Posts Tagged ‘Wye Oak’

Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner releases her new album as Flock of Dimes, “Head of Roses”, on April 2nd via Sub Pop, and the latest single is “Hard Way.” “Although I didn’t fully understand when I wrote it,” Jenn says, “Hard Way’ song is an example of the power of the subconscious mind to hide truths from ourselves that we’re not yet ready to see. When I wrote this song I was still in the throes of new love, and I thought I was writing a straightforward, earnest love song. But when I tried to record it, something about the tone of it was eerie, strange, a bit darker than I would have expected. It wasn’t until long after I wrote it that I became aware of its odd foreshadowing of what was to come — that something I intended to be bright and hopeful in the moment was floating on top of a deep current of unease.”

On her second full-length record as Flock of Dimes, Head of Roses, Jenn Wasner follows a winding thread of intuition into the unknown and into healing, led by gut feelings and the near-spiritual experience of visceral songwriting. The result is a combination of Wasner’s ability to embrace new levels of vulnerability, honesty and openness, with the self-assuredness that comes with a decade-plus career as a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and prolific collaborator.

Simply put, Head of Roses is a record about heartbreak, but from a dualistic perspective. It’s about the experience of having one’s heart broken and breaking someone else’s heart at the same time. But beyond that, it’s about having to reconcile the experience of one’s own pain with the understanding that it’s impossible to go through life without being the source of great pain for someone else. “Part of the journey for me has been learning to take responsibility for the parts of things that are mine, even when I’m in a lot of pain through some behaviour or action of someone else. If I’m expecting to be forgiven for the things I’ve done and the choices I’ve made and the mistakes that I’ve made, it would be incredibly cowardly and hypocritical to not also do the work that’s required to forgive others the pain they caused me.”

Showcasing the depth of Wasner’s songwriting capabilities and the complexity of her vision, Head of Roses calls upon her singular ability to create a fully-formed sonic universe via genre-bending amalgamation of songs and her poetic and gut punch lyrics. It’s the soundtrack of Wasner letting go – of control, of heartbreak, and of hiding who she is: “I think I’ve finally reached a point in my career where I feel comfortable enough with myself and what I do, that I’m able to relax into a certain simplicity or straight forwardness that I wasn’t comfortable with before.” Head of Roses puts Wasner’s seismically powerful voice front and centre. Those vocals help thread it all together — it’s a textured musicality, quilted together by intentionality and intuition.

‘Hard Way’ by Flock of Dimes from the album Head of Roses (Release Date: April 2nd, 2021 on Sub Pop Records.

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Flock Of Dimes (the solo project of Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner) will release her new album “Head of Roses”, on April 2nd via Sub Pop Records. Here’s the first single. Her most recent solo project as Flock of Dimes was the EP Like So Much Desire, which also came out last year on Sub Pop. The video for her new single “Two.” The release coincides with an announcement by Wasner that her forthcoming album Head of Roses . Check out the Lola B. Pierson and Cricket Arrison-directed video for “Two,”. 

Directors Pierson and Arrison speak about the “Two” video in a press release: “The world of the video shows two humans during three consecutive days. One human lives her life from morning to night, the other from night to morning. In the middle of the day they meet and the next day begins. By exploring dichotomies (natural/artificial, day/night, everyday/majestic) the work points to the pain caused by categorization and the joy of unification.”

Wasner adds: “‘Two’ is about trying to find a kind of balance between independence and interdependence, and the multitudes within ourselves. It’s about trying to reconcile the desire to maintain a sense of personal autonomy and freedom with the need to connect deeply with others. And it’s about struggling to feel at home in a body, and learning how to accept that the projection of self that you show to others will always be incomplete. I made this video with an incredible team of generous and talented people, including some very dear old friends. I think what we made captures the spirit of the song perfectly—the sense of delight and wonder at the absurd beauty of everyday life, and the true moments of spontaneous joy that can erupt in those rare moments when you catch a glimpse of yourself the way others see you.”

