The Band That Succeeded Almost By Accident

Wildcat! Wildcat!
Wildcat! Wildcat!
Mary Grace Cerni

The members of Wildcat! Wildcat! sound like a choir of indie rock angels. Their self-titled EP, released this summer, features delicate harmonies, subtle bass lines, and flurries of playful keyboards.

The group released a pair of tracks on SoundCloud early last year, and played a show not long after at Harvard & Stone. They didn't think either would amount to much. "The singles were more or less something for our friends to have," says drummer Jesse Carmichael. "Then the blog world took everything over and we were like, 'Oh, shit.' We're becoming a real band."

The Westlake natives have been playing music for most of their lives. Carmichael and bassist Jesse Taylor were working as hired guns in indie bands that weren't really going anywhere, and the lull provided an opportunity to get together with their high school friend Michael Wilson, the band's lead vocalist and keyboard player, who was working as a cashier at Whole Foods.

Wildcat! Wildcat! was the three friends' excuse for hanging out. But the indie trio's singles blew up on blog aggregator The Hype Machine less than a week after being released. Soon taste-maker label Neon Gold took notice, releasing a 7" record of two of their songs.

The connection to the label helped them land a slot with another Neon Gold client, Haim, who are currently blowing up.

See also: Haim: From a Family Band to International Acclaim

It was only Wildcat's fourth show. "We sucked," says Carmichael. "We just weren't ready to play a sold out show with an awesome band."

But by now things were off to the races, and the band was being recognized by sites including Pitchfork, NPR, and Buzzfeed. Before they were signed to a label, they were touring alongside bands like Portugal. The Man, Passion Pit, and Alt-J.

Wildcat! Wildcat! released an EP with Downtown Records this past August. They haven't stopped playing shows since, and are embarking on a West coast tour with MS MR.

The band in Carmichael's Downtown LA loft
The band in Carmichael's Downtown LA loft
Mary Grace Cerni

At this point Wildcat is a band without a plan. They've had the happy problem of receiving more exposure than they expected, and their fan base is snowballing. "People sing along to songs that they have never even heard recorded," Turner says, "they've just been to that many shows. To me that's incredible."

Wildcat! Wildcat! play the Troubadour this Thursday and Friday, and hope to have a full-length album out early next year.

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