Los Angeles-based duo YACHT are streaming their new record I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler on Best Fit.
The album was launched with some ambitious stunts involving technology which set the tone for the record in many ways - grand, conceptual, and fun. ITTFWBC is described as a "sweeping and visionary critique of the 21st century", and it takes potshots the noble and less-than-noble aims of humanity, subverts expectations and lampoons the entertainment industry's worst facets. Although inherently dark in places, it's wildly comic and infused with some of the most party-starting beats YACHT have ever produced.
Produced with Jacknife Lee (Bloc Party, Taylor Swift), the band's central figures Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans have created magic - songs about phonesex, holograms, and police brutality cavort together between "'80s Japanese electronic reggae' 70s and '80s post-punk and no wave, Norwegian disco, and Grand Royal Records-era alternative music".
Listen to "Ringtone", and then have a read of the Track By Track guide. The full album stream is at the bottom of the page.
"Miles And Miles" is a song about human beings living in space, having left the Earth behind for unspecified environmental reasons; it’s the kind of tripped-out mutant epic that other bands might use as an album closer. We wanted to open with it because we like the suggestion that YACHT’s aspirations begin where others leave off - we want to begin after everything has collapsed, and build something entirely new.
This is a song about identity in the modern age: how everything is a mirror now. All of our technological tools retrain traces of us, and often use those traces to sell us things, suggest what we should like, and otherwise guess - often quite approximately - who we are and what we want. It can feel fracturing, disorienting: “I don’t know which one is me, man.” Maybe we aren’t built for so much representation. Mirrors aren’t always pleasant to look in.
In the studio we jokingly called this song “Live Aid,” because it has this big naive chorus that makes sweeping proclamations about the world. Esme, the daughter of our producer Jacknife Lee, sings on this, because we wanted it to feel like something a choir of children might sing. It’s about trying to derive emotional significance from global phenomena - gyres of plastic in the sea, the degradation of language, the inconsistency of technology. “And the future’s all undistributed” is a nod to the science fiction writer William Gibson, who famously said the future is already here, but it’s unevenly distributed - which means, basically, that there are people on this planet who live much as their distant ancestors did, while other people fly rockets to space and film porn in virtual reality.
Phone sex. We wanted this one to sound like Arthur Russell but it sounds like Cibo Matto. We love how much it flips out, dramatically changes tone. It’s so fun to play live. We wired an old corded telephone handset into a microphone and it sounds like shit in the best way.
We think of this as being a very sad song about the way painful things in the modern world are experienced simultaneously in “the feed.” We operate in an information economy where an unfriending shares real estate with real-time reactions to police violence, state violence, gun violence. Of course those things are all so different, but the system sees them all equally as clicks, and uses those clicks to create profiles about who we are in order to sell us shit. #ITTFWBC
The original concept for this song was to try and make a G-Funk track. It was originally called “G-Punk”. We ended up taking it apart and putting it back together several times until it came together into its present form. Maybe every YACHT album will have an L.A. song. It’s a theme we can’t seem to exhaust, because we love our city. It’s always teetering on the brink of apocalypse while still remaining somehow deeply appealing - the greatest myth L.A. ever sold is itself.
This is a cover of a song by the great post-punk band Family Fodder. One of our all-time favorite bands. The lyrics of many Family Fodder songs from this era were written and performed by a non-native English speaker, a French singer named Dominique Levillain, which is why they’re so sweetly lopsided. The slightly incorrect idiomatic English reminds me of my mother, who is French. The balance of sentimentality and vulgarity in this song is delightful.
This one is quite literally about hologram pop stars - how iconic figures like Tupac Shakur and Michael Jackson are beginning to be revived as holograms, so that they can go on tour and sell tickets in perpetuity beyond the mortal coil. It’s been marketed as a novelty, but it feels deeply perverse to us, trotting out a ghost for profit. The synthetic voice in this song was programmed in a piece of Yamaha software called Vocaloid, which is the voice synthesizer used by the Japanese hologram pop star Hatsune Miku.
I wrote the chorus melody for this song lying on my back in a park in Los Angeles. I was feeling very much in love with the world, wanting to celebrate the simple things in life, wanting to believe illusions. I wrote the verses walking around a different park in Los Angeles, months later, on a grey day, in a foul mood, feeling worthless. The lovely breakdown is all Rob Kieswetter, our longtime bandmate and close collaborator on this album.
Our feminist fight song. The verses present a world as some people think it is: a world where the goals of feminism have been achieved, where the “war on women is over” and we can all feel safe in the streets and on the web. The chorus reminds us that we’re nowhere close to living there.
The central plot point of Infinite Jest is a film so entertaining it kills people, “The Entertainment” or the “Samizdat”. It’s media as a weapon of mass destruction, which sometimes feels like the logical conclusion of Western culture. It’s also kind of the spirit animal of this song - “give me entertainment, death by entertainment” - which tries to address the hunger for self-worth through web metrics.