Posts Tagged ‘Wednesday’

Asheville, North Carolina’s Jake Lenderman, best-known for playing guitar in the band Wednesday, will soon release his latest solo album as MJ Lenderman, “Boat Songs” (to be released April 29th, Dear Life Records). Singles like “Hangover Game,” which presents an alternate theory about Michael Jordan’s legendary “flu game,” and “You Have Bought Yourself a Boat,” in which somebody buys a boat, have us hankering for more from Lenderman, whose shaggy alt-country sound belies thoughtful, detailed and down-to-earth song writing, through which his sense of humour also shines.

The artist says his new songs, the first he’s recorded in a professional studio, “chase fulfillment and happiness” above all else.

Released January 20th, 2021

written recorded and produced by MJ Lenderman and Karly Hartzman
Owen Ashworth vox and keys on Phish Pepsi

Wednesday: The Best of What's Next

Karly Hartzman, vocalist and lyricist of Asheville five-piece Wednesday, she writes with a rapidly shifting focus and no sense of chronology, imprinting a sense of longing on their songs. 

Hartzman cites Brautigan as an influence on the band’s forthcoming album, “Twin Plagues”, out on August 13th via Orindal Records. Brautigan’s work predates shoegaze, but Wednesday’s distorted, wailing guitars pair perfectly with this style of writing, which is just as blustery and powerful as their triple guitar barrage. Wednesday aren’t a straightforward band by any means they also fold in elements of slacker rock and country, but they harness a considerable amount of force from their rugged guitar roars and quiet-loud dynamic.

A lot of shoegaze sounds like it exists outside of time and space, but because Wednesday’s music contains Southern twang and suburban imagery, their songs feel like a dream world placed right in the backyard, a place where the shed starts to levitate, birds move like marionettes and the adjacent home feels just as deeply as humans do. Lyrically, “Twin Plagues” is a gloomy album ominous, even, but it feels like a destination that must be visited in order to move past pain.

Sonically, their hooks give the album an exhilarated joy, which heightens all the other emotions present. Twin Plagues is one of the best and most consistent records you’ll hear this year. It’s a stunning body of work for many reasons the way it grapples with trauma, the way it captures suburban melancholia, the way each hook somehow sounds better than the next, the way they manage to spark something inside the listener with such specific lyrics—but more broadly, it’s because every song feels like a cathartic explosion.

“I have a pretty good memory, especially for bad times,” Hartzman says over the phone as she strolls through the hilly streets of Asheville. “I’m honestly trying to forget and move on, rather than hold onto these memories. I’m writing about them to let them go. I’m ready to move on from a lot of stuff. That song about the broken foot and my friend doing acid and jumping out of a window [“Birthday Song”], like I’m desperate to forget that memory.”

The band’s new LP is their third to date and second as a full band, and it largely centers on the traumas Hartzman incurred during her junior and senior years of high school. “That’s a hard time for everyone, but there’s a lot of bad stuff that happened that I’m still processing,” Hartzman says. “It’s just really hard to escape pain, even in a moment of happiness. I think that’s just how trauma works. Any moment of happiness, you’re going to be like, ‘I wish this person was here to experience it with me.’ Or ‘I wish I could let myself feel this fully, but my mind is thinking about this other thing.’”

Throughout the album, Hartzman alludes to a car crash that had a big impact on her life, and she also lays out more general fears and anxieties she can’t quite evade. It’s an album rooted in pain, but the way it describes the messiness of memories and the tension that lingers in the air when things aren’t okay feels like an emotional breakthrough and the turning of a page. It also has an affection for her Southern upbringing and all the imagery that elicits, which adds a softness to the record. Throughout our conversation, she professes her love for the slow pace of the South, and she jokes about the normalcy of the Greensboro neighbourhood she grew up in. “My neighbourhood was called Northern Shores, and there was a Southern Shores and an Eastern Shores and every direction Shores,” Hartzman says. “It was very typical.

On “Handsome Man,” she compares her surroundings to a snow globe, and on “Gary’s,” she describes a long walk to get the mail, but chief among the references to her hometown is the title of track three, “The Burned Down Dairy Queen.” To most, that image would seem rather dark—a disconcerting reminder that things don’t last forever, or a relic of capitalism—but Hartzman sees it differently. “I don’t think that’s a sad image,” she says. “It more just encapsulates where I am, and because of that, it makes me happy. Even though it represents, to me, being an empty shell of a person, I look at it and say, ‘There’s me.’ I’m so glad I can see myself reflected in this place where I live and these things I’m surrounded by.”

Hartzman has always been in touch with her creative side. She skipped classes during high school roughly three days out of the week to write and draw at a coffee shop, and she frequently tagged along with a friend to DIY shows in Greensboro. As she gradually saw more female musicians in her local scene, she began to fantasize about joining a band. She read as many memoirs by female musicians as she could find, and she was inspired to keep plugging away at the guitar after watching Mitski’s 2015 Tiny Desk Concert. Hartzman moved to Asheville for college, which is where she met guitarist and eventual bandmate Daniel Gorham. Gorham, who has since left the band to play with Prince Daddy & The Hyena, helped Hartzman record her first album as Wednesday, “yep definitely”, a lo-fi pop record heavily inspired by The Sundays.

