Album Review: Wldmnd’s Primary

Photo by Nevan Doyle

Note: this is an updated version of the print edition.

Deep in the throes of graduate school, I listen to music like I eat, briefly, cheaply, and randomly. Half of that time goes to ten-minute car rides between my apartment and the train station, during which my only real option is praying for something like The Killers to come on KNRK, in between painful doses of Alice Merton and The Revivalists. Many of you are more studious than I, surely bringing along earbuds and dongles and whatever else you need on your travels, but let’s face it… the age of anxiety is upon us; We’re all busy as hell. However, while juggling singles via your favorite streaming service have all but killed the album, I feel a hell of a lot less cynical about it all after getting my hands on Wldmnd’s November release, Primary.

You may know Wldmnd as the solo project of Joshua Bowman, guitarist for the legendarily-delicious Corvallis rock band Bury the Moon. Last year, Bowman released a track called Palace, along with fellow Bury the Moon alum Mortal Thing (Brian Blythe). We had to wait a whole year to get our hands on the true Wldmnd debut. That said, was it worth it?

Does a bear sh*t in the woods?

The best way to describe Primary is to imagine a world where trip-hop waited until 2018 to happen. An eclectic mix of modern hip-hop, rock, indie, and I imagine countless other influences come together to create a truly unique voice that demands a place in the contemporary musical discourse (at least as far as I’m concerned). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this album came together in the midst of stylistically progressive hip-hop such as works from Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar, yet it is also decidedly less mainstream – reminding me more of Subtle, Kool Keith, or even the post-rocky elements of Broken Social Scene and Mars Volta. Primary offers up enough sonic juice to drown yourself a dozen times over while trying to put your finger on who exactly it sounds like, but I personally gave up after realizing that it’s simply a distillation of my favorite parts of my favorite kind of music. That’s quite the feat, considering my current playlist consists of The Cardiacs, Unleash the Archers, and Raffi.

Normally this is when I’d say something like, “if you’re going to only listen to a few songs, listen to X, Y, and Z.” However, I find myself either unwilling or unable to dice it up. As I noted above, I feel legitimately less cynical about the death of the album after listening to this record, and that’s because it functions so damn well as a collection. So I implore you, do what I did: plop yourself on the couch at about 4 p.m. on a cold, cloudy day, grab a glass of Rumplemintz (don’t judge me), and spend 40-ish minutes just listening while your obese cat warms your thigh. When you’re done, do it again.

To check out Wldmnd’s Primary, visit http://wldmnd.bandcamp.com. If you dig it, please support the artist by purchasing a copy for just 10 dollars. For more truly excellent local music, also be sure to spend some time with http://burythemoon.bandcamp.com/ and Brian Blythe’s http://mortalthing.bandcamp.com.

By Johnny Beaver