Posted by flotz
Monday, December 05, 2011 |
Hume – Penumbra. Dare you to sing along to this record. You want to, but you just can’t. How can they write such amazing songs that defy predictability listen after listen. The record doesn’t get old. It is filled with drama, intelligence and craft. Love this band. And the name is great too.
Hermit Thrushes – Mystery Ocean. These guys are great. Read the Flotzam review here. And interview here.
Never Not Funny Presents Rock Solid – Okay, this is a podcast and not an album, but goddamn it cracks me up. Check it out via iTunes or download the episodes here.
Wax Fingers – Wax Fingers. Again, fitting in that genre of avant pop, making music that challenges but not just for the sake of challenging. Along with Hume and Hermit Thrushes, who have single handedly made me believe that avant pop is alive and well in 2011.
Morning Teleportation – Expanding Away. This album just continues to grow me. Read the Flotzam review here.
Jane’s Addiction – The Great Escape Artist. The second half of this record is off the hook. Production is so lush. A keeper for sure. Read review here.
Wye Oak – Civilian. Heartbreaking. Read the review here.
Kathryn Calder – Bright and Vivid. A really pretty record, lush, very feminine, but in a totally different way than Wye Oak. Read an interview about the record here.
Operation ID – Legs. Local boys! Read the Flotzam review here.
Madlib Medicine Show #10: Black Soul – Officially this came out in 2010, but only just got hip to it, so including it. So good.
Wye Oak’s song “Civilian” is featured in the trailer for the new season of Walking Dead. It fits perfectly with the apocalyptic living-dead show because of its dark realism, a feeling ordinary people can relate to. The song has a suspenseful riff like an imminent attack. It builds to a climax with a deadly zombie attack. The trailer is perfect. I was interested in seeing their live show.
Say Hi and Grand Hallways opened. Say Hi was Eric Elbogen with his acoustic guitar standing on stage by his lonesome. He wears flannel and sings with a murmur, looking like such an ordinary guy. He writes music for a slow dance and makes you want to hold your girlfriend softly (but I know my girl doesn’t dig this acoustic crap). He would work better on a smaller stage.
In the spectrum of local folk-pop Grand Hallway is on the other side of Say Hi; they had seven people on stage. They sounded full; they were creating a lot of sound. The singer would strum an acoustic guitar, harmonize with the front keyboardist, and build into a moment where the electric guitarist could strum, the drummer could pound, the violinist could hum, and the other keyboardists could make more noise. Their music was good but it lacked a clear hook, or maybe the hook was covered by all the sound. I question if they really needed the three keyboardists. Their best song was their last number, it was stripped down and most of the members sat out. You could actually hear it sounding deep and beautiful.
I was hoping Wye Oak was going to strike some sort of balance between those two bands to save this show.
Within their first notes they blew Say Hi and Grand Hallway out of the water. Wye Oak is a duo comprised of Jen Wesner on electric guitar and vocals and Andy Stack on drums and keyboard. On record, their songs song like they were written for a folk musician but with an edgier attitude. When live that folk element is barley present. Wesner stays plugged in the whole night and is unafraid of noise, in fact she uses distortion like it is another instrument. She has a soulful voice and uses it with force; singing softly and nicely but also screaming and yelping. Andy Stack looks like a mathematician, calculated and in control. He works hard, switching from drums to keyboard, picking up mallards mid song and exploding on cue with Wesner.
Wye Oak is a band that likes to make an impact. They catch you with haunting folk-like tunes and then shock you with bursts of powerful noise. They hold nothing back. For who they are and for the sound they create, they push themselves as far as they can go.
Here’s some pics of Wye Oak by Adam Forslund:
Wye Oak’s Civilian simmers. Katherine Fahey is front and center. Workin out. Love the way the guitars sound, well done. Favorite songs are “Holy Holy” going into “Dog Eyes.” “Plains” is really pretty.
They are on tour now and play The Crocodile August 9th.
Wye Oak - Fish (Official Video) from City Slang on Vimeo.
Posted by flotz
Monday, June 06, 2011 |
Really digging Wye Oak’s sound: Minimal and haunting. And original, with some cool guitar work, nothing fancy, but effective. Her vocals are rad. Kinda reminds me of early Cat Power. Check out these tunes:
And here's some pics of them at Sasquatch this year by Adam Forslund: