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Wednesday, 'Cliff'

A common knock against indie rock is that it's the music of privilege, recorded primarily for and by the liberal-arts elite. The North Carolina band Wednesday pushes back against that stereotype, writing from an unmistakably blue-collar background and perspective. Over the volcanic guitars of the new album Twin Plagues, songwriter Karly Hartzman looks back on her small-town upbringing through the class awareness of adulthood, sifting through an impressionistic daze of memories: home haircuts, vandalized cemeteries, a cruelly symbolic burned-down Dairy Queen. "Cliff" in particular is loaded with scene-setting details: race cars, Miller Lite, a Dallas Cowboys urn, all vague suggestions of a physically or emotionally absent parent. Like so much of Twin Plagues, it's a song about the sting of realizing in hindsight that your childhood was less stable than you understood.

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Evan Rytlewski
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