Tag Archives: Why?

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Why? Return to NYC to Headline Music Hall of Williamsburg Monday

February 2nd, 2018

Why? are a band that defies easy categorization—or categorization of any kind, for that matter. Maybe you could mash together two genres and throw in a dash, but what the fuck is rap–indie rock anyway? Why? (above, performing “Easy” for the Wild Honey Pie) began as the brainchild of Yoni Wolf, first as a solo rap act before morphing into a full-fledged four-piece band, which includes his brother and collaborator, Josiah, on drums, Doug McDiarmid on keys and Matt Meldon on guitar and bass. Before that he helped found Anticon, the rap-heavy indie record label based out of the Bay Area. In the time since, Yoni Wolf has returned to his hometown, Cincinnati—or in his own words, “the land of Procter & Gamble and cop scandals.” Sonically, Why? leapfrog from sound to sound with each album, but the frontman’s expert wordsmith abilities, equal parts confessional, personal, wry, whimsical and trippy, are constant throughout. Their latest album, Moh Llean (stream it below), came out last March, their first released material in four years. The LP comes oozing with ear-candy melodies, something Yoni has always had a knack for but has fine-tuned over the years. You can catch the Wolf brothers and company on Monday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Los Angeles art rapper Open Mike Eagle opens the show. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

 

 

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Don’t Ask Why, Just Go

February 13th, 2013

WHY? are such a pleasantly odd band that it’s hard to not spend all your energy describing what makes them so unique as opposed to so damn good, but I’ll do my best to elaborate on both. WHY? began as a stage name for the then Berkeley, Calif.–based artist Yoni Wolf in 2004, although he’s now based out of his hometown, Cincinnati, or in his own words: “the land of Procter & Gamble and cop scandals.” The group plays a wide range of instruments and doesn’t shy away from the occasional three-part harmony. And on their most recent album, last year’s Mumps, Etc. (stream it below), almost everything is centered around rhythm—and despite all the instrumentation, their sound never feels cluttered. If WHY? (above, playing “Sod in the Seed” for Altar TV) fall under any one genre, it’d be rap, but it’s such a peculiar form of rap that the moniker indie is usually also involved. Wolf’s singing voice sounds almost like what you’d imagine They Might Be Giants to sound like if they ever began rapping. They’re incredibly interesting, and you can see them tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg—Dan Rickershauser

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A Band That’s Hard to Pin Down

October 22nd, 2012

Why? – Music Hall of Williamsburg – October 20, 2012

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

Why? are such an odd band that it’s hard to not spend all your energy describing what makes them so unique as opposed to so damn good, but I’ll do my best to elaborate on both. Why? began as a stage name for the then Berkeley, Calif.–based artist Yoni Wolf in 2004, although he’s now based out of his hometown, Cincinnati, or in his own words: “the land of Procter & Gamble and cop scandals.” The group is currently made up of six people, with members filling the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage last night with almost every instrument imaginable. Occasionally there were two drummers involved, and at other times, it was two xylophones. There were even some moments of three-part harmonies. Almost everything was centered around rhythm, and despite all the instrumentation, their sound never felt cluttered. And everything right down to the competing tones of two ringing xylophone parts felt deliberate.

If Why? fall under any individual genre it’d be rap, although it’s such a peculiar form of rap that the moniker indie is usually also involved. Wolf’s singing voice sounded almost like what you’d imagine They Might Be Giants to sound like if they ever began rapping. With a backing band of five playing rhythm-heavy arrangements, Wolf’s cadence was allowed to pick and choose what beats to hit and follow. The organic nature of the arrangements also allowed for the backing band to drop out completely at times, giving Wolf the breathing room to spit out verses a cappella before the rest of the band jumped back in to fill the void. The set was heavy on songs from the freshly released Mumps, Etc., although Why? were sure to include some favorites from Alopecia as well, including “The Hollows,” “Good Friday” and the crowd-pleasing “The Vowels, Part 2.” And then the show ended with “Gemini Birthday Song,” off their first full-length, Elephant Eyelash. —Dan Rickershauser

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