Yowler is the pseudonym of Columbus, OH, resident Maryn Jones. She’s also in the bands Saintseneca and All Dogs, the former being the creators of my favorite album of 2014, Dark Arc. This album, The Offer, is her debut under this name and boy-oh-boy does it pack a punch. Falling in line with a lot of the other solo singer songwriter type deals coming from labels like Double Double Whammy and Orchid Tapes, this has emotionally wrenching lyrics, spare instrumentation, and bare-bones, beautiful vocals.
This record is an exercise in melancholy: the songs are slow and bare, leaving plenty of room for personal thoughts to be interwoven into the musical landscape. The majority of the tracks prominently feature guitar mixed with her vocals; but additional instrumentation comes from piano, drums and the occasional floating noise/ambiance. The recording is very raw, picking up little details of the guitar playing and stray breaths that Jones takes.
In that way, this album reminds me a lot of Phil Elverum and his projects, which is something that I haven’t been able to say often. The vocals are very immediate – the imperfections and emotional intensity are all forward, presented right at the listener. The instrumentation is also very Elverum-like. There’s very little added to them and they’re played clearly and soberly. The melodies are also very simple but continuously hold my attention, always providing some slight variation on the themes, like occasionally adding multi-tracked vocals, harmonies, or extra instrumentation. It’s a marvelously arranged album, that’s for sure.
All in all, I’ve been listening to this one nonstop for the past two days. It’s been my go-to night music and music to recommend to my sleeping roommate. If you’re a fan of Saintseneca, Waxahatchee, Mitski, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Grouper, The Microphones, etc; you owe it to yourself to listen to this. It’s a lovely record that makes me feel sad night feelings.
Check out “7 Towers” below and make sure to support Yowler by buying the digital copy or the cassette from Double Double Whammy!