Yuck looking for more than buzz

The indie band Yuck released a self-titled album in February and appeared at the South by Southwest Music Festival last month.
The indie band Yuck released a self-titled album in February and appeared at the South by Southwest Music Festival last month.
Posted: April 22, 2011

The British indie rock band Yuck were one of the breakout acts at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, last month. But lead singer Daniel Blumberg, the 21-year-old Londoner who stood to the far left of the capacious outdoor venue Stubb's during SXSW and sheepishly noted that the NPR Music showcase was the biggest gig of his group's young life, would prefer that the group not be known as a "buzz band."

"It is nice, when people talk about the band," says the guitarist, songwriter, and visual artist, who will be releasing a set of solo piano songs under the rubric Oupa in June. He was talking on his mobile phone earlier this week as he walked the streets of San Francisco in search of a bookstore. ("I like bookshops more than record shops," he says.)

"But when we started, that wasn't really the aim. The goal is to make good music."

Blumberg and his bandmates - fellow north Londoner Max Bloom, Japanese bass player Mariko Doi, and New Jersey drummer Jonny Rogoff, whom Blumberg met at a kibbutz in Israel - have attained their goal on the self-titled and impressively crafted Yuck. Since its release in February, the tuneful and distorted debut has drawn deserved praise from critics and bloggers who have universally noted the young British band's sonic similarity to such American alt-rockers of the 1990s as Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, and Sonic Youth.

"Those are all really good bands," says Blumberg, who says the '90s are his preferred decade for music. He adds artists like Smog's Bill Callahan, rootsy collective Lambchop, Brit-rockers Manic Street Preachers, and, of more recent vintage, hirsute Philadelphia rocker Kurt Vile to his list of favorites. "I'm more aware of what inspires me than what influenced me, if you know what I mean. And obviously if you listen to the album, it goes off in all different directions."

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