Yuck is an indie-rock/noise pop quartet from London who released their critically acclaimed self-titled debut last year. The way the band formed is a bit out of the ordinary. Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom were in a London band called Cajun Dance Party. Because of their Jewish heritage, they were often, playfully, called “Kosher Dance Party”. That band broke up, but Blumberg and Bloom met Jonny Rogoff farming dates on a kibbutz in Israel. They convinced Rogoff to forgo his college education in New Jersey to move to London and play drums in a new band with them. After a few months of placing ads in newspapers for a female bassist, they got a call from the Hiroshima-born Mariko Doi. I don’t think she’s Jewish, but they liked her well enough to bring her on board. There’s an Adam Sandler movie in there somewhere.
The band has a very retro mid-1990s sound, and it’s clear that they were influenced by Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and many other giants of that era. A lot of people make the silly mistake of saying that they sound like MBV. That’s the problem with people. They hear a little bit of fuzz and a little bit of sludge, and they automatically go to that exhausting cliché.
A lot of times, Yuck reminds me very much of Pavement. Sometimes, they remind me of Butterglory. Sometimes Dinosaur Jr. Sometimes Mercury Rev. And yes, once in a while, I even get that My Bloody Valentine vibe.
Today's song reminds me of something else. Forget about the vocals and focus on the music. The music reminds me of I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One-era Yo La Tengo. Specifically “Sugarcube”. It must be the yarmulkes.
Here’s the song:
“Georgia” by Yuck
Now that I’ve brought Yo La Tengo into the conversation because of their sound as well as their Judaism (plus the New Jersey connection), I’ll go all the way with this. While the song may not be for or about YLT drummer Georgia Hubley, it’s awfully coincidental. I guess this is ostensibly about the breakup of a lesbian relationship.
We’ve been dreaming differently
I said baby that’s what you mean to me
What’s a girl to do?
Still in love with you
Love and fear
They should not have been resting here
When we both go our separate ways
In that case, it would have nothing to do with Georgia Hubley. However, it’s just too coincidental that a song that sounds so much like Yo La Tengo should be named “Georgia” and have nothing to do with her.
It’s kinda weird/awesome that these kids, who were awfully young in the 1990s have made a record that sounds so much like a mid-late 1990s record.
I love this sentence, from Marc Hogan’s review of the album for Pitchfork (February 15, 2011):
Yuck are worth hearing not so much because of who they sound like, but what they’ve done with those sounds: in this case, make a deeply melodic, casually thrilling coming-of-age album for a generation that never saw Nirvana on “120 Minutes”.
When this album came out, it received critical acclaim, and the kids were going bonkers for it. I think a lot of people have already forgotten about Yuck, and I hope that I can refresh the memory of a few people. As many waves as they made for the quality of their debut record, they might have made more waves with their visually stunning and simultaneously shocking (and NSFW) videos for the songs “Rubber”, “Holing Out”, and “Shook Down”. They are all very well-made videos with excellent production values, and the songs are excellent. However, the videos are not safe for work. Unless you want a stern lecture from your HR person and a week in sensitivity training, don’t watch these music videos from your cubicle at work. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
You should absolutely own at least one copy of Yuck, and you can take care of that at the Fat Possum Records webstore here. Your choice of vinyl, CD, or digital.