We Love Music: Yuck @ Black Cat 10/12/2011

photos by Sarah Jackson

London-based quartet Yuck rocked out at the Black Cat Wednesday night to a sizable crowd. The band is just finishing up their US tour in support of their self-titled debut, released in February on Fat Possum Records. This was their second visit to the Black Cat; the first was in May, opening for Australian psychedelic-rockers Tame Impala. I was at that show to see Tame Impala, and had the magical elusive fortune of experiencing an opening band that I hadn’t heard before blow my socks off. I became an instant fan. Wednesday night’s almost packed house proved that they have collected quite a few fans in the past year, and they were clearly pleased with the turnout.

With only one album under their belt they pretty much played everything on it plus some bonus tracks from the recently released “Deluxe” version of their album. They started off their set with the fuzzed-out dreamy “The Base Of A Dream Is Empty,” one of the aforementioned bonus tracks. Here their sound was reminiscent of the softer side of My Bloody Valentine- fuzz-filled noise, yet melodic and delicate at the same time. Next came a few of my personal favorites of the night and the album, “Holing Out,”  “Shook Down,” “The Wall,” and “Suicide Policeman.” While “Holing Out” and “The Wall” kept the energy, distortion and noise levels high, “Shook Down” and “Suicide Policemen” provided quieter, more contemplative and melodic moments of beauty and reflection.

As far as comparisons go, it is nearly impossible not to bring up Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth as obvious influences/aural relatives. (Not surprisingly, the two girls in front of me were wearing Sonic Youth shirts, and the guy behind me was raving about a recent Dinosaur Jr. show before the set started.)  But Yuck are more than imitators- their sound is fresh and full of energy and life. While reminiscent of those great noise-rock bands of the 80s/90s, it doesn’t feel weighed down with nostalgia. Rather, it feels like a rebirth, bringing new eyes, ears and breath to a familiar sound.

Yuck closed out their set with the droney, distortion-filled spacey jam “Rubber.”  They said they’re looking forward to going home in a few days and working on their second album. This fan is waiting with eager anticipation.

Alexia Kauffman

Alexia was born and raised in Arlington, VA. She has been a cellist since age four, and a lover of rock & roll soon after. The first tape she owned was “Make It Big” by Wham, and the first tape she bought was Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and she still loves both. She was a member of local synth-rock outfit Soft Complex for several years, and has recorded with bands including Engine Down and Two if By Sea. By day she works for a non-profit distributing royalties to musicians and labels. She currently plays cello, lap-steel guitar and tambourine in the DC post-folk/Americana band The Torches.

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