DYNAMIC DUO: Wheat
It doesn’t seem like 10 years. Wheat’s debut, Medeiros, feels as fresh as yesterday, which is very fresh. But it was released in 1997. If you remember when it came out, think for a second that you are now a decade older than when you first heard it. This is a very long time in people years. You only get like seven or eight of those chunks and then you’re done.
Since releasing Medeiros in 1997, Wheat — Scott Levesque and Brendan Harney — have been through quite a lot. Their recording career continued in 1999 with a wildly well-received album titled Hope and Adams. One of the best local discs of the year, H&A transformed Wheat into a shining star on the national indie scene. That, in turn, led to a major label dalliance for their 2003 disc, Per Second, Per Second, Per Second, Every Second (Aware). The record actually yielded a hit single, “I Met a Girl,” the first time that’s happened for a local band in a long time, and appearances on national late-night TV with dudes like Carson and Conan. Despite the relative success, the duo didn’t make more albums for Aware before they sauntered off, exhausted and disillusioned. We’re not sure why the label liaison lasted for only a single album, though we’ve heard this sad story many times before and have our guesses.
Following the foray, the band retreated. A mini-album, That’s Exactly What I Wanted . . . Exactly That, appeared in 2006. Which brings us to the band’s new full-length, Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square, out this week on Empyrean, the stellar, Warren-based record label. Listening to it, it’s as if the band has come full-circle, boomerang-like, to their art school roots. They’ve journeyed through the labyrinth of pop, and have now returned to the arty sound of their origins at UMass Dartmouth. Only Everyday is better, more fully realized, the sound of a band that can now approach the concept of recording with confidence and resolve. Songs such as “Little White Dove” and “Move = Move” shimmer with polite but potent rock melodies. There’s lots of fun hoo-hooin’ and sweet indie hooks mixed in with organic, even psychedelic experimentation on work such as “Saint In Law” and “What You Got.” It’s all very chill, though — both the pop songs and the sound washes are all kicked back and easy to hear, pretty much like everything else Wheat has recorded in their decade together.
The last DJs
This weekend, we’re sad to report, the WYLD CARD DJS will be placing the needle in the groove for the last time, after more than 200 nights of spinning music. The WCDJs, Ty, Brian, and Dennis, along with their many luminous music-geek friends, started foisting their vinyl on people at the Custom House in 2001, though they had been spinning casually long before that. The trio’s first “Soul Power” night was at Nick-a-Nee’s in 2000. Since then, they’ve turned thousands onto amazing music, mostly on vinyl, often on 45s, ranging from soul and R&B to garage rock and punk. In fact, the only criterion the WCDJs believed in was, at least to my ears, that a record had to be great in some way. In a grievous e-mail the band provided an explanation for calling it quits: “We have decided to end our weekly residence at Jake’s to focus on drinking full-time. Believe it or not, putting your beer down to cue up a record can get annoying after several thousand times.” Of course, the boys aren’t closing their turntables permanently. You can find Ty at Tazza where he spins a monthly “Go-Go Power” show and the Wyld Card DJs will be doing intermittent theme night gigs.