Dark, percussive, and drivingly cinematic, Zayde Wolf is the indie rock solo project of Dustin Burnett, a chart-topping songwriter and Grammy-nominated producer. Written and recorded after a decade-long break from the stage, Golden Age — Zayde Wolf’s debut, whose 13 songs were written, produced, mixed, mastered, and largely performed by Burnett himself — is the latest in a string of projects that have included studio collaborations and co-writing sessions with The Girl and the Dreamcatcher, Augustana, Tyrone Wells, Rhett Walker Band, and others.
Burnett was raised in southern Illinois, where he spent most of his 20s as the frontman of The October. Inspired by the Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen, the band logged the better part of a decade on the road, playing Sundance Film Festival and CMJ Music Fest along the way. Burnt out by the end of his 20s, Burnett put his performance career on hold and moved to Nashville, where he focused on production and songwriting. He also launched That Sound, a boutique drum sample company, to share the unique percussion sounds he’d been creating in the studio.
Coincidentally, it was Burnett’s work as a producer that eventually brought him back to an artist’s career. At the end of 2015, he began working with the L.A.- based licensing company, Lyric House. The company sent him a custom opportunity to create a song for a movie trailer, and Burnett — unable to find someone else to sing on the track — decided to record his own vocals. The company loved the result. What had begun as a movie trailer project had expanded into something unique: a new musical project called Zayde Wolf, which combined Burnett’s history as a producer with his talents as a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. The response was tremendous, with more than 50 movie trailers, video games, TV networks, and other outlets licensing Zayde Wolf’s music. Even the Rio Olympics, the NFL, and ABC’s hit show Dancing With The Stars — whose one-time contestant, Vanilla Ice, found himself dancing to Wolf’s dark cover of “Save Tonight” during the show — got a piece of the action.
Golden Age is the sound of a lifelong artist embracing his role as a frontman once again. Fueled by aggressive guitars, gang vocals, sweeping soundscapes, stomping percussion, and pop hooks, the album is a natural extension of Burnett’s career thus far, even finding room for some of the drum samples from his own bank of studio percussion sounds. From the anthemic “Live Life” to the swaggering, hand-clapped “King,” the album mixes melody with muscle, groove with guitar, old habits with new beginnings.