Posts Tagged ‘Yak’

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A frenetic London trio made up of Oli Burslem & Andy Jones (who were born in the black country in the West Midlands& raised in the suburbs) joined by kiwi drummer Elliot Rawson who bangs the drums.

They then moved to London and started selling curiosities in markets, which led to them meeting other musicians (a family table to Spiritualized’s John Coxon, an antique german map to Bill Drummond, a chair to a caribou member, a model ship to a scottish band – not that one – and an antique dildo to a peace associate). they also put on an artwork exhibition with Thurston Moore. in the meantime, songs were written in a basement of a furniture store in east London. it was dark and Yak were born.

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Yak 'Atlas Complex EP' 10"

The EP, largely recorded at the Third Man Studio and released on Friday 1st November 2019 through Virgin EMI and Third Man Records, follows on from the release of their critically acclaimed second album Pursuit of Momentary Happiness earlier this year. Frontman Oli Burslem explains, “‘Atlas Complex’ was recorded between Nashville and South London at the beginning of this summer. The “atlas complex” is centred around an idea of losing all sense of everything. It’s a state of mind in which a person believes that the world is on their shoulders and they’re unable to deal with what they perceive as endless problems and uncertainty.”  Following the release of Pursuit of Momentary Happiness, the trio completed a month long UK and European tour, followed by 18 dates supporting Foals and performances at Glastonbury and Green Man festivals.

In November they’ll play another run of headlines shows across the UK. Press: •“More refined and guttural, Yak show real intent on flourishing their sound.” – Clash  •“Yak are riotous and impossible to tame on their new LP.” – The Line of Best Fit 8/10 • “The trio’s second album is excessive but searches for contentment.” – NME.com 4/5.

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10” black  vinyl, spined outer sleeve, white inner sleeve.

With a new EP in the offing, YAK share its lead track, the psych-tinged ‘Am I A Good Man’, as an early preview.

The EP itself, entitled ‘Atlas Complex’, arrives on November 1st via Virgin EMI / Third Man Records, to coincide with the start of a UK tour for the trio.

‘Atlas Complex’ was recorded between Nashville [at Jack White’s Third Man Records] and South London at the beginning of this summer,” says frontman Oli Burslem. “The ‘atlas complex’ is centred around an idea of losing all sense of everything. It’s a state of mind in which a person believes that the world is on their shoulders and they’re unable to deal with what they perceive as endless problems and uncertainty.”

Am I A Good Man · Yak November tour COME SEE US. THERE WON’T BE ANY OTHER SHOWS FOR A WHILE

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London alt-rock trio Yak have revealed their much desired follow-up to their debut album, “Alas Salvation”. With new and old members jostled in and of the band during this album’s rocky inception (including Tame Impala’s Jay Watson), a rotated cast eventually ironed out its crinkles, and with the help of former Bjork and Django Django album producer, Marta Salogni, Yak’s difficult second album, in 10 hectic days, was achieved. With both NME and Q magazine’s tipping their nod of approval Yak’s way, the steely, blue-eyed defiance of the trio dismiss any notion of the tired cliche that guitar music is a bygone thing. The freshest second album since Kasabian’s Empire, Tame Impala’s Lonerism and Bloc Party’s A Weekend In The City.

Few albums in rock ‘n’ roll history have seen its creator’s obsession veer so close to self-destruction, as London trio Yak’s The Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness. For singer, guitarist and driving force Oli Burslem, making his band’s second album became about pursuing his artistic vision at the expense of all else, including his own financial security and mental health. Who else these days invests every single penny available to them into recording, to the point where they become homeless?

The result is a rare white-knuckle ride of an album in which his extreme commitment pulsates through every moment – much like Spiritualized’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space and Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker, both of whose creators had a part to play in its genesis – ranging from the gonzo-fuzz chaos of tracks like “Blinded By The Lies” through to the Roy Orbison-inspired heartbreak of “Words Fail Me”.

