A couple weeks ago I was hanging out at Cafe Nine, New Haven's best music spot, and stuck around not knowing anything about who was scheduled to perform. Why? Just had a good feeling (and a good beer buzz). I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my favorite New Haven bands, Welcome, load there gear in and I knew it was more than just the beer I stayed for.
Turns out the headlining band was Merge Records duo Wye Oak from Baltimore. I hadn't heard their music before, but immediately took notice. Singer/guitarist Jenny Wasner, whose voice echoes the sweet sounds of Cat Power's Chan Marshall or folkie Sam Phillips, arpeggiates the chords on her electric guitar and hammers home blues riffs while tapping in and out of distortion. Meanwhile, her drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack, plays a traditional drum kit with his right hand, complete with fills and syncopated snare hits, while stroking the bassline out on a keyboard with his left. Together they reminded me of a more mellow version of Mary Timony's last touring project (The Mary Timony Band, also a duo). To clarify, thats a thumbs up! They have two cds out on Merge: If Children (2008) and The Knot (2009), neither of which have I yet had the privilege of listening to in completion. While you and I wait for the cds to arrive, here is a clip of their performance of "Take it in" at SXSW earlier this year!