Hartzman formed a band called Diva Sweetly with her high school friends, who had previously performed as Pictures of Vernon. They released one album titled In The Living Room back in 2019, but it was a far cry from the type of music Hartzman was hoping to make. Hartzman was psyched to finally be in a band, but as a shoegaze fan, she knew she hadn’t yet fulfilled her artistic vision. Wednesday eventually expanded and became a full group, resulting in the release of their second album I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone in 2020. Hartzman is proud of the record, and it felt closer to the sound she was trying to capture, but still considering herself a musical beginner, she knew she could make something even better.

By the time the band started composing and recording “Twin Plagues”, Hartzman felt much more confident in her abilities as a musician and songwriter, and you can tell by the immediacy of the songs. You can also hear the band’s growing musical chemistry, particularly in the way their three guitarists interact with each other. Hartzman plays guitar alongside her partner Jake Lenderman and Xandy Chelmis, who plays lap steel, and this combo creates a fascinating back-and-forth. “I’m always so impressed by them and their ability to work around each other and create space for each other,” Hartzman says. “They always know when to hit with the same part, musically, and when to do different things.”

Hartzman doesn’t think about Wednesday’s music in stylistic terms. Instead, she tries to align their sound with the emotions of every line she’s written, which accounts for the dramatic peaks and troughs within their songs. “I feel like ‘Cody’s Only’ is a really good example of that,” Hartzman says. “I wanted the song to shrink away and then explode at the end because that’s how I felt singing the words. So it’s really just trying to match up everything emotionally, and it happens pretty naturally once we gather what I’m feeling about stuff, line to line.”

Specific imagery like a Dallas Cowboys urn (“Cliff”), condensation on the bathroom mirror (“Cody’s Only”) and a gutter that drips like a runny nose (“Toothache”) draws you closer to Wednesday’s songs, creating an intimate bond that wouldn’t occur if these songs were painted with broad strokes. In a way, Hartzman is trusting listeners with these images, inviting them into the depths of her memory and sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. “I always feel like there are so many songs about general stuff that anyone and no one can identify with,” Hartzman says. “But your memories, specifically, and the more details you use to describe them, that’s the most special goldmine of lyrics in the world, because no one else is gonna [write] the same way you do.”

Hartzman sings, “Jealous of the rooms whose floors can feel your weight upon them,” on a song from Twin Plagues. Both lines exude love, pain and loneliness, and the evocative, roundabout way they describe these feelings brings new meaning to these sentiments. Wednesday’s music feels sacred, like something you’re going to keep in a safe place and devour routinely in times of need.

vocals and guitar Karly Hartzman
lead guitar Jake Lenderman
Bass Margo Schultz
Drums Alan Miller
Lap Steel Xandy Chelmis 

“Twin Plagues” is out on August 13th via Orindal Records.

WEDNESDAY – ” Cody’s Only “

Posted: June 13, 2021 in MUSIC

I love “Twin Plagues” first for its songs, plainly. If you, listening to Wednesday for the first time around or even the second time around, stumble onto this album, I promise you the songs will be what grab you first, beyond any of my foolish high-level emotional theorizing or projections. Every band that loves the pursuit of their craft the way this band does is one to follow, because getting to sit on the side lines and watch them level up is a real generosity.

Twin Plagues is overflowing with hooks, but what most delighted me about the band from the start has taken a leap: they have managed, somehow, to get even better at structuring their noise from one movement of a song to the next. The idea of the “song” itself is flexible in their hands, so much so that each song holds two, or three songs within. This, again, generosity. “Cody’s Only” is a ballad until it begins to threaten a storm of volume, and then, in its final act, it becomes something else altogether. “One More Last One” is a shoegaze-y trip that swells and swells until it overflows, but it doesn’t stop. It keeps offering and offering and offering. I say “noise,” and never in a dismissive sense. Everything has a place, and so much of its place is to serve the true heart of this album, and the true heart of Wednesday’s music, which is allowing cracks through which tenderness can enter and exit as needed. Tenderness that, it seems to me, is always wrestling underneath whatever else might be happening on a song’s surface.

The Band:

vocals and guitar Karly Hartzman
lead guitar Jake Lenderman
Bass Margo Schultz
Drums Alan Miller
Lap Steel Xandy Chelmis 

WEDNESDAY – ” Handsome Man “

Posted: June 8, 2021 in MUSIC

Asheville five-piece Wednesday are prepping the release of their second album “Twin Plagues”, out on August 13th via Orindal Records, and its lead single “Handsome Man” is one of my favourite songs of the year so far. With a steady stream of cheerful, blowtorched guitars and vocals so sweet you can practically hear the smiles on their faces, this song is a certified mood-boosting joyride. While the lyrics are tinged with lonesome woes (“I’m all alone in a snow globe / Where do we go when the glow goes home?”) and amusing fragments of memories (“Holding a crossbow in a family photo”), the song exudes an impenetrable state of loose, giggly ease it acknowledges this deeply fucked-up world, and then takes a deep breath and wears a good-faith grin, which is honestly the most you can expect anyone to do these days.

