Jumping up and down for Wheat

The dulcet tones of grown men crying.

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Get your whole grains.  Get them and shove them in your sensitive, your emotional, your very ears.  Wheat is the crop to circle.

Wheat is a band who made a pop album in ’99 to snap, crackle, and pop all pop albums, a quiet record with slick, loud production and a weird nonlinearity to its emotional songs that juxtaposed their ultra-finished sheen, a record called “Hope and Adams,” their second album released on Chicago’s Sugar Free records.

There is probably a story in the few records they have made since then, a story about a band whose Big Star easy mass appeal got them noticed by a major, and whose talent was subsequently squandered by committee.  I don’t care.  I have been waiting for them to follow up “Hope & Adams” with something more hopeful for 10 years.  “Per Second, Per Second, Per Second,” their ’03 Sony debut, was more akin to holiday snapshots of tired revelers taken on the hike down from a beautiful plateau than dispatches from the intrepid tour’s acme.  I didn’t hear the one they made after that, 2007’s “Every Day I Said a Prayer for Kathy and Made a One Inch Square.”

Today they release “White Ink, Black Ink,” and I am jumping up and down.  Take a listen to Don’t I hold you from “Hope & Adams”, and then alter your surround with Music is Drugs, an anthem to abandoning yourself to what’s going on in the here and now from “White Ink, Black Ink”.  Good things is drugs, bad things is drugs- all these things being equal, man, I am glad to have this band back.

Don’t I hold you, from “Hope and Adams”

Music is Drugs, from “White Ink, Black Ink”

Buy the self-released record here.

They played in June in the Federal City at DC9, at Philadelphia’s Kung Fu Necktie (what venue was to have hosted the final Clockcleaner show some time back), and at NYC’s Mercury Lounge, all of which dates passed right by me unnoticed.  They have a CD release gig in Allston, MA at Great Scott on August 1, followed by shows at the 7th St. Entry at First Avenue in MPLS August 27, and one at Schuba’s the following night on August 28.  A blog post on their Myspace encourages all joiners and would-be lovers to join them onstage for some sprawling choruses of My Warning Song, the aural answer to Drunken Sword Kung Fu.  What I mean is that, just when you think its disparate parts and vocalist Scott Levesque’s powerful pipes have finally staggered completely off the rhythm- SLICE!  Right in the heart.

Their website.