On the same day that up-and-coming indie rock band Wet Leg announced their signing with Domino Recording Co. last June, the group released “Chaise Longue,” a minimalist post-punk rocker that immediately gained notoriety for its vocal delivery. impassive and mean girls the references. But according to lead singer Rhian Teasdale, the duo’s debut single was never intended for release.
“Chaise Longue” was “meant to stay in that folder that said ‘High Jams,'” she says. “These are just really stupid songs. They are for no one else. But now it is.
“If we had known other people would listen to it, we might never have done it,” adds lead guitarist Hester Chambers.
Teasdale says, “No, we definitely wouldn’t. I say ‘chaise longue’ like 47 times.
Since then, the pair from England’s Isle of Wight have sold out venues across the UK and US, with more shows scheduled worldwide by November. Its catalog has earned more than 13 million US streams, according to Luminate, formerly MRC Data, and the singles “Chaise Longue” and the dreamer, reflective “Too Late Now” mapped Billboard‘s Alternative Airplay and Adult Alternative Airplay, respectively. The band are in good company with artists past – like Art Brut speaking a decade ago – and present – including contemporaries Fontaines DC, with whom they share producer Dan Carey. And now, with their self-titled debut album arriving April 8, Wet Leg is already being touted as a shining example of how the world is craving the return of guitar-fueled indie rock.
Teasdale, 29, and Chambers, 28, met while studying music at Isle of Wight College. They first played together in 2018, when Chambers joined Teasdale for a few gigs as part of RHAIN, Teasdale’s piano-based solo project, and in 2019 officially formed a band built around simple lyrics and ” play the guitar very loudly,” Teasdale explains. “I think before, when I was writing, I was trying to over-complicate things and the singing. I would try to show the full range of my voice, but it’s just pointless. It’s like guitar guys who shred; it’s just musical masturbation.
Although they previously attributed the band’s name to random knocks on an emoji keyboard, they now say it comes from an unfortunate sweat stain suffered by their drummer, Henry Holmes, who is joined by guitarist-keyboardist Josh. Mobaraki and bassist Ellis Durand. The first Wet Leg show took place on a local stage during the Isle of Wight festival to a small crowd in 2019, but with Teasdale working in London as a wardrobe assistant and Chambers helping with the business jewelry from her family on the island, the band could play only sporadically.
When the pandemic lockdowns began in 2020, Teasdale and Chambers both reunited in their hometown, and although they initially collaborated remotely, they soon reunited in person, making the video for “Chaise Longue ” in April. Former Wet Leg studio bassist Michael Champion, an A&R executive for Hall or Nothing management company, sent the video to his boss, Martin Hall, who became an immediate fan and signed on as the company’s manager. act. “The fact that you can’t see Hester’s face in the whole video, the humor involved, it’s hard to get humor in the clips, but it’s so dry, the way Rhian sings in front of the camera,” Hall says. He adds that he had never heard the song before watching the clip, saying, “It sounded like nothing else.”
Hall sent the video and some other early Wet Leg songs to labels such as Island Records and Domino, who both sent representatives to the Isle of Wight to meet the band. “It seemed to me that they were making guitar music for themselves,” says Jordan Whitmore, Domino’s UK A&R manager. “They weren’t trying to be like everyone else or take themselves too seriously.” Over a pint and some crisps at the Spyglass pub, Teasdale and Chambers bonded with Team Domino and signed to the label in November 2020.
Following the signing announcement, Wet Leg began performing live again last July, and by December the band had played their first set of US shows in New York and California — and sold out on every date. “In our experience, we find it great to bring artists to key international cities and inspire people to experience something new and enjoyable early in the campaign, long before the release of the album,” said Laurence Bell, founder and owner of Domino. “You get all these early adopters and tastemakers going to the little shows, and the excitement on the pitch only increases from there.” Hall adds, “It’s gone incredibly fast, faster than any band I’ve ever managed in terms of getting the music out to where we are now.”
When the band returned in March for another tour, more sales followed, including one to Brooklyn Steel. (The show was originally slated for Brooklyn’s Music Hall in Williamsburg, but demand forced an upgrade from the 650-capacity club to the 1,800-person venue.) Attendees near the front wore lobster claws , as Wet Leg does in the “Wet Dream” video. The spectators shouted “I love you!” and someone in the crowd threw a bra. The band had enough material for about an hour-long set, playing most of the upcoming album as well as a Ronan Keating cover. Towards the end, Teasdale took a beating to watch the screaming audience. “That’s very funny,” she mused aloud, smiling in disbelief before diving into the next song.