Eleven years and counting and Yoshimoto, or the local band that "sounds like Sonic Youth's good songs," have released one record, Lemmings to the Sea. It's 13 songs long. They think that it's too pretty. The band has maybe 18 songs to pull from when they perform live. For the non-mathletes out there, that's a rate of producing one-and-a-half songs every year. This means one of three things: they are meticulous songcrafters, wracking their brains and limbs in search of the perfect composition; extremely busy with real life; or shit-poor tunesmiths, churning out turd after turd, only stumbling upon something worth keeping once every eight months.
For this, the inaugural episode of "Embed With the Band," a concept that you could think of as a domestic Almost Famous but without puppy love nostalgia, "Feverdog" or famous people, the members of Yoshimoto suggested we meet at The Mix, a venue that has played host to the raucous indie group for the span of their existence, as well as their favorite bar and the employer of Jason Butterworth, or "Butter," the bass player. Yoshimoto drink weird, weird shit. Stouts poured into liquers poured into ciders poured into glasses poured into mouths. The bar, if you're unfamiliar, has recently been revamped, but the former bleach-and-barf-smelling no frills rock 'n' roll dive, I would come to see, is the perfect embodiment of the ambition of the band, or lack thereof.
Throughout our evening we talk plans of meeting Chuck D (Yoshimoto will be playing alongside Public Enemy at this year's Maverick Music Fest), sabotaging Public Enemy's set in an effort to join PE, Butter's daughter being way more rock 'n' roll than anyone, sabotaging the Flaming Lips' set (also playing Maverick) in an effort to crowd surf in a human-sized bubble and a letter from Ian MacKaye that set the tone for their play-music-because-you-want-to-play-music politics. We were happily interrupted by friends of the band who came and went, stopping to applaud and/or mock their passion. The shit was thoroughly shot, although the liquor was not (not patrition pounders or plebeian purists these Moto-heads, they drink like Europeans: calculated, controlled and crazily concocted).
Yoshimoto posses completely different aims and hopes from most musicians raised post-MTV. How else would you account for one record in a decade? They just don't give a fuck about that shit. The group is satisfied playing the venues that SA offers, as well as political benefits, something of which guitarist/vocalist Tiffany Farias is most proud.
Though they play rock 'n' roll, more angular rock than pendulumic roll, the quartet exist in a space separated from millennial millionaire meme worship and their live fast, die famous punk predecessors. They are a rock 'n' roll band that plays rock 'n' roll because they enjoy playing rock 'n' roll. The humble bar we sit in and the way that they articulately tie together the pains of the 40-hour-work-week with the pleasure of releasing all of that tension in sonic form, maybe once a month, is symbolic of the purity of their passion. Something rare in a world where relevance is placed upon a band's cultural capital.
"It's fun," says Butter. "It's an excuse to break shit and fuck shit up."
We all make fun of him for that statement, finish our drinks and retire inside so Farias and guitarist/vocalist Zach Sokoloski can get home in time to be up at 6 a.m. They'll then head to work and grind, humping it to afford themselves the privilege of "wagging some wang, flapping some lips," on Saturday night, because it feels good. That is all.
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