Union Transfer

1026 SPRING GARDEN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123 Ι 215-232-2100

Wye Oak

Wye Oak

Callers

Sat, September 22, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$13.00 - $15.00

This event is all ages

Wye Oak
Wye Oak
The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs—the triumphant fifth album by Wye Oak—begins with an explosion. For a few seconds, piano, drums, and a playful keyboard loop gather momentum; then, all at once, they burst, enormous bass flooding the elastic beat. “Suffering, I remember suffering,” sings Jenn Wasner, her voice stretched coolly across the tizzy. “Feeling heat and then the lack of it/But not so much what the difference is.” The moment declares the second coming of Wye Oak, a band that spent more than a decade preparing to write this record—its most gripping and powerful set of songs to date, built with melodies, movement, and emotions that transcend even the best of their catalogue.

Louder is the third record that Wasner and Andy Stack, who launched Wye Oak in Baltimore, have made while living in separate cities—she in Durham, North Carolina, he in Marfa, Texas. They flew to one another for a week or so at a time, hunkering in home studios to sort through and combine their separate song sketches. These shorter stints together produced less second-guessing and hesitation in their process, yielding an unabashed and unapologetic Wye Oak. They discarded past rules about using just guitar or keyboard to write a record, instead funneling all those experiences and experiments into perfectly unified statements. The result is the biggest, broadest, boldest music they’ve ever made. The title track is a coil of anxiety and exuberance, its verses and chorus sweeping into cascades of magnetic harmony. By the time the song ends, it feels like a real pop anthem, a spell to be shouted against the ills of our world.

Louder pursues a litany of modern malaises, each of its dozen tracks diligently addressing a new conflict and pinning it against walls of sound, with the song’s subject and shape inextricably and ingeniously linked. The rapturous “Lifer,” for instance, ponders perseverance and survival in times of profound struggle. It is, at first, hesitant and ponderous, Wasner wrestling with her own choices. But her ecstatic guitar solo leads into a chorus that feels like a triumph over doubt, or at least a reconciliation with it. “Over and Over” finds Wasner alone at home, watching clips of violence abroad on repeat, her outrage outstripped only by her ineffectiveness. Stack’s colossal circular rhythm and Wasner’s corroded harmonies conjure a digital hall of mirrors, a place where we can see all evil but do nothing. During the intoxicating “It Was Not Natural,” a tired walk through the woods unearths a discarded antler, a talisman that provokes deep questions about our work lives, social codes, and romantic mores. The music—a sophisticated tessellation of pounded piano and loping bass, scattered drums and chirping synthesizer—is as complex and ponderous as the issues themselves. “It Was Not Natural” is Wye Oak at their most sophisticated, navigating life’s difficulties with the nuance and power they demand.

For all the struggles Wye Oak confronts here, Louder ultimately reflects a hopeful radiance, with the parting sense that human connection and our own internal resolve can outweigh even our heaviest worries. The final two tracks are tandem testaments to weakness bowing to strength. Wasner first shuffles through her day during “Join,” beset by worry until she finds a way out. “I just want a clear head,” she realizes at the end, “the sun on my shoulder.” And during “I Know It’s Real,” over twinkling guitars and a drum beat that feels like a steadying pulse, she stumbles upon a necessary credo: “Still, I’m alive, stronger than energies riding on my back.”

The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs arrives at a time of immense doubt, when our personal problems are infinitely compounded by a world that seems in existential peril. But these dozen songs answer the challenge by radiating self-reflection and resolve, wielding hooks and musical intricacy as a shield against the madness of the moment. The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs is a powerful reminder to keep calling, to keep trying, no matter the peril it poses. Merge Records will release The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs TK TK, 2018.
Callers
Callers
Ryan and Sara met Don at a show at Melvin's, a bar on St. Claude in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Ryan and Sara had just begun writing and recording songs together on an old 4-track with a mic hanging from the blade of a ceiling fan in the middle of that stifling sweaty summer, but they would soon part ways and leave New Orleans. Over the next couple of years they relocated to Providence together and later settled in Brooklyn where Don had also settled after Katrina.

Life of Love is the first collection of songs Callers wrote and recorded exclusively in New York as a three-piece. Naturally the band's sound grew in volume in response to the volume of the city; however, they held on to what makes them so consistently affecting: their raw spartan style, anchored by Sara's sensually tough vocals, and Ryan and Don's Southern-honed chops as multi-instrumentalists.

The album started with the band's cover of Wire's "Heartbeat", and the idea of creating something simple and cathartic. Using borrowed amps and mics, in bedrooms and in studios, and by the grace of their good friends, Callers recorded Life of Love in intense spurts over the course of a year. Unlike the experimental ballads on their debut Fortune, the new songs pulse with gritty urgency, colored by the sounds of damaged gear and the earnest spirit of a middle-school gospel choir. The result is an album stripped to the core, an expression of the inexpressible space between us and the places we inhabit and the people we share those places with.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123