When I first saw Wye Oak perform at SXSW earlier this year, I described their style as something along the lines of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. — even though I’ve never really listened to a ton of stuff from either band.
Apparently, I must not have been too far off, since they played the songs of Dinosaur Jr. during a special tribute show a few months ago.
But after finally listening to all of their albums several times through, I realize Wye Oak’s sound is much deeper and more complex. Mike Powell of Pitchfork described it best in his review of the band’s debut release, If Children …
“… earnest folk-influenced indie rock with touches of noise and dream-pop.”
Named after the former state tree of Maryland, Wye Oak is the Baltimore duo of Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, backup vocals) and Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars).
The formed in 2006 under the name Monarch before eventually changing their moniker. The released their debut independently in 2007 and re-released it a year later after signing with Merge Records. Their second release, The Knot, came out in 2009, followed by an EP, My Neighbor/My Creator, in 2010 and a third full-length album, Civilian, earlier this year.
There really aren’t any bad tracks on any of Wye Oak’s albums, but the latest release might be the most solid all the way through. My favorite tracks include “The Alter”, “Holy Holy”, “Dogs’ Eyes” and “Fish”.
I just discovered that the band will be in Chicago on Dec. 6 as a supporting act — along with Local Natives — for The National, one of my favorite bands. I very much want to go to this show.
For now, go listen to some tunes at their MySpace page.