Head of Roses was produced by Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso) and Wasner. which comes out on April 2nd via Sub Pop.

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Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner announces the second solo album under her alias Flock Of Dimes. A mature yet visceral songwriting experience about being on both the giving and receiving ends of heartbreak, ‘Head Of Roses’ is another demonstration of the talents of one of American indie-rock’s most consistently overlooked artists.

Flock of Dimes (aka Jenn Wasner) is sharing a new track titled “Price of Blue,” an unearthly new video filmed in black and white, co-directed by Wasner with Graham Tolbert. “Price of Blue” is a standout from Wasner’s second solo LP, “Head of Roses”, an album that showcases her ability to embrace new levels of vulnerability, honesty and openness, combined with the self-assuredness that comes with a decade-plus career as a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and prolific collaborator.
 
Of today’s release, Wasner says “This song is about trying, and failing, to connect. It’s about the ways in which, despite our best efforts, we misunderstand each other, and become so attached to stories that we’re unable to see the truth that’s right in front of us. And it’s about the invisible mark that another person can leave on your body, heart and mind long after their absence. It can be difficult to make sense of the memory of your experience when the reality on the surface is always shifting—when the story you’re telling, or the story you’ve been told, unravels, leaving you with a handful of pieces and no idea how they used to fit together.”

This song is about trying, and failing, to connect. It’s about the ways in which, despite our best efforts, we misunderstand each other, and become so attached to stories that we’re unable to see the truth that’s right in front of us. And it’s about the invisible mark that another person can leave on your body, heart and mind long after their absence. 
 
It can be difficult to make sense of the memory of your experience when the reality on the surface is always shifting—when the story you’re telling, or the story you’ve been told, unravels, leaving you with a handful of pieces and no idea how they used to fit together. There is more to a lost love than the sum of these pieces, just as a person is so much more than merely a collection of their physical parts. In both cases there is some essence, some spark of spirit that animates us, and gives us the sense that we are approaching the divine. But there is also, always, the shadow. The parts we do not see. The parts we do not acknowledge, and, as a result cannot learn to love, cannot heal. I wanted to make a video that contained all of these things—the love, the shadow, and the mark—and that’s what we tried to do here. 

Flock of Dimes’ “Head of Roses”which features “Two,” and “Price of Blue,” along with “Hard Way,” and “One More Hour,”  on April 2nd, 2021, and on LP April 30th, 2021. The album was produced by Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso) and Wasner at Betty’s in Chapel Hill, NC,

The album features appearances from guitarist Meg Duffy, Bon Iver’s Matt McCaughan, Wye Oak’s Andy Stack, and Landlady’s Adam Schatz. “Head of Roses” follows the release of Like So Much Desire, her acclaimed digital EP released June 2020  Head of Roses is now available for pre-order through Sub Pop. 

‘Price of Blue’ by Flock of Dimes from the album Head of Roses (Release Date: April 2, 2021 on Sub pop Records,

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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This week Flock of Dimes, the solo project of Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak, surprise released a new EP, “Like So Much Desire”, via Sub Pop. The five-song EP is her first release for the iconic Seattle label, which also announced her signing this week. The highlight is probably the title track, “Like So Much Desire.”

Wasner released her debut full-length album under her Flock of Dimes solo project, If You See Me, Say Yes, in 2016 via Partisan. This is the follow-up release. Wasner wrote and produced the EP in her home in isolation and it was mixed by Ari Picker and mastered by Ryan Pickett. Drummer JT Bates recorded his parts from Minneapolis and the strings were recorded in New York by Paul Wiancko, Michi Wiancko, and Ayane Kozasa.

A couple of months ago, like many people, I was alone, lost, and feeling powerless to contribute to the world in any sort of meaningful way. Music has always been how I process existence, how I make some kind of sense out of my life. But in those moments, especially, I was reawakened to the power it has to transform a space, create a mood, to comfort, to heal. The songs I loved took on new meaning, they were a lifeline that slowly brought me back into my body.

