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Rat Saw God

by Wednesday

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1.
Hot Rotten Grass Smell Fuck all ya'll down the wishing well Neon sign at the nail salon turned off and the streetlights turned on Your closet froze after you left except the people who took your shirts close off your door with yellow tape saw myself dead at the end of a staircase
2.
Got him right between the shoulders And the bull loses blood No fight left to give Can’t pull his head up Comfort fools us into faith Than fate pulls us away again A corpse with a spirit Got out of my bed today The bottles call you from their Seats on the choir risers Lay on my back in the Tepid bath tub water The ache of the wind on the windows The blood under the bridge And the stadium crowd Charges the bull … The wind changed pitch as the bridge went by The lightning comes from the ground and goes up to the sky Poured one out for all my guys The tiny monuments get propped up on the roadside Believe me, believer Passed out on the couch at a new years party I sat on the stairs with a never ending nosebleed You were playing Mortal Kombat God make me good but not quite yet Believe me, believer Finish him
3.
Got Shocked 02:18
I got shocked cause the room was on two different circuits First I felt the thunder and blacked out at band practice I'm told that I screamed and stood up Then I sat down and wept after the amp got unplugged You never ask for anything The race car driver died on TV I ran like hell into the burning house it'd been too long since I had felt the sting Hot breath looming off the grill off a truck your long legs hold you ups like two big machine guns cricket jumped behind the fridge it stayed there for two days the envy sometimes gets to me its never sacred rage
4.
Formula One 02:52
I like sleeping with the lights on you next to me watching formula one truck was too tall for the overpass got the top ripped off didn't see it happen I just saw the aftermath Rusty old can opener neglected in the drawer reminds me of the ones you did off of the diving board bird flies into the window every day at the same time it'll never learn but it also wouldn't die Halloween decides to beat me into a pulp til I just try to play dead I broke the dark my day is gone I listen to what you had been thinking "loves not the way to treat a friend"
5.
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 Just so you know what you signed up for what you’re dealin with Just so you know what you’ve been chosen to deserve I’m the girl you were chosen to deserve I used to drink til I threw up on week nights at my parents house My friends all took Benadryl til they could see shit crawlin up the walls One of those times my friend took a little too much He had to get his stomach pumped They took him over to the hospital and told us he was lucky to survive I’m the girl you were chosen to deserve I was out late sneaking into the neighborhood pool Then i woke up early and taught at the sunday school If you’re lookin for me I’m in the back of an SUV Doin it in some cul-de-sac underneath a dogwood tree I’m the girl you were chosen to deserve I went to school about 3 days out of the week Watered down all the liquor and then pissed outside in the street Now all the drugs are getting kind of boring to me Now everywhere is loneliness and it’s in everything Thank god that I was chosen to deserve you, Cause I was the girl you were chosen to deserve
6.
Bath County 03:10
I can walk on water I can raise the dead We joined the exodus Headed out from of Dollywood Every daughter of God Has a little bad luck sometimes Kid in Bath County, Virginia Sippin piss colored bright yellow Fanta Heard someone died in the Planet Fitness parking lot firetrucks rolled in and people stood around Hittem with a dose of Narcan sat right up in the leaned back seat of his two door sedan on the way home play Drive-By Truuckers songs real loud Be my baby til my bodys in the ground Drunken laughter Violence after Killin the heat Salt strips the paint
7.
Quarry 04:07
The rain rotted house on the dead end of Baytree old bitter lady sits caddy corner to the aftershock from the Quarry She says "America's a spoiled child that's ignorant of grief" but then she gives out full sized candy bars on Halloween We had to add it to the tab to die we'd have to settle up so we just go until we can't or burn it down to feel the heat The Kletz brothers parents fight in the yard in their underwear Bobby and Jimmy sit in the baby pool with lice in their hair they have scoliosis from constants slumps in misery flat parts on their crew cuts from laying their heads on their knees We had to add it to the tab to die we'd have to settle up so we just go until we can't or burn it down to feel the heat Georgie set fire to acres of cotton setting off model rockets the kid from the Jewish family got the preachers kid pregnant but they sent her off and we never heard too much more about it the sweet talk never lasts and we learn to go on without it We had to add it to the tab to die we'd have to settle up so we just go until we can't or burn it down to feel the heat Somebody called the cops soon Mandy and her boyfriend when they busted in they found that her house was a front for a mob thing they pulled guns and cocaine from the dry wall wrapped in newspaper we gathered in the tall grass and watched unblinking as they cuffed em and hauled em away We had to add it to the tab to die we'd have to settle up so we just go until we can't or burn it down to feel the heat When we give up we go to sleep
8.
turkey vultures gather in the yard with a face as blank as a shovel we're fired up about Jesus we're tired out of all the nature I wrap the heavy gauze around me I get unfocused make me blurry I tether myself three feet from me I do not feel my ugly body We turn off all the heat and freeze at night and all the snow falls from the trees just like a jockey from a novice horse my past a mine field beneath me There's a sex shop off the highway with a biblical name Nana crashed the carpool on the way to my mom's birthday Snow didn't stick it never does the boat I feel so lonely in ends up to hold us all I cannot tell myself apart at night I don't count stars I count the dark
9.
Ran the chainsaw til it ran out of gas cause you got stung by a yellow jacket and you dropped it you amazing idiot memory always twists the knife nothing will ever be as vivid as the darkest time of my life Found out who I was and it wasn't pretty Suddenly its a tragic story But that's what's so funny
10.
Highway sign fell down we missed town dresser on the side of the road pick it up swingset in a fuckin field lookin out at the monster mowing through the tall grass cutting it flat chain knockin against a metal pole in the wind people standin with their arms crossed in the line at the Panera Bread at a rest stop Violently came up in a Dollar General you took too much Jake walked into a Starbucks TV in the gas pump blares into the dark

