Posted in Music | By Richard Mellor
16/08 2009

Certain songs, and the places they take you to – Tiny Vipers and Wye Oak

Certain songs, for certain people, conjure up an atmosphere all of their own.  When they come on you’re instantly transported to the ideal scenario in hearing them, if everything fell magically into place.

Dreamer by Tiny Vipers (aka Jessy Fortino from Seattle) is one of those tunes for me.   I imagine listening to it being performed in a cosy, dimly-lit room, the few lights there are all illuminating Jessy.  She’d be sat on a small, humble stage and the audience, comprising 20- and 30-somethings in shirts and jumpers, quirky knitwear and the odd accessory (stylish, but not showily so), would be sat cross-legged or sprawled on the floor, a heady red wine or vodka tonic within reach, a lover not far distant, and life, at least for in this little passage of time, blissfully okay.  As the aptly-named slowburn song builds gently towards it magnifcent crest, eyes close and minds go a mite dizzy, drifting away with the existenstial lyrics and finding solstice or familiarity in the hopeful message, and rather enjoying the tragic concluding lines as Jessy’s voice soars high and harkening.  And when the number ends, suddenly and modestly, there’s a moment’s pause before the reality of gentle, intoxicated applause.

It seems something close to this vision has already occurred too – watch this video of Tiny Vipers playing a darkened den in Gronigen (Dreamer is about 4;50 in): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd5WGTdFW4Q

tiny vipers

Another such track is Take It In by Wye Oak, a boy-girl duo from Maryland.  It hums along balletically, the odd thrashes of a drum and rips on guitars become steadily louder and more constant, but never quite drowning out Jenn Wasner’s vocals.  At first I find myself in another darkened room (helped by the fact that I have a live acoustic-sounding version), swaying my shoulders and forgetting my troubles again; then later, as the instrumentals get rowdier, it’s as though I’m in the midst of a noisy, perfect storm, yet completely safe as long as I can hear Jenn’s voice, a beacon of hope that reassures me everything’ll be alright in the end. 

Again there’s video footage available of Wye Oak playing this song, although this time not quite in the surround I describe – on a bigger stage in North Carolina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm_UfJIQqDE

wye oak

Silly I know, but I think all of us are capable of being so totally transported by the right piece of music for our ears.  At least I hope so, and it’s not just me?

Better yet for me, I’ll soon have the opportunity to try and achieve these fantasies, or at least have a comparable experience, as both Tiny Vipers and Wye Oak are playing live in darkish London venues soon – the latter supporting the excellent Okkervil River upon their return to Scala…

Live dates:
Tiny Vipers: Thurs 3 September – The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell (tickets here)
Wye Oak:  Mon 14 September – Scala, King’s Cross (tickets here)

Tiny Vipers on MySpace (Dreamer lyrics here)
Tiny Vipers’ website (Sub Pop Records)
Wye Oak on MySpace
Wye Oak’s website

MP3: Tiny Vipers – Dreamer (zSHARE)
MP3: Wye Oak – Take It In (Live) (zSHARE)

 

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