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March 27, 2008

When does it become a gimmick?

Last year when indie rock duo Wye Oak (then known as Monarch) came to record a Baltimore Unsigned session, drummer Andy Stack was leery of me talking about his talents.

Since singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner is Wye Oak's only other member, Stack pulls double duty live.

He covers the drums with one hand and two feet while playing bass on a small keyboard to his left.

Stack didn't want me discussing this on air because he thought it took away from their music.

He thought it felt too gimmicky.

I disagree. I think someone like Stack can be recognized for his talents without it becoming a gimmick.

But it raises a good point. Where do you draw the line?

Here's a video of Stack playing the drum/bass parts to the song "Warning."

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:30 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Local music


I don't think it's gimmicky at all. Giant Drag had the same setup, and if anything it only impresses more.

That being said, live i really think the band could benefit from the addition of another person. Maybe even just a cello player...which i love on the album, but isn't there live.

When it gives fodder to lazy reporters for blog posts?

"Gimmick" implies that the artist is doing something superfluous to get attention.

When it provides fodder for the blog posts of lazy reporters? (Who censor their comments, perhaps? If not, excuse the double post.)

A "gimmick" is something superfluous designed to attract extra attention.

He never implied that it might be a gimmick, the artist himself was concerned with seeming gimmicky.

Kenny Liner of The Bridge plays mandolin and beatboxes at the same time...I don't see that as gimicky either!

Ryan, are you covering Wye Oak's G-Spot show April 10?

I've seen Wye Oak/Monarch about 4-5 times and it wasn't until the last time that I finally saw that Andy plays the keyboard while drumming.

I don't see how that can be thought of as a gimmick, especially considering it's gotta be hard as hell to do.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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