Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Come out, come out wherever you are ...

By Shanna Farrell, contributing columnist

If summer won’t come to us, I’m going to try to draw it out with more summer music. This week, I’ve got two great summer songs. They both have a fun, light, dancey beat and have a good chance of getting stuck in your head. They might even help those hot, oppressive drives to the beach go by faster (That is, if the Northeast gives us any nice days this summer!).

So, with Fourth of July approaching, I present “Psychic City” by Yacht and “15-20” by The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band.

Hear "Psychic City," by Yacht, here

Hear "15-20," by The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band, here

Yacht is a two piece band, Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans*, from Portland, Oregon. They put on an infectious live show, dancing around stage in a quirky manner (I had the good fortune to see them open for Vampire Weekend last year in LA). They’ve released the single “Psychic City” just in time the summer.

* Fun fact: they also date!

Here is what they have to say about themselves in their mission statement, courtesy of their Web site:

"YACHT is a Band, Belief System, and Business conducted by Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans of Marfa, Texas and Portland, Oregon, USA. All people are welcome to become members of YACHT.
Accordingly, YACHT is and always will be what YACHT is when YACHT is standing before you.
YACHT was formed in 2002 as Y.A.C.H.T., "Young Americans Challenging High Technology." The current incarnation began gestating in 2008, and at this point bears no resemblance, except biologically, to the previous versions. The YACHT of 2009 is the true form of YACHT.
The 2009 form of YACHT is highly indebted to the Mystery Lights of the Far West Texas desert, where most of the new YACHT album, SEE MYSTERY LIGHTS, was written and recorded.
Strictly speaking, YACHT does "perform music." YACHT provides inspiring Teachings of constantly changing elements: PowerPoint presentations, immersive audio, live audience audits, and shamanistic video environments. The YACHT Performance is expressly designed to provide groups of people with catharsis and purification.
YACHT is about group consciousness. YACHT is about the individual man or woman. If you believe these assertions to be contradictory, consider the Triangle: it is both a collection of points and a shape.
The Triangle is also a concept map between three points. But it is not merely a concept.
Secondary interpretation of YACHT and the Triangle is not forbidden, but strongly frowned upon. YACHT is always available for consultation at the source (please e-mail, so misinterpretations are unnecessary and will always be corrected. A general policy of openness and light has been instated.
YACHT believes that to all people have a right to Free thought, Free expression, to write their own opinions freely and to counter, utter, and write upon the opinions of others. There is a difference between Free as in "Free Lunch" and Free as in "Liberated." YACHT believes that music and the Internet will become both in time.
No additional information will be divulged for the time."

The second track is from The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band. They are from Brooklyn and Lower Manhanttan, NY and have a varying line-up, which sometimes includes members of TV on the Radio. Their overall sound is eclectic, citing soul, indie, electronic, rock, and psychedilia influences. Their album, Phenomenal Hand Clap Band, was just released this week. If you’re aching for more, check out their blog.

This band worth watching…

Shanna Farrell is an old friend that will be contributing to my blog regularly. She got her undergraduate degree in music from Northeastern University in Boston and afterward moved to LA, where she worked in production. She currently lives in New York City where she attends grad school at NYU. More impressive than her resume is her knack for mining the music scene for great new music.


  1. A small feature on Phenomenal Hand Clap Band:
    (Shanna, the link is to the blog I contribute to ...)

  2. Nice! It's a really good album....