When we tracked down And the Wolf, a new local band closing the Artifice debut of L.A.’s Hell & Lula last week, all we found was a sparse Facebook page with a couple quiet songs, more often than not reminiscent of John Mayer but more woodsy — like the music was born in a place with more deciduous flora than you’ll catch in the desert. Think of what you’d want to hear when you drive through northern California. This is that. At least, this is guitarist Michael Romano’s incredible finger-picking skills, as evidenced in “Over Me Now” — not to discount Philip Seaton’s digestible and ultimately doe-eyed lyricism that would plant the band firmly on a summer movie soundtrack. One that involves a college quad, a bunch of maple trees and a returning-home-from-Chico contemplation about the rest of some hot girl’s life.
But when we caught them live, the vibe was completely different. This was a pop band in the truest sense, with a full drum kit replacing Andrew Granelli’s hand percussion from the videos and everything getting substantially more electric. When Seaton told us The Strokes and Young the Giant were some of the group’s influences, we didn’t double-take a damn thing. Because of the whole “new band” thing, the song structure probably isn’t all they’re capable of yet, if the videos are any indication (seriously, that Romano kid). But they’ve got a great start. And we’re looking forward to seeing what happens next. <em>MAX PLENKE</em>