Monday, July 15, 2013

Destroyer/Wye Oak - Record Store Day Split

Destroyer/Wye Oak – Record Store Day Split 7” 
Merge, 2008
Acquired: Kief’s Downtown, New, 2008
Price: $0

This was from the very first Record Store Day when so much stuff was free. Back before all the exclusive singles were like $7 a pop. The glory days, if you will. The Destroyer track “Madame Butterflies” is awesome. Everything a b-side should be. It’s very much Destroyer’s Rubies cast off but since that album is pretty much perfect and because I’ve listened to it a hundred times, I can see how this one might not fit. I don’t know, it would probably fit, but that is a long record and “Madam Butterflies” can stand on its own. It’s almost sounds like a better-recorded version of the mega lo-fi stuff he was doing on his first cassettes. It’s stripped, but it gets kind of wild towards the end. The guitars get wonky, and Dan Bejar sounds more and more like he’s singing in a submarine. The melody is pure, and by the end when his vocals devolve into dum-da-da-dum-da-da-dums it’s pure bliss. And then it’s over. And then I listen to the song like five more times every time because I don’t have an MP3 of this track. I never even listened to the Wye Oak track until today. At the time, I’d heard Wye Oak’s debut If Children and fallen asleep during their set at the Merge showcase at SXSW. Since then I’ve become a pretty big fan. There was a two-year stretch where they would open for some great band twice a year in Lawrence and their live shows were fucking fantastic. The duo have since taken advantage of pushing Jenn Wasner’s vocals and guitar into more epic territory, but the track on this split—“Prodigy”—is fucking simple and fucking gorgeous. I think I was just totally wrong about Wye Oak and that they were always good and my head was just up my ass. It was up my ass through most of 2008-2009 for a variety of reasons. I was tunnel-visioned to the things I liked fiercely and everything else kind of became boring. Working through Wye Oak’s discography is a real treat. It’s just so much fun to see a band grow and figure themselves out. Their latest LP Civilian is an absolutely towering piece of indie rock. But they started small, but even when they were small they were still obviously talented enough to blow the whole thing wide open. I still feel like I am atoning for the sins committed during my mega music snob years. The dismissals I handed out after a half a song. The opinions based on the idea that I didn’t like something. I’m on my fifth spin of “Prodigy” and I’m just thinking how great it is to experience real joy when listening to music.

Listen to "Madame Butterflies here. It also links to the Merge Records store where you can download the song for FREE. Absolutely worth the 3.5 megabytes or so it'll take up on your hard drive.

And here's a live acoustic version of "Prodigy." 

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