Last fall’s “All Hour Cymbals,” Brooklyn newcomer Yeasayer’s debut record, rode on the strength of the single “2080,” a guess-what?-we’re-fucked look into a future just over seventy years from now. The real grabber, though, was the sound—blending folk with a Middle Eastern space-rock freak-out, Yeasayer mashed sounds that, before this, shouldn’t have ever been dumped into the same pot. But it worked, as the band received bundles of press all along the blogosphere and invites to various festivals around the globe (it was just announced this week that the band will sweat it out at Lollapalooza). Things seem to be moving rather quickly for the band, at least from the outside, but guitarist Anand Wilder begs to differ.
“I mean, I don’t think we really knew what to expect,” he says of the public response to “All Hour Cymbals.” “We set out to do exactly what we wanted to do—no compromises. Nobody had heard of us and we were just hoping people would be into it as much as we are. It exceeded expectations, but at the same time, if it was going any slower I’d probably quit.”
The quick acceptance of the band’s sound was a bit surprising as well. “I think [it’s] our willingness to embrace different genres of music,” Wilder says on why he believes Yeasayer has caught on. “People have sort attention spans—I know I do. I can hardly listen to an album all the way through. If feels like a lot of bands hit one note and keep playing it for the whole album, whether it’s cool or sad or emo or whatever. We consciously set out to have a lot of varied songs, to try not to repeat ourselves ever. We acknowledge a lot of influences in the musical landscape. [Music] is so fractured right now, lots of bands want to be revivalists. Like, they think 1972 was the best year [for music], or they want it to sound like ‘Exile on Main St.’ We’re more positive about the fact that you can get music from all over the world and put it all together.”
Wilder says that, rather than trying to emulate the band’s live sound on record, Yeasayer tries to translate the recorded material on stage. “We definitely work that way,” he says. “How to capture the studio magic in a live setting rather than vice versa.” He does admit, though, that they approach the two experiences differently. “In the studio, we’re willing to be more ethereal and atmospheric,” he says, “whereas in a live setting [you] gotta keep people energetic, they want to dance, they want to stand up.” (Tom Lynch)
Yeasayer plays March 16 at Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 North Kedzie, (773)509-5019, at 9pm. $13-$15.