Yard Act talks to us about the inspirations behind their excellent debut album ‘The Overload’ (stream it)

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british group Court Act released their first album overload today. It’s a terrific record that puts a new spin on screaming, poppy post-punk and, more than anything, it harkens back to the mid-2000s heyday of Franz Ferdinand, Art Brut and the Arctic Monkeys. You can read our Indie Basement album of the week review here and listen to the album below.

We asked Yard Act about the inspirations behind overload and the four members – vocalist James Smith, bassist Ryan Needham, guitarist Sam Shjipstone and drummer Jay Russell – plus producer Ali Chant each gave two choices, which include music, books, TV shows , etc Check out the list, complete with comments, below.

Yard Act will be touring around SXSW in March and Coachella in April, including shows from NYC to Brooklyn’s Union Pool on 3/22 (sold out) and TV Eye on 3/24 (tickets). All dates are listed below.

Pick up
I read ‘Meet me in the bathroom‘ a few months before James and I were discussing doing new music together and it took me right back to that 2000s era. The Rapture really stood out, and although I liked their hits from the heyday, I come back to it now in the context of their history in New York, their formation and the tensions in the DFA label camp and the stuff of David Holmes, James Murphy, etc. totally emotionally invested in their records in a different way. Then from there I went into historian mode combing through loads of their influences; the most obvious being Bush Tetras, ESG, Liquid Liquid, Delta 5, PIL, Happy Mondays, etc. All of this stuff was definitely rich mine for me when it became clear that I would be playing bass in Yard Act. (Ryan Needham)

thermal baths
I know baths are terrible for the environment; I’ve never been a bather before, and I’ve pretty much stopped having one again now, however, for those three months in early 2020 when the world stopped, I think I was completely submerged for about 1/3 of each day. James actually kicked off the phase with his (brilliant btw) hangover advice of ‘ice cold beer, hot red bath’ but I totally ran with it after that and just had full weeks of laptop on the bog seat consuming all those TV shows and all those podcasts everyone else has been doing. Maybe it was a cocoon/safety/matrix thing. (Ryan Needham)

Purple Mountains – purple mountains
I was so excited when David Berman returned to music with “All My Happiness Is Gone” and his new moniker Purple Mountains. The first time I heard this song I laughed, but many times it made me realize how dark Berman really felt. The album reinforces that. The wit and humor – and I honestly think this is Berman’s wittiest and most humorous album – and the wonderful pop arrangements and production courtesy of the band WOODS really draw you into a false sense of safety with this disc. I think this is David’s greatest work. I was heartbroken when he died. I always thought he was a brilliant lyricist, but rereading the interviews he seemed like a really decent human, who cared a lot about trying to do the right thing too. (James Smith)

First dates – Channel 4
Obviously a lot of our record was written during the lockdowns so I spent a lot of time not leaving the house which meant I didn’t see a lot of people which meant I couldn’t watch a lot of people. Considering that our songs spend a lot of time watching people, I had to look elsewhere for inspiration for the album. I delved deep into my childhood for some songs, but for others I drew a lot from First dates. There are 17 series of First dates and he has everything. I know it’s edited to look a certain way, I know the moving strings conveniently come at the right time every time, but without any of that it proves over and over again that humans all want the same thing. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they come from or what they believe. Humans all seek solace in the company of someone else. We want companionship, we want love, and we want to be loved back. Even assholes want that. (James Smith)

Francoise Hardy – All the boys and girls
I don’t even know who the guitarists are on this record, but I really like the approach. Sober but forward, with rich chordal voices. And around that time, I started noticing the harmonic minor scale that I now use a lot, and that ‘Le temps de l’amour’ makes creepy. (Sam Shjipstone)

GMS
The misunderstood large kitchen. It’s not bad for you. It is not (table) salt. It doesn’t make you thirsty. This sometimes happens naturally. There’s a pretty great origin story, too, until we spoil it with a moral panic. We owe it to MSG: shake on (Sam Shjipstone)

The streets – Original pirate material
Even if the subject is a little different, my first musical reference was Original pirate material by The Streets. Much like Mike Skinner, James’ ability to capture character in his writing is a rare thing and it immediately drew me to Yard Act from the first moment I heard “Fixer Upper”. I had felt such frustration that musicians weren’t writing about the massive social and political schisms that have rocked Britain over the past four years. But hearing someone face these things head-on, with humor and humility, felt like someone finally spoke for me. (Ali Chant, producer)

think fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman
James and I lent each other a number of books during the album sessions. I had read that famous psychology book while mixing that just blew my mind, and I had to get a copy for James. The book covers a lot of aspects of the human mind, but the chapters on cognitive biases and how people frequently make choices against themselves and the common good seemed oddly appropriate to the record. (Ali Chant, producer)

The Stranglers – Rattus norvegicus
I grew up listening to the Stranglers thanks to my parents. As I got older and learned more about them, I began to admire how they stuck out like a sarcastic sore thumb compared to their punk contemporaries. For one thing, they were talented musicians and polished songwriters, which was incredibly old-fashioned at the time. The lyrics on this album are shady and somewhat questionable, but there’s also a playful, if not a bit dark, element to it. I take this record as being written with tongue in cheek. They weren’t afraid to deliver something different from what people expected. It also has to be one of the best bass sounds of all time. (Jay Russell)

