Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Brooklyn’s Year of the Tiger is a one-guy, one-girl mix of blown-out crunch-fuck noize and cheerful pop chants, but their silky scuzz is way more than the Pearl Jam to Sleigh Bells’ Nirvana. Vocalist Sable Yong comes from the Le Tigre school of party-punk, yelling “Smash and grab!” in a way that’s equally demented, angry, and totally fun. Pusher of buttons Henry Ivry, meanwhile, delivers nuanced noise that’s more Dizzee Rascal than Steve Albini, manhandling monumental sirens, electronic whinnies, and nuclear drones.
Together, they add to Brooklyn’s increasing list of dance bands that mix awesome grooves with oppressive bursts of noise–a micro-trend we’ll certainly get behind before we ever endorse “witch house.” The pair met as college chums who always bandied around the idea of playing music together, but didn’t find their opportunity until last winter, when they both lost their jobs at the same time. “Economy fail,” jokes Yong. It was a perfect time for focusing on creative endeavors rather than sulk. The few songs they’ve written certainly are more joy than pain, especially the gnarled squawker “Rockit.” Ivry’s track mixes woofer-wrecking 808s with a wail seemingly borrowed from Alec Empire’s secret stash. Meanwhile, Yong plays hopscotch with the beat on some 1999 party-while-the-world-burns stuff. Good times. Download and interview below…
Year of the Tiger on “Rockit”
What is “Rockit” about?
Henry Ivry: It’s about those times when things around us go from a state of decay to a state of ruin, despite our efforts. We tried our hardest, no one seemed to give a shit, and now we’re all screwed anyway, so fuck it–let’s dance our faces off. It was written to capture that feeling of utter frustration and anger. I think harnessing the frustration that comes from feeling powerless and ignored can create something vicious.
Sable Yong: I kind of got a “party like it’s the apocalypse or get the f off the earth” vibe from it. So ditto.
What inspired it musically?
Ivry: I wouldn’t say it was inspired by anything in particular, besides frustration about things around me at the time: the shitty economy, the shitty environment, shitty health care that I couldn’t afford. I also wanted to create something that was really geared to a live show that a lot of people could tap into, where people could just connect to the energy quickly, totally rock the fuck out when they feel awful, and dance, despite how much things may suck for them at the time. I wanted it to have both the feel of escaping and releasing simultaneously, which I tried to capture with the double meaning of “rocket” and “rock it.” Rocket to get the fuck out of the place, and rock it to just kind of scream and dance like a crazy person.
Yong: I think I had the most fun recording this one because I was so psyched for it when Henry showed me the track, which was literally right before actually recording and learning the song. The energy was über-present. Overzealous even!
Tell me about getting those awesome siren sounds.
Ivry: It was a synth I created, pitch-bent and distorted the hell out of. I crushed it with compression, EQ’d it to make it sound harsh and mid-range-y, and then cut it up to sound choppy, re-arranging the samples I created as per needed.
Yong: I wanna hear a remix of “Rockit,” replacing those sirens with cats meowing. Could be interesting. Just sayin’…
Do you think the Sleigh Bells comparisons are justified?
Yong: Henry and I love Sleigh Bells, and have even before we were a band, so they were definitely an influence for us musically. Our setups are pretty parallel–Brooklyn electro-rock-y duo with female-fronted vocals–so the comparisons were somewhat expected. If anything, it’s probably helped us, so I can’t complain! Anyone who listens to Sleigh Bells and Year of the Tiger will probably realize that we’re actually quite different, though. They’re way more hardcore and crunchier than us. We’re probably more melody-driven, I guess. Playing a show with them would be insane, though!
Ivry: I’m not too worried about it. I think our sounds compliment each other. I think people know that our sounds come from different places.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
Yong: I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas, so any dessert place is my favorite. We love going to Blue Stove for pie, and I just discovered Pies & Thighs. I’m a little obsessed with pie…
Ivry: Peaches in Bed Stuy. Get into it. I also love Peaches the artist, so it makes sense.
Download: Year of the Tiger, “Rockit”
Year of the Tiger play the Bell House July 21. Come early for free vodka lemonades!