Posts Tagged ‘Andy Stack’

Wye Oak (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) released a new EP, No Horizon, this week via Merge (stream it here and read our review of it here).  They shared the EP’s final pre-release single, “Spitting Image,” but while we do like that song, we actually prefer stirring EP closer “Sky Witness,” which was not a pre-release single.

Prior, to the announcement of the EP, the band has released quite a few other singles not featured on No Horizon. The standalone single “Walk Soft” another standalone single “My Neighbor / My Creator ” . Back in January, they also shared  “Fear of Heights,” . They also recently shared, “Join”, a new mini documentary highlighting the history of the band.

In June Wasner surprise-released Like So Much Desire, a new EP with her Flock of Dimes solo project. It was her first release for Sub Pop.

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We have been fans of Wye Oak since the very beginning, admiring the group as the duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack gears up to release their latest collection of music—the “No Horizon” EP, out this Friday on Merge Records—we’re showcasing the band’s latest single, “Spitting Image.” 

The tune is a lovely and thrilling piece, slowly building from incidental sounds to a billowing swirl of harmonies, the aural equivalent of a sunrise. Wye Oak created the song, along with the rest of the new EP, as part of a collaboration with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and the choir’s soaring voices lend an almost operatic bombast to the fluttering rhythms and Peter Gabriel-like instrumentation. The cascading sense of awe it generates is very much of a piece with the song’s message. “‘Spitting Image’ is about trying to manage the sheer volume of information we are expected to absorb to exist,” Wasner tells us. “As naturally curious creatures, the idea of seeing everything at once initially sounds intriguing, but of course we quickly reach the limits of what we can consume, and are forced to contend with how little we can actually control. This song was an attempt to emulate the feeling of emotional and psychological overload as the waves of excess exceed the limit of our capacity to absorb them.”

The band has shared No Horizon’s invocation “AEIOU” along with its lyric video featuring artwork by Eva Claycomb and animated by Bradley Hale. Watch it today, and pre-order the No Horizon 12-inch EP on pink vinyl housed in a printed clear plastic sleeve in the Merge store, or wherever records are sold. Rough Trade UK also has an exclusive signed edition on purple vinyl.

The song “AEIOU” is about the inadequacy of language. It was written around the time that those currently in power took it upon themselves to think that they could minimize the existence of certain people by removing the words that we currently use to define them—like transgender—from use. Language is bigger than the powers that try to control it, but we are so much bigger than language. We are so much more than anything that can be suggested with words.

No Horizon, the forthcoming EP featuring five new songs WYE OAK recorded with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, is available everywhere July 31st.

From No Horizon, out July 31st, 2020, on Merge Records.

Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack of Wye Oak have spent most of their lives in Baltimore, MD. But after two years of constant touring with Civilian, they landed on opposite sides of the country with an unforeseeable future ahead. Despite this newfound uncertainty, the two bandmates embraced their physical distance, passing ideas back and forth, allowing new work to evolve in their respective solitudes

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Written, arranged, performed and produced by Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack
with special guests The Brooklyn Youth Chorus:
releases July 31, 2020

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Wye Oak’s special Join tour, which begins next week, will see the duo expand to a quintet and perform music across not only their catalog but songs from Andy Stack’s and Jenn Wasner’s respective solo projects, Joyero and Flock of Dimes. The Wye Oak Join band will include Buke and Gase’s Arone Dyer, Landlady’s Adam Schatz, and Pinson Chanselle from Richmond’s Spacebomb collective, all accomplished multi-instrumentalists in their own regard.

Adam Schatz leads the band Landlady and produces records out of his Ditmas Park studio The Chamber of Commerce. Whenever able and not too hungry or tired, he’s playing assorted instruments with the likes of Sylvan Esso, Japanese Breakfast, Hand Habits, This Is The Kit & others.

 “Walk Soft” delves into trepidation and risk. When I was younger I used to work at a stable taking care of horses. I thought they were the most beautiful animals on earth, and seemingly so gentle, so it took me a while to learn that they could also be dangerous, if only because they were so much bigger than I was. Love is like this, too—the bigger it feels, the more power it holds. True beauty should be frightening.

In anticipation of these exciting shows, Wye Oak is sharing a soaring new song titled “Walk Soft.” Lyrically, it picks up right where preceding standalone single “Fear of Heights” left off by asking a string of questions: “What is the view?/ Does it belong to you?/ Do you see the same blue as I think I do?” From there, themes of trepidation and risk are escalated by the band’s sonic prowess until a satisfying coda of closure is reached.

