CL Feature: NYC experimental ensemble Yeasayer brings their post-global retro pop to State Theatre on Monday, October 4 (with videos)

Yeasayer was able to ease into the sonic transition and ensure every idea they had was fully realized with label support from Secretly Canadian, which signed the band in November of 2009. Wilder says the whole process went a great deal more smoothly than their first recording experience.

“The first album, we all had day jobs,” Wilder recalls. “We had to spend all of our savings on Pro Tools. And we recorded over the next four months, whenever we had time off. And I remember cramming every night before we’d go in to mix, staying up all night, fixing little things, bouncing out effects. And then we had five days to mix. And there were like, glaring errors on the mix. But we didn’t have any money to go back and change it.”

For Odd Blood, the core trio – Wilder along with lead vocalist/keyboardist Chris Keating, and bassist/vocalist Ira Wolf Tuton – rented a house in upstate New York and spent three months slowly and meticulously tweaking it in a way they weren’t able to with All Hour Cymbals. “For this album, there were no glaring oversights. We spent plenty of time doing all the mixes. It got to the point where I was like, ‘Well, this mix sounds as good as it could possibly be. I don’t know if I really like the song any more, we’ve listened to it so many times...’ But that’s kind of good, if you can really just bang out a song forever until you’re that tired of it.”

Wilder says he and his bandmates were obsessed with “having a very clean, polished, professional pop-sounding production.” They’d been writing and demoing songs over the past three years while on the road and Wilder tells me, “We were sort of inspired by the ways we’d altered songs off All Hour Cymbals from their recorded state to their live state, and we wanted to make things more compressed, more separated.”

The band also mined decades of popular dance music “trying to figure out what it was about certain songs that forced you to dance, or made it really hard for you not to bob your head. ‘Cause we’d intended that with the first album – we’ve always been interested in rhythms – but it wasn’t really executed in a very danceable way.”

This tour, the band will likely play select cuts from both Odd Blood and All Hour Cymbals, with added support from aux members Jason Trammell, who lays down the beats, and Ahmed Gallab, who plays keys, triggers samples and supplies aux drumming and perc action. There might be a few new numbers, too. “We actually did some recording this week,” Wilder said, explaining that he and his bandmates always make sure to pencil in some time open to record on every break from the road. This time around, “we went into a studio in Brooklyn and recorded and just jammed for about three days straight.” The band’s goal is to put together enough material for a Yeasayer EP. Look for it in early 2011.


w/Washed Out, Mon., Oct. 4, 8 p.m., State Theatre, St. Petersburg, $15 in advance/$18 dos (all ages).

Check out some official videos produced for tracks off Odd Blood below.

"Madder Red"

"Ambling Alp"


Brooklyn avant garde ensemble Yeasayer won over critics and indie music fans alike with 2007’s All Hour Cymbals, a debut album praised far and wide for its intoxicating psyche rock drive, unexpected pop hooks and pervasive worldbeat textures. [Photo by Jason Nocito]

But unlike so many other acts that get popular on a sound and run it into the ground, or evolve and transform over several albums, Yeasayer did a 180 on their sophomore outing, 2010’s Odd Blood, shifting their focus to dance music, production quality, and general electro-sonic experimentation.

“We just wanted to get away from some of the genres we were pigeonholed into with the first album,” guitarist/keyboardist Anand Wilder told me in a recent interview. “World music band, African guitar rock band, hippie folk outfit, a new addition to the freak folk catalog … So even if a song might’ve sounded like it really needed an acoustic guitar, we’d just process it through a sampler, or throw it through some pedals and make it sound really damaged.”

Odd Blood balances tasteful Brian Eno-style minimalism with the band’s own knack for sonic layering and playing with melody. They not only turned up the bass tone but introduced deep pulsing waves of sub bass, experimented with pitch effects, and generally turned to synthesizers and keyboards more often while reducing (but not completely abandoning) their reliance on guitar, percussion and organic elements overall. The result is blissful, post-global retro-pop with the odd hand-claps and unruly falsetto-primal wails.

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