The other day i got a promo mentioning a new song by a band called Yurt. Let's face it, "yurt" is an amazing word. It has a guttural sound, primal, one of those words that sounds like an exclamation our ancestors cried out as they hunted mammoths (tasty, tasty mammoth).
I clicked the link and listened to a simple but catchy song. It is mostly a guitar and drums with a female voice rich, clear, and lovely. A few keys are added here and there, and it moves along happily, kind of lo fi in the voice but everything else clear. Alligator is catchy.
So i clicked through some links and ended up on Yurt's BandCamp page. They have one EP out so far, the awesomely titled, I'm Gonna Yurt. As i listened to the EP streaming on BandCamp, the music really grabbed me. It's synthpoppy, but with a lot of chiming guitar. New Wavey, but not derivative in that way that so much of the modern New Wave stuff sounds. That is, this really sounds like the 1980s -- tall hair and shoulder pads, not some rehashed hipster crap resonating with Brooklyn "better than you"-ness and made by people who were not even alive in the 1980s! It has Peter Hook-ish bass riffs, but it's not dark or moody. This EP grabbed me in the way that few things do. In fact, the last band i was this instantly enamored with was Twin Limb back in 2014.
So i threw down my $5 and downloaded this. I don't do that as often as you would think. I get so many free MP3 releases from writing this site that i rarely track down virtual releases. I bought the MP3s because this band is just starting out, needs to be encouraged, and they do not have vinyl. (I would have spent more on vinyl of these songs.) Plus, these 6 songs are catchy as anything...
The EP starts off with a warbling synth bass tone, a blast from my teenage years. A female voice calls out, swallowing the words slightly to make it sound a little clipped as she tells a strange story. Then a drum kicks in and she sings "You've got that / American Spirit" and a guitar riff comes in as she mentions the song title, the guitar an echoed chiming worthy of Fred Thomas on those early Saturday Looks Good To Me records. And the drum taps happily and she sings and the song sways forward happily, catchily.
The next song starts with a rubbery Peter Hook bass riff, the drums and guitars clashing around it. A voice comes in, echoed all to hell and back, and it sounds like a different singer. The song is called Tropa, and according to the BandCamp page, the band has two singers: Marlo Kaspa, who obviously sang American Spirit and who wails on the choruses here, and Shane Lavers, who apparently sings this one. Tropa is good, lo-fi Interpol-damaged rock. I like the bass riff that bassist Crista Clark plays here, really channeling the great Peter Hook.
Kaspa is back on lead vocals for the next song, Karmann Ghia which starts with a bubbling keyboard and chiming guitars. The song moves along happily, but on the choruses Kaspa growls heartily, like Shilpa Ray. This is another fun one.
Salsa is another Kaspa vocalled song. It starts with just bare guitar in layers, joined by some subtle drumming. In the middle Yurt layer in a rich, reverbing organ part, like something from an old Van Morrison tune, that kind of low, rich organ drone. I like what that does to this otherwise kind of sparse song of guitars and drums.
Track five gives us a truly great song name: Steve Buscemi Fan Club. Lavers sings lead here as keyboards drone and the guitars keep a happy, clattering pace, hints of reggae filtered through early 1980s new wave on display here. It's a happy little song, another one to get you swaying along.
And finally we end the EP with Chloe's Face. Keyboards keys shimmer here, bright and sparkly and fun. It ends with a nice long jam, the drums and guitar chugging, keys sparkling, just kind of rocking out to end the EP.
Overall, this is a lot of fun. It's not complex, earth-shaking music, but it is fun, happy, and hits that sweet 1980s spot that i love so much.
Now, this is not the same Yurt that recorded the song that was just released, sad to say. Lavers and Clark are gone, and now Yurt is a two piece of Ms. Kaspa and drummer Olivia Kesterson. Some of the songs on the EP seem kind of like they are just guitar, voice, drums, and some keyboards, but others seem to benefit from a fleshed out 4-piee band, especially Tropa.
I do not know that this really means for future releases by Yurt. I guess that we will have to wait and see.
But this EP is a lot of fun.