Chicago quartet California Wives were formed in 2009 by multi-instrumentalists Dan Zima and Hans Michel along with drummer Joe O'Connor.
These three musicians were quickly rounded out by Jayson Kramer, another multi-instrumentalist, with a focus on guitar and keyboards. The band developed a sound based on a strong '80s new wave and pop influence, blending the dancey bounce of Prince
, the Police
, and Culture Club
with more electronic synth pop nods toward New Order
or Human League
. Early in its existence, the band set about recording its debut EP, No. 8, settling on the solid instrumentation of Kramer on lead vocals, keyboard, and guitar; Zima on bass; O'Connor on drums; and Michel on lead guitar. The group played often and regularly released new tracks online. A second EP, Affair, followed, and in 2012 Michel was replaced by Graham Masell on lead guitar. Later that year, California Wives signed a deal with Vagrant Records
and began working with producer Claudius Mittendorfer on their debut album, Art History. ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi