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Operation Every Band - SXSW 2014
The Goal: To listen to and review every band performing at SXSW 2014.
OEB - SXSW 2014 Project Links:
OEB's 5 SXSW Qs - An Interview Series
Operation Every Band - SXSW 2013
Operation Every Band - SXSW 2012
Following the lives, careers and internet buzz of twelve bands from SXSW through the end of the year (2011).
Austin City Limits Festival 2011
35 Conferette 2011
Yuck made it in to “The 12” for two reasons that were unique to the fuzzed out alternative rockers. First, they were the most hyped new act going into SXSW according to The Hype Machine. They were also the only band of “The 12” that I wasn’t really turned onto during last year’s SXSW project. They drew a rating of a “4” simply described as “fuzzy” with a “post rock influence”. After six months of coverage, I can report that I’ve been proven wrong. I wonder if I just got caught up in the heavy drone of “Rubber” through my initial listen, which has ironically turned into my favorite song from Yuck. They seem to be another band that doesn’t quite realize how good they are. Yuck come across as really young in interviews, which I guess is acceptable, given all of the band members are only in their early twenties. Their evasive nature melds well with their music. There is an equal focus on melody and distortion. This presents a certain level of mystery to Yuck’s sound, which I think is the primary factor why they’ve convinced so many listeners that they are the real deal this year.
Yuck primarily built their fanbase this year through constant touring. Mainly concentrated in Europe, the band signed on to over twenty festivals throughout the summer. This allowed them to reach as many ears as possible, which had a considerable impact when they followed up with headlining shows this fall. Yuck also made a run Stateside, playing a few tours over the course of the year mostly headlining small to medium sized clubs in major US markets. Compared to the other artist in “The 12”, Yuck had more mixed reviews than the rest. So came out ecstatic, while others were underwhelmed. It’s all led me to believe that Yuck is appreciated by two types of listeners. The first is someone who is already a fan of that 90’s alternative sound and is looking for an update. Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth devotees seem to be drawn in more than most and immediately accept Yuck’s sound and delivery as one of comfort. I fall into a different category.
Yuck is a band that I appreciated the more I listened to them. Their catchy hooks are the bait and the payoff comes with a subtle touch. Their distorted layering has a great deal of warmth even though it’s aiming for an uncomfortable state at times. Above all, Yuck deserves acclaim for their natural touch in terms of songwriting. Once the B-Side “Milkshake” was released, I finally got where they are going with this. It was catchy and fun, yet deeper at its heart. Whereas I look for further experimentation for most bands I follow, I could see Yuck pulling it in even more and coming up with a stronger and fuller sound as they approach their sophomore era. If the songs hold up as well as the tunes from their self-titled LP, Yuck could continue to propel. The best sign of success will be when they stop being referred to as a throwback and accepted as a sound in and of itself. Until then, Yuck will continue to hit the road with dates scheduled well into 2012 already.
10/24/11 – Lille Vega – Copenhagen, Denmark (courtesy of Rock Freaks)
Immediately after Yuck’s last gig of their US tour in Brooklyn, the band headed overseas for the start of a six-week tour throughout Europe and the UK. The tour schedule was absolutely packed with only ten days off between October 17th and November 29th. The run started off in Brussels before heading east for a trio of shows in Germany. The band focused on mid-sized clubs causing a few shows to sell out and most having a pretty sizable fan base. A good deal of the audience was catching Yuck for the second or third time as the band was all over Europe throughout the summer while riding the festival curcuit. This definitely added to the energy of the shows showing a little more movement and audience connection than the band’s US run.
The rest of October was spent in the northern part of Central Europe looping around Denmark, Czech Republick, Sweden, Stockholm and Norway. The Prague Post shared some thoughts on the energy at Klub 007, the sound “reverberated into the concrete basement walls and sent the crowd into a buzzing frenzy that didn’t die down until well after the band left the venue”. Rock Freaks also wrote about the strengthening band-audience connection while reviewing the Copenhagen show simply noting, “The band seemed much happier playing this time around.” The road continues on for Yuck. They are currently in France and have a few more stops before they round up with fifteen dates through the UK.
Get Away - 10/18/11 – Underground – Cologne, Germany
Holing Out – 10/19/11 – Ampere – Munich, Germany
Shook Down – 10/21/11 – Klub 007 – Prague, CZ
Rubber – 10/23/11 – Molotow – Hamburg, Germany
Here are a couple of stories about the band Yuck. We have just one more Tour Report on the way before we close out Yuck’s coverage for the year.
‘Sup is an international publication focused on music and the culture surrounding the scene based out of New York City and London. They caught up with Yuck last month for a discussion or songwriting, musical and non-musical influences and an extensive conversation on the plausibility of life on other planets. Bloom did share this interesting tidbit on the importance of a strong debut:
“Your best album has to be your first otherwise you fall by the wayside. There are so many bands it’s easy to get filtered out. You have to make your statement. Everything is declining, but things are also moving at a faster pace.”
After following Yuck for six months, this one caught even me off guard. Yuck released an extra bonus track on the Japanese edition of their LP in the form of the Happy Ends’ classic folk-rock track “Natsu Nandesu”. Bassist Mariko Doi takes a stab at lead vocals for the first time in Yuck performing the Japanese language track with an airy delivery that doesn’t deviate too far from Yuck’s base sound.
The Agit Reader is a music publication mostly focused on the indie scene and anything left-of-center that catches their ear. The magazine interviewed Yuck’s Daniel Blumberg for their latest issue. The conversation starts out with Blumberg’s side projects including Oupa, then moves on to hit on topics like the repetition of constant touring and the decision to re-release their debut LP with bonus tracks. Blumberg seems pretty focused on finishing up touring to get started on Yuck’s sophomore LP, so we should expect they hit the home studio sometime early next year.
10/12/11 – The Black Cat – Washington DC (courtesy of Pop Culture Lunch Box)
Yuck finished off their expansive European festival run in early September with two sets at Isle of Wright’s Bestival, but they gave themselves only a couple days off the road before preparing for a nineteen-date tour covering the eastern part of the US that ran from September 23rd to October 14th. Before landing in Boston for the first gig at TT the Bears (an “incredibly exciting performance” according to the Daily Free Press), Yuck made a one-off stopover in Mariko Doi’s home country of Japan. Though this seems like an out-of-the-way destination, Yuck has shown some extra effort into winning over Japanese fans with their recently released cover of the Happy Ends’ “Natsu Nandesu” featuring Doi on lead vocals. The second stop of the US tour was a unique one as the band played what they described as an “epic arena gig” at Philadelphia’s Popped! Music Festival alongside a diverse lineup spearheaded by The Shins and Cage the Elephant. Yuck closed out the weekend up in Canada highlighted by another festival gig at Pop Montreal, though this time they headlined a smaller club rather than an early afternoon gig in a professional sports arena.
The following week found the band traversing inward from the coast with stops in Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland and Indianapolis. These shows hold some significance as Porcelain Raft joined in as a supporting act, which continued throughout the rest of the tour. This isn’t the first time the bands have toured together; back in March and April, Porcelain Raft provided supporting duty for shows both by Yuck and Blumberg’s side project Oupa. The latter half of the week also saw the band add a new song to the setlist, “Soothe Me”, which was just recently released online through the band’s Soundcloud page in anticipation for the Yuck’s “Deluxe Edition” release of their debut LP towards the end of the tour. Beyond tracks from the proper LP, Yuck also interspersed “Milkshake” and common opener “The Base of a Dream is Empty” throughout their performances. Thoughts on Tracks, who caught their third Yuck show at Indianapolis’ Radio Radio, caught onto the band’s accelerated maturation throughout the past few months. “This was the strongest performance of the three and after witnessing the fan reaction, I knew something special was brewing.”
The third week of touring saw Yuck heading south from Chicago to Miami. Reviews from the shows came out pretty mixed, from St. Louis’ Riverfront Times (“The songs were still there, but the execution was off.”) to Totally Unauthorized from Nashville (“I can’t help but be absorbed by how the band rocks out like no tomorrow.”). If there’s anything I’ve taken away from following Yuck for the last six months, it’s that the band’s live show is really hit or miss, not dependent on their performance, but rather the ears of the listener. Some shows saw both positive and negative reviews, proving that “different strokes for different folks” completely holds water for Yuck. The consistent positive always seems to fall on songwriting, which can never be taken from the band no matter how their stage demeanor is interpreted.
Yuck’s tour wrapped up the following week as the band headed back up north to close with back-to-back shows at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg. As a pleasant counterpoint to the prior week, reviews from Brooklyn were not only positive; they were downright glowing. The Owl Mag reflected, “even if this music is looking backwards, if the show was any indication, Yuck’s career is only looking forward” while the Daily Princetonian put it more succinctly: “If there is one word you can say about Yuck’s live performance, it’s flawlessness.” Yuck’s fall US tour can definitely be viewed as a success and has proven how much their songs have caught on with American audiences throughout the last year. The band had no breaks in mind as they close out the year; their touring continued immediately after as they embarked on a six-week European run only three days after the last note was played in Brooklyn. We’ll file our final tour report for Yuck next week covering from Brussels to this weekend’s shows in Oslo and Aarhus, Denmark.
OEB Video Diary:
Milkshake – 9/23/11 – Popped! Music Festival – Philadelphia, PA
The Wall – 9/24/11 – Cabaret du Mile-End – Montreal, Canada
Georgia – 9/25/11 – Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, Canada
Soothe Me – 9/30/11 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
Base of a Dream is Empty – 10/7/11 – Crowbar – Tampa, FL
Yuck is currently in Florida as they round up their US headlining tour with Porcelain Raft, but we first wanted to share some news and videos from around the web:
Spinner, AOL’s music magazine, highlighted Yuck in a recent article. The piece discusses the band’s formation, reactions to success and plans for the future. Bloom comments: "You have to realize that your job is making music. If you think that things cannot get any better, it depends what kind of person you are. I guess we’re all quite down of earth. You can’t let it get it ahead of you."
Throughout September, Incase Soudsession released a set of Yuck performances (“Rubber”, “Milkshake” and “The Wall”) as part of their web series Room 205. Director Michael Reich sets a dark tone throughout each song with unsettling background images amid the fuzz of an old VHS recording. The imagery melds well with Yuck’s sound, as they both borrow much from the prevailing rock sound that was launched twenty years ago.
Rubber, Milkshake, The Wall
Next week, Yuck will release the Deluxe Edition of their debut LP features six B-sides. The only track that had yet to see the light of day was “Soothe Me”, which the band released on Soundcloud in late September. A slew of music sites caught on right away, including NPR Music who featured “Soothe Me” as their “Song of the Day” on Sept. 29th. We’ve included the track below along with fellow B-sides “Cousin Corona”, “Milkshake”, “Doctors in My Bed”, “Coconut Bible” and “The Base of a Dream is Empty”.
8/27/11 – Reading Festival, UK (courtesy of efestivals)
When Yuck got back from their US headlining tour with Unknown Mortal Orchestra in July, they jumped right back on the festival circuit with an appearance at Sicily’s Ypsigrock Festival (Rolling Stone Italy shared a nice video overview featuring Yuck last month), one of ten festivals the band scheduled over the month following Ypsigrock. Starting in Central Europe, Yuck booked a mix of large stages on big fields with “walking festivals” in more intimate venues. Some reviews were mixed (Sounds XP noted Yuck’s Haldern Pop appearance “fell very flat in Germany”), but mostly were well received given their hype throughout Europe this year. While on a mid-week festival reprieve, Yuck fit in two shows in Utrecht and Luxembourg opening for the instrumental post-rock band Explosions in the Sky, which I imagine inspired the band to stretch out the sonic landscapes of “Rubber” for an extra minute or two. After appearances at Germany’s Way Out West and Dockville festivals, Yuck closed out the first half of their festival run at Austira’s Frequency Festival. They were supposed to play one more gig that Sunday, but Belgium’s Pukkelpop Festival had to cancel the event due to a fatal storm that took down a stage and completely destroyed the festival grounds.
The next weekend, Yuck lined up back-to-back appearances at the famed Reading and Leeds festivals. Glamour Magazine reviewed the Reading gig saying Yuck were at times “note-perfect and full of emotion” and Leeds Music Scene called their set the following day “full of instantly likeable tunes”. These early afternoon main stage appearances seem to be a sweet spot for Yuck this summer, drawing in big audiences against less competition. The next weekend the band flew over to Ireland for a Saturday night appearance at the Electric Picnic, “the sort of riled up, ready-to-rock vibe you always wish for on a Saturday night at festivals” according to the Irish Times. After a one-of headlining gig at Kingston’s New Slang, Yuck’s four-month European tour rounded up at Isle of Wright’s Bestival where the band actually placed two different stages on back-to-back days. All in all, Yuck tackled 22 different festival stages throughout Europe covering all corners of the continent. The band didn’t really “pick up steam” throughout the summer so to speak, they were pulling big crowds back in May as well, but they kept up pace throughout. These big stage festival sets set the tone for Yuck’s upcoming headlining run through all of Europe with six weeks of tightly booked headlining gigs starting in mid-October. We’ll pick up next with Yuck with their headlining tour supported by Porcelain Raft up and down the Eastern US that starts this Thursday in Boston.
