If you’ve read a few of my past Laundromatinee posts, you should realize by now I’m not entirely interested in the of-the-moment trends, total reinvention of the popular music scene or coolness for coolness’ sake. That’s not to say I’m a Luddite or complacent for only what has come before. What I mean to say is everything I’ve read in the past year about Yuck (plenty of acclaim and “Best of” recognition courtesy of tastemaker giants in the likes of Pitchfork, NPR, Spin, Rolling Stone, The AV Club, Paste, Stereogum, NME, MAGNET, Spinner, Consequence of Sound, etc) seems to distinctly focus on how their feet are firmly rooted in the 1990’s (check out my very own My Old Kentucky Blog post for Yuck’s Room 205 session a few months back to see how I too modified my voice a bit but still said the same thing), for better or worse depending on the critic’s mood. I have no interest in criticizing; I’m far more motivated to share my passions with those I hope may have similar desires. I find it apt here to acknowledge MOKB & Laundromatinee founder Dodge for championing Yuck back in the spring of 2010 and sharing his passion and being the first to make me aware of easily one of my favorite new bands.
I believe it’s a waste of energy and time to argue whether Yuck belongs (or shall belong) in the same level of company as their influences or if they have/lack cultural relevance because their sound harks back to old loves. Yuck is a damn solid rock & roll band, but they pull from these influences and create their own songs and stamps. Yes, Yuck’s influences are transparent, and they are all bands I have intensely loved for a time or still intensely love. I’m most intrigued in bands as they are – a marriage of who they were and who they may well become. I see this marriage in a band’s songs, presentation and live shows. Yuck’s self-titled debut is a compulsively listenable and wholly satisfying spree of standout song after standout song. Yuck’s live set was just as fun and blissful during the 75 minutes or so blast of total release they unleashed when I saw them at Radio Radio in October (they recorded this session for us that afternoon). Here they grant us the gift of two outstanding bonus cuts from the deluxe version of the album, “The Base of a Dream Is Empty” and “Soothe Me” (the latter recognized as a NPR Song of the Day back in September), and the gorgeous ballad of youthful longing, “Suck”. Yes, the influences are scrawled upon every aspect of the music, but Mascis, Shields, Corgan and Gordon, Moore and Ranaldo and countless other 90’s luminaries are noticeably absent from the album’s credits. The young lads of Yuck wrote the songs, chiseled out the melodies and refined/scuffed the sounds to excellence.
I (me personally, I can’t speak for Yuck) apologize if you are in search of a tantalizing collection of electronic blips, club beats or a minimalist construction that unearths an otherworldly sound unlike anything that has preceded it. Sorry, but you will find none of that here. However, if you are willing to take the considerably small sacrifice of a few minutes to unearth what could be a favorite band for years to come, one that adores the sounds and styles of scores of the same bands you love and adds their own voice, stories and attitude to the mix, you may find immeasurable satisfaction in rallying behind Yuck.
Maybe Yuck will be a band you’ll still be eager to listen to and see in 20 years, or maybe you’ll be too obsessed lauding the stylings of the avant-garde, electro-masterpiece of 2032. For me, the slim chance of stumbling upon an obsession, something that hits me just right and makes me more in love with music and the world around me, seems like a worthwhile risk when all it involves is giving this session a listen and maybe dropping a few bucks on Yuck’s self-titled album at the local record store (that’s you, Luna!) or on iTunes. Maybe one day “The Wall”, “Operation”, “Holing Out”, “Georgia” and “Soothe Me” will magically sneak their way into my suburban dive bar’s TouchTunes jukebox alongside those 90’s heroes to which everybody loves measuring Yuck. When that day comes, I’ll hungrily scroll past all the current, flag-waving radio-ready country, the Autotuned club anthems of last year and the 80’s hair metal ballads that get played in heavy rotation night after night. I’ll merrily reach into my pocket and slide a few of my hard-earned dollars from my coffee-pouring, customer service paycheck to bask in a bit of the finest damn rock & roll around (and maybe tweak a few ears in the bar in the process).
Yuck’s self-titled album is available on Fat Possum records and has garnered rave reviews in most reliable rock publications (see above). If you haven’t already, pick it up now from your favorite, local independent record store!
Recorded and Mixed by Corey Barnes at Lovebird Recording
Filmed and Edited by Daniel Arthur
Written by Justin Wesley