"I started recording under the name Black Thumb as sort of an art therapy project."
Image: Forward Records
Like a hand yanked from a slammed door, the dark outsider pop of Black Thumb emerges bruised and fragile. Colin Wilde, who has been known to play organ for Wisconsin punks Tenement, began Black Thumb as a solo project back in 2012 and is now seeing the release of his debut cassette It Is Well With My Soul through Forward Records (Radiator Hospital, Pity Sex).
On first listen there’s a heavy nod to the early UK indie psych sounds of Spaceman 3 but also a lot of Mid West pop and punk. Playing though his 1967 Vox Super Continental, Wild produces music that is gloomy but also hooky. Featuring appearances from members of Dusk, Tenement, and Technicolor Teeth, the album was recorded and produced by Wilde and Matt Stranger in the 'Crutch of Memory' studio in their home in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Check a track from the cassette below and read a brief chat we had with Colin.
Noisey: I know Sonic Boom and Spaceman 3 has been mentioned before but I’m picking up a strong The Jesus and Mary Chain vibe especially on “All Fall Down”. Are the Reid Brothers an influence?
Colin Wilde: Absolutely. I love their use of noise and fuzz and feedback that they would stick right on top of an extremely strong sense of melody. Those guys could write hooks and they sure knew it. Their later unhip records Honeys Dead and Munki are criminally overlooked. The song "Perfume" featuring Hope Sandoval is genius. Though I should add in my eyes, nobody beats Pete Kember.
The word Black Thumb has associations with bruising and pain. Is that the idea behind the music and project?
Yes, I started recording under the name Black Thumb as sort of an art therapy project. I lived in this house with all these instruments that I didn't know how to play, so I learned as I went, learning how to record myself at the same time. Through the years I started to find what it is i wanted to be doing, and more importantly I learned how to write songs. The only constant thing in this project has been the concept of bruising and pain. Those are what the greatest songs are about. Love, loss, grief, and death.
Your live set up sounds simple and easy. Does this lead to more spontaneous shows?
Yes it can. That's the best part. It's just myself so I can just get into a car and throw my organ in the trunk and my effects and my amp in the backseat and go anywhere I'd like. I did a week long tour that way in a borrowed Prius this last winter. It was great. That was another reason for this project starting, so I'd never have to turn down a show.
You are currently on tour with Tenement and Amos is your bandmate in Dusk. Have you ever tried to do Black Thumb versions of Dusk or Tenement songs?
Yes. I will also be playing organ for Tenement every night. I'll be playing two sets a night every night for two months. I'm very honored to be doing that. We're on our way to the first show right now, actually. As for adapting Tenement or Dusk songs into the Black Thumb catalog, I have. I recently wrote a song called "Kiss The Clouds" for Dusk. I recorded the whole demo by myself though, right after I got this wonderful 1960s Baldwin amplifier for $10. I called in sick and wrote it in an afternoon. You can find it on a little odds and ends collection on band camp called "Wrap Your Troubles In Blue". As for Tenement, I haven't. But I had to learn all these organ parts for this tour. Maybe when I get home I'll record a cover of their genius droning song "Unreal".
'It Is Well With My Soul’ is available Sept 23 on Forward Records.
Tenement/Black Thumb tour 2016:
Aug 14- Iowa City at The Mill
Aug 15- Omaha at Milk Run
Aug 16- Denver at- Club Scum
Aug 17- Salt Lake City at Beehive Social Club
Aug 18- Las Vegas at 5707 Holmby
Aug 19- San Diego at Red Brontosaurus Records
Aug 20- Pomona at Acerogami
Aug 21- Long Beach at 4th Street Vine
Aug 22- Los Angeles atThe Hi Hat
Aug 23- Oakland at Oakland Secret
Aug 24- San Francisco at The Knockout Pie
Aug 25- Santa Rosa at Atlas Coffee
Aug 26- Sacramento at Cafe Colonial
Aug 28- Portland at Project Pabst Festival
Aug 29- Tukwila at Lucky Liquor
Aug 30- Seattle at Black Lodge
Aug 31- Victoria at The N.A.S.T.Y. House
Sep 1- Vancouver at Franklin Studios
Sep 2- Kamloops at Zack's Coffee
Sep 3- Calgary at The Palomino
Sep 4- Edmonton at The Buckingham
Sep 5- Winnipeg at The Handsome Daughter
Sep 6- Minneapolis at Minnehaha Free Space
Sep 7- Marquette at Marquette Federation of Women's Clubs Clubhouse
- New music