If You Want to Come to London . . .

By Tamara Vallejos

Posted April 19, 2012 in Music

Photo by Angel Ceballos

U.K.-based Yuck says it digs Americans

Yuck is having a pretty sweet week. The young, London-based indie rock foursome is in between sets at its first Coachella, and just dropped the single “Chew,” which is reminding anyone who has forgotten that these ’90s kids did an amazing job at absorbing the very best sounds of their youth.

Tonight, though, they bring their fuzzy, guitar-driven and wonderfully tuneful set to an outdoor gig at the more intimate Pappy and Harriet’s, where they’ll share the bill with headliners Girls. Yuck’s sound has drawn comparison to some of indie rock’s most revered forefathers, like Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement, and its 2011 self-titled debut earned raves and inclusion on many of 2011’s “Best of” lists.

Yuck began with 21-year-old guitarist Max Bloom and vocalist (and fellow guitarist) Daniel Blumberg, two Londoners who have known each other for most of their lives. “We grew up really close to each other and would always go around to each other’s houses. We were definitely always going to be in a band together,” says Bloom. And they were—a group called Cajun Dance Party, which released one album while all five members were still teenagers. Eventually, Bloom and Blumberg decided to head up a new pursuit, one where they could focus on writing music together in a way they hadn’t in the old band. After a year of writing songs and recording bedroom demos, the guys were ready to go public. The only thing they needed was, well, an actual band.

So they pieced together the rest of the group via New Jersey and Japan.

“After school finished, a lot of our friends wanted to travel, and many of them headed to Israel to work on a kibbutz just for fun,” explains Bloom. While Blumberg was visiting some buddies in Israel, he came across Jonny Rogoff, a drummer from New Jersey, and the two exchanged contact info.

“Months and months later, we sent him an email and said, ‘If you want to come to London, we’d love to have you play in our band. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but come down and find out.’ And he did! He just quit college and moved to London.”

That gamble has seemingly paid off. Along with the addition of bassist Mariko Doi—originally from Hiroshima, but living in London for “ages,” according to Bloom—and the occasional inclusion of Blumberg’s sister Llana on vocals, Yuck began playing gigs around town. In 2010 the band released the jangly, guitar-plus-tambourine track “Georgia” as a single, and it didn’t take long for the subsequent buzz to reach Mississippi-based indie label Fat Possum.

“They offered us a deal and we immediately took it,” says Bloom, explaining that the American signing meant Yuck has spent a huge amount of its energy focused on the United States, spending half of 2011 touring stateside. That’s totally fine with Bloom, who says the music scene in the U.S. has more to offer up-and-comers than England’s has.

“There are so many more levels on which a band can exist in America. You can be relatively small scale and still go from state to state, playing gigs to a reasonable amount of people, and being heard on college radio. In England, fewer levels exist. Your band is either nothing or it’s getting played on Radio 1.”

This isn’t to say Yuck is doing shabby back in England, where the band has landed gigs at some of the country’s most buzz-worthy festivals, like Reading and Leeds. But Bloom says he particularly digs American audiences, mostly because we’re just so darn nice.

“American people are just really friendly, very welcoming, and English audiences aren’t always. That’s something I always thought was the big difference between the two places.”

Aw. We like you, too.

Girls with Yuck at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, (760) 365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com. Thurs, April 19. 7pm. $15.


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