Peter Wolf Crier

The duo of Peter Pisano and Brian Moen are back for their sophomore effort with Garden of Arms. Inter-Be was a great debut – full of great songwriting and excellent musicianship. In describing them to friends, I’ve labeled them the folk Black Keys.

Garden of Arms takes everything from Inter-Be, adds more layers, more loops and more goodness. At the core, remains Moen’s inch-perfect drumming and Pisano’s earnest voice are awash in loops, layers and distorted guitars. And while I would normally worry when a quality band introduces so many new elements to the mix, Pisano and Moen had the talent to spare. At points, the new elements are overwhelming, but there are moments of brilliance that a) make this album worthy of your collection and b) points to a very bright future for this dynamic duo.

The opening chords of Beach sound like Radiohead, which I never would have imagined in a million of years on a Peter Wolf Crier album. Haunt You works around an ominous organ chords. This song has Pisano harmonizing with himself as Moen provides the percussion backbone. Hard Heart is a song where drums are at the forefront of the mix as Pisano drifts front to back throughout the song.

I imagine this album is going to be polarizing for fans of Peter Wolf Crier and quite possibly that whole Eau Claire music scene. They took a very nice formula and entered a lot of experimentation and production to the mix. Some are going to welcome it and some are going to see it as over the top. I guess, I am somewhere in the middle, leaning more to the welcoming side.

I’ve seen these guys a couple of times live and their talent is undeniable. At their core, remain very talented songwriters and I love the ambition to break-free and try some new stuff on here.

Peter Wolf Crier – Settling It Off

Peter Wolf Crier – Right Away

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On the second morning of SXSW I mustered up the energy to roll out of bed to see Peter Wolf Crier’s set at The Muzzle Of Bees party. I had listened to an advanced copy of Inter-Be while at work and wasn’t able to get a firm grasp on the music with all the distractions.‚  I was not prepared to be blown away in Austin.

Consisting of Peter Pisano and Brian Moen, the duo based out of Minneapolis play some blend of folk/blues that’s tough to label. A friend of mine claims they sound like M. Ward, but I’ll stick with the time-tested label of awesome. Pisano plays guitar, bass pedals, sings, loops his vocals. Christ, he does everything short of making balloon animals on stage. And, while you may think that doesn’t leave much room for Moen to shine, the exact opposite is true. Watching them play, and on many subsequent listens to Inter-Be, it’s uncanny how Moen pops up with fills or brings the drums to the forefront at the perfect moment. For such a relatively new band, their chemistry on stage is mesmerizing.

The songs on Inter-Be were written by Pisano in a fit of creativity after a dry spell, seemingly out of nowhere. After playing them for Moen, the duo fleshed them out for the album that sits before you now. The first two tunes are below and both are amazing. I also love “Untitled 101,” but the tune that has become my favorite is “For Now.” Individually, the work of both Moen and Pisano is extraordinary. Moen is seemingly out of control, but in the right place at the same time. Pisano brews up a combo of picking, looping, and vocalizing that dances and skitters over Moen’s frantic backbeat. Would a song like “For Now” be enjoyable without Moen? Sure, it is great tune, but the the way the two work together throughout the album is nothing short of brilliant.

The duo will be hitting the road this summer in support of the new release and alongside Freelance Whales, Heartless Bastards, and The Builders and The Butchers later on this summer. I can’t stress enough how impressive Peter Wolf Crier are in person. The album is outstanding, but seeing them live is a whole other experience, and one not to be missed. PWC is in Chicago today and visiting us for a live session. We’ll have that one out in the week’s ahead.

Peter Wolf Crier – Crutch and Crane

Peter Wolf Crier – Hard As Nails


I didn’t intend to make this Peter Wolf Crier day, but it has now been declared. They just released this mp3 as a free download.

Peter Wolf Crier – Hard As Nails

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