OEB Video Diary:
Shook Down - 8/11/11 – Haldern Pop, Germany
Holing Out - 8/13/11 – Dockville Festival – Hamburg, Germany
Rubber – 8/15/11 – Tivoli – Utrecht, Netherlands
Milkshake / Get Away – 9/8/11 – New Slang – Kingston, UK
Yuck received quite a few major reports from online and print publications both from Europe and the US including The Fly, Rolling Stone and Billboard Magazine. Here are August’s highlights including some additional coverage from Oupa’s debut full-length Forget released in the middle of the month:
The Fly is a music magazine focused mostly on what’s hip in the UK scene and they featured Yuck on the cover for their August issue. The Fly’s website acts as a virtual magazine in lieu of a standard layout, so you need to flip about 15 pages in to get to Yuck’s feature story: “Slow Revolution”. Ben Homewood’s piece on “the sleeper hit of the year” finds the band more open than most of their interviews, sharing stories about their influences, favorite gigs (Bowery Ballroom and Primavera Festival this year) and the differences between being entertaining versus being themselves. It’s one of the most insightful pieces on the band, humanizing the musicians normally hidden behind low lights and a wall of fuzz.
Yuck is a band normally described for their layers of sound, but they took a milder approach when they stopped by the Rolling Stone studio for a few tracks and a short interview. “Suicide Policeman”, “Suck” and “Shook Down” carry more of a singer-songwriter vibe than their normal sound and actually enhances the impressiveness of the band’s tight and patient approach. As Yuck continues to grow, an endorsement in Rolling Stone always helps especially with such a great performance.
99% of articles written about Yuck have some sort of mention of their 90’s alternative rock influences, so it’s no surprise that Stereogum took the plunge to ask the band directly for a few words on some of their top picks. Three of the band members sent back their recommendations: Doi went for You La Tengo, Jesus Lizard and Thurston Moore. Bloom recommended Big Star, Teenage Fan club, Built to Spill, and Wilco (a nice surprise). Finally, Blumberg went with Red House Painters, Silver Jews and a local favorite called Video Nasties.
Much like the Rolling Stone piece published ten days earlier, Yuck performed a three-song private concert of a major US music publication. The set has a laid back feel, but the band does turn their rock meter up a notch or two especially with a killer version of “Rubber” in addition to energetic runs through “The Wall” and “Holing Out”. While Rolling Stone found the band delivering tight versions of their slower tracks, Billboard’s rooftop setting finds the band at their loosest. Check out the full session below:
When I first listened to Forget upon its release, I felt like there were a ton of interesting and unique elements that are incorporated within the album. I was really curious what over reviewers had to say and luckily a few outlets delivered write-ups throughout the last two weeks in August. Here are a few highlights:
- Crack in the Road: “Emotionally haunting and movingly poignant…the vocal deliveryand productions hark back to Bon Iver’s For Emma, For Ever Ago.”
- Consequence of Sound: “Sadness is outlined in beauty, allowing tracks to be melancholy but not overwhelmingly so.”
- Groovemine: “Forget” is a record for those whiskey-soaked nights spent staring into a television that isn’t even plugged in, for aimless midnight car rides with no company and a broken readio.”
The overwhelming theme of the reviews is that Forget brings out a poetic and emotional response, a rare feat in the pop-saturated music market today. As a bonus, Blumberg quickly released a follow-up video to “Physical” with the poignant track “Windows”. Enjoy that as well as a cover of “Driving” by Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato posted just days after the record’s release below.
