It’s been nearly 10 years since Clap Your Hands Say Yeah came into our lives. Surging through buoyant and bleating New Wave indie pop on its generally beloved self-titled debut, the outfit rushed forth in 2005, spurring one of the Internet era’s first truly overwhelming hype waves. For a time, the group’s label-less rise to critical acclaim and relative commercial success seemed like a fairy tale, a notion summarily discharged when the 2007 follow-up, Some Loud Thunder, landed to mixed evaluations and waning enthusiasm, another early indicator of the music market’s increasing fickleness.
Since then, the band’s frontman and primary creative force Alec Ounsworth has released a solo album featuring New Orleans session musicians, recorded with a few side projects, and released a much-delayed third LP with Clap Your Hands, 2011’s polished but brusquely received Hysterical. Not long after, long-time members Robbie Guertin, Lee Sargent and Tyler Sargent all left the group.
But Ounsworth carries on. The way fans view his art can’t be helped, so he tries not to sweat it.
“It seems somewhat arbitrary whether people like what you do,” he muses. “A lot of it just comes down to people liking different things. If they like it, so be it.”
What: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Where: New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St.
When: Wednesday, June 4, 8 p.m.
With: Stagnant Pools
More Info: newbrooklandtavern.com
In fact, despite the band’s impending 10th anniversary, Ounsworth has actually found creative solace in his post-split material. The fourth Clap Your Hands LP arrives on June 3. Entitled Only Run, its promotion is led by the advance single “Coming Down.” The song is a nervy slab of darkly anthemic art-rock not dissimilar to the work of The National, whose Matt Berninger guests. It seems to build on the expansive polish of Hysterical, feeling increasingly distanced from the quirky, ramshackle beauty of the group’s debut. For the work of an outfit with so much history, it feels remarkably free and unburdened.
“It’s difficult to carve out a space for five guys,” Ounsworth offers. “It kind of feels like I’m starting from scratch again. It’s frightening and liberating at the same time.”
“I think people are going to get carried away with calling it dissimilar to [my other records],” he adds. “What the band does is always going to be fairly consistent.”
Indeed, the band’s sonic calling cards — lush synthesizers, sharp post-punk guitars, warm harmonies, sticky hooks and Ounsworth’s own inimitable vocals — are all present, but they serve songs that feel like distant relatives to that earlier material. The new music is less David Byrne and Jeff Mangum than it is Lou Reed and Thom Yorke. Vocally and musically, this is a more celestial and stately version of the band, one that flies in the face of the manic irascibility that dominated its first two efforts. It feels counterintuitive, but Ounsworth writes it off as a natural evolution.
“I’ve always felt like one CYHSY song leads to the next which leads to the next,” he says. “After all, I don’t want to make “[The Skin of My] Yellow Country Teeth” parts two, three, four and five over and over again.”
This attitude toward a fan favorite from Clap Your Hands’ first record might rub some people the wrong way, but it really makes sense. After all, the impetus of the group’s lightning-fast coronation was its insistence on recording and releasing music entirely on its own terms, unburdened by music industry convention. A decade later, Ounsworth still carries himself in the same manner.
“It’s really surprising, but after 10 years I feel like I am about right where I started,” he says. “I’m just counting on people in my corner and hoping they want to go on this journey with me.”
Back to School Tattoo Specials
Magnum Ink is offering 1/2 off all tattoos for students over 18 as well as 2 for $60 on letters or numbers for state employees. 1405 Rushmore Road, Suite B, right off of Broad River.
Music Break at Music Farm Columbia
Join COR for an evening of networking for music and business leaders on September 3rd, featuring performances by Josh Roberts and the Hinges, Death of Paris, Fat Rat Da Czar, and Lazy A and the Green Thang. Free admission for musicians and members! Register here.
A two-day outdoor art and crafts show celebrating its 38th year. Being held on September 5 & 6, 2014, Click for details
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
Not Your Typical Greek Restaurant
Ariana’s in West Columbia serves up delicious all-natural, low carb dishes, as well as homemade bread and baklava. Come try the best salad dressing in town! Location info and hours here.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
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U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Pool Cleaning-Full and part time available. Must have a clean driving record, be organized and have a professional appearance. Starting Pay is $10.00 per hr, please call for an interview, please bring a copy of your Driving record and a list of all past employers with duration of employment listed as well as telephone numbers for references. Cal 803-865-1200
Company seeking carpenters, plumbers, masons work is year around with a 40 year old company. Starting pay is $10.00 but experienced individuals will be compensated accordingly. Must have a clean driving record and must bring a copy of your driving record to the interview. Please call 803-865-1200.