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Rec Room: Alicia Hyman: Yellowfever

August 6, 2010

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By **Alicia Hyman**

Last month, I saw one of my favorite bands, Yellowfever, live for the first time. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Yellowfever is often lumped in with beach band revival/chillwave bands like Best Coast, Wavves, and Beach Fossils but this comparison is almost completely unfounded. I hear none of the references to sixties girl groups or surf riffs in Yellowfever’s angular, minimalist pop. Just the beach on a cool, rainy day.

Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt with newly-sheared hair, singer and guitarist Jennifer Moore gives off a boyish appearance. However, she sings from some ethereal place above. At times she lets all hint of persona fall aside, singing in a drone reminiscent of Gregorian chants. All the while, Moore’s band-mate, Adam Jones, somehow manages to loop keyboard riffs, play drums, and sing harmony all at the same time. Together, Moore and Jones create propulsive rhythms and mesmerizing melodies. As the New York Rock Market writes, “The beauty of Yellowfever is their mastery of thirds. Their sparse, dueling guitar and keyboard parts often reside in this interval, and become irresistibly catchy in the way they slide up to that second note.”

My favorite song, “Culver City,” starts with a galloping drumbeat and vocals that sound like they were recorded in an empty hallway. After the first verse or two, the band moves into a bridge where they allow single chords to reverberate to their full sonority, forcing the listener to deal with the tension of the song’s buildup. Finally, that tension is released when the song builds into a thrashing chorus–joyful despite the lyrics, “What she does to you baby it’s wrong it’s wrong / What she does to you baby it’s so messed up / What she does to you baby it’s all your fault” —although this could mean anything, as Yellowfever’s lyrics are generally cryptic. At the end of the band’s short set, I wished I could see Yellowfever play for another couple hours instead of the headlining band. I was into them before I saw them live, but now I’m hooked—their energy is contagious.


Bio: Alicia Hyman is an intern at Guernica. Read her last recommendation of the band So Cow “here”:https://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1864/rec_room_alicia_hyman_so_cow/.

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