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"Wonderful Wonderful" - Homegrown Nevada Music From The Killers


Photos Copyright 2017, Anton Corbijn/Courtesy: Reynolds Management, Las Vegas

Album cover for "Wonderful Wonderful' by the Killers

The cover of the new music recording by The Killers depicts a hand holding up a pink and white sea shell. The background is a desert landscape.

The Killers have strong ties to Nevada. The lead singer, Bandon Flowers is a native of Henderson. The band formed here in 2001. Since then, their albums have sold in the millions worldwide.

Their new album, "Wonderful Wonderful," is their first in five years. Co-founder and lead vocalist Brandon Flowers has said the title came to him as he watched a desert storm. 

Left to right: Ron Vannucci, Mark Stoermer, Brandon Flowers/Photos Copyright 2017, Anton Corbijn; Courtesy: Reynolds Management, Las Vegas

With us to talk about The Killers is Willobee Carlan. Carlan is the music programmer at NV89, Nevada Public Radio’s music discovery station at 89.1 in Reno


What do you hear?

I think what’s really cool about this album is that you can’t really pigeonhole the band career-wise. This record shows their evolution over their career. Any successful band needs to evolve. They’ve crossed boundaries. First starting out as an alternative/indy band and then they blossomed into the major pop-rock band. I would say they really honed their craft and their production and their writing has gotten so much better as well.

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What do you know about the lead singer Brandon Flowers?

I’ve watched him sort of grow up in his career. He’s the youngest of six kids. He was born in Henderson, but he spent a good part of his childhood in Utah. That’s where his Mormon family relocated. Then he moved back to Nevada and graduated from Chaparral High School back in 1989. He said that growing up in Las Vegas as a member of the Mormon Church kind of helped prepare him for the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Whatever that means.

Who is listening to them these days?

That's hard to pin down. They’ve been around for more than 15 years. I think they’ve become a favorite of each generation as they come. The gen-Xers first and now the millennials. I think with this new album they’re easily going to win the respect of younger listeners.

Do you have a favorite song from the album?

My favorite is actually “Tyson vs. Douglas.”

It sounds like a throwback to the 80s:

That is one of the reasons it is one of my favorite songs. Plus, it's very relatable if you’re a parent because “Tyson vs. Douglas’ tells the story of Brandon as a young kid telling the story of watching his hero Mike Tyson get beaten in the historic bout with Buster Douglas.

And Brandon is a father now. He’s got a son who is the same age as he was when that fight happened. And he said it was a huge blow watching his sports hero go down. Now, as a father, he doesn’t ever want to let his son down or his family down. And he’s determined not to make the same mistake.

Tell us about NV89?

We’re not your typical non-commercial radio station. NV89 plays everything from alternative, indy, local and a lot of regional artists, not just Reno but the entire state because we’re heard in the entire state.

I think we’re tuned into a young sound. We play a healthy dose of music from established bands you probably heard of as well as a lot of new and emerging artists. We have the freedom to play things that most radio stations have probably forsaken because of consultants – I like to call them insultants. We hope to surprise listeners every time they tune in.

What do you think of the song “The Calling”?

I really like it for a number of reasons. As we all know, Brandon’s devote upbringing comes up in his lyrics and I think as a band they’re very adept at injecting religion into some of their music in a way that isn't a put-off. It’s pretty hip.

The song is about a son going back to his hometown to straighten his dad out. The song came about after they were looking at a painting “The Calling of St. Matthew,” which depicts when Matthew in the Bible is called to discipleship. There’s a lot of faith in their music but it’s done in such a way that you don’t realize you’re being preached to.

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Willobee Carlan, host at NV89, Nevada Public Radio's music station

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