YACHT: Shangri-La

cover.jpgThis ain't no yacht-rock!
YACHT. I love this band, a duo actually, young Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans of Marfa, Texas and Portland, Oregon, USA.  You may recall their entrancing 2010 single “Voodoo City” that was a KCRW favorite and garnered the band boatloads of attention for their last release. They write and perform lovely electro, sci-fi pop ditties about utopias, dystopias and beaming out of this world six millions years in the future. The hook on the title track of their new record Shangri-La is irresistible. “If I can't go to heaven let me go to L.A… SHANGRI LA LA LA LA LA." The mix of Evans’ almost delicate vocals with the song’s whimsical, piano recital feel is a perfect feel-good recipe.
But YACHT are not just a fun, cool indie pop LA-LA band with a bunch of great songs. YACHT are an ambitious sort. Art rockers, avant-gardeners if you will. Their bio says:

“YACHT is a Band, Belief System, and Business conducted by members Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans.  All people are welcome to become members of YACHT. Accordingly, YACHT is what YACHT is when YACHT is standing before you.”

The band’s name originated as an acronym for Young Americans Challenging High Technology. Not sure about their philosophy but it's fun and colorful. In concert they use elaborate Powerpoint presentations and they use lots of triangles which are A-OK with me. It's 2011’s Devo + The Talking Heads. And they are as hip and fun as those seminal bands were when they first emerged. Their performance last summer at KCRW’s World Fest at the Hollywood Bowl alongside The Chemical Brothers and Chromeo was proof positive that the band has what it takes to translate their inventive electro-pop from the studio to a live show and get a crowd to its feet, excited and intrigued by the music.
Some background. Jona Bechtolt has applied his unique breed of beat-heavy laptop wizardry and grunge ethos to endless collaborations, both as producer and drummer, with west coast mainstays like Devendra Banhart.  Claire Evans, whose vocals have been featured on previous YACHT recordings, joined the band full-time in 2008. She's a science writer and artist and who came to music through the underground Los Angeles noise scene. She writes a popular blog called Universe, about the intersection of art and science, for the ScienceBlogs network.
Shangri-La is YACHT’s first release for the super cool DFA Records, home of LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip.  And the record blends the band's quirky electronic sound with Bechtolt and Evans' attention-grabbing vocals to offer up a trippy fun ride that definitely makes membership in their endeavor seem irresistible.
-- Gary Calamar, KCRW Music Host
Shangri-La will be available to stream on demand from June 13 through July 12, 2011. The album will be released on Tuesday, June 21, 2011.
Artist website: http://teamyacht.com
Banner Image by: Alin Dragulin

Track listing
1. Utopia
2. Dystopia (The Earth Is On Fire)
3. I Walked Alone
4. Love In The Dark
5. One Step
6. Holy Roller
7. Beam Me Up
8. Paradise Engineering
9. Tripped And Fell In Love
10. Shangri-La