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July 10, 2011 8:02 PM   Subscribe

For nearly 2 years now, Manchester band WU LYF (World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) has been experimenting with music and the presentation of their image. The group's official website *autoplay on front page* is an assaulting mix of manifesto, art project, and promotion. What started as the intention to have a faceless band quickly gave way to the huge appeal of interesting music, and the band started taking a new approach and taking off the masks. A weird blend of atmospheric indie rock, blues-informed vocals, vaguely political messages, and British soul music, all strangely influenced by American hip hop, makes WU LYF easy pickings for best of the (music) web.
posted by broadway bill (26 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
So... they're hoping to become the new Arctic Monkeys or Bloc Party. or something. Interesting. They don't really appeal much to me, but I can see how they might be appealing to some. I guess we'll see how well they catch on with the public at large.
posted by hippybear at 8:13 PM on July 10, 2011


You seem to have a real affinity for up-and-coming acronymically-named bands, broadway bill.
posted by uosuaq at 8:17 PM on July 10, 2011


Yes ... suspiciously so.
posted by smithsmith at 8:19 PM on July 10, 2011


Heavy Pop is a fun song because it gets good just as you forgotten you've put it on.
posted by Rinku at 8:20 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The first time I heard them (on KEXP) I did a double take. I had never heard anything quite like them. Two weeks later, I keep coming back to the album. That has to count for something, right?
posted by tayknight at 8:39 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been following them for a year, since I first heard Heavy Pop. I was so delighted when the album finally dropped. I've been trying to spread the word and have so far failed to interest a single person.

The opening of L Y F is beautiful, too. Love the organ.
posted by neuromodulator at 8:41 PM on July 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


ZOMG so political! Sounds a bit like coldplay, but not so... like... mainsteam, you know?
posted by elektrotechnicus at 8:50 PM on July 10, 2011


Well, the guitar lines and other backing instrumentation are fluid, melodic and ..intelligible. But, any career-minded vocalist in Mr Wu's shoes should consider a larynx insurance policy through Lloyd's of London.
posted by obscurator at 8:51 PM on July 10, 2011


This guys were out here for the Vivid Festival, with Odd Future (who?), Bat For Lashes, etc. I didn't see them... did I miss much?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:53 PM on July 10, 2011


What's with the name? Are they actually satanic or is Lucifer part of the name just for the shock value/aesthetic? I've heard about these guys a couple times now.
posted by unknownmosquito at 9:07 PM on July 10, 2011


Unknownmosquito: check out the links. No satanic stuff, but I don't really read it as just shock value, either. Their songs often rework the acronym as World Unite, Love You Forever. The "WU" part is a reference/homage to Wu Tang Clan, and they seem to pretty fluid with the names.
posted by broadway bill at 9:11 PM on July 10, 2011


I was thinking about making a Wu Lyf post myself, but then I didn't true story.

I like the album a lot. Good stuff, but then again I am really missing Bloc Party, now that you mention it.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:07 PM on July 10, 2011


WU LYF art ain't nothin' to fuck with.
posted by koeselitz at 10:11 PM on July 10, 2011


I like it when artists keep a mystery around themselves. It's not something I'd do personally, but I enjoy not knowing much about artists and what little I can glean is filtered through heavy amounts of mythification. We live in a world where information is everywhere, going against the grain and limiting the amount of fact that's readily available stands out as special. Which is why smart marketers like Warren Bramley play that up. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; I can appreciate the craft of marketing when it's done in the service of art. Wu Lyf's music isn't particularly mindblowing, they sound a lot like other bands in the fast-drums/slow-melodies genre that's dominated art-rock for the last decade or so, but they're a pretty damn good band nonetheless.
posted by Kattullus at 1:29 AM on July 11, 2011


Satan has some good bands.

Maybe I'll check these cats out.
posted by box at 4:23 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was a shame for me to find out that this band - whose album I've given a few listens- aren't as much of a self-directed entity as they perhaps wish to present themselves as.

The guardian ran an article which talked about their connections to four23 an agency which works with Adidas etc. See here for article. Youtube comments also seem a combination of people pissed off with the "manufactured" thing.