Also arriving today is a short documentary about the band featuring interviews with Wasner and Stack as they discuss their history, their dynamic as performers and collaborators, how that has been perceived by their audience over the years, and how their upcoming Join shows will differ from any previous Wye Oak performance.

In addition to our new single, there’s also a new Wye Oak mini-doc out today! In it, you can hear us talk about our history, explain our dynamic as performers and collaborators, and share a bit about what you can expect from our upcoming Join shows.

The Wye Oak JOIN singles are out now on Merge Records

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Wye Oak (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) have shared a brand new song, “Fear of Heights.” It follows “Fortune,” a new song they shared back in November . “Fear of Heights” is a bit more subdued than “Fortune” but soars on the strength of Wasner’s always sublime vocals.

Wasner had this to say about “Fear of Heights” in a press release: “This song’s central metaphor likens the deepening of a relationship to the feeling of ascending to the top of a very tall place. There’s something to be seen (or learned, or experienced) once you arrive, but for some there is also a fear that increases with every step upwards. You say it’s worth it for the view, but it’s impossible to know if that’s true until you get there to see it with your own eyes.”

For the first time since 2012, Wasner and Stack are now both living in the same city together, Durham, NC (home to their label Merge Records), which has allowed for renewed creativity and led to the band recording last summer. There’s no word yet on a new album.

Wye Oak released their last album, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, back in April 2018 via Merge.  Since their last album, Stack launched his solo project, Joyero, releasing his debut album as Joyero, Release the Dogs, in August 2019 via Merge. Wasner, meanwhile, has been touring as part of Bon Iver’s band. A previous press release promised that the JOIN tour dates will feature an expanded live band and will find them not just performing Wye Oak songs, but also ones by Joyero and Wasner’s Flock of Dimes solo project.

The single, “Fear of Heights,” is out now on Merge Records.

Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack of Wye Oak have spent most of their lives in Baltimore, MD. But after two years of constant touring with Civilian, they landed on opposite sides of the country with an unforeseeable future ahead. Despite this newfound uncertainty, the two bandmates embraced their physical distance, passing ideas back and forth, allowing new work to evolve in their respective solitudes, Harsh jagged guitar & synths that then melt into a lovely lilting chorus. Energy & subtlety, wonderfully arranged & produced.

The single, “Fortune,” is out now on Merge Records

Once upon a time, the key word for Wye Oak’s music was “catharsis,” mostly thanks to Jenn Wasner’s volcanic guitar breaks. But on 2014’s Shriek, they dismantled the formula they’d recently perfected in favor of a restart, a redefinition. And The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is the culmination of that, an album that defies easy comparison as Wasner and Andy Stack meld stratospheric synths, wiry rhythms, and melted guitar lines. The catharses are often subtler now, but there’s a whole different kind of release in hearing a band sound like this  like freedom. There’s still an inherent melancholy to their music, but Wye Oak are now processing that differently. Rather than stare into the depths of human experience, they’re reaching for the horizon and turning their searching eyes skyward.

The phrase “dream pop banger” would be a contradiction in terms if not for this glorious song, the centerpiece of Wye Oak’s album of the same name. Jenn Wasner, who has spent a decade honing one of the greatest voices in indie-rock, sings about the inexorable urge to seek patterns in chaos, repeating the title with mantra-like fervor: “The louder I call, the faster it runs / The louder I call, the faster it runs.” And then the song seems to do precisely that, growing faster, louder, more joyously overwhelmed, as it spins around and around its central refrain.

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Released April 6th, 2018,

Written and Produced by Wye Oak 
Jenn Wasner: vocals, guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, programming
Andy Stack: drums, guitar, bass, programming, keyboards, piano, upright bass

Pedal Steel on “You of All People” and “Join” by Colt Miller
Cello on “My Signal” by Paul Wiancko 
Violin on “My Signal” by Michi Wiancko 
String Arrangement on “My Signal” by Paul and Michi Wiancko

Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack of Wye Oak have spent most of their lives in Baltimore, MD. But after two years of constant touring with Civilian, they landed on opposite sides of the country with an unforeseeable future ahead. Despite this newfound uncertainty, the two bandmates embraced their physical distance, passing ideas back and forth, allowing new work to evolve in their respective solitudes

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Wye Oak’s fifth album pursues a litany of modern malaises, each track diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song’s subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked. A gripping and powerful set of songs built with melodies, movement, and emotions that transcend even the best of their back catalogue.

