A Yawn Worth Yelling
Five years since their formation, San Jose indie-pop outfit, A Yawn Worth Yelling, are enjoying their status as one of the South Bay’s most buzzed-about bands as they prepare to release a new EP.
What began as a high school side project back in 2010 has evolved into an all-consuming effort, which is beginning to pay dividends—as media outlets, including Impose Magazine and PopMatters, have praised the band’s brand of complex-yet-catchy songwriting.
Naturally, AYWY have also garnered plenty of respect on the local indie circuit—playing with the likes of Picture Atlantic, Finish Ticket and Rin Tin Tiger, and collecting fans along the way. After years of performing and self-releasing four EPs, A Yawn Worth Yelling recently broke the attendance record for a show at the Art Boutiki.
Now they are hoping that this wave of local popularity and attention from the broader blogosphere will propel them even further. Taking advantage of their burgeoning fan base, A Yawn Worth Yelling ran a successful crowdfunding campaign—using the revenue to produce their fifth release, the Play Pretend EP.
The first single off the forthcoming EP, “Start Somewhere,” is representative of the band’s heightened energy and focus. A four-minute pop-rock romp, full of slick production, tight harmonies and an infectious melody, the track strikes a balance between eclectic and accessible—and is reflective of their diverse influences, which include many bands that straddle the line between pop and proggy songwriting, such as Dirty Projectors, Manchester Orchestra and The Dear Hunter. —Jay Edgar
Born in Moscow, Anya Kvitka came from a home that valued not only the structure of classical training, but the drama and bombast of pop.
“My mom and my dad kind of brought ABBA, Queen and Modern Talk (into the home),” she says. “Pink Floyd—a lot of that was a great foundation, too, because I’m not sure how many people at that crucial age, where you’re developing your tastes, are exposed to that type of music.”
Kvitka emigrated to the U.S. in 1992, where she continued to develop as a musician. In recent years she has settled upon a psych-tinged, alternative R&B sound, which helped attract the attention of Plug Research, an established and respected indie label based in Los Angeles.
Kvitka recently signed with the label, which released Flying Lotus’ debut LP, 1983, and currently boast a roster of boundary pushing artists, like the future-jazz/electronic producer, Milosh, and neo-soul crooner, Bilal.
“They have an amazing track record,” she says of Plug. “A lot of these people I’ve looked up to my whole life that I feel are, like, kind of musical pioneers. I just feel like, ‘Holy crap, I’m a part of that now.'” —Jody Amable
While many of his college friends were filling their playlists with guitar-free electronic music, Yoodoo Park was listening to the Beach Boys, Elvis and Ben E. King, the man best remembered for penning “Stand By Me.”
Park is the Santa Cruz based man behind GRMLN—a propulsive garage rock project akin to Wavves, King Tuff and Jay Reatard.
Park was born in Japan, but moved to Southern California when he was very young. He picked up music from his guitar-playing older brother, who exposed him to a lot of old rock ‘n’ roll and punk, which he enjoyed listening to on his summer surfing trips.
It’s easy to hear the influence of summers spent on the beach in GRMLN’s music. The simple, frenetic energy of early rock & roll is also apparent. Park says he admires the simple and dependable song structures of the 1950s and early 1960s. It was an era when rock music was coming into its own, he says. “It was more real.” —Nick Veronin
It’s no accident that the reverb-drenched, bittersweet, SoCal vibes of Babes are so infectious. It’s by design.
The Los Angeles-based band got their start working for Steve Lindsey—well-known in the music industry as a songwriter, producer and publisher.
“He trained us. He tried to crush us. But we had a good time,” says Babes singer, Sarah Rayne, chuckling along with her brother and band mate, Aaron.
The two of them say they learned quite a lot about effective pop songwriting while working in Lindsey’s studio—even if he did “literally tell you you’re a piece of shit in order to bring out the best in you.”
Babes’ origin story makes a lot of sense. They make gloriously bummed-out music, filled with aching harmonies and lyrics about love, loss, heartbreak and only the faintest glimmer of potential redemption.
“I suck,” Sarah says, explaining her attraction to the melancholic, “and playing music—there’s no better feeling than that. Our band agrees about that feeling. It makes things bearable.”
Aaron adds: “We just really want to make something that makes us feel sad, but that’s also beautiful and fun.”
Mission accomplished. —Nick Veronin
If such a thing as a San Jose “supergroup” exists, Dinners might be that band, featuring members from Worker Bee and Doctor Nurse. Dinners go into a different direction than either Worker Bee (moody indie rock) or Doctor Nurse (psychedelic folk) with lo-fi noise-pop and a heavy dose of Guided By Voices influence.
Always a dependable draw at their regular haunt, Cafe Stritch, Dinners play propulsive indie rock—a perfect soundtrack for throwing back beers and cutting loose. —Aaron Carnes