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Listen: Yeasayer



Finding music has become simpler than second grade math lately. You don’t even need to belong to a prestigious trading community (which are learning to reinvent themselves); just Google for a Sendspace link, or read any music blog, or start a music blog, or look at a MySpace page, or download an album that the band won’t even make you pay for. There’s no need to steal, when a lot of it’s sitting on the curb with a hand scrawled “Free” sign slapped across the front.  Obviously, though, with this ongoing worldwide yard sale of music comes a lot of readily available music that’s absolute crap, which is why it’s kind of exciting to find ourselves at a half-full Great Scott on a Monday night, totally blown away by some band from Brooklyn, as we were a few weeks ago.

The few critics who’ve written about Yeasayer, Brooklyn’s latest underground cause celebré, have noted similarities to Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon (with a dash of David Byrne) - likely because of their pastiche of echoing synthesizers and African-sounding melodies, but that’s a limiting description of the music, though it’s undoubtedly tribal/rhythmic (take that, Sasha Frere-Jones!). Yeasayer’s textural amalgams of sounds are so multi-faceted that the songs are like games of “name-that-instrument.” Their debut All Hour Cymbals (We Are Free), feels like the perfect melding of innumerable influences, from middle eastern music, to TV on the Radio.“2080” for example, the opening track, is an apocalyptic tune (and who doesn’t like those?); which ambles in with four part harmonies, and lead singer Chris Keating’s confession “I can’t sleep when I think about the times we’re living in,” then collapses in a mishmash of shouts and drums. It’s urgent, dark, at times indiscernible - and wholly addictive. “Sunrise” is decidedly gospel-like, grounded in falsettoed “ooo’s” and handclaps, and spiked with low, pounding pianos, birds chirping, and - is that a little girl screaming?

In a way, Yeasayer is a testament to how the availability of so much music (despite the RIAA's efforts to make it not so) works. Their music is weird, it’s derivative of, well, everything - but at the same time it’s refreshing and fantastically innovatory.

DOWNLOAD: Yeasayer, "2080"
DOWNLOAD: Yeasayer, "Sunrise"


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