In a long and emotionally exhausting year of being inside (alone, in my case,) I have found myself thinking about mirrors. How to avoid spending too much time in them, most days. Taking inventory of the real, physical self is difficult work, work that I’m not entirely opposed to but work that became immediately more treacherous for me when I had to witness the very real toll that time, modern anxieties, isolation, and boredom were taking on me. It was easier, it seemed, to spiral into a not-so-distant glorious past, to use memory as a tool of both excitement and healing.

As they describe, in a time marred by peeling wallpaper, car crashes and ugly overpasses, we can at least laugh through the pain, or in their case, make a rock song so damn good that literally nothing can faze anyone who’s listening to it. And its expectedly smiley music video swaps those aforementioned bummers for simple pleasures, namely sunshine, parking lot adventures.

So, yes, the songs are good. You will maybe roll down your windows on a comfortable day on the right stretch of road in a warm season and turn the volume up when “Birthday Song” gets good and loud and sing-along-able. You might sit atop a rooftop at night, closer to the moon than you were on the ground, and let “Ghost Of A Dog” churn and rattle you to some night time realization that you couldn’t have had in silence.

But, even on top of all of this, on top of all the pleasures and the mercies that the sounds on this album might afford. I hope and think, too, that it will remind anyone who listens that we are a collection of many reflections. All of them deserving patience.

vocals and guitar Karly Hartzman
lead guitar Jake Lenderman
Bass Margo Schultz
Drums Alan Miller
Lap Steel Xandy Chelmis R

Releases August 13th, 2021

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing, shoes and indoor

Just Mustard are a band based in Dundalk, Ireland. Debut album “Wednesday” releases 2/5/18. In the past several years, a new wave of intriguing guitar bands have emerged from Ireland groups that are honing in on a particular kind of rushing-but-brainy punk-inflected rock, or groups that dismantle and implode structures and genres to locate their own unique sound. The Dundalk five-piece Just Mustard belong in the latter category.

Their sound  noisy, electronic-indebted, and often playing like a heavy and foreboding iteration of shoegaze — has already won them acclaim in their homeland, where their debut album Wednesday was nominated for a Choice Music Prize last year. It’s easy to imagine Just Mustard are garnering more international attention in the near future, too.

On the heels of album Wednesday, Just Mustard’s have returned this year with a double single. “Frank,” and its companion, “October.” While “Frank” was a loopy, unnerving track, sounding like images bleeding out of focus, “October” is harsher, and darker. Onstage, their waves of distorted and mutated guitar began to sound like a bunch of chainsaws tossed around in a hurricane. “October” skews closer to that; while its guitars linger like haunting images creeping up in the back of your mind, you can already picture the band unleashing this song live, letting their instruments take over.

Throughout, vocalist Katie Ball sounds like a ghost, a memory. When those guitars first screech in, it’s as if hearing a person erased in front of you. As the track goes on, she returns, fighting against the static that surrounds her. It’s a quietly intense track, suggesting both the tensions and the eruptions Just Mustard have already proven themselves capable of in their young career.

Ryan Adams Spring Tour 2019

Ryan Adams has announced ambitious plans to release three albums this year. He disseminated the info about two of the albums, called “Big Colors” and “Wednesday”, via some political journalists’ Twitter feeds.

The first of those albums to be released is “Big Colors” — it’s due out in April via Pax-Am/Blue Note/Capitol Records — and he debuted the first song from it on the Philadelphia radio station WXPN. Its choice of premiere locale seems intentional: The song is called “Doylestown Girl,” named after a nearby Pennsylvania town in Bucks County.

Adams announced that he plans on releasing three new albums at some point in 2019, which he’d previously done back in 2005. One of those albums is expected to be titled, Big Colors, and will presumably include a pair of new singles titled “Anybody Evil”, and “Fuck The Rain”. According to some of the posts shared to Adams’ Twitter account earlier this week and again on Thursday, both Mayer and Weir will be making a musical appearance on at least one of those projects.

In a press release, Ryan Adams announced his new track “Fuck The Rain” with the words “Check out this song it’s cool.” Or don’t- we all might the trump is president. I love you, sincerely Ryan Adams.

In a series of tweets posted by Adams, the rock musician informed fans that Mayer provided the solo on “Fuck The Rain”, which is scheduled to arrive on all platforms this coming Wednesday, January 23rd. The confirmation on Thursday comes a day after Adams shared a trio of photographs of himself, Mayer, and Blue Note Records President/Wolf Bros bassist Don Was working together in the studio. Was also accompanied Adams on stage during his brief performance at the Chris Cornell Tribute Concert in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Adams made sure to tag Blue Note Records, along with Capitol Records, in the social posts, leading fans to assume the upcoming projects will arrive through the historic record label.

Earlier Ryan had shared a photo alongside Weir, stating the two were working on a “secret thing” at Adams’ Pax-Am Studios.