No. 12: Wye Oak Sends Out A Signal
And the song at No. 12 shows that two people, when they put their mind to it, are able to emit enough light and heat for everyone to stay warm.
The Baltimore duo Wye Oak–formerly known as Monarch–was one of my favorite new bands this year, with a two-person lineup that made the layers upon layers of feedback and melody they unleashed on their debut album, If Children, all the more remarkable. When Wye Oak played our anniversary party last fall, the No. 1 question people asked me about them was “Are there really only two people on stage?”; the wall of sound they erected during their set was fortresslike, yet laced with hooks that forced you to focus on individual songs, instead of just the massive amount of noise they were producing. “Warning” is the first song I heard from the band and remains probably the best example of how they channel their indiepop through otherworldly wails; its beauty shines from the first guitar peal, and when Jenn Wasner accompanies the overdriven guitar with some crystal-clear “na na na”s it’s hard for me to resist the impulse to skip in time to the music, even if I’m sitting down. (No studio-quality YouTube of the track, alas, although there is an MP3 of the song at the band’s site, which is linked below.)