about

A Wednesday song is a quilt. A short story collection, a half-memory, a patchwork of portraits of the American south, disparate moments that somehow make sense as a whole. Karly Hartzman, the songwriter/vocalist/guitarist at the helm of the project, is a story collector as much as she is a storyteller: a scholar of people and one-liners. Rat Saw God, the Asheville quintet’s new and best record, is ekphrastic but autobiographical and above all, deeply empathetic. Across the album’s ten tracks Hartzman, guitarist MJ Lenderman, bassist Margo Shultz, drummer Alan Miller, and lap/pedal steel player Xandy Chelmis build a shrine to minutiae. Half-funny, half-tragic dispatches from North Carolina unfurling somewhere between the wailing skuzz of Nineties shoegaze and classic country twang, that distorted lap steel and Hartzman’s voice slicing through the din.

Rat Saw God is an album about riding a bike down a suburban stretch in Greensboro while listening to My Bloody Valentine for the first time on an iPod Nano, past a creek that runs through the neighborhood riddled with broken glass bottles and condoms, a front yard filled with broken and rusted car parts, a lonely and dilapidated house reclaimed by kudzu. Four Lokos and rodeo clowns and a kid who burns down a corn field. Roadside monuments, church marquees, poppers and vodka in a plastic water bottle, the shit you get away with at Jewish summer camp, strange sentimental family heirlooms at the thrift stores. The way the South hums alive all night in the summers and into fall, the sound of high school football games, the halo effect from the lights polluting the darkness. It’s not really bright enough to see in front of you, but in that stretch of inky void – somehow – you see everything.

Rat Saw God was written in the months immediately following Twin Plagues’ completion, and recorded in a week at Asheville’s Drop of Sun studio. While Twin Plagues was a breakthrough release critically for Wednesday, it was also a creative and personal breakthrough for Hartzman. The lauded record charts feeling really fucked up, trauma, dropping acid. It had Hartzman thinking about the listener, about her mom hearing those songs, about how it feels to really spill your guts. And in the end, it felt okay. “I really jumped that hurdle with Twin Plagues where I was not worrying at all really about being vulnerable – I was finally comfortable with it, and I really wanna stay in that zone.”

The album opener, “Hot Rotten Grass Smell,” happens in a flash: an explosive and wailing wall-of-sound dissonance that’d sound at home on any ‘90s shoegaze album, then peters out into a chirping chorus of peepers, a nighttime sound. And then into the previously-released eight-and-half-minute sprawling, heavy single, “Bull Believer.” Other tracks, like the creeping “What’s So Funny” or “Turkey Vultures,” interrogate Hartzman’s interiority - intimate portraits of coping, of helplessness. “Chosen to Deserve” is a true-blue love song complete with ripping guitar riffs, skewing classic country. “Bath County” recounts a trip Hartzman and her partner took to Dollywood, and time spent in the actual Bath County, Virginia, where she wrote the song while visiting, sitting on a front porch. And Rat Saw God closer “TV in the Gas Pump” is a proper traveling road song, written from one long ongoing iPhone note Hartzman kept while in the van, its final moments of audio a wink toward Twin Plagues.

The reference-heavy stand-out “Quarry” is maybe the most obvious example of the way Hartzman seamlessly weaves together all these throughlines. It draws from imagery in Lynda Barry’s Cruddy; a collection of stories from Hartzman’s family (her dad burned down that cornfield); her current neighbors; and the West Virginia street from where her grandma lived, right next to a rock quarry, where the explosions would occasionally rock the neighborhood and everyone would just go on as normal.

The songs on Rat Saw God don’t recount epics, just the everyday. They’re true, they’re real life, blurry and chaotic and strange – which is in-line with Hartzman’s own ethos: “Everyone’s story is worthy,” she says, plainly. “Literally every life story is worth writing down, because people are so fascinating.”

But the thing about Rat Saw God - and about any Wednesday song, really - is you don’t necessarily even need all the references to get it, the weirdly specific elation of a song that really hits. Yeah, it’s all in the details – how fucked up you got or get, how you break a heart, how you fall in love, how you make yourself and others feel seen – but it’s mostly the way those tiny moments add up into a song or album or a person.

credits

released April 7, 2023

Karly Hartzman - Guitar & Vocals
MJ Lenderman - Guitar & Back-up Vocals
Xandy Chelmis - Lap Steel
Margo Schultz - Bass
Alan Miller - Drums

Produced by Alex Farrar
Mixed & Engineered by Alex Farrar
Mastered by Huntley Miller
Recorded at Drop of Sun Studios in Asheville, NC
Written by Karly Hartzman, Margo Schultz, Mark Jacob Lenderman, Richard Miller, Alexander Reuben
Published by Covertly Canadian Publishing (BMI)/Secretly Canadian Publishing (ASCAP), Hiss Lovers Publishing (BMI), Hand Stuff Publishing (BMI), Cage Match Publishing (BMI), Empty Unused Publishing (BMI), CrabBucket Enterprises (ASCAP), administered by Secretly Publishing

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Wednesday Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville, NC


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