Mar 29, 2011

Wye Oak brings the noise

Put Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack in front of a brick wall in a wood-floored record shop, and expect some kidney-rattling, soul-shaking rock.

Wasner describes their method:
We won't admit this to ourselves often, but the way we play live is based on loud-quiet breaks, like super-huge jumps in volume and distortion. Sometimes it's really important to explode with huge amounts of volume. Whether it's out of a creative impulse, or just an angry one where it's like, "Hey everyone, look over here!" We wanted to have the option of having dynamics and volume work to our advantage in certain conditions. And it's fun to absolutely dominate a room for a couple of seconds.
On Monday night, dominate they did, blistering the bricks at Sonic Boom Records in Seattle, with thirty minutes of free music from Civilian and My Neighbor / My Creator.

Early in their set, Civilian's "Holy Holy" was a perfect encapsulation of Stack and Wasner's dynamism, beginning with driving, distorted guitar and then settling into an aggressive, thumping groove. The chorus, the first time, sounds hymnlike--which happens now and then in Wye Oak's music--but the second time, the distortion kicks back in and, if we're still in the sanctuary, at least we're blasting out the stained glass windows.

Live, Wasner's voice is stronger, Stack's drumming more urgent. See them when you get the chance, and worship at the church of rock and/or roll.

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