LEFT OF THE DIAL Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner on the band's new sound, and the doubts she overcame to create her favorite record yet. Plus: BARF #2, and Viracocha is back!
Another big change: Collaborating from different sides of the country. Between Civilian and Shriek, Stack moved to Portland, while Wasner remained in Baltimore, forcing the duo to communicate in a new way throughout the songwriting process.
"Every time I wanted to share an idea with him, I was forced to figure out a way to realize it, record it," says Wasner. "And being forced to do that with everything I did was an incredible good way to learn and practice. It changed the way I wrote songs. It's a big part of the reason these are some of my favorite songs I've ever written."
As for the reaction from their devoted fan base, who Wasner realized she had to put out of her mind in order to write the songs she actually wanted?
"To be honest with you, I expected it to be much worse!" she says with a slight laugh. "I feel pretty strongly that the foundation of our band has always been the songs themselves: It's never been about a particular instrument...and these songs are Wye Oak songs. I think if people really listen they'll hear that. It's the same voice, the same fundamental nature of the songs. And I think a lot of people have."
Most importantly, though, she's happy with it. "Criticism is always subjective, nothing that you can take personally," she says. "And it's cool because I'm happy with it to the point that it's hard to top that. Real satisfaction, when you know you're satisfied with something, that doesn't get swayed by almost anyone's opinion. The approval of others is a very thin substitute."
With Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Nick Waterhouse, Tony Molina, more
Phono del Sol
Sat/12, noon to 7pm, $25-$30
Potrero del Sol Park, SF
ODDS AND ENDS
The Bay Area Record Fair (that's B.A.R.F. for all you cool kids) has announced its second edition, set to take place Sept. 27, once again at Thee Parkside. This collaboration between local label Father/Daughter Records and promoters Professional Fans kicked off in February with folks from 17 record labels from around the Bay coming together to network, hawk their wares, and, most importantly, drink beer and eat tater tots while listening to good, loud rock 'n' roll, because that's why the good lord created Thee Parkside.
This fall's event is busting at the seams, as Jessi Frick from Father/Daughter tells us: "This time we're pulling permits to block off part of Carolina Street to make room for even more vendors, and a limited number of early bird tickets are available for $5 which gets you fair access one hour before doors open to the public."
There'll be a daylong lineup of live music TBA, of course, and the number of labels participating has pretty much doubled. You can see a full shakedown of the day's events at www.bayarearecordfair.com, or catch organizers at Phono del Sol next weekend, where they'll be selling a 21-song compilation CD featuring the labels represented; all proceeds go to keeping the whole damn thing free. Sounds like a pretty good deal on this end.
Sept. 27, all day, free
1600 17th St, SF