PREVIEW ELECTROPOP YEASAYER Oran Mor, Glasgow, Wed 17 Feb
Difficult second album? Pshah. These Brooklynites make it look like a piece of cake. Their second, or ‘sophomore’ record if you speak Pitchfork, is a confident, energetic burst of colour and beats – the felt-tip highlighter flip-side to their floaty, watercoloury debut, All Hour Cymbals. ‘We’ll always have those [first album] songs in our
repertoire,’ explains guitarist and vocalist Anand Wilder, on his mobile before heading in for band practice. ‘But a whole part of our goal with Odd Blood was to reach an audience who likes to dance. We wanted to clear the reverb haze from the last album; make it a lot more direct, and exposed. More rhythmic too.’
Filling their ears with Chaka Khan, Steve Winwood and Mavado while writing, and determined to include some ‘really schlocky, cheesy love lyrics’, the trio have produced a fizzing, euphoric cocktail of tingling electro, fists-raised 80s powerpop and glowing, twisted afrobeats.
The old Yeasayer label of ‘ethnopop’ doesn’t fit so well this time around either. ‘Our go-to notes always end up sounding a little Middle Eastern tinged,’ explains Wilder. ‘I think that’s part of wanting to sound foreign, and different and new. We’ll add in weird Chinese stringed instruments, or slow my guitar down through Ableton till it sounds like an Indian sitar. But we wanted to tone that down this time.’
The result is a gloriously melodic, but satisfyingly
wonky collection – full of insta-catchy tunes (‘Ambling Alp’, ‘Madder Red’, ‘I Remember’, ‘O.N.E.’) – like a house party hosted by Animal Collective, with Toto and Peter Gabriel as special guests. ‘It’ll be exciting to play this stuff live,’ says Wilder.
‘These songs are really high energy and fun. Looking back, the indie-rock community first embraced us because there was this lo-fi, unclear vocals aesthetic about us. I feel disconnected with that right now. Everyone I know is like, if they had the money, they would all make brilliant, hi-fi pop sounding albums.’ For Yeasayer, it’s already a done deal. (Claire Sawers) ■ Odd Blood is out now.
PREVIEW JAZZ CHRISTINE TOBIN & LIAM NOBLE
Carole King’s 1971 album Tapestry is one of the most successful singer- songwriter albums ever made. It stayed on the US charts for six years after its release, and has sold over 15 million copies. Almost every track is regarded as a classic, whether in their original form or in celebrated covers like Aretha Franklin’s take on ‘Natural Woman’, King’s own favourite cover version. It has not had a great deal of
attention from jazz artists over the years, but two of the UK’s most original and inventive musicians, singer Christine Tobin and pianist Liam Noble, have embarked on a project to look again at the album from a jazz perspective. In keeping with their own propensity
for seeking out original avenues of exploration even when playing well established music, don’t expect Tapestry Rewoven to be a literal replication of the originals.
Tobin reckons that those originals
were pretty much perfect in their own right anyway. Their intention in taking on this project was not to produce ‘carbon copies’ of the songs, but rather ‘to do something with them’, and make something fresh and surprising.
London performances last summer are now followed by this tour, and a CD is in the offing. Responses so far suggest they have managed to retain the perfect pop qualities of the songs while giving them a new twist. Judge for yourselves in this first opportunity to catch the project north of the border. (Kenny Mathieson) ■ The Lot, Edinburgh, Sat 13 Feb; City Halls (Recital Room), Glasgow, Sun 14 Feb.
PREVIEW NEW FOLK ERLAND & THE CARNIVAL Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Sat 13 Feb
Erland Cooper and his Carnival are unlikely to be fazed by Glasgow’s notoriously ‘lively’ gig-goers. Although based in London, these are no southern pansies: Cooper was raised on stormswept Orkney, and cut his teeth as a performer in the none-too- forgiving setting of bandmate Simon Tong (he of Verve fame)’s London folk club. ‘It wasn’t like a conventional folk night with woolly jumpers and bald heads,’ he
explains. ‘These acts would get up and the audience were just getting on with their business, having a good time. But what made it just slightly crazy was the compere. He/she was a transvestite called Sasha. . . yes, definitely a man. He looked like Bob Dylan, and would completely berate you before you even got up. So, you’re standing there, shit-scared, about to play to what’s effectively a baying mob, then the compere says something really sweet, followed up by something so horrific and so cutting that I’m not even going to repeat it.’ Following this baptism of fire, Cooper bonded with Tong over a mutual love of folk singer Jackson C Frank, particularly the song ‘My Name is Carnival’, which appears on the group’s imminent album and also gave rise to their name. The sound of the resulting record is folky, with a 60s garage spin and the odd psychedelic surprise; the songs are a mix of originals and English and Scottish folk tunes. ‘We do definitely re-assemble folk in a way, but not in a disrespectful way,’ says Cooper. ‘I think the purists will dislike what we do but we don’t really care that much.’ And nor should they. (Laura Ennor)
4–18 Feb 2010 THE LIST 63