When: Wed., Aug. 3, 8:30 p.m. 2016
Over the course of Wye Oak’s five albums, all released by Merge, guitarist-vocalist Jenn Wasner and drummer-keyboardist Andy Stack have groomed and fattened the once frail, budding indie-rock sound of their first two albums, If Children (2007) and The Knot (2009). That fact no doubt pairs very nicely with the title of their newest record, Tween, which will be used as the crux/hook for quick-hit music blog posts the Internet wide. But while Wasner’s eerie, humid vocals echo those of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand—she also now plays “guitars” rather than just “guitar”—and an ethereal track like “Better (For Esther)” can feature a nearly danceable synth-girded breakdown, there are welcome fossils of a more tempered sound buried within Tween. The album’s best track, “Too Right”—tense but graceful in its stroll, and with a never-ending backdrop of feedback—is cut from the same cloth as the two aforementioned records with its chilling and side-shuffling guitar riff coming at you in subtle waves and Wasner’s voice remaining forceful without losing an ounce of its vulnerability. The first Chicago show I attended after moving here in 2008 was a Wye Oak show at the Hideout; they played to about 25 people, and it was intimate and kinda ramshackle but fun (at the end Wasner said, “That’s it, those are all of the songs we’ve written”). It somehow feels affirming to see the Baltimore duo now headlining Thalia Hall. I guess that means I’ll stay put.