This moment in time is not about ME. And I don’t want it to be. I’m eager to be a part of this collective awakening, a joining of forces to fight for a world that values and protects the most vulnerable and marginalized among us.

But at the same time, I know that we need the release that art provides for us, to be inspired, and comforted, and have the energy to persevere. I don’t have illusions of grandeur about this—I’m just a small piece of the puzzle, and I like it that way. But the ability to create and share the things I make with others is what gives my life a sense of purpose. And If anything I make provides any comfort to others along the way, it’s a net positive.

About the songs—they are all about the inseparable nature of desire and grief, joy and loss–two sides of the same coin. They’re linked and they always will be. Don’t let your fear of grief keep you from opening your heart to the beauty that is (still, even now!) all around us. Desire is the first step to imagining a better world.

Thank you so much for listening.
JW

Wasner will be performing a Flock of Dimes livestream concert on Tuesday, June 30th at 7 p.m. ET. Tickets are available here.

Wye Oak (Wasner and Andy Stack) released a new album, The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs, back in April 2018 via Merge Records.

‘Like So Much Desire’ (Release Date: June 23rd, 2020)

Madeline Kenney: Sucker's Lunch: Limited Edition Custard Vinyl + Signed Card

Oakland, CA-based singer/songwriter Madeline Kenney announced a new album, “Sucker’s Lunch”, and shared its first single, “Sucker,” via a self-directed video for the track. “Go on ahead without me,” Kenney passionately and repeatedly sings while sitting at the counter of a diner towards the end of the video. “Sucker” features guest vocals from Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner.

Sucker’s Lunch is Kenney’s third album and is due out July 31st via Carpark Records.

Sucker’s Lunch is the follow-up to 2018’s Perfect Shapes and her 2017-released debut album, Night Night at the First Landing (which was produced by Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bear). Perfect Shapes was produced by Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak and Flock of Dimes. Wasner returns as producer for Sucker’s Lunch, but this time she’s joined by her Wye Oak bandmate Andy Stack (aka Joyero). The album was recorded in Durham, Oakland, and San Francisco.

A press release explains that “thematically, Sucker’s Lunch sees Kenney soberly contrasting the risks and rewards of falling in love, eventually deciding to dive headfirst into her own foolishness and relish in the unknowing.”

Kenney elaborates in the press release: “I’m not interested in something easy or immediately apparent. My experience writing these songs wasn’t easy, it was painful and difficult. I was terrified of falling in love, and as much as I’d like to write a sticky sweet song for someone, it doesn’t come naturally to me. Instead I wanted to explore the tiny moments; sitting alone in my room guessing what the other person was thinking, spiraling into a maze of logical reasons to bail and finding my way out again. When I spoke with friends about the theme of the ‘idiot,’ it became apparent that everyone understood that feeling and was relieved to hear it echoed in someone else.”

As for “Sucker,” Kenney had this to say: “When I lived in Durham, I found myself sitting in the sun on the porch with a musical hero of mine, who was worried about losing their healthcare and not being able to afford to tour. It blew my mind and broke my heart that such a genius had to struggle with uncertainty in trying to make their art. I wrote ‘Sucker’ when I realized that all of us continue to make art, and fall in love, and attempt things that logically could fall apart at any moment, but we are fools for the game and keep producing, keep pursuing. I asked Kurt Wagner to sing on the track because I feel like he is consistently brave in his songwriting (and I’m a HUGE Lambchop fan). When he sent me the stems, I drank a martini and cried.”

Of the “Sucker” video she had this to say: “I’m a huge fan of con-movies; my favorite film is Paper Moon. I wanted to direct a video that put me as the con-man, whose existence relies on making suckers out of passers-by; but ended with me being the biggest loser of all. I lucked out when my favourite Oakland diner, Lois the Pie Queen, let us film on location.”

“Sucker” is the first single taken from Madeline Kenney’s forthcoming album, “Sucker’s Lunch,” out July 31st.

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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.