Antenna Man make music about dysfunctional love, weirdness, meaninglessness, hopefulness, and just about any other twisted little thing you could imagine. The Indianapolis quartet of Mark Wolven (vocals, rhythm guitar), Kendall Ludwig (lead guitar), David Campbell (bass) and Wes Hodgson (drums) canâ€™t seem to complacently float in single genre waters. Their catchy, quirky songs feel like a defunct greatest hits skipping around through rock n roll, grunge, golden oldies, southern rock, bar blues, country and Americana. You may walk away wondering if it was country or rock n roll, but youâ€™ll know it was something real. Itâ€™s the music George Jones might have dreamt about after spending an evening in the company of In Utero and Led Zeppelin II.
Wolven, the bandâ€™s chief writer, is a musical medium whose songs arrive as if summoned from another plain. If heâ€™s then unable to shake these earworms they are embellished, with the help of his bandmates, to become full-bodied tunes - the first collection of which can be heard on their debut album Elaine Jr. As he himself admits, â€œI am just trying to serve these songs that keep playing in my head, and am driven by some unknown source to share them with othersâ€.
Suddenly, the groupâ€™s name makes sense. Having decided to ride his scooter through one of his favorite cemeteries, and not leave until he had a name for the band, Wolven came across a metal sculpture titled â€œAntenna Man.â€ Feeling an instant connection with the name and idea of the piece, it became an obvious choice. His own antenna has helped him to communicate with the other side, scaring and fascinating friends when their dead relatives come knocking. He fully believes that we are all antennas, capable of picking up things that cannot be easily explained.
The music of Antenna Man also conjures up a feeling of space. Growing up in the country, Wolven had the freedom to explore geographically, mentally and spiritually. He also knows what itâ€™s like to have that freedom taken away, having spent a couple of years in jail as a teenager. This scattered, gypsy-like past, full of open space and criminal mischief explains Wolvenâ€™s frustration with the technology-obsessed age we live in and why (as heard on "Knockdown") heâ€™d rather destroy all the Earthâ€™s satellites than spend another moment watching everyone stare at screens. The angst continues on in "Little Bear," with the band belting out â€œwe all fuck up in our own little ways, prostitutes and skater boys with broken legsâ€. They have a funny way of taking aggravated subject matter and turning into something whimsical, and at moments, even all out fist pumping joy.
Staying true to their love of vinyl, Elaine Jr was recorded and mixed totally analog at Postal Recording in Indianapolis, under the guidance of co-producers Alex Kercheval (Jomberfox) and Tyler Watkins (Margot & the Nuclear So and Soâ€™s). The album was recorded at 444Hz because of the frequencyâ€™s supposed genetic and shamanistic healing powers. Itâ€™s as if, after receiving these gifts from the ether, itâ€™s the bandâ€™s duty to respect and honor the music through care, attention and honesty. As Wolven puts it, â€œItâ€™s more about completing the songs in a way that feels like the intent of the source that put it in my head vs. making what we think of as a great songâ€.
It might be hard to understand where these songs come from but itâ€™s easy to take these makers of timeless music to heart - just use your own antennae and let your ears do the rest.