Radar Band Of The Week – No. 128: Wolf Alice

It’s a fact: 2013 is all about the bands from Birmingham. We’ve got Peace and Swim Deep flying the flag for the B-Town army around the world; Jaws, Superfood and Wide Eyes are waiting in the wings; and now here’s Wolf Alice – the Bull Ring’s next big thing, right?

“No! We’re like Birmingham’s biggest buzz band but we just want to represent London,” says frontwoman Ellie Rowsell, from the band’s practice space in Holloway Road, north London. It’s a long way from the Midlands.

OK, so they’re not actually from Birmingham but Wolf Alice do have close links to Radar’s cherished Brum bands. They’ve supported and played with Peace, and Ellie is dating Swim Deep’s Austin Williams. They’re all best of friends, but that doesn’t stop Wolf Alice wanting to be the best of the bunch. If anything, the current landscape of great new bands is creating a sense of competitiveness – they’re all spurring each other on to bigger and brighter things. As drummer Joel Amey puts it, “There is a healthy competition between us all and it makes us want to be better.”

The band’s latest single ‘Bros’ is all about friendship, and Ellie reveals it made guitarist Joff Oddie cry when they finished writing it. Ellie and Joff go way back, having started out as a duo playing cutesy folk songs. “We had a bit of a twee reputation,” admits Ellie. The pair got sick of playing gigs in barns and being compared to Laura Marling so they decided to channel their inner grunge by recruiting some new bandmates and plugging in their guitars.
“We were listening to ‘Cannonball’ by The Breeders and we were sick of playing gigs to absolutely nobody. We thought, ‘Let’s be loud and make people fucking listen to us’,” says Ellie.

‘Fluffy’ was the song that pricked up people’s ears. It’s packed full of rough and ready angst laced with slacker cool. “We just wanted a quick, loud, fiery song,” Ellie continues. “Something that said, ‘This is what we are now’.” Having successfully located their volume knobs and turned them up to 11, Wolf Alice are also prepared to stick two fingers up at the haters. “There was this dude who came to a show and just stood on the front row shouting, ‘Blah blah, Sonic Youth, heard it all before’,” Ellie spits, evidently not giving a shit. “We’re thinking of getting that on our next T-shirt.”


Based: North London

For Fans of: Peace, Swim Deep

Buy it: ‘Fluffy’ is available on iTunes

See them live: They’re confirmed for a number of festival dates and will headline The Lexington in London on June 4

On NME.COM: Listen to ‘Fluffy’.

Believe it or not: The band claim they saw Ronnie Wood blank Bobby Gillespie in the toilets at the NME Awards.