NPR logo First Listen: YACHT, 'Shangri-La'

First Listen: YACHT, 'Shangri-La'

YACHT's new album, Shangri-La, comes out June 21. i

YACHT's new album, Shangri-La, comes out June 21. Alin Dragulin hide caption

toggle caption Alin Dragulin
YACHT's new album, Shangri-La, comes out June 21.

YACHT's new album, Shangri-La, comes out June 21.

Alin Dragulin

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

The title track on YACHT's new album, Shangri-La, boasts an irresistible hook: "If I can't go to heaven, let me to go L.A. ... Shangri-La, la-la-la-la." The song mixes delicate vocals with whimsical, piano-recital instrumentation to create a feel-good groove. But the duo of Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans is more than just a fun indie-pop band with a bunch of great songs. YACHT's two members are ambitious art-rockers who craft science-fiction ditties about utopias, dystopias and beaming out of this world. In short: This ain't no yacht rock.

The band's name originated as an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology. In concert, YACHT uses elaborate Powerpoint presentations dominated by a mysterious, triangle-based symbolism, in the process channeling the willful weirdness of Devo or Talking Heads. The special effects are no crutch, though — the band's inventive electro-pop translates well to a live setting, where it gets crowds to their feet.

Bechtolt has applied his breed of beat-heavy laptop wizardry to endless collaborations, both as producer and drummer. Evans, more of a guest vocalist on early YACHT recordings, joined the band full-time in 2008. Out June 21, Shangri-La is YACHT's second release for the New York dance label DFA Records, home of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip. Filled with quirky, trippy electronic sounds and attention-grabbing vocal performances, it ought to catapult the band to new heights.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.