Make Me a Mixtape is a segment where we interview artists and have them curate a mixtape of seven songs based around a particular scenario, explaining why they chose each song. This week, we chat with the Asheville five-piece Wednesday, who reimagine some tracks off their latest album Twin Plagues by choosing seven artists to cover them, while discussing their favorite tracks from those same artists.
Following 2020's promising I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone, the Asheville-based quintet Wednesday expand on their hypnotic blend of surreal poetry and jagged echoes of shoegaze on their latest effort Twin Plagues, their third full-length album and second as a full band. Comprised of vocalist and guitarist Karly Hartzman, guitarist Jake Lenderman, lap steel guitarist Xandy Chelmis, bassist Margo Schultz and drummer Alan Miller, the indie rock outfit push their music into a cathartic explosion drenched in swelling noise with a country-bent, coiling into a style they call "country-gaze." With an overflow of hooks and ear-crunching blasts of distortion, Wednesday sonically brew its harshest and most gentle impulses all at once and at full effect.
The opening title track is thunderous with its wailing guitars and Hartzman's soaring vocals that effectively sets the tone for what follows. On the whirling "Cliff," the band plays with dynamic shifts between its mellows verses, where Hartzman's breathy vocals float over the fuzz-soaked pedal steel guitars. The country-tinged ballad "The Burned Down Dairy Queen" is incredibly intimate with its folksy twang and the slow-burning "Birthday Song" is a tender and warm-hearted offering that cracks in the end with its instrumental onslaught. Throughout Twin Plagues, Hartzman's instructively vivid storytelling shines through with the help of her and her band's bracingly visceral and sweeping wall-of-sound.
For the band's mixtape scenario, we invited Hartzman and her hired guns to fully reimagine their original songs in different contexts by selecting seven other musicians they'd want covering songs off their latest album. Named after Hartzman's favorite mixed drink, Wednesday's mixtape also features their favorite tracks from those same musicians. Pour yourself a Clamato Bloody Mary and pop this mixtape into your stereo.
Clamato Bloody Mary
Juana Molina — "Cosoco"
(Covering "Handsome Man")
"Me and Alan are big Juana Molina fans. All the decisions she makes with all of her instrumentation are just so refreshing, I get so much out of listening to her albums and live performances. Plus it'd be super fun to hear this song sung in Spanish I think because there's a lot of wordplay and stuff. I'd be interested to see how that translates. Also, I hadn't seen the music video for "Cosoco" before looking it up today! It's very kooky, I love it."
Sassy 009 — "Blue Racecar"
"Me and Margo both realized we'd been listening to Sassy 009 when we were in the van on a tour recently. I put on a new song of theirs and Margo was like 'This sounds like Sassy009!' and I was like 'It is!!!!' I think it's pretty obvious once you hear a Sassy 009 song why it'd be so cool to have them cover something. Their production and voice is out of this world. I tried to choose a song with a relatively consistent tempo for them to cover so it would work with a drum machine."
Roger Miller — "Lock, Stock and Teardrops"
(Covering "How Can You Live If You Can't Love How Can You If You Do")
"I don't know if this is an 'alive or dead' situation (Roger Miller died in 1992), but a Roger Miller cover of this song would obviously be incredible. Xandy is also a big Roger Miller fan.
I wrote this song with the idea of 'country standards' in mind, hoping people would be excited to do a cover of it! Chords are super easy by the way, just C Dm F the whole way through. So far a few people have already covered it which has been very emotional for me to see (PS thank you for doing that Colin, Lindsay and Owen)!!! And this Roger Miller song is one of my favorites of all time, just an incredible voice, the Pete Drake pedal steel is perfect of course."
Low — "Violence"
(Covering "Birthday Song")
"This song just kind of lyrically and melody wise making me feel like Low would annihilate a cover of this. I have really enjoyed seeing what sound they have transitioned to with their new album. They've been putting out really experimental kind of noisy stuff. I'd be cool with this song in that new style or in the style of their older songs. 'Violence' is my song from them at the moment."
Sumac — "May You Be Held"
(Covering "Twin Plagues")
"'Twin Plagues' is the heaviest song on the album and part of me just wants to hear an even heavier version. Plus Sumac is one of Jake's favorite bands, he got me into this album when it came out last year."
Midland — "Fourteen Gears"
"This is just our favorite country pop band at the moment. It is so crazy how meticulous this band's 'image' is. They definitely do a lot of world building. Their music videos are just a trip to watch. Plus Jake rips off a phrase of one of their guitar solos in this song. That's always something I get a kick out of thinking about!"
SASAMI — "Sorry Entertainer"
(Covering "One More Last One")
"We're total SASAMI heads over here. What she did on this Daniel Johnston song below is absolutely insane. Obviously just a person with incredible ideas and talent. Watching SASAMI interviews has been a big pastime of mine recently, I highly suggest it.
I didn't want to choose a capital S Shoegaze band to cover this either cause I don't think there's much else one could do with the limitations of that genre? I don't know maybe I'm wrong! Anyway, SASAMI is the best, the end."