Yes mystique sells, but if this is massaged - generated by Crony capitalism, then, meh. I know that pop music seldom escapes the label/market force - just guess that I find the dolla don't make happy schtick pretty disingenuous.
posted by multivalent at 6:06 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find your objection kind of weird, multivalent, since it appears to boil down to the fact that they have a manager. I don't really get "disingenuous" from that.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:27 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


multivalent: I actually came across that link when I was putting stuff together for the FPP, but somehow I ended up forgetting about it.

I agree, in that my first response to learning about the four23 connection was a bit of disappointment. After thinking about it more, though, I realized that I don't particularly care. I still get the impression that what the band ultimately discovered was that the "mystery band" approach was a great way to put the focus on the music, initially, and simultaneously ensure a large amount of media attention. I also get the impression that the dudes in the band are long-time friends and collaborators, and that sits well with me. The sort of marketing that bugs me most is when a band (or group, or artist, or whatever) is manufactured in the sense that the whole idea came from a corporate interest who threw together some folks to create a product. With WU LYF, I think it's clear that the band is totally real and dedicated to their musical and aesthetic vision, and it's just the way they (and their associate at four23) have decided to sell it that is a bit off.

Plus, I am sure that they are totally aware of the limited appeal of the music, its message, and its aesthetic. I don't really see them plotting all of this out as a scheme to dupe people and get rich off music that features church organs and indecipherable wailing.

Either way, I really like the music and the image. It all resonates with me in a nice way, and I like it that this is the stuff that interested kids get to hear in 2011.
posted by broadway bill at 9:33 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


neuromodulator: I also think that the main revelation from that article is just that the band has a manager. Not much more than that, really. Also, it is worth noting and considering that, from what I've seen, it seems like the manager fellow is an associate of the band from before they became a band. I have no issue with a bunch of dudes working on a group project together--some doing music, some doing visual stuff, and some doing marketing/image stuff--when the final product is as moving as some of the WU LYF material is. Hell, they refer to the manager as the "war god," so I think it's actually pretty transparent that it is just another piece of their artistic approach as a group.
posted by broadway bill at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2011


I like it when artists keep a mystery around themselves. It's not something I'd do personally, but I enjoy not knowing much about artists and what little I can glean is filtered through heavy amounts of mythification.

"We don't have a description for this artist yet, care to help?"

I try to listen to all new music these days without any preconceptions, i.e. not reading about the band. I'll listen to a few samples on myspace, soundcloud, bandcamp, whatever, then download it, and if I like it after a few months, I'll buy it.

These guys remind me of a Tom Waits-fronted Broken Social Scene. You can buy the album through Jagjaguwar, but you can't find an Artists page for them. It's an interesting marketing strategy, but I don't begrudge them too much for it, at least not until I hear a jingle or something.

(I am also excited for the new Moonface from Jagjaguwar.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:47 AM on July 11, 2011


Maybe I am overreacting.

I like their aesthetic and I wanted to like the romanticised image of four angry kinds making something something that mattered. And if it does still enough to them, and the "war god" is good for them - well, more power to their collective elbow.
posted by multivalent at 3:33 PM on July 11, 2011


*kids
posted by multivalent at 3:33 PM on July 11, 2011


The guardian ran an article which talked about their connections to four23 an agency which works with Adidas etc. See here for article. Youtube comments also seem a combination of people pissed off with the "manufactured" thing.

Rock bands have had a manufactured element since Best was elbowed out of the Beatles. Surely, manufacturing is part of the mystique? Why is authenticity so prized in good rock when it is so often absent from good pop?
posted by mippy at 6:19 AM on July 12, 2011


This is by far my favorite (non-punk) release of the year. When I first picked it up, I thought 'meh', but I kept coming back to it. Now, I can't stop listening to it. They're touring the US in November. I bet they kill it live.
posted by anoirmarie at 11:03 AM on August 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is by far my favorite (non-punk) release of the year.

Yes. My Tom Waits + BSS analogy was off--more like Tom Waits' Scottish bastard son fronting some supergroup featuring members of Rusted Root, Man/Miracle, and Procol Harum.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:31 PM on August 1, 2011


I decided to give them another chance and you're right, anoirmarie, it wears pretty well. They didn't click with me at first but knowing what to expect, I enjoyed them a lot this time around. I think the marketing campaign around them made me expect something different. I wanted them to be Godspeed You Black Emperor or Beta Band (disclaimer: I want every mysterious new band to be GYBE or Beta Band).
posted by Kattullus at 1:33 PM on August 4, 2011


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