Scott Yoder
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Scott Yoder

Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
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"Transformer"

One night earlier this year a Phantom of Rock (hat tip to Lou Reed) descended upon Mills Avenue. As part of a bill with Bubble Boys, Seattle's Scott Yoder was a revelation in the cramped confines of Uncle Lou's, making a dive bar feel like an arena. Yoder himself was decked out to the nines: all in black, with opera gloves, cape and makeup, looking like an unholy mix of Screaming Lord Sutch and Vincent Price. He played what looked like a tiny organ and often sang into a modified telephone, backed by a band who looked to be plucked from different eras of rock music and a handful of blinding white lights. The music they played sidestepped punk in favor of dramatic, cinematic glam rock. Yoder held court like the MC in Cabaret, conducting the band and the set like a theatrical presentation. It was mind-blowing.

But it wasn't always this way.

There is a time-honored narrative in the more wigged-out lineage of pop music: A sweet young folk musician gets seduced by the dark, glittery underside of rock. It happened to no less than David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Lou Reed with spectacular results. And Yoder is the latest standard-bearer for more eyeliner and drama in rock.

Spinning out of his time in Seattle psych-rockers Pharmacy, Yoder branched off to find his own musical way as a solo artist. After releasing the excellently earnest Looking Back in Blue album in 2016, major aesthetic changes were afoot by the following year.

After a three-pronged break-up – band, relationship, and arm in a bicycle accident – Yoder chose to convalesce with a pile of movies close at hand. And with a head full of classic silent movies and German films – Yoder was particularly bewitched by Marlene Dietrich, Joan Blondell and Katharine Hepburn – a new look and a new sound came to Yoder as if in "some kind of a dream."

By the spring of 2017, a rejuvenated Yoder was embarking on a West Coast tour and so it was that this unexpecting audience got the first glimpse of the transformation. Yoder sees it less as a metamorphosis and more of a natural creative evolution. "It was just an extension of what I'd been wanting to do all along, since I'd started playing solo," he says, "but I wanted to take the next step and add that element of theater to bring people in."

New album A Fool Aloof is an excellent précis on the state of Scott circa 2018, with the influence of his bombastic live shows leaping out of every groove of the LP.

"It's coming from the same authentic place and voice that I have but I wanted to have fun with it," explains Yoder. "I wanted to subvert the folksinger dynamic and try to see what weird places I can take it."

He's already eager to move on to the next phase, the next persona. "I feel pretty good, satisfied with where I'm at right now, but it's always something where I'm curious about moving on and seeing in what ways we can expand on it," he says.

Yoder and his trio of musicians are road dogs of the highest order; they've been on tour for eight months of this year, and when Orlando Weekly chats with Yoder he's fresh off a plane back from a European tour where they played a lot of outdoor shows on beaches – he wore the full outfit, of course, but chuckles, "I refrained from wearing the white cream [makeup] during the daytime shows" – and driving to Los Angeles to start this new leg of U.S. touring.

Yoder praises his current bandmates, saying, "They're all very dynamic and able to take my songs and make them louder and more bombastic ... or more quiet and tender if an audience will let me. And we'll see where it goes. That's the trick – that's the experiment. Especially in a dive bar."

Next up is a series of six 7-inch releases though a variety of labels with accompanying music, and otherwise, video. Yoder's creative energy is positively infectious. Catch him now, before the next persona. - Orlando Weekly


"KEXP Premiere: Scott Yoder – Ways of Love"

Scott Yoder knows a thing or two about embracing his psych tendencies. Yoder spent years fronting the local garage-pop outfit The Pharmacy, crafting some of the most expansive and delightfully freaky music in the city, and now finds himself writing and performing under his own name. He’s been putting out solo material since 2015, including last year’s Looking Back in Blue, but if you’ve missed any of it then his new 7-inch single might be just the introduction you need. The A-side “Ways of Love” exemplifies what Yoder excels at — crafting hypnotic pop rock that veers between surreal sonic visions and grounded real-life emotions.

