For some acts, stripping a sound down to essentials is easy: Strap on the acoustic guitar, and maybe use brushes instead of drumsticks and a snare instead of a full kit. It was different for YACHT; it's not a simple guitar-bass-drums band.
YACHT began as the solo project of Jona Bechtolt — he's the guy who gets gum on his nice pants during the Tiny Desk Concert, but that's another story — but, like a happy family, the band has multiplied. These days, for example, it's hard to imagine YACHT without Claire Evans.
Evans is one of the most striking performers I've seen in a rock band, and you get a glimpse of that presence in the 16-inch space she had to maneuver while facing the single stereo mic which captured YACHT's Tiny Desk performance.
The group spent more time than most getting comfortable behind the desk, trying to sort out its arrangements on two keyboards, a single guitar and a shaker. Two of the songs here are from YACHT's new album Shangri-La, and were not yet seasoned by stage performance. (You can hear that record in its entirety as part of our First Listen series.)
YACHT's music is certainly infectious, but the words are important, too: The band's refrains and stories are filled with science fiction and dark musings. But the result adds up to big fun.
- "Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)"
- "Psychic City (Voodoo City)"
Michael Katzif (cameras); audio by Kevin Wait; photo by Adele Hampton