Camelia Brennan

Wye Oak: The Knot

The first time I heard The Knot by Wye Oak I was interning at Merge Records after graduating college. It was 2009, and a very strange time to graduate. Job prospects were scarce, my boyfriend sucked, I was living at home, but being able to spend time with music I cared about made the future feel more optimistic.

That same year Merge was celebrating their 20 year anniversary with a festival, as they do every 5 years. I was ecstatic to be able to volunteer as part of it. One of the best parts of interning at Merge was that you received staff copies of upcoming and recent releases. I loved few things more than driving around in my 1990 Pontiac 6000 (R.I.P.), smoking cigarettes, and listening to these coveted promo CDs. In hindsight, smoking is obviously not the best idea, but there is something about the recklessness of being young that I now look back on quite fondly.

The Knot kind of fits into that entire vibe. It was the bands second album on Merge and it feels young, risky and optimistic. Jenn Wasner’s striking vocals weave throughout, while the album seamlessly moves between twangy Americana and loud distorted guitars. It is a gorgeous masterpiece that has proven to be quite timeless, and even more impressive the more I reflect upon the fact that this was all created by only two people.