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Few albums in rock ‘n’ roll history have seen its creator’s obsession veer so close to self-destruction, as Yak’s The Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness. For singer, guitarist and driving force Oli Burslem, making his band’s second album became about pursuing his artistic vision at the expense of all else, including his own financial security, and mental health. Who else these days invests every single penny available to them into recording, to the point where they become homeless, and have to sleep in the back of a Citroën estate?
​Listening to The Pursuit Of Momentary Happiness, you frequently feel the white-knuckle monomania of Yak’s mission. It’s one of those once-in-a-decade records, whose sheer sense of belief and commitment pulsates through every nanosecond of boundary-breaking sound – like Spiritualized’s Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, and Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker, both of whose creators had a part to play in its genesis.

​“I don’t want it to be a boo-hoo story,” says Burslem, of the record’s tortuous gestation. “It was fun doing it. It’s nice to push yourself to the limit, and I can say now that I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks, because it’s a document of that time, and it’s honest and open, and I couldn’t have done or given much more, which is a great feeling.”

​The story began after Yak had completed a debut campaign which itself had played out like a dream. After getting snapped up by Rough Trade management, and cutting one of several feral early EP’s for Jack White’s Third Man Records, the trio of Burslem, bassist Andy Jones (Oli’s childhood friend from Wolverhampton), and drummer Elliot Rawson, set an all-but-moribund UK alt-rock scene alight with 2016’s inaugural long-player, Alas Salvation, but for Oli, that year’s final career-high show at London’s Scala felt like an endgame, rather than an achievement to build upon.

​“Andy and I had been friends since we were three years old,” he says, “and he was always gonna get married and move away at some point. We didn’t particularly think the band had a future, but then it took off, and it was ace, and after the Scala, there was an opportunity, and some money, to do another record, and I really wanted to give it a go.”

​Jones, indeed, soon upped sticks for Melbourne, but after a chance meeting in a pub in Dalston with Jay Watson from Tame Impala’s touring band, Burslem hatched a hare-brained scheme for the band to convene in Melbourne to rehearse together for ten days, then move across Australia to lay down Album Two, on Watson’s invitation, at Tame mainman Kevin Parker’s place in Perth. “I thought recording would take ten days,” says Oli, sheepishly, “but it didn’t quite work out that way.”

​Things started going off the rails before Burslem and Rawson even got to Aus, as Oli decided to go to Tokyo for a month beforehand – “you know, for the isolation, to do all the writing”. Perhaps predictably, the first two or three weeks went by in a drunken blur with nary a note written. Landing ragged in Australia though, things got worse.
“It had become pretty apparent that the three of us in a room bashing chords out, wasn’t really turning me on,” shrugs Oli. “That was just going to sound like the first record. It was an eye-opener, like, what the fuck are we going to?”

​On the plane back, Burslem ate and drank to excess, knowing that when he touched down, he had no money, no home, and, worryingly, no album. On arrival, he reduced his possessions down to two hold-alls, and “moved into” his old Citroën, which had no MOT. “It wasn’t ideal,” he admits.

That was February 2017, and he says he has only the sketchiest memories of the ensuing 18 months. Some of the time, fellow musicians would let him crash at their place, like Martin Slattery, once of Joe Strummer’s Mescaleros, and Spiritualized guitarist John Coxon.

On the plus side, after blagging into Glastonbury, he found a new bassist in Vinny Davies. They partied for two days straight, then back in London rehearsed together with Rawson for a few weeks, and “things started to get more focussed.” They booked a cheap demo studio, and in the pub with Coxon a few days beforehand, Burslem got chatting to Spiritualized chief Jason Pierce.

“He was like, how’s your record? And I was like, it’s non-existent. I told him we were demoing around the corner, and he was like, Oh, I’d love to come and help you out. I was like, Okay! Thinking he wasn’t going to turn up.”

