ACL Fest Friday Interviews
Back to the future of indie rock
Yeasayer1:30pm, Dell stage
"I can't sleep when I think about the times we're living in. I can't sleep when I think about the future I was born into."
A world away from the energetic dance beats of tourmates MGMT and Man Man, Brooklyn fourpiece Yeasayer spouts the truth through layered, orchestrated melody. "2080," off 2007 debut All Hour Cymbals (We Are Free), beams hopeful through a realistic lens of insomnia.
Yeasayer was born just after freak-folk hit the road, bar rock passed out, and art school let out for the summer. Longtime friends Anand Wilder and Chris Keating meshed with Wilder's cousin Ira Wolf Tuton and mutual friend Luke Fasano in 2005 to create a complex sound, an amalgam of influences from Peter Gabriel to Bollywood. After a solid year of traveling the international festival circuit and being vetted by the blogosphere, Yeasayer has come out shining from Baltimore to Oslo.
Before hopping in a van chock-full of moonlit chant-makers, Yeasayer perfected the copious tracking of All Hour Cymbals only then to retexture it all onstage. Vast wafts of woozy synth buoy the falsetto of main vocalist Keating, his David Byrne yelp swathed in four-part harmonies and Fasano's tribal drums. Just as a song finds its center, it swerves left, reinventing itself.
"We still want to retain some of the album's charm," Wilder says. "I do like giving people what they want. I always liked it when bands would stick to the album."
What does an album full of doomsday lyrics camouflaged in cheery melody say? That it's not all about politics, borders, and genres. It's about what feels right.
"I've written a bunch of e-mails to Obama's people," admits Wilder. "I just feel like they're super busy and don't know who the hell we are. They don't know that '2080' would be the ultimate campaign anthem. Nobody's told them yet."