There are a few different kinds of Wild Pink shows: the solo, more subdued sets, and what the New York band will bring to Karl Hall in Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, April 28.
“On this tour in April, we’re going to be a 3-piece, and it’s definitely going to be a little louder and noisier than a typical Wild Pink show,” the band’s John Ross said before embarking on the run of dates, which will conclude in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Opening the Karl Hall show will be locals Noxen and Joe Burke and Co.
Despite having formed just seven years ago, the band has a wealth of material to draw from for its sets: three full-length LPs, a handful of EPs and some new standalone singles.
In February of 2021, Wild Pink released “A Billion Little Lights,” its third album. With a year’s worth of hindsight, Ross said, “I kind of go back and forth on it.”
“I feel that it took so long to come out, that by the time that it did, I had moved on a little bit,” he explains. “But there are some songs on there that I feel good about that I enjoy playing live. I would say I feel pretty good about it — some things I would’ve done differently, but whatever.”
“A Billion Little Lights” was the follow-up to 2018’s “Yolk in the Fur,” the band’s second full-length that was named one of the top albums of the year by the online outlets Stereogum, The Wild Honey Pie and Uproxx. We asked Ross is that acclaim put any pressure on him when it came time to make the next one.
“I mean, for sure, a little bit,” he said. “It definitely made me want to make another record as soon as possible. … Coming out after ‘Yolk in the Fur,’ it took three years for ‘A Billion Little Lights,’ kind of a strange mixture of hurry up and wait, and that was for a couple reasons. Obviously, the pandemic was a big one.”
The freshest Wild Pink material has come in the form of two new singles: “Florida,” released in December, and “Q. Degraw,” released two weeks ago. While much of the indie rock and folk feels that have been part of the band’s sound since day one are part of the new songs, especially “Florida,” there are also some new flavors.
“I think since [‘A Billion Little Lights’] came out, I’ve been way inspired by people who are more, like, contemporary. I would hesitate to use the word peers, because I think that they’re all crazy, wildly talented,” Ross said. “People like Ryley Walker and Yasmin Williams. I’ve taken lot of inspiration from them, especially the way Ryley makes records.”
Another artist Ross has worked with and taken inspiration from is the Chicago group Ratboys.
“Ratboys probably are No. 1 for me on that because I just think they’re obviously amazing and just truly great people, and we’ve done a handful of tours together,” he said. “Again, Ryley Walker, he took us out right before the pandemic. He’s become someone that I really look up to musically. Tim Showalter from Strand of Oaks, we opened for him and he’s been like definitely a bit of a mentor. I would say as far as bands we toured with, Yasmin Williams is pretty inspiring, and Julien Baker.”
Just a few days after the tour-ending set at Karl Hall, Ross will head out on another Wild Pink run, this time solo. He’ll be the support act for The Antlers on 25 dates starting May 2 in Hamden, Conn., and including shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday, May 4, and First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia on Friday, May 6. Ross is a fan of Peter Silberman’s band, but he’ll be seeing them for the first time when he goes on the tour.
“His style of a softer vocal delivery, with kind of ornate beautiful songs, is sort of something I definitely aspire to,” he said.