7/19/11 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN (courtesy of Twin Cities Daily Planet)
After two months of festival and headlining appearances throughout Europe, Yuck returned to the US for their first proper headlining tour across the pond supported by Unknown Mortal Orchestra. UMO hails from Portland, Oregon (though frontman Ruban Neilson is originally from New Zealand) and has built considerable buzz in recent months off their just-released self-titled debut LP led off by the psychedelic dream pop single “Ffunny Ffriends”. Though this tour was Yuck’s first headlining jaunt, some gigs were return visits as the band toured the US as a supporting act twice in the last year behind Smith Westerns and Tame Impala. This was the logical next step for Yuck’s progression in the States and an important one according to guitarist/songwriter Max Bloom. In speaking with the Chicagoist shortly after their set at the Pitchfork Music Festival, Bloom shared some thoughts on the differences between the attitudes in America versus the band’s reception in the UK, a limited market in which the band has focused their efforts on throughout the last year: “The UK is smaller than Texas and there are a lot more levels that a band can exist on in America. The UK has a lot of small things and a few massive things, but nothing really in between. You can’t exist on as many levels as you an in America.”
Fittingly, the band’s tour focused on the “in between”, playing small- to mid-sized clubs and theaters mostly focused on the West Coast. Their first stop, however, was an early afternoon appearance at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Spearheaded by the influential online music publication, Pitchfork’s annual gathering focused mostly on up-and-coming bands anchored by some bigger names like Animal Collective and TV on the Radio. Though the band was plagued with some technical difficulties towards the end of their set, the band received praise from fans on-site as well as across the internet: the band’s set was webstreamed live by Pitchfork.com. The show was well-received by local and national critics as well, drawing positive reviews from WBEZ’s Jim Derogatis and One Thirty BPM, who were surprised by how “very tight and proficient” the band’s live set was compared to the fuzzy demo-like looseness the band displays on record. After a late-night “after party” gig at Schuba’s that same evening, Yuck started their tour proper with a pair of Midwest shows in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Both gigs received significant media coverage with mixed reviews. While Express Milwaukee called their set “lackadaisical”, the Minnesota Daily interpreted their stage presence from an opposite angle: “It was clear that they were very serious about what they were doing but it didn’t come off as apathetic like shoegaze and it surely didn’t create any distance with the audience. They were musicians on a mission and they were succeeding.”
From Minnesota, the band jetted out west for a nine-show run down the Coast from Seattle to Los Angeles. This run drew some pretty significant crowds causing the band to add extra shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles after the initial tour announcement to compensate. Reviews continued to be mixed throughout the run, but the same consistent story kept coming across. The band’s songs have really evolved since the album was recorded last year, which drew a variety of reactions. Some reviewers saw that as a positive (One Thirty BPM called their last gig of the tour at LA’s The Satellite “much more dynamic live than they seem to be on record”), but others not so much. The San Francisco Weekly found that their gig at The Independent “left something to be desired. The great crunches of distortion that kick in on the album were muted and flattened live”. As any band rises through the ranks, there will always be moments of divisiveness, especially for a band like Yuck with such an introverted presence. Their music melds well with low lighting and a moody presence, but it can feel a little out of place if the crowd is looking for anything more. Nevertheless, the sheer amount of coverage this tour received really speaks to Yuck’s growing presence in the US and will most likely cement their status as headliners in the months and years ahead. Yuck is set to return to the US in a month’s time to cover the eastern part of the country, but they have some festival appearances to take care of first throughout Europe and even a one-off gig in Tokyo next month.
OEB Video Diary:
Shook Down - 7/17/11 – Pitchfork Festival – Chicago, IL
Suck – 7/18/11 – Turner Hall, Milwaukee, WI
The Wall – 7/22/11 – Capital Hill Block Party – Seattle, WA
Milkshake – 7/24/11 – Doug Fir – Portland, OR
Coconut Bible – 7/30/11 – The Troubador – Los Angeles, CA
As of this morning, two of the top three sessions on Daytrotter are held down by artists we’re following as part of “The 12”. The Civil Wars and James Vincent McMorrow’s sets were both added to the site in the last two weeks and have been popular downloads ever since. The takes are intimate and raw from both acts, a trend among bands that record in Sean Moeller’s Rock Island, Illinois barn/studio. The sets feature some nice unreleased tracks as well, capturing The Civil Wars’ “Disarm” cover and “Oh Henry” as well as McMorrow B-Sides “Red Dust” and “We Are Ghosts”. Daytrotter has recorded hundreds of sessions over the last five years, now posting at least one new session everyday. The site’s focus on new and unique musical content to the online listening landscape has set the benchmark for any new music blog or service. Not only that, but they also provide a great forum for independent artists to display their songs to a wider international audience. To prove their reach, Daytrotter has recorded sessions with an astonishing nine of the artists in “The 12”, from hip hop artist Dessa to the fuzz-rockers Yuck to the orchestral folk of Lost in the Trees. We’ve compiled all of “The 12” Daytrotter sessions below (see more by click on the “Read More” button), which are freely downloadable directly from Daytrotter’s website.
