Sonar’s club stage was well-packed for a Sunday night. The Dodos certainly had something to do with that, as I met one particular crew that drove up from Richmond VA for them.
But the big draw seemed to be hometown success story Wye Oak (recently named Best Upgrade in City Paper’s Best of Baltimore 2008). The room appeared more packed for them than anyone else, and the crowd definitely tapered off after Wye Oak, leaving Au’s set only moderately attended.
One thing was overwhelmingly evident: being on the road has honed and refined Andy & Jenn’s skills to a razor’s edge. They are tighter than ever before and have more of that professional polish on stage. They are reading each other’s cues both perfectly and seamlessly, a rare sight for a pair this young.
Wasner’s voice has gotten more buoyant and feels much more assured; she toys with the cadence and tonality of the vocals more readily, frequently leaving sooner or lingering longer on a word or a verse. We didn’t get to hear much of Andy’s vocals, but his drumming is ever-fantastic and more effortless. He still stands as one of the most expressive percussionists around, both in mannerisms and playing style.
Their newer material really seems to be capitalizing on the more bombastic elements of their sound, working a lot with contrast, going between full-blown walls of sound and dropping the bottom out, silence hitting like a sucker punch leaving you gasping for air. They are also writing some killer hooks, particularly the deliciously twangy guitar-jam on the cathartic “For Prayer,” the new song Wye Oak have been playing for a while and finally bequeathed a title to (goodbye studio name, “Magic Johnson”).
According to Jenn & Andy, they are off to tour Europe for a few months, then coming back home in December to get some work done on the new album. Exciting stuff.
But enough chit-chat. Grab the excellent audio below, another collaboration between Aural States and the Baltimore Taper.
Download the entire set as a ZIP file: MP3 or FLAC. Or just check after the break for streaming links.
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