His vocals stumble into the mix on the track, wobbling over the chunky acoustic guitar chords and the clamor of snapping drums. While the instrument is packed with incredibly lush arrangements, including a particularly infectious lead guitar line, his voice remains one of the most fascinating instruments on the track. The way he harmonizes his voice in a woozy howl on the chorus and spits out words like “star stuff” like it’s everyday conversation are transfixing on their own. It’s a punch drunk ode to cosmic love; one that you’ll want to leave repeating on your turntable. - KEXP


"Scott Yoder is a New School Crooner"

There aren't too many crooners in modern rock like Scott Yoder. But it's not Roy Orbison or Chris Isaak who Yoder is channeling when performing. "I always had an affinity for the classic films, like Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel," Yoder says. "In these film-noir movies, they usually had a scene where they showcased a song that was lip-synched in a bar scene. Lizabeth Scott did some great lip-synch performances. I identified with the female singer over the grizzled guy fawning over her. From my perspective, that's my live show."

These black-and-white femme fatales will inform his stage persona at Churchill's Pub this Friday, September 7, and Bumblefest in West Palm Beach this Saturday, September 8. He'll be backed by his three-piece band. "I'm looking to be hypnotized when I go to a show, so that's what I try to do when people come see us," he says. "I'm interested in dialing things back as much as possible volume-wise, but not energy-wise. How quiet can I make it and still pull it off? We apply that principle as a live band."

Yoder got his musical start as a teenager in Washington state when he formed the Pharmacy. That psych-rock band was his musical finishing school. "Brendhan Bowers was the same proficiency as me on the drums as I was on guitar," he says. "We skipped school and played music. His dad did construction work and built him a music room." The truancy paid off: A few years later, in 2005, they were touring the world with the Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson. "It blew our minds going on tour with her. We opened for her and were her backing band. She tapped us into the anti-folk scene. She taught us about how to set up a tour and to tour sober. Three months sober as a young touring band is rare."

The touring life is one Yoder has found addictive. He's constantly traveling the world to play any stage he can find. His current series of shows highlights his newest record, A Fool Aloof. "I've been doing music solo for three years. I wanted to start writing more personal and emotional songs," he says. "When I was writing them, I dealt with a lot of breakups — breakup of my band, breakup of a relationship, and the breakup of a bone in my hand in a bike accident. I was ready to play up some more theatrical vibes. My mumbling-through-songs-I-don't-feel-confident-in days are behind me." - Miami New Times


"MP3 PREMIERE: "BACK TO THE STORY""

"Back To The Story" is packed full of personality and change, a fluidly moving track that keeps you guessing, surprising you at each passing second with its musical reveals. It's the B-side to Yoder's upcoming 7" on Greenway Records, and serves a mystical, entrancing introduction to the release. There's a subtle transfixing quality to the single that's apparent right from the beginning, opening with a flourish of romantic instrumentals. Then Yoder steps in inviting us into a moment before, and all the while he remains a guiding force, even as the instrumental landscape around him transforms ever so slightly. The track is strong and personable, casting a spell over you that continues to buzz about your head even after it has played out. - The Grey Estates


"Glam-rock icon Scott Yoder dazzles"

Burger Records artist Scott Yoder has put in his time with long-running Seattle band the Pharmacy, which notably played as Kimya Dawson’s backing band early on. Now he’s out making his own case under the spell of the same muses that sent Bowie and Bolan down the glitter hole and deep into essential rock history. Yoder’s glam rock is such a complete and reverent throwback, in fact, that those very hallowed spirits come back to life at his performances.

Like a live conjuring of one of the most dazzling chapters in rock & roll, Yoder’s show – his second one here this year – is an exercise in both presence and presentation. Gilded in wardrobe and makeup, he and his band exude theater and weave drama. They even come with their own stage lights.

It all culminates in a scene that’s like a garage séance of the ‘70s underground. It’s a bold, diamond-dusted road, and Yoder walks it with faith and flair. - Orlando Weekly


Discography

Sisters Under The Mink EP (2015)
The Trespasser EP (2015)
Looking Back In Blue LP (Burger/Annibale Records) (2016)
Ways Of Love 7" (Greenway Records) (2017)
Goodbye Lady Day 7" (Slice Of Wax Records) (2018)
A Fool Aloof LP (Burger/Annibale Records) (2018)

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Bio

Drawing on his childhood fascination with the otherworldly & theatrical Scott Yoder elevates his sensitive song craft into fantastical heights with his second LP “A Fool Aloof.” An introvert at heart, Scott challenges his own singer/songwriter nature with a dynamic & engaging live show that has left audiences awestruck on his many tours promoting the single & album track “Ways Of Love.” Now with the full set of songs outlining his morphing identity out on Annibale & Burger Records Scott returns to the stage backed by a band of misfits romantics to seduce you with his mystic charm.

Band Members