Birds of a Feather, Disarm (Smashing Pumpkins), C’est La Mort, Oh Henry
This Old Dark Machine, Follow You Down to the Red Oak Tree, Red Dust, We Are Ghosts
Today marks the UK release date for Forget, the debut album from Oupa. Daniel Blumberg’s solo project takes a minimal approach to song construction, relying on piano and subtle electronic effects to create a more spacial sound than Yuck’s fuzzy wall of sound. Interestingly, the album is only available in physical form as a cassette tape, sold directly from the source at Boiled Egg, a site that also serves as Oupa’s homepage. Luckily, the album is available in digital form for those who can’t find their Walkman at Bandcamp.
Oupa has a bit of history, touring a few major markets in the US and UK earlier this year and even released an EP last year under the name Yu(c)k. Below we’ve embedded the album and Yu(c)k EP as well as Oupa’s recently debuted video of highlight track “Physical”, so be sure to purchase the download or cassette if you enjoy what you hear.
Yuck were featured in a few publications in June and July from both sides of the Atlantic. Here are some highlights:
The story of Domino Radio, nicely captured by NPR’s All Things Considered, in a way resembled the pirate radio stations of the Seventies. Truly an experiment in radio programming, Domino Records aired for just one week with no playlists or professional radio hosts. The music was instead hosted by artists who shared stories and spun the tracks that they want to share. Yuck joined in the fun by playing host for a couple of hours and Daniel Blumberg played double duty by playing a couple of Oupa tracks live in the studio the following day.
Apes on Tape is a music blog founded in 2009 by Nick Peterson dedicated to “shining the spotlight on talented independent musicians”. Peterson sat down with Daniel Blumberg earlier this year for an extended conversation covering their label signing, US vs. UK audiences and some pretty extensive details on their recording equipment.
Beyond references to 90s grunge and indie rock, Yuck critics most often point to their songwriting as the chief point of strength. Belated, Baby agreed, as they proclaimed a lyric in “The Wall” as the “most all-encompassing lyric of the year”. “And I know that I’m in space/And I know that it’s not real/It’s just the way I feel, it’s just the that I feel” spoke out to the writer in an inspiring way, moving him to write a piece on Yuck’s connection with a “man vs. world utility”. It’s interesting to see Yuck covered from such a unique angle, even if it went a little over my head…
Music cruises have been a slowly growing trend in recent years and Weezer has joined the fray with the announcement of the Weezer Cruise set to sail in January 2012. Yuck joins a roster of other bands that embrace or were part of the 90s indie rock scene including Sebadoh, The Antlers and Dinosaur Jr. The gig is surely a treat for the band to basically get paid to go on vacation and deliver a set amongst a boatful of music fans. Not too shabby!
SPIN has shown some love to Yuck in recent months, but they received their first full story in print last month. Breaking Out is a regular feature in SPIN, highlighting new bands that have been buzzing the past few months. The piece sticks with a couple fun stories from Daniel Blumberg and a brief history of the band, but SPIN still maintains a pretty solid readership, many reading to try to figure out whom to listen to next.
We haven’t really focused on tour announcements with any of “The 12”, but Yuck’s recent announcement displays how many radars the band is on at this point. Dozens of stories came across the online newswire from major music blogs like Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes. The tour focuses on the eastern part of the United States, headlining some major cities they last visited with Tame Impala in the Spring while capturing some new markets with first time visits.