My espresso machine
I recently acquired an espresso machine and it quickly became a little obsession for me. The more I read, the more little toys and gadgets I need to make the perfect morning coffee. I love all the variables and precision involved in the process. It’s a great routine to start the day. (Jay Russell)

YARD ACT – 2022 TOUR DATES
22 JAN 22 – SISTER RAY / 100 CLUB OUTSTORE – LONDON
23 JAN 22 – PIE AND VINYL INSTORE – PORTSMOUTH
23 JAN 22 – RESIDENT STORE – BRIGHTON
24 JAN 22 – BRISTOL ROUGH TRADE – BRISTOL
24 JAN 22 – TRUCK SHOP – OXFORD
27 JANUARY 22 – NOTTINGHAM RAW TRADE – NOTTINGHAM
01 22 FEBRUARY – BELGRAVE MUSIC HALL – LEEDS
02 22 FEB – L’AERONEF – LILLE
03 FEB 22 – MUZIEKCENTRUM TRIX – ANTWERP
04 FEB 22 – PARADISO – AMSTERDAM
05 22 FEB – MOLOTOW – HAMBURG
06 22 FEBRUARY – STENGADE – KØBENHAVN
07 FEBRUARY 22 – PLAN B – MALMÖ
09 22 FEB – BADEHAUS BERLIN – BERLIN
10 22 FEBRUARY – BLUE SHELL – COLOGNE
11 22 FEB – ROTONDA – LUXEMBOURG
12 22 FEB – LA BOULE NOIRE – PARIS
17 FEB 22 – UNDERGROUND VILLAGE – LONDON
18 FEB 22 – PATTERNS – BRIGHTON
19 22 FEBRUARY – THE JOINERS – SOUTHAMPTON
21 FEBRUARY 22 – EXCHANGE – BRISTOL
22 FEBRUARY 22 – CLWB IFOR BACH – CARDIFF
23 FEBRUARY 22 – BODEGA – NOTTINGHAM
24 FEBRUARY 22 – THE WHITE HOTEL – SALFORDS
25 22 FEBRUARY – JOB CLUB – HEBDEN BRIDGE
26 FEB 22 – BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB – LEEDS
01 MARCH 22 – LE CLUNY – NEWCASTLE ON TYNE
02 MARCH 22 – THE CAVES – EDINBURGH
03 MARCH 22 – MONO – GLASGOW
04 MARCH 22 – WHELAN’S – DUBLIN
22 MARCH 22 – UNION POOL – NEW YORK
MARCH 23, 22 – JOHNNY BRENDA’S – PHILADELPHIA
24 MAR 22 – TV EYE – QUEENS COUNTY
25 MARCH 22 – LE SINCLAIR – CAMBRIDGE
27 MARCH 22 – THE GARRISON – TORONTO
MARCH 29, 22 – SLEEPING VILLAGE – CHICAGO
05 APRIL 22 – EARTH (EVOLUTIONARY ARTS HACKNEY) – LONDON
15 APRIL 22 – CASBAH – SAN DIEGO
16 APRIL 22 – COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL 2022 – INDIO
18 APR 22 – THE SECOND STAGE OF THE CROCODILE – SEATTLE
19 APRIL 22 – DOUG FIR LOUNGE – PORTLAND
21 APR 22 – RICKSHAW STOP – SAN FRANCISCO
30 APRIL 22 – LIVERPOOL CITY CENTER – LIVERPOOL
11 MAY 22 – TRINITY CENTER – BRISTOL
18 MAY 22 – EMERGENCY ROOMS – NOTTINGHAM
19 MAY 22 – THE ZANZIBAR CLUB – LIVERPOOL
20 MAY 22 – THE IRISH CENTER – LEEDS
21 MAY 22 – GROUP ON THE WALL – MANCHESTER
22 MAY 22 – THE SHEFFIELD FOUNDRY – SHEFFIELD
26 MAY 22 – O2 ACADEMY 2 – LEICESTER
27 MAY 22 – NORWICH ARTS CENTER – NORWICH
28 MAY 22 – BROCKWELL PARK – LONDON
28 MAY 22 – BROCKWELL PARK – LONDON
22 JUL 22 – TRUCK FESTIVAL 2022 – STEVENTON
05 Aug 22 – OFF FESTIVAL – KATOWICE
07 AUGUST 22 – OFF FESTIVAL 2022 – KATOWICE
09 Aug 22 – ØYAFESTIVALEN – OSLO
10 22 AUGUST – ØYAFESTIVALEN 2022 – OSLO
13 AUGUST 22 – OYA FESTIVAL – OSLO
22 NOV 22 – SAINT LUKE’S – GLASGOW
23 NOV 22 – NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY STUDENT UNION – NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
24 NOV 22 – O2 ACADEMY LEEDS – LEEDS
25 NOV 22 – O2 RITZ – MANCHESTER
26 NOV 22 – MARBLE FACTORY – BRISTOL
27 NOVEMBER 22 – CARDIFF TRAMSHED – CARDIFF
29 NOV 22 – 1865 – SOUTHAMPTON
30 NOV 22 – CHALK – BRIGHTON – BUY

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