Whatever you do, don’t ask the members of your favorite group why they start side projects. The answer is always the same old cliche: “We have all these songs that don’t fit with our main band, blah blah blah.” The Wheel, however, means it. Nathaniel Rateliff, along with his Born in the Flood bandmate Joseph Pope, began the Wheel as an outlet for their slower and more somber material.
And what lovely material it is. Of the few tracks I’ve heard so far, my favourite has to be ‘My Hanging Surrender’. Nathaniel’s distinctive vocals soar and teeter and I love the high-pitched twangy bits where you have no idea what he’s saying, but it doesn’t matter because there’s feeling there, feeling of the kind that doesn’t need words. ‘Just For Me, But I Thought Of You’ is also beautiful, a quieter piece with lovely backing vocals and some nice feathery snare work.
Bonus live take (go here for the rest of the show):
Bonus coverage from a Nirvana tribute show earlier in the year: