I’ve now seen Yeasayer three times. The first was at the "none shall blog" show at Cake Shop. The other two were back-to-back day shows at CMJ — Friday at Brooklyn Vegan’s thing at R Bar, and then again at the neverending Bud Select and Soco-n-Lime schmoozefest ski lodge that was the Fader Sideshow. I hadn’t heard them before seeing them at Cake Shop, but had been told that they were "like TV on the Radio meets Talking Heads meets Animal Collective."
Which is utter crap. Yeasayer are, pure and simple, hippie music. Not wanky jam band hippie (though they would’ve been embraced at Bonaroo ’99), no, this is vintage 1969, flowers-in-their-hair hippie music… albeit with modern technology. If Randy California had had access to samplers, Spirit might’ve sounded a lot like Yeasayer. As someone who came of musical age in the 1980s, I have a deep-seated Eric Cartman-like hatred of hippies — even those that went to RISD. (Eric would especially hate YS’s bassist, whose awful jacket, side ponytail and mustache are pretty much indefensible, though he’s undeniably skilled with his fretless instrument.)
As much as I want to despise them, however, I don’t. Songs like "2080" and "Sunrise" are kind of undeniable singles, they nail the harmonies (sometimes four-part) and the band are engaging performers. I especially like guitarist Anand Wilder, who also wears an ugly jacket, but has an intrinsic grooviness that cannot be denied. (I also like drummer Luke Fasano’s crash cymbal, that looks like it’s been through a couple wars.) Dammit, I like them. 1989 Me would be appalled, but he’ll get over it in 18 years.
For those who live here in NYC, Yeasayer are having a record release party on Tuesday at Glasslands Gallery in Williamsburg. They’re not performing, it’s just a dance party, the prospect of which seemed to excite the band more than the idea of playing another show.