Indie sophisticates Wye Oak return with the album “The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs”, the duo’s most vibrant and aurally dazzling record to date. The tonal change that began on 2014’s Shriek carries through to their fifth effort, whose dramatic polyrhythms and ever-shifting synth and guitar grooves resemble the interlocking gears of some fantastic timepiece. Since their 2006 debut, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have taken an increasingly less-straightforward path to achieve their musical means, working well beyond the minimalism of their guitar-and-drums personnel to create intricate but accessible modern pop music. Wasner’s excellent 2016 solo project, Flock of Dimes, is certainly a major influence on the current direction of  Wye Oak, placing a greater emphasis on bright, electronic-threaded production and arrangements that are somehow both sweeping and finely detailed. a more prominent multi-instrumentalism which is as heavy on guitar as on synths, loops, and other electronic elements from both players. Songs like “The Instrument,” “Symmetry,” and the dynamic title cut hurl along with an intrinsic energy, exploring the relationships of self, others, and sounds themselves. While honoring their guitar and drums roots, Wye Oak fill out their canvas with a variety of colors from the pensive underlying loops of the dreamy “You of All People” to the deeply atmospheric centerpiece, “My Signal,” which places Wasner’s gorgeous vocals over an elegant arrangement of strings and experimental pinging tones. When working together, their push and pull remains an attractive part of their appeal and never more so than on this exciting outing.

From the album The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, out April 6, 2018 on Merge Records

Wye Oak’s fifth album, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, begins with a warm-up instrumental, The brief track hums with a disorienting noise  electronic pulses, snatches of ambient conversation and what sounds like a creaking floorboard  but is dominated by someone picking out wobbly notes on an off-key piano, as if they’re coaxing the instrument back into tune. The meticulous exercise is a success: By the end of “(tuning),” the piano’s keystrokes are strident and melodic, and bleed directly into the second track, “The Instrument,” a bustling display of fizzy synthesizers and rain-on-tin drums.

The idea that settling into a groove requires patience and subtle tweaks also happens to be Wye Oak’s career narrative. After forming in 2006, the duo (multi-instrumentalists Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) slowly have become a more traditional indie-rock act into a keyboard-heavy operation. Although this progression was certainly due to Wasner’s growing interest in electronic music — outside of Wye Oak, she’s dabbled in R&B-tinged gloss-pop with Dungeonesse and maintains the synth-forward solo project, Flock Of Dimes.

On The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, Wasner and Stack sound even more emboldened than they did on Wye Oak’s last proper studio album, 2014’s Shriek. Here, the pair builds on the record’s keyboard and sculpts adventurous, pop bursting with contrasting textures. A stabbing kick drum propels the grimy stomp “Over And Over,” which is also daubed with spiderweb-like synths, while distorted guitar crashes to the forefront of the otherwise tranquil “Lifer.” Throughout other songs, dusky guitars dissect plush keyboard layers, and on “You of All People,” off-kilter rhythms push against Wasner’s ethereal vocals.

Wye Oak, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs
In a nod to this slightly askew vibe, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs‘ lyrics are oblique, and focus on coming to terms with life when things don’t quite go as planned. Rather than wallowing in disappointment, however, the speaker in these songs marvels at change and attempts to assimilate new realities. “As I expected, with time it hasn’t gotten easier / I have to work now at things that used to be like breathing,” Wasner observes on the Kate Bush-esque “It Was Not Natural,” while on “Lifer,” she admits, “I am not old, but I’ve become afraid of things I never was.”

The hard-fought wisdom shared on the sugary dream-pop gem “Say Hello” is even more striking. “We want our wishes to bow to us / But they have a life of their own,” Wasner reveals early in the song, before eventually drawing a poignant conclusion: “It is hard to admit you were all wrong / Accept some things are not for you.” She sounds wistful and resigned as she sings these lyrics; the sense of loss is palpable.

Yet The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is anything but nostalgic. The members of Wye Oak derive power from striding forward without the sonic (and emotional) baggage of the past. That’s evident in the album’s seismic musical leaps — the gorgeous “My Signal,” which pairs delicate string twirls with Wasner’s bravado-laden a cappella vocals.

From the album The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, out April 6th, 2018 on Merge Records.