"Shriek," Wye Oak #TunesTuesday

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wye Oak new music Shriek indie pop rock

What does "Wye Oak" mean to you? If you are or were a resident of Maryland, you might know that it was at one point the "honorary state tree" of Maryland, and the largest white oak tree in all of the United States. But I'm not a Maryland native or resident, so the name had no meaning to me. I was instantly mystified. To me, it's so ... ambiguous. So often, the name of a band gives away so much about what genre the band might dabble in, or what kind of image it might have. But "Wye Oak" sounds like it could be someone's real, birth name. It could be the name of an R&B singer, or a bluegrass band. Or a dream pop group. (Part of this association probably has to do with Rhye, the electro-R&B group.)

So it follows (after my wordy intro) that Wye Oak is duo from Baltimore that's been labelled everything from indie pop to folk and dream pop. You may have seen the band, composed of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, perform at this year's Coachella Festival. But they've been around the block quite a few times -- in fact, their soon-to-be-released album "Shriek" is the duo's fourth full-length album to date.

Indeed, the duo's music has taken on many shapes and forms over its 8-year history. Wye Oak seems to have kept up with the Joneses, maybe even kept a step ahead. Many of the duo's previous releases toed the line between indie folk-pop (with songs spanning the full spectrum between pop and folk) and dark, almost angry, rock. But in 2014, Wye Oak's offering is a softer, more mellow affair, incorporating elements recalling synthpop and New Wave that may displease some of the duo's long-time fans, but is sure to allure new ones.

You can stream the full "Shriek" album, to be released on April 29th, over at NPR.


Photo: Wye Oak's Facebook page

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