Wye Oak’s Civilian has remained one of the most stunning albums of the 2010s, garnering praise from critics everywhere. Paste even named it one of the best albums of 2011. Now, a decade on from its release, the beloved album is being reissued via Merge Records on Oct. 22. Civilian + Cut All the Wires: 2009-2011 will be pressed as a double LP on deluxe green swirl Peak Vinyl, housed in a gatefold jacket that features each album’s cover when flipped.
The reissue expands upon the Civilian universe with unreleased tracks to add another layer of context to the album. Today (July 13), Wye Oak shares one of those unreleased tracks, “Electricity.” Longtime fans might recognize the track from the band’s live shows. The powerhouse of a previously unreleased B-side features stomping drums and frontwoman Jenn Wasner’s gorgeous voice. The tracks’ lyrics also lend themselves to the title of the reissue: “There’s nothing about you that I don’t adore / Show me these rooms and I’ll show you the way to the door / Walk me through / I’ll cut all the wires and spend my life with you.”
In a statement, Andy Stack reflects on uncovering “Electricity”:
After playing “Electricity” in live shows for a year or so around 2009, we made a studio recording but never mixed it, and ultimately decided to shelve the song. And so, it was relegated to the dustbin of time, AKA an old hard drive which I did not unearth until 2020 when I came looking for old photos and other memorabilia from the Civilian era. On my old drive, I found a treasure trove of material which we had both forgotten ever existed—original demos, live versions of the songs, and, most exciting, a bunch of fully realized studio recordings from this era which never saw the light of day. On “Electricity,” I was really bashing the drums in a way that I never would now, and I hear that same abandon in Jenn’s singing. The recording has much of what defined the first phase of Wye Oak: an urgent push and pull between chaos and beauty, and a hard-hitting attempt to push out as much sound as we possibly could from our duo setup. It’s not who we are anymore, but I still relate to the old feeling, and I still get goosebumps when I listen to these recordings. Everything old is new.
Listen to “Electricity” below and scroll further down to revisit Wye Oak playing the title track of Civilian at the Paste office in Georgia. Keep scrolling for complete details of Civilian + Cut All the Wires: 2009-2011, which you can preorder here.
01. Two Small Deaths
02. The Alter
03. Holy Holy
04. Dogs Eyes
08. Hot as Day
09. We Were Wealth
Cut All the Wires: 2009-2011 Artwork:
Cut All the Wires: 2009-2011 Tracklist:
02. Civilian (Demo)
03. No Words
05. Half a Double Man
06. Sinking Ship
07. Two Small Deaths (Daytrotter Session)
08. Holy Holy (Demo)
10. Black Is the Color
11. Ten Fingers
12. I’m Proud