Wye Oak Shares “I Learned It From You”

Wye Oak, the Baltimore duo composed of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack, share “I Learned It From You,” the haunting new single from their recently announced upcoming release, Every Day Like the Last. The collection of brand-new songs and previously released tracks made between 2019 and 2023 is out June 23rd on Merge Records.

“This song is about unconsciously recreating dysfunctional patterns, and about the exhaustion and despair that comes from realizing that awareness alone isn’t necessarily enough to save you from repeating your past,” Wasner explains. “The metallic sound in the intro is the sound of Andy pulling down the metal door of our storage unit practice space (which we would open between takes to get some fresh air from the hallway). Conveniently enough, the hallway also functioned as a perfectly serviceable reverb. Later, our friend Joseph Decosimo recorded the fiddle parts with Andy at Doom Homestead.”

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. Balancing the organic and the artificial, using electronics and programming to add new textures.

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.”

When 2020’s JOIN tour, which brought along three other musicians to fully bring Wye Oak’s catalog to life, unfortunately got cut short, Stack’s 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 to 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.”

Photo Courtesy: Graham Tolbert