On day two, Pierce materialized, and had them rattle through all the band’s songs. “He was really supportive. I’d been thinking, no-one will like this, but he was like, No, you’ve got something good here – you should try and record them properly.” At one point, Burslem was casting around for small change for a tube fare, and seeing Oli’s woeful circumstances, Pierce urged him to get a record deal, and Yak duly landed up with mighty Virgin-EMI.
Says Oli, “Then it became, Right, I can’t fuck this up now. I could’ve tried to house myself, but instead we put it all into recording, and getting a brass section. Then afterwards, I can sort my personal situation out.” He shrugs. “I probably took on a bit too much.”

Another chance meeting at a party brought Burslem together with Marta Salogni, an Italian producer now based in the UK, best known for her mix on Björk’s sonically adventurous Utopia album. Says Oli, “We met a few times, and talked about making a guitar record that wasn’t boring, and didn’t sound like UK indie rubbish. But we still wanted to capture a live element, and in my head, RAK is the best studio in London to do that, so it was, Let’s just do ten days there, and get some really good performances of us three playing together.”
​In those ten days, Yak recorded some 29 songs, of which 11 ended up on the record. “The songs that went on are the ones I thought fitted together as a consistent story. Doing the writing, I couldn’t see further than the next day or two, so all the joyous and happier things were momentary, whether it be going out, getting drunk, whatever – no plan of any longevity, so all the songs have that destructive bent. They’re on the edge.”

Opener ‘Bellyache’, with its Tame Impala-esque wah-wah stomp, Oli describes as “angry and fuck-you”, the ensuing ‘Fried’ as simply “I’m fucked”, and the titular third track as “the comedown, like, what’s this all about?” The latter was apparently written, after staying up all night. He describes it as “blunt and to the point”. The song also acquired twinkling celeste, which launches it into the heavens. ‘Bellyache’, meanwhile, boasts crazy flute, and one of a handful of portentous brass arrangements.

​After the RAK sessions, Burslem withdrew to a small home studio with Pierce to apply some different vocals, and piece the album together. Pierce also added slide guitar and his own vocals to dazed finale, ‘This House Has No Living Room’, which sails out on Oli’s own field recording of birdsong. The complexity of all the layering in that track led to Burslem’s belief that the album needed a full-scale remix. Everyone involved was advising him to quit while he was ahead, but he flew to New York to mix it. “I just wanted a record with depth, as a piece of audio,” he says, “where you’ll still be finding new bits in 20 years’ time”.
​Job done, Burslem’s existential status quo was such that he duly got smashed with a fellow homeless person, and, doing a runner from his hotel, jetted home, pockets totally empty.

A few weeks further on, he says he’s happy the album is now done, but those who’ve read this far may be worried about Oli’s welfare. Has he now, as intended, ‘sorted out his personal situation’, and re-entered normal society? “That’d be nice,” he smirks, a tad unrepentantly. Does he at least have a roof over his head? “Only for two weeks. I got told yesterday, I’ve got to move out of my current place.” He shrugs. “I’ll find somewhere…”
​Roll on, that victory lap on the road…

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Yak will be live in-store at Rough Trade Nottingham to perform tracks from their new album ‘Pursuit of Momentary Happiness’, released 8th February on via Virgin EMI / Third Man Records.

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London rock trio Yak have announced the follow-up to 2016’s Alas Salvation. Their second studio album Pursuit of Momentary Happiness is out on February. 8th 2019, via Third Man Records and Virgin EMI. They’ve also shared their latest single, “Fried,” following the release of previous tracks “Bellyache” and “White Male Carnivore.” “Fried” is full of fuzzy punk grumbles as the track ramps up via frontman Oli Burslem’s jagged howls and an epic, distorted cacophony of guitars.

If these three new cuts from their record are a good indication of the album’s overall sound, it appears that the heavy-rock origins of Alas Salvation have been rekindled, as their turbo-charged guitar flamethrowers have been dusted off and wielded with a bold ferocity once again.

