Wild Yaks
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Wild Yaks

New York, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

New York, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Punk

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"CMJ, night 2: Wild Yaks make a beautiful mess"

In TONY’s CMJ preview, I indicated that Wild Yaks operate in a realm far, far away from the indie-rock rat race. At last night’s CMJ showcase for the Brooklyn roots-punk band’s new label, Ernest Jenning—held at Knitting Factory Brooklyn—the Yaks proved once again that they couldn’t care less about coming off as professional. If the preceding act, the Black Hollies, offered a spot-on throwback to jangly ’60s Brit-rock, in which even the guitarist’s midsolo gyrations seemed choreographed, the Yaks’ set was a beautiful mess.

Click past the jump for a full review.

A good ten minutes of futzing, tuning and scrambling preceded the Yaks’ first song. The members seemed totally oblivious to the occasionally ear-splitting feedback to which they subjected the audience, and this sense of chaos flowed directly into the set itself. As the band began, it became clear that a well-balanced sonic blend was a low priority. Despite all five players yelling in unison at the top of their lungs—according to the Yaks’ unwavering M.O.—the vocals were nearly inaudible. Dominating the mix were the loud, lurching drums of Martin Cartagena (pictured above, middle) and the hair-raising noise squiggle of guitarists Rob Bryn (left), Zack Davis and a new member (right) whose name I didn’t catch.

Bryn, a stocky, bearded ball of energy in suspenders, was the show’s obvious star. He went hoarse a few songs into the set, but that didn’t stop him from stumbling all over the stage and screaming into the faces of his bandmates like a half-crazed, yet improbably endearing ship captain pleading with his crew. The performance’s true anchor, though, was Davis, apparently playing his last show ever as a Wild Yak. If this writer’s opinion counts for anything, I’d encourage the remaining members to beg him to stay. Davis came off as utterly possessed, scribbling his hands furiously up and down the guitar neck and emitting glorious postblues sound shrapnel that hinted at visionary six-string noise conjurers such as Greg Ginn and Sonny Sharrock.

Aside from an abundance of unstudied charisma, the Yaks boast a number of outstanding songs. They seem most comfortable pulling off raggedly gorgeous campfire-style sing-alongs like “River May Come, which had last night’s audience bellowing along, and the sublime “Angel Eyes,” which I first heard when the band performed it live at the TONY offices a little while back. But as this CMJ gig’s rowdy version of the upbeat “Tomahawk” demonstrated, the Yaks are a punk band at heart. They place passion before posturing, and that’s why their set was easily the realest thing I’ve seen in several years of CMJ showgoing. Fortunately, they’ve got another local gig this Saturday (October 24) at Don Pedro in Bushwick.


- Time Out NY


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Sweaty boys playing sloppy drunk jammy music is the reason why I like dudes, and Wild Yaks do it oh so well. I want to be their friends because I bet they have a really dirty apartment and watch really good movies. I want to listen to their music because it's masculine and not at all pretentious and they're so into it and their glasses slide off their noses and their shorts are too short. The drummer looks like a beardier williamsburgier Iggy Pop. They sing songs about girls and love and tomahawks and pearls like the world and beg for a new guitar when they bust their own. They have a saxophone player with really sticky-uppy hair. You could totally kick ass and run around and drive your car to their songs. Their myspace url is "boyhoodforever" which makes me think they may be aware of how dudely they are but it makes me like them more. They also played this slower song that actually DID remind me of Jonathan Richman, specifically the part in "A Plea For Tenderness" that goes "I know how beautiful death is (duh duh duh duh duh)/ I know why you hate life..." and so on. They're kind of like a screamyier Modern Lovers. Or maybe they're just what The Modern Lovers would be like if they weren't straight edge. If they were real real real drunk.