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Album of the Week #11: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

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I was going to include a written piece with this, but I scrapped it. I wasn't comfortable including some of the personal stuff, and when I took it out everything became bland, so we'll just have to do without it. Sorry for the delay.

 

Anyway, I love the shit out of this album. It was one of the first "indie" bands that I came across in the mid 2000s, a time when the number of artists and genres I listened to grew exponentially. Sites like Pitchfork, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Stylus (no longer :( ), Consequence of Sound, Tiny Mix Tapes, All Music, Onion AV, and all the torrent sites began popping, giving me access to music I'd never have come across otherwise. I can't tell you how excited I was to find these places. I always kind of knew that there must be great music out there I didn't know about, and holy shit was I right. These sites changed my life.

 

So what about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah? There are a handful of artists from those early years of discovery that stick with me. Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, The National, Cat Power - and most of them have become quite a force in their own right. Maybe not Wolf Parade, but the two main guys from that band have done all sorts of shit outside the band. This album from Clap Your Hands, though, this was my darling. Hearing this album for the first time was like stumbling upon gold.

 

I decided to go with a 10 year old album because I wanted the first album I chose to be representative in some way, I wanted it to be an album that meant a great deal to me. I also wanted it to be accessible, and this is about as accessible as they come. The melodies on this album are infectious, and they come one after another, song after song. It's indie rock, I guess, but really it's pop perfection.

 

Some of you might not like the singers voice, and I guess I understand that. But we like singers with odd/unique voices around here, right? I'd say this guys voice is like a hybrid of David Byrne, Thom Yorke and Jeff Magnum. Make sense? :lol:

 

OK, have fun! Don't get thrown off by the first song. Skip it if you have to. But don't skip it because it's awesome in its own way.

 

Unfortunately, they've never released anything else that comes close to this album.

 

And away we go.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLKlCHMsJfE

 

Excerpt from Pitchfork's 9.0 review from 2005:

Maybe no one told Clap Your Hands Say Yeah that first impressions are important. Or maybe they've just got massive sack. Either way, their self-released, self-titled debut CD opens with the weirdest, most potentially grating bit of snake-oil salesmanship you're likely to hear until Tom Waits puts out another record. I happen to dig the song, entitled "Clap Your Hands!" (a theme is emerging), but a maniacal carny barking over a stuttering calliope isn't for everyone. Those who persevere, though, will quickly discover that this garish foyer gives out onto spacious, elegant chambers of clean lines and soft lights.

 

Clap Your Hands are a five-piece from Brooklyn who're known to break out both harp and harmonica. They've recently been garnering rave press in their home city, and, over just the past two weeks, burning up the internet like a vintage Lohan nipslip. The pundits are saying Wilco (not hearing it), Talking Heads (okay), and Neutral Milk Hotel (getting warmer), but if it checks in with a number of modern and classic new wave referents, the music sings for itself: Clap Your Hands traffics in melodic, exuberant indie rock that pairs the shimmering, wafting feel of Yo La Tengo with a singular vocal presence that sounds like Paul Banks attempting to yodel through Jeff Mangum's throat. Or imagine the Arcade Fire if their music were more fun-loving and less grave.

Clap-Your-Hands-Say-Yeah--002.jpg

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Some of you might not like the singers voice, and I guess I understand that. But we like singers with odd/unique voices around here, right? I'd say this guys voice is like a hybrid of David Byrne, Thom Yorke and Jeff Magnum. Make sense? :lol:

 

OK, have fun! Don't get thrown off by the first song. Skip it if you have to. But don't skip it because it's awesome in its own way.

 

 

 

 

Couple of things....

 

A buddy of mine (Andrew Geirig) used to write for Pitchfork back then, maybe he still does. He and his brother were always all sorts of "hipper than thou" about music and it annoyed the shit out of all of our friends haha.

 

I hit play on the YouTube video as soon as I entered the thread and thought "This dudes voice is weird", then I read down to the Yorke/Byrne comparison and was like "THANK YOU!".

Then I thought "I can't stand this first song" and read further and again said "THANK YOU" 

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Just finished listening straight through. 

 

Initial thoughts are that it's got a Talking Heads meets Lou Reed vibe, which is a good thing. I can also hear the influence of this album on acts that have come along since. For example, if members of Vampire Weekend and fun. haven't heard this album, I'd be shocked.

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I hope I'm not the only one who loves his voice.

 

Voice grew on me after the first track, but I think you directed me down that path with the Bryne/Yorke mention.  I didn't like the first track in the first place, but I liked everything from there on. I'd have to look up the names of the songs, but there was one with some staggered vocals that kind of reminded me of Joy Division as well. I pretty much loathe Joy Division, but I liked the song that was reminiscent of them for some reason.

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I hadn't made the Joy Division connection before, but you're spot on.

This is the only Joy Division song I could ever stand, so that's how I made the connection:

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