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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Outside Lands Night Show

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Kelley Stoltz

Wed, August 10, 2011

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

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This event is 21 and over

4 ticket limit per customer.

For more ticketing info about this show www.sfoutsidelands.com/night-shows

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
It has been 10 years since Clap Your Hands Say Yeah started, and they’re about to release their fourth record, Only Run. Like the previous three, CYHSY will market and distribute the album independently. From the get go, this ethos struck a chord with fans, but it was merely an extension of lead singer/songwriter Alec Ounsworth’s core belief: “The general rule is to be appreciative of your audience,” he recently told Fast Company magazine. “If you can organize and are motivated, you should approach fans directly.”

So, 10 years later, while much has changed, many things aren’t so different now. For instance, Ounsworth has spent all of 2014 thus far crisscrossing the United States playing living room shows. He still needs that direct connection with fans; it validates his vision of how art should work and confirms his belief in the music.

Before taking to the road, Ounsworth poured himself into the making of Only Run. Like the band’s fateful first album, it’s an artist’s singular vision. Once again, Ounsworth crafted the songs himself before bringing them to the studio for completion and the album is further proof that CYHSY thrives because of a strong sense of identity. Fostered from his love of uncompromising songwriters (e.g. John Cale, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Tom Waits), Ounsworth believes in an artist’s creative control. “Some people seem surprised when you shift gears aesthetically between records, but to me that’s the point,” he says. “We have a responsibility as musicians to take chances.” Ounsworth continues, “There is a reason I have all of Tom Waits’ albums, for example. I believe in him.”

Only Run aims to loosely document Ounsworth’s observations of his life in music over the last 10 years. “Lately, I’ve been assaulted by news, both distant and near, that suggests a certain sense of frustration,” he says. “But Clap Your Hands Say Yeah—the entire concept of the band, the name itself—is about balancing optimism in the face of overwhelming odds. I’m coming around to this myself — finding that renewed sense of optimism.”
Kelley Stoltz
Kelley Stoltz

While Kelley Stoltz’s nigh-religious reverence for all things Beatles, Beach Boys and Kinks has been at the fore on recent albums Below the Branches and Circular Sounds, his new album, To Dreamers, blends a bit more post-punk abandon into its layered everyman pop. Tasteful horn adornments blow against tom-tom beats and 12-string guitars meet reverbed mellotrons, under Stoltz’s warm vocals.

The album begins with “Rock & Roll with Me,” a big beat electric invitation that fades into the melodic stirrings of “Pinecone,” a gently moving Pacific breeze. Later, the deceptively ethereal pluck of “Ventriloquist” is coupled with heavy lyrics, “Seems like there’s no one at all who’s speaking for me.” The motorik élan of “Keeping the Flame” and the electric whirring of “Little Girl” offer new moods, and it’s clear that To Dreamers has maintained the kaleidoscopic core of sounds heard on Kelley’s previous records, while making inroads into new sonic terrains.

As on prior albums, Kelley plays most of the instruments heard on To Dreamers himself, though two of the songs here were recorded by Kelley and his band live in the studio. One of these is a cover version of the ’60s nugget “Baby I Got News for You,” by “Big Boy” Pete Miller, who performs on the recording, dusting off the very valve amps and guitar used on the 1965 original, to add vocals and fuzz.

Kelley, now a veritable godfather to the burgeoning San Francisco under/over-ground (folks like Thee Oh Sees, Sonny & the Sunsets, The Fresh & Onlys), has blazed a path since the late ’90s as a home-recording guru and multi-instrumentalist.

No slouch on the live front, he was asked to open the Raconteurs first US tour in 2006, toured the USA and Europe with the Dirtbombs in 2008, and through a twist of volcano ash-cloud karma, was the support act to childhood heroes Echo and the Bunnymen, in 2010. His songs have been used for international ad campaigns for Volvo and Marriott Hotels, as well as in television and movies.

I would wager that the entire reason behind music itself is to dream. From the young kid strumming a tennis racket along with the Ramones, to the box seats at the opera, the goal is the same. What music does and should do is allow us to lose ourselves and be transported, to find the mystical land where milk and honey meets Xanadu. See where you go with this new Kelley Stoltz record—an album of tunes oddly familiar and yet surprising, like a dream itself.
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