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YAK – ” Bellyache “

Posted: October 14, 2018 in MUSIC
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Yak have always used intensity as their greatest weapon, hammering their way through tracks loud enough to make your ears bleed. New one ‘Bellyache’, however, uses restraint to its advantage.

Let’s be clear here, it’s not a ballad, or lumbering in the slightest, but the space given to the song by its slow, steady drumbeat allows all manner of fascinating, psychedelic squeals to worm their way around the QOTSA-esque rock song at the track’s core.

Wah pedal-assisted guitars give the track a woozy, otherworldly quality, before a stab of incessant noise barges through for a chorus-of-sorts. Completely by surprise, the track then folds out into a majestic outro, punctuated by horns. A fascinating change of pace, ‘Bellyache’ shows that Yak refuse to be pigeonholed, and are all the more exciting for it.

Music video by Yak performing Bellyache. © 2018 Universal Music Operations Limited

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The Weather Station  –  The Weather Station

On her fourth (and tellingly self-titled) album as The Weather Station, Tamara Lindeman reinvents, and more deeply roots, her extraordinary, acclaimed songcraft, framing her precisely detailed, exquisitely wrought prose-poem narratives in bolder and more cinematic musical settings. The result is her most sonically direct and emotionally candid statement to date. The most fully realized statement to date from Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman. Self-titled and self-produced, the album unearths a vital new energy from Lindeman’s acclaimed songwriting practice, marrying it to a bold new sense of confidence.

CD – Digipack.

LP – Deluxe 140 Gram virgin vinyl LP features heavy-duty board jacket with full lyrics, full-colour inner sleeve, and high-res Download Card.

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Yak  –  All I Need Is Some Sunshine In My Life

Limited to just 300 Copies on 7″ Vinyl. Renowned for the ferocious intensity of their live shows, Yak are back with the new single All I Need Is Some Sunshine In My Life. Recorded with Tame Impala’s Jay Gum Watson in Kevin Parker’s studio in Perth, the track is Yak’s claustrophobic interpretation of The Dixie Nightingale’s cult gospel classic. “A loved one departed and on the way out sent me this song, so we ended up recording a delirious version in the blistering heat of Perth,” says Yak frontman Oli Burslem. “I love the original Dixie Nightingales’ version, it reminds me of songs like Wendy Rene’s ‘After Laughter’, which I imagined was recorded in the same studio with maybe even the same people playing.” On the b-side is Yak’s take on Lee Hazelwood’s Wait and See.

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Weaves  –  Wide Open

It’s been almost exactly a year since Weaves released their acclaimed self-titled debut LP, lauded internationally for its exuberant approach to guitar pop and recently nominated for this year’s Polaris Prize. It was a whirlwind year for the band who spent a nearly uninterrupted 12 months on the road, playing festivals across the globe, and touring with their fellow 2016 breakout artists Sunflower Bean and Mitski. Propelled forward by their own momentum, which they corralled like the barely contained energy of their explosive live sets, it was a life changing-experience, and upon returning home to Toronto the band’s leaders, singer Jasmyn Burke and guitarist Morgan Waters, found themselves possessed by an irrepressible burst of creative energy.

Burke and Waters half-jokingly refer to the album as their “Americana” record, and while the statement is made with tongues placed firmly in cheeks, the album, without discarding the punky pyrotechnics that defined their first LP, displays an expansive and anthemic quality in songs like the opener #53 and the sweeping Walkaway, that makes the joke ring half true. The record sees Burke extend herself as a performer – moving more frequently to the center of arrangements and revealing new facets of her unique and powerful singing voice – as the band find ways to interpret the growing diversity of her expression. From the glammy Saturday night strut of Slicked, to the stripped-down, pedal steel abetted torch song Wide Open, to the searing Scream, a warped duet with Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq that likely constitutes Weaves’ wildest recording to date, the album captures a band for whom exploration is a compulsion making a self-assured step into the unknown.

LP+ – Limited White Vinyl housed in Gatefold Sleeve with Download.

In 2017, the musical term “electronic” is nearly obsolete given the ubiquity of computerized
processes in producing music. Even so, the prevailing assumption is that musicians working
under this broad umbrella must be inspired by concepts equally as electrified as their
equipment. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has demonstrated in her still-blooming discography that this
notion couldn’t be further from the truth, and that more often than not, rich worlds of synthesized
sound are born from deep reverence of the natural world. Smith (who by no coincidence, cites
naturalist David Attenborough as a contemporary muse) has embodied such an appreciation on
The Kid in as direct and sincere a way as possible by sonically charting the phases of life itself.
The album, which punctually follows up her 2016 breakthrough Ears, chronicles four defining
cognitive and emotional stages of the human lifespan across four sides of a double LP.
The first side takes us through the confused astonishment of a newborn, unaware of itself,
existing in an unwitting nirvana. Smith’s music has always woven a youthful thread befitting of the
aforementioned subject. Here she articulates it in signature fashion on the track “An Intention,”
which serves not only as a soaring spire on The Kid, but on her entire output. There is playfulness
here, but it’s elevated by an undertone of gravity into something compelling and majestic that is
fast becoming Smith’s watermark. The emotional focus of side two is the vital but under reported
moment in early youth when we cross the threshold into self awareness. The subject is profound
enough to fill an entire album, but rarely makes its way into a single track, indicating Smith’s
ambition to broach subtler and deeper subjects than the average composer. This side offers up
another highlight in the form of In The World But Not Of The World which serves its subject well
with epiphanic, climbing strings and decidedly noisy textures over a near-Bollywood low end
pulse. Side three emphasizes a feeling of being confirmed enough in one’s own identity to begin giving back to the formative forces of one’s upbringing, which is arguably the duty that all great artists aim to fulfill. This side ends with the exploratory album cut Who I Am and Why I Am Where I Am recorded in a single take without overdubs on the rare EMS Synthi 100 synthesizer. This humble piece of sound design serves as a contrast to side four’s verdant orchestral moments, all written and arranged for the EU-based Stargaze quartet by Smith herself. This final side represents a return to pure being, the kind of wisdom and peace that eludes most of us until the autumn of life. On To Feel Your Best this concept is voiced in the bittersweet refrain “one day I’ll wake up and you won’t be there” which Smith intended to be a grateful acknowledgement of life rather than a melancholy resentment of loss. The song has both effects depending on the mood of the listener, and both interpretations are equally moving. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith belongs to an ilk of modern musicians who are defined by their commitment to creating experiential albums despite the singles-oriented habits of modern listeners, and here she represents her kind proudly. The subjects on The Kid are not simple to convey, and yet through both emotional tone and lyrical content, Smith does just that. There is a similar gravity to both birth and death, and rarely is that correlation as accurately and enthusiastically mapped as it is here. Alan Watts, another logical inspiration of Smith’s, once expounded that people record themselves to confirm their own existence, and as such, echoes and resonance are reminders that we are alive. “You’re not there unless you’re recorded,” Watts muses, “if you shout, and it doesn’t come back and echo, it didn’t happen.” The Kid speaks to this idea directly. As Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith explores her existence through music, she guides us in gleefully contemplating our own.
2LP – Double Black Vinyl.
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Yumi Zouma –  Willowbank

Following last year’s lauded debut LP, Yumi Zouma return to Cascine with their sophomore album, Willowbank, a collection of dreamy, disco-indebted pop tracks. The album’s namesake is a wildlife reserve in the band’s home base of Christchurch, NZ, a community on the mend in the wake of a devastating earthquake in 2011. The Yumis, whose four members are scattered across the globe, reunited in New Zealand to write and record Willowbank. The result is an album that channels both the tight-knit togetherness and the unparalleled beauty of their native land. Willowbank is also some of Yumi Zouma’s best work to date, refining their effortless, windswept songwriting sensibility, while also exploring a new pallet of sounds and textures.

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Cults  –  Offering

Cults made their name in black and white. A pair of film school dropouts who burst onto the New York scene with a perfect single and a darkly retro sound, the band’s first two albums play like noirish documentaries on a lost girl group. Four years after Static, Cults returns with Offering, an exciting collection of songs bursting with heart, confidence, shimmering melody and buzzing life. The time off has given the band new energy and new ideas–Cults are working in Technicolour now. The core duo remains the same. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, both 28, still live in New York. They still finish each other’s thoughts and still share a love of catchy music and black humor (this is a band that sampled cult leader Jim Jones on their first hit). But the pair have put some blood on the tracks since their breakout debut: they’ve toured the world, built a devoted audience, survived a breakup, grown up in green rooms, parted ways with their old label and made a home of their new one.

Pains album cover

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Echo Of Pleasure

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have long set the benchmark for big-hearted, idealistic pop songs. With The Echo of Pleasure, The Pains push beyond their many inspirations and embrace their role as indiepop heroes in their own right. Showcasing the deft songwriting of frontman Kip Berman, The Pains‘ fourth album is their most confident and accomplished. After three critically-acclaimed records, 2009’s The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, 2011’s Belong and 2014’s Days of Abandon received praise from The New York Times, Pitchfork, The Guardian and Rolling Stone, they have put together a collection of songs that possess a timeless grandeur, deeper and more satisfying than anything the band has done since their iconic debut.

It’s an album that reflects the band’s most joyous moments while maintaining Berman’s candid and critical lyricism, free of the self-abasing insecurity of youth. “The album is loving. The music is heavier, more expansive,” he says. “To me, songs about love shouldn’t be thought of as light. Love is big- sometimes it’s emphatic, overwhelming or simple – other times it’s tense, anxious or just exhausting. But at its best, it makes you want to be something better.”

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Miracle Legion  –  “Annulment”

First ever live album by Miracle Legion, Annulment was recorded during the band’s 2016 US reunion tour. Most of the album comes from a show at Codfish Hollow, Iowa plus tracks from the Bellhouse, Brooklyn show. Double CD with 25 songs

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Richard Thompson – Acoustic Classics 2

A continuation of the Acoustic Classics series, this collection features acoustic renderings of classic songs from the Richard Thompson catalog, including some previously recorded by other singers, some only available in a band format, and some only existing as cover versions.

3LP – Triple Gatefold Vinyl comprising Acoustic Classics II and the Acoustic Rarities albums.

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Limited to just 300 Copies on 7″ Vinyl. Renowned for the ferocious intensity of their live shows, Yak are back with the new single All I Need Is Some Sunshine In My Life. Recorded with Tame Impala’s Jay Gum Watson in Kevin Parker’s studio in Perth, the track is Yak’s claustrophobic interpretation of The Dixie Nightingale’s cult gospel classic. “A loved one departed and on the way out sent me this song, so we ended up recording a delirious version in the blistering heat of Perth,” says Yak frontman Oli Burslem. “I love the original Dixie Nightingales’ version, it reminds me of songs like Wendy Rene’s ‘After Laughter’, which I imagined was recorded in the same studio with maybe even the same people playing.” On the b-side is Yak’s take on Lee Hazelwood’s Wait and See.

YakAll I Need Is Some Sunshine In My Life

Produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey, ‘Semi-Automatic’ is the slow-burning new single from London’s noise-rockers Yak, which with ‘Heavens Above’ comprises the AA-side release out today (October 28th) on Octopus Electrical Records.
It’s a loaded track, in all senses of the word, exploding on their incendiary riffs, infectious bassline and Oli Burslem’s inimitable vocal.
Watch the video, directed by Ben Crook, which features the band performing at Ridley Road Market Bar in London’s Dalston.