Animal Spirit is not only one of the most talented new rock bands around but also a kind of testament to the power of the Fort Worth scene. In other words, if not for the F-Dub, there probably wouldn’t be an Animal Spirit.
The quartet’s origins trace back to California –– lead vocalist/ guitarist Andrew Stroheker, lead vocalist/keyboardist Sam Wuehermann, and bassist/backing vocalist Joe Cannariato are all native Californians who ended up in the Fort at around the same time, the mid-2000s. Through Stay Wired, a short-lived but beloved coffee shop on West Berry Street in TCU-land, Stroheker and Wuehermann met and realized their shared musical tastes –– at the time, Wuehermann was finishing her degree in dance at the school. The two started an acoustic project, informally known as Sam-Drew, that last August became Animal Spirit with the addition of Cannariato and drummer Parker Anderson. Wuehermann had every intention of packing her bags and following her dancing dreams after graduation. “I met some really awesome artists and musicians here and thought, ‘Hey, this will be a great place to stay,’ and I’m here,” Wuehermann said. “It’s great. I’m very comfortable here.” (What about mom back home? “She would miss me if I lived five minutes from her house,” Wuehermann said with a laugh.)
While gigging all over town, the band wrote a ton of songs, Stroheker said. Recording them was the next step. “We just wanted to get a full-length out there,” he said. Recorded partially at Unity Church of Fort Worth (Anderson is a member) and Euphio Productions in Arlington, Animal Spirit’s self-titled debut is pretty amazing. Though rough around the edges, it’s dynamic, with lots of ebb and flow: moments of furious guitar-driven bombast juxtaposed with slow, quiet passages. The vibe is decidedly earthy and spacey (think: KatsüK meets Skeleton Coast), and the lyrics are positive, expressing a longing for spiritual harmony and connectivity. “Whether we believe in certain things, we’re all here for a reason,” Stroheker said.
Now part of the Euphio family, Animal Spirit is about to embark on a short regional tour with one of the biggest new acts in town, We’reWolves. The route will wind through San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Arkansas, and maybe Oklahoma. “We just want to share our music with whoever wants to listen,” Stroheker said. “We want to make sure everybody hears it.”
The band will celebrate the release of Animal Spirit on Saturday at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666) with Denton’s Black James Franco (8:40 p.m.), San Antone’s Last Nighters (9:40), and Austin-based headliners What Made Milwaukee Famous (11:45). Cover is $10-14.
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