10 Albums: Wes McDonald of Vulture Whale

By Peter Lindblad

VULTURE WHALE (from left): Jake Waitzman, Wes McDonald, Keelan Parrish and Lester Nuby. (Daffodil Publicity)

VULTURE WHALE (from left): Jake Waitzman, Wes McDonald, Keelan Parrish and Lester Nuby. (Daffodil Publicity)

In a way, Vulture Whale could be the indie-rock version of one of those mythological beasts assembled from parts of various animals and given the ability to breathe fire.

Its trunk is pure Southern rock, but one of its faces has the degenerate sneer and dangerous aspect of New York City toughs like Lou Reed and The Strokes, while another is marked by features that recall the drunken humanity and sloppy genius of The Replacements. But its heart is all rock ’n’ roll, and like the mythical monsters of the ancient past, when Vulture Whale opens its mouth, it emits a fiery sonic blaze.

Based in Birmingham, Ala., Vulture Whale’s newest project is an EP titled Bamboo You, scheduled for Jan. 19 release on the Skybucket label. For the six songs on Bamboo You, Vulture Whale combines its brand of eccentric rock with its love of British music like The Stone Roses, Blur and The Smiths, as well as classic British rock bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones.

Rush: Moving Pictures
Peart is not pronounced “purt,” like the shampoo. It’s pronounced “peert,” like
the drummer.

REM: Life’s Rich Pageant
Reminds me of fall in the South, but not in a Better Homes and Gardens way.

The Feelies: The Good Earth
Reminds me of fall in the South, in a New Jersey kind of way.

Van Halen: 1984
When I had my MTV.

Billy Idol: Rebel Yell
The first concert ever for Les and Wes. Lots of snarling and fist pumping.

The Replacements: Tim
’Cause it’s awesome.

Sugar: Copper Blue
It’s an agressive rock album with an amazing sense of melody. It chimes, yet it chucks.

The Cure: The Head On The Door
You had me at “Head.”

“Freedom Rock”
The commercial, not the cassette.

Soundgarden: Louder Than Love
Keelan (Parrish, Vulture Whale’s bass player) says “When I first heard that, it knocked my balls off and I had to run around and pick ’em up.”


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