PREORDER: Wye Oak - Every Day Like The Last (LP - Standard)
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The duo of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack have performed together as Wye Oak since 2006, but their new collection Every Day Like the Last: Collected Singles 2019-2023 represents them staking out new territory. Forging into the unknown can be terrifying—but, as Wasner notes, sitting with precarity or unfamiliarity can result in new frontiers being blown wide open.
“There’s been so much uncertainty in our lives,” says Wasner. “Not just our lives personally, but everyone’s—and a big part of my life has been learning how to live inside of uncertainty, and not feel like my own emotional discomfort requires that I have to figure out, or attempt to figure out, how everything is going to be.”
The nine songs on Every Day Like the Last came from a period where Wye Oak were in flux after a decade-plus of steadily releasing albums and touring. Sonically, the collection represents Wasner and Stack getting back to basics after years of their music balancing the organic and the artificial, using electronics and programming to add new textures. 2020’s unfortunately shortened JOIN tour, which brought along three other musicians to fully bring Wye Oak’s catalog to life, and Stack and Wasner’s work on other projects led to the two rethinking how Wye Oak worked.
“We both were feeling not wanting to be tethered into the machine in the way that we had been for so long,” says Stack. “We just wanted to be able to make stuff in the room. And when we were able to do that, the aspirations shifted, because we were able to exercise this other muscle that we hadn’t in a long time.”
Every Day Like the Last also documents Wye Oak shifting from thinking of its work in album-length groups of songs dealing in singles, a format shift that wound up documenting their creative method in something close to real time. “Something that felt exciting to me was being a little bit more fleet-footed and light about being able to put things out into the world,” says Wasner. “A lot of these songs, we would write them and record them and then they’d come out a couple of weeks later, which, to me, just sort of feels so much more in line with how the creative process works and feels on our end of things.”
The nine songs on Every Day Like the Last, which were recorded in Wasner and Stack’s current home state of North Carolina and Virginia at venues that include Stack’s backyard studio, compiles the singles Wye Oak has released since 2019’s glowing “Fortune” and includes three new songs. While it wasn’t conceived the way an album traditionally is, these songs coalesce because of the way they examine and grapple with ambiguities, which is reflected by the dual meaning of the title and its attendant track, a pensive, suspended-in-midair track that contemplates the importance of human connection.
“Every Day Like The Last—that could mean every day like the day that came before, or it could mean every day like the last day that you get. Both meanings apply,” says Wasner. “But for me, trying to live inside of the uncertainty is the theme. That is the thread that ties all the songs together—tolerating the discomfort of not knowing.”
As Stack notes, the songs on Every Day Like the Last were written and recorded during a turbulent time—not just for him and Wasner individually, but for the world at large. “Trying to find comfort in the unknowing resonated with me a lot, and I feel like that is a thread that has run through everything—finding cheer in the doom of the world,” adds Stack. “Things have been tumultuous in so many different ways over the last four years while we’ve been [making these songs]. Both our lives have undergone extreme changes on an individual level, not even thinking about on the larger level of what everyone’s going through.”
Every Day Like the Last closes with “Repeat (If You Remind Me),” in which Wasner’s voice and a resolute piano line are surrounded by an intense amount of sonic information—including a pedal steel played by Alan Good Parker—as she examines self-doubt and being grounded by those around her. “Should we die a little/ Just to stay alive?” she muses, her voice blossoming up on the vowels in a way that blows that existential question blow wide open.
“That’s like the weighted blanket of the album for me,” says Wasner. “It’s just like, we’re all fucking floating in space. Nobody knows what’s happening. If you find someone or something that can offer you some kind of solace and some kind of reassurance that’s all that really anyone can hope for. There are so many songs where I’m dangling in space, and that song is a plea for reassurance. Which we all so desperately need.”
For more than 15 years, Wye Oak have offered comfort to their listeners in the form of warm, expressive music that has showcased their ever-growing maturity as players and people. Every Day Like the Last captures them at a moment where they realized the strength of the bonds they’ve forged—and even though they aren’t sure where their individual and collective journeys will take them next, these nine songs act as a signal that figuring things out along the way can result in beauty.
Cover Art By: Aaron Lowell Denton
Release Date: June 23, 2023
Record Label: Merge Records
1. Every Day Like The Last
2. I Learned It From You
4. Its Way With Me
7. Fear of Heights
8. Walk Soft
9. Repeat (If You Remind Me)
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