The musical partnership of Kevin Krauter and Nina Pitchkites evolved this year, with the duo initially releasing songs under the band name Mana and now as Wishy.
Regardless of the band name, Krauter and Pitchkites dial in a modern interpretation of “shoegaze” and “dream pop” styles—offering layers of sonic textures that intoxicate and disorientate in a positive way.
“The spirit behind a lot of what we write has that kind of edge,” Krauter said when discussing influential 1990s bands such as My Bloody Valentine. “It’s just something I’ve always loved hearing in music. If there’s a chance to incorporate that into something, it makes me happy.”
Krauter and Pitchkites met when they were students at Carmel High School, but they followed different artistic paths before melding their talents as vocalists, guitarists and songwriters.
Work in the band Hoops introduced Krauter to an indie-rock audience, with Mississippi-based Fat Possum Records issuing recordings by Hoops in 2016 and 2017. Krauter then made two solo albums for New York-based Bayonet Records. Pitchkites, meanwhile, moved to Philadelphia and used the name Push Pop when making music.
Pitchkites returned to Indiana in 2021, and she and Krauter bonded over their fandom of the swirling, gauzy sounds of yesteryear.
And while My Bloody Valentine serves as a reference point for Wishy’s sound, Krauter, Pitchkites and the band’s third guitarist, Dmitri Morris, aren’t fixated on imposing sheets of white noise in the tradition of MBV’s classic 1991 album “Loveless.”
Bright acoustic guitar tones are present among the five songs of “Paradise,” Wishy’s debut EP that’s scheduled for release Dec. 15 on indie label Winspear.
“I think the music we make is optimistic,” Krauter said. “There’s definitely a healthy degree of melancholy to a lot of it, but for the most part you could say it’s uplifting.”
Wishy, a quintet of Krauter, Pitchkites, Morris, bass player Mitch Collins and drummer Connor Host, will wrap up Thursday an eight-date run of serving as supporting act for singer-songwriter Tanukichan in California, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah and Idaho.
The band’s debut single, “Donut,” features Pitchkites on vocals and was inspired by a time when she relied on an undersized spare tire to keep a car on the road.
So far, she said, the current tour has been kind to Wishy.
“I’ve always wanted to see more of the Southwest,” she said during a roadside conversation between Albuquerque and Salt Lake City. “We’re all having a great time and the shows are going awesome.”
Krauter, who splits vocal duties with Pitchkites on “Paradise’s” title track, said he’s gained confidence through his experiences with Bloomington-based Hoops and as a solo artist.
“More than anything, I’ve learned to try to relax and have fun with what I’m doing,” said Krauter, who performed as part of Luna Music’s Record Store Day lineup in April, when Wishy was still known as Mana. “I feel like this music is the closest to what I want to make and what I feel the most excited about.”