Wye Oak and Callers at Schubas | Concert preview
One bill boasts two of the most mature female voices in indie-rock.
Wye Oak counts just Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner as members, but the Baltimore band admirably bucks laptops and drum machines, instead employing honest-to-God instruments and making good use of them. Stack’s a multitasking machine, bashing out beats on the drums while plucking away at a synthesizer with his left hand.
Yet it’s guitarist-singer Wasner who truly puts this group over with her tender, heartstrings-tugging alto. The two-piece has been evolving at a rapid clip since 2006, turning in its most mature set of songs yet with its latest for Merge Records, Civilian. “Holy Holy” digs a sweeping vista of a chorus that’s deep enough to fall into, a cyclone of fuzzy, cathartic jangling. Wasner’s voice soars over shoegazey scraps of guitar and blown-out drums. To see the two pull off the whole thing live is even more impressive.
Opening is a three-piece, Callers, but this is no power trio. With spare instrumentation, the Brooklyn outfit sounds primitive next to the dense Wye Oak. That leaves all the more room for frontwoman Sara Lucas’s soulful and sultry pipes. Like Wasner, Lucas possesses one of the more mature voices in indie-pop, recalling Phoebe Snow more than anything you’d come across on Pitchfork. When she coos with her feathery vibrato, “You are an arc,” it’s with enough sincerity to make you consider that ambiguous statement a come-on.