We are two Wednesdays away from new Wednesday — the Asheville, North Carolina band, that is, and its upcoming album — and the latest single from the project further amplifies the excitement we’re feeling here in WXPN’s indie rock alley.

Out on April 7th, Rat Saw God is the band’s fifth long player, but its first for the heavy-hitting Dead Oceans Records (home to Japanese Breakfast, Phoebe Bridgers, and so many others). Founded in 2018 by co-songwriters Karly Hartzman and MJ Lenderman, Wednesday built a devoted following over the course of two lockdown releases (2020’s I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone and 2021’s Twin Plagues) and a raw and earnest mix of explosive basement show punk, rustic roadtrip roots rock, and vulnerable lyricism; think of Built to Spill and Hop Along as kindred spirits.

One post-lockdown covers album later (last year’s Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ’em Up) and we arrive at Rat Saw God, which is shaping up to be one of the most exciting indie rock releases of the year. With a late spring / early summer tour on the horizon that brings them to Union Transfer in June, let’s take a look and listen to what we’ve heard so far from Wednesday’s latest.

Wednesday - Bull Believer

“Bull Believer”

Clocking in at 8 and three-quarters minutes and slamming across multiple movements (if you will) that culminate in a broke-down catharsis of punishing drum hits and anguished screams, “Bull Believer” was a bold choice of a lead single for Rat Saw God. At the same time as it’s far on the fringe of industry convention, you can’t deny the impression the song makes makes slicing gentle and reflective melodies with frayed electric guitar shrieks, cutting impressionistic matador imagery with slice-of-life lyrical references to playing Mortal Kombat and then using the classic game’s catchphrase (“finish him”) in a wailing coda. It’s long, and it packs just about everything this band is all about — hard atmospheres, warm melodies, existential poetry, everyday imagery — in that runtime.

Wednesday - Chosen To Deserve

“Chosen To Deserve”

In contrast to its noisy predecessor, the song “Chosen To Deserve” wears its country rock-and-roll heart on its sleeve. The bright riffs and sparkling pedal steel licks that drive the song move in step with Wednesday’s contemporary indie-Americana peers Friendship. Meanwhile, the vivid and conversational lyrics recall Courtney Barnett’s knack for making the listener feel like a song is more of a hang sesh, a concept that Hartzman self-reflexively nails on the clever opening: “We always started by tellin’ all our best stories first / so now that it’s been awhile I’ll get around to tellin’ you all my worst.” The stories that unfold from there give a window into the ennui of being a young adult that doesn’t fit into their isolated hometown, and the steps they take to cope: drinking till you puke, taking Benadryl for kicks. The jauntiness of the music offsets the despair of the lyrics, though, and the music video for the song (directed by Spencer Kelly) is a playful look at country life and country music, filtered through flickering VHS-style footage of a family farm as well as clear and colorful scenes of the band in a community park, perhaps offering the optimistic view that the saddest places have corners of hope and happiness.

Wednesday - Bath County

“Bath County”

The singles from Rat Saw God rolled out in descending order of runtime, and the snarling “Bath County” clocks in at a brisk 3:10. The crunchy rock vibe on this one is probably the moment where Wednesday best compliments Ohio heroes All Dogs — who will perform with them at Union Transfer on June 17th — and like “Chosen To Deserve,” it takes a beat poetry approach to moments of tragedy. In this case, it’s an account of a witnessing an overdose in a strip mall parking lot, then driving away in a state of muted sadness, Drive-By Truckers blaring on the radio. The video for “Bath County” was directed and edited by Hartzman, and features shots of her at home, rocking out to the camera and dissolving into footage of nature and the band on the road; she says the look was inspired by PJ Harvey’s iconic “Man-Size” video.

Wednesday - TV In The Gas Pump

“TV In The Gas Pump”

Which brings us to today’s new release, “TV In The Gas Pump,” offering yet another wrinkle to the Wednesday aesthetic. It’s close to two minutes, but its midtempo pace makes it feel fuller, with a sense of twee melancholy a la 90s Belle & Sebastian propping up a rundown of car-window observations: a chain on a metal pole, flailing in the wind; fallen highways signs; Dollar Generals and Starbuckses. Hartzman in a press release says the single is “the first song I’ve written about being on the road, and I really just wanted to collect all that imagery you ingest on tour.” For its music video, director Lewis Dahm presents a blocky retro-graphic animation from the perspective of a slow-moving vehicle navigating a long road through a flat and barren world smothered in pollution where death is at every turn. Dahm calls it “a result of Karly’s sicko vision of the Arresting Beauty of the American South.”