The festival season in Europe seems to peak in June and July as hundreds of bands descend upon green fields and muddy lots throughout the continent every weekend. Yuck’s tour path took them to the biggest of the big (Glastonbury, Wireless) to more localized settings like Valladolid, Spain’s Veral Festival to Padova, Italy’s Giardini Sonori Festival. In a month and a half span, Yuck hit eight festivals across five countries, a strong showing for any band with only one record under their belt. Their stages and set times ranged according to the venue, from early afternoon day sets on main stages to smaller stages with some of the walking festivals. Their schedule was relatively busy, but did allow for a few decent sized breaks between trips. Yuck did take advantage of some open dates for some headlining gigs, ranging from Rome to Paris and even a one-off set in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Yuck has arguably been one of the most buzzed about artists of “The 12”, but there was actually very little coverage over this long run. In fact, the only significant piece we found was a backstage interview with Virtual Festivals. Reports from Facebook and Twitter generally came out positive, most grabbed by the strength of the band’s songs in a live setting. Curiously, they played a similar quantity of festivals in May that truly drew a significant amount of coverage. One could see this as a sign of a little overexposure on the front end of Yuck’s “buzz”. On the other hand, European audience seemed to have already established some sort of rapport with Yuck, knowing their sound as a band that’s been around a while, even though the album was just released ½ a year ago. This is most likely the case, given how videos show strong turnouts especially at British majors Glastonbury and London’s Wireless Festival. After a set at Norway’s Slottsfjell Festival, Yuck booked it overseas for a highlight afternoon set at Chicago’s Pitchfork Festival before setting off for a US tour supported by Unknown Mortal Orchestra throughout the Midwest and West Coast. We’ll pick up our coverage next in Chicago.
OEB Video Diary:
Operation – 6/5/11 – Southwest Festival – Cork, Ireland
Get Away – 6/19/11 – Dia de la Musica Heineken – Madrid, Spain
The Wall – 6/21/11 – Puma Social Club – Sao Paulo, Brazil
Rubber – 7/7/11 – Nouveau Casino – Paris, France
Yuck – 6/25/11 – Glastonbury Festival, UK (courtesy of Al de Perez)
Since its first year in 1970, Glastonbury has grown into the leading UK festival in terms of both exposure and attendance. This year, tickets sold out within four hours of going on sale based solely on reputation. It’s no surprise that our three international acts in “The 12” were pegged for Glastonbury given the buzz they’ve been receiving throughout the last year. Glastonbury currently offers at least a dozen stages over 3 days, building an extensive list of acts ranging from high profile headliners like U2 and Coldplay to bands that normally play to half empty bars. Glastonbury offers something for everyone; even the three bands from “The 12” who appeared, The Naked and Famous, Yuck and James Vincent McMorrow, have little in common musically.
The Naked and Famous drew the largest stage of our bands, playing on the “Other Stage” for an early afternoon set. The Bristol Evening Post rated their set seven out of ten stars, praising the band’s “euphoric synths, summery electro-pop and big, festival-friendly choruses” while at the same time noting the band’s subdued stage presence. Radio hit “Young Blood” brought out the communal hand-claps and dancing that makes Glastonbury so iconic. Beyond their showcase, the band did some additional press while at Glastonbury, including a video interview with Absolute Radio.
The second day featured an appearance by Yuck at the John Peel Tent, the fourth largest stage at the festival. Much like their other European festival appearances throughout the summer, Yuck was favorably reviewed and drew a sizable crowd, especially given their 1:05 PM time slot. Counteract Magazine noted, “Yuck’s style of lo-fi garage is something that the UK has been missing for many years and their laid-back attitude compliments the music.” Like The Naked and Famous, Yuck fit in some interviews while strolling through the fields, including a piece for major UK publication NME. James Vincent McMorrow was the last to perform of the “12”. His set on Sunday was held at The Park, a medium-sized stage reserved mostly for up-and-coming acts. Reports are slim from his set, but he surely drew some new fans with a full-band performance. All three acts continued touring throughout Europe after Glastonbury with a mix of headlining and festival sets, but surely could look back on Glastonbury as a rewarding experience as they transition into the greater music world.
OEB Video Diary:
The Naked and Famous – Young Blood – 6/24/11 – Glastonbury Festival, UK
Yuck – Holing Out – 6/25/11 – Glastonbury Festival, UK
James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had a Boat – 6/26/11 – Glastonbury Festival, UK
Around the beginning of June, many music publications take a look back from the year’s midpoint to share their favorite albums and new bands throughout the first half of the year. “The 12” showed up on more than a few lists this year, but no outlet captured as many of our bands as WXRT (Chicago), who recently posted their Top 50 bands of 2011 thus far. All of the following bands turned up on the station’s unordered list:
- The Civil Wars
- The Head and the Heart
- The Naked and Famous
- David Wax Museum
Congrats to all of the bands catching some well deserved recognition. Additionally, WXRT isn’t the only outlet to mention the bands’ work in the first half of 2011. The Head and the Heart and Yuck in particular have received strong accolades for their debut LPs. Here are some links to other “Best of 2011” lists featuring “The 12”: