttered on opener “Let Me Hip You to Something” and again, later in the record, as the coda to “Continue to Be You”: “Get a headache, yeah! / Take medicine, yeah! / Get better, yeah! / To another headache, oh yeah!” Wauters’s recurring headache might have something to do with the break up of the Beets, a band he co-founded with high school buddy Jose Garcia that released three playful and hook-filled pop records, Spit in the Face of People Who Don’t Want to Be Cool (2009), Stay Home, and Let the Poison Out (both 2011).
Uruguayan native Juan Wauters is best known for his work as guitarist and vocalist in The Beets (New York based lo-fi psych-pop… not animated tribute band from Doug, 90?s cartoon lovers). Over three albums to date the band have earned a cult following for their scruffy but sweet and desperate to be hip indie rock (their first album was called Spit On The Face Of People Who Don’t Want To Be Cool!), and their main songwriter furrows a similar path on this debut solo album. Given Wauters’ roots outwith NYC (he originally moved from Uruguay to Queens back in 2002) it seems appropriate that there’s something of the fish out of water mentality about his songs as he tries to capture some of the city’s elusive musical essence.