Wednesday’s Rat Saw God is out on Friday, April 7th, and can be pre-ordered here.  Below, check out the band’s 2023 tour dates, which includes a June 17th concert at Union Transfer with All Dogs and Tenci. Tickets and more information on that show can be found at the WXPN Concerts and Events page.

Tour Dates
Mar 31, 2023 – Ohio University / Lobster Fest – Athens, OH
Apr 1, 2023 – 40 Watt Club – Athens, GA – w/ Drive-by Truckers
Apr 26, 2023 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA – w/ Cryogeyser
Apr 27, 2023 – Saturn – Birmingham, AL – w/ Cryogeyser
Apr 28, 2023 – Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA w/ Cryogeyser
Apr 30, 2023 – Club Dada – Dallas, TX – w/ Cryogeyser
May 1, 2023 – Mohawk – Austin, TX – w/ Cryogeyser
May 3, 2023 – Sister – Albuquerque, NM – w/ Cryogeyser
May 4, 2023 – Club Congress – Tucson, AZ – w/ Cryogeyser
May 5, 2023 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA – w/ Toner
May 6, 2023 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA – w/ Cryogeyser
May 8, 2023 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR – w/ Cryogeyser
May 9, 2023 – Fox Cabaret – Vancouver, BC – w/ Cryogeyser
May 10, 2023 – Neumos – Seattle, WA – w/ Cryogeyser
May 11, 2023 – Lucky You Lounge – Spokane, WA – w/ Cryogeyser
May 13, 2023 – The Shredder – Boise, ID -w/ Mannequin Pussy & Cryogeyser
May 14, 2023 – Kilby Block Party – Salt Lake City, UT
May 15, 2023 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO – w/ Cryogeyser
May 17, 2023 – recordBar – Kansas City, MO – w/ Cryogeyser
May 18, 2023 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO – w/ Cryogeyser
May 19, 2023 – Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack – Little Rock, AR – w/ Cryogeyser
May 20, 2023 – Growlers – Memphis, TN – w/ Cryogeyser
May 21, 2023 – The Basement East – Nashville, TN – w/ Cryogeyser
May 27, 2023- Schokoladen – Berlin, Germany
May 28, 2023 – Vera – Groningen, Netherlands
May 29, 2023 – Upstairs at Paradiso – Amsterdam, Netherlands
May 31, 2023 – Le Botanique – Brussels, Belgium
Jun 1, 2023 – L’International – Paris, France
Jun 3, 2023 – Primavera Sound – Barcelona, Spain
Jun 5, 2023 – Basement – Manchester, UK
Jun 6, 2023 – The Lexington – London, UK
Jun 7, 2023 – Rough Trade Bristol – Bristol, UK
Jun 9, 2023 – Primavera Sound Festival – Porto, PT
Jun 10, 2023 – Primavera Sound Festival – Madrid, Spain
Jun 15, 2023 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC w/ Tenci
Jun 16, 2023 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC – w/ Tenci
Jun 17, 2023 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA – w/ All Dogs and Tenci
Jun 18, 2023 – Black Cat – Washington, DC – w/ Tenci
Jun 20, 2023 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY – w/ Tenci
Jun 21, 2023 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA – w/ Tenci
Jun 22, 2023 – Bar Le Ritz PDB – Montreal, QC – w/ Tenci
Jun 23, 2023 – Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON – w/ Tenci
Jun 24, 2023 – The Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI – w/ Advance Base
Jun 26, 2023 – Metro – Chicago, IL – w/ Squirrel Flower & Tenci
Jun 27, 2023 – Cactus Club – Milwaukee, WI – w/ Tenci
Jun 28, 2023 – Turf Club – Minneapolis, MN – w/ Tenci
Jun 30, 2023 – Ace of Cups – Columbus, OH – w/ Tenci
Jul 1, 2023 – The Orange Peel – Asheville, NC – w/ Tenci