Wednesday’s “TV in the Gas Pump” Paints an Honest, Irreverent Picture of Life on the Road

Wednesday © Zachary Chick
Wednesday © Zachary Chick
“TV in the Gas Pump” showcases Wednesday’s indie rock sound while capturing the less-than-picturesque elements of touring.
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Stream: “TV in the Gas Pump” – Wednesday

Asheville’s Wednesday are known for their breadth of sound across genres, whether their music is referred to as bubblegrunge or countrygaze – and on the band’s latest single, “TV in the Gas Pump,” they showcase a classic indie-rock sound, while making it completely their own. “TV” almost sounds like a track off of Next Thing, if Frankie Cosmos were to feature a distorted feedback drone as an integral component of the sound.

Highway sign fell down
We missed town, dresser on the side of the road
Pick it up
Swingset in a big fuckin’ field
Lookin’ out at the monster mowing through the tall grass
Cutting it flat
Rat Saw God - Wednesday
Rat Saw God – Wednesday

The lyricism on this track is simple and irreverent, descriptive of the sights along the road on an American tour. Vocalist Karly Hartzman paints a picture of rest stops, Starbucks, Dollar Generals, and the eerie echo of gas station news playing to no one at the end of the day:

“Chain knockin against
The metal pole in the wind
People standin’ with their arms crossed
In the line at the Panera Bread
At a rest stop”

The sparse descriptions and irreverent tone work to produce the mood of endless driving through country roads, reminders of corporations and small towns alike. The song departs from a typical structure; there’s no chorus, just three descriptive verses with the repeated phrase at the end:

“TV in the gas pump
Blares into the dark
Blares into the dark
Blares into the dark”

“This is the first song I’ve written about being on the road, and I really just wanted to collect all that imagery you ingest on tour,” Karly Hartzman explains in a statement. “A few images that made it in the song include: the never ending gas station stops that blend together and the dystopian gas pump advertisements, a stressful experience in a Panera bread and a story of coming up from taking what you thought was a microdose of shrooms in a Dollar General.”

The music video for the song is a video-game-like animation that fits the irreverence of the song, showing an animated rendering of the band performing in a field, on a rooftop, at a gas station, and lands on a live-action shot of Hartzman pulling up to Citgo to fill up her minivan.

The video’s director, Lewis Dahm, describes the video as, “a result of Karly’s sicko vision of the Arresting Beauty of the American South. That vision was digitized by local freak-on-a-leash Lewis Dahm.”

Wednesday © Zachary Chick
Wednesday © Zachary Chick

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

Following singles “Bull Believer,” “Chosen to Deserve,” and “Bath County,” “TV in the Gas Pump” is the last single that the band will drop ahead of their upcoming fourth album Rat Saw God, out April 7th on Dead Oceans. Formed in Asheville, North Carolina in 2017, Wednesday consists of vocalist and songwriter Karly Hartzman, guitarist MJ Lenderman, drummer Alan Miller, and lap steel player Xandy Chelmis. Their latest four songs seem to offer a glimpse into the variety of what Wednesday can do, with “Bull Believer” showing how big their sound can be, how raw and uninhibited, whereas “Chosen To Deserve” is a country song that gets back to the band’s Southern roots and honest lyricism. Meanwhile, “Bath County” and “TV in the Gas Pump” demonstrate Wednesday’s shoegaze/indie sound. After listening to these four singles, it’s hard to say where the band shines the greatest.

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:: stream/purchase “TV in the Gas Pump” here ::
Stream: “TV in the Gas Pump” – Wednesday

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Rat Saw God - Wednesday

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