I first heard Wye Oak on KEXP, and I remember liking it. After that it kind of slipped under my radar: I guess I chalked it up to another semi-interesting indie-folk-swelling-guitars-sweet-female-vocalist sound that my ears were just getting burned out on. However, once again my indie-rock radar malaise was stunned again… Wye Oak is compelling in a subtle but stirring way. There's substance behind the carefully articulated shoegazer and near punk-rock vocal wails.
The two member strong outfit from Baltimore (Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack) create a layered sound that defies the number of hands actually playing. Their more exuberant folky moments recall Stars and the sing-song vocals of Jenn Wassner create an appropriately feminine feel to this musical jungle gym of styles and influences. From stripped-down standout "Family Glue" to the straight up Yo La Tengo brand of distorted rock in "Orchard Fair" Wye Oak has created a cohesive album, which was written over the course of many years but recorded in a few months.
If Children was released in April of this year, but I'm just now absorbing the album in all its northeastern glory. It's worth a listen if only for the successful melding of styles: slight psychedelia and hazy distortion awash with hypnotic violin interludes. It's a great summer album, or for that matter an appropriate autumnal set of songs as well.
Free mp3s and YouTube performance at the Otto Bar in Baltimore below: