Mon., 10/8, 8 p.m., $5-$8
Soapbox• 255 N. Front St.
Opening acts Emma Nelson and Sean Thomas Gerard (Onward, Soldiers)
Don’t even think about accusing the Yawpers of being indie-rock. They’re straight-up rock ‘n’ roll. Hyphenated genres aren’t part of how Boulder, CO, band views their music. Raw, soulful and just rough enough around the edges, the Yawpers give listeners a nostalgic reminder of what music once was and still has potential be.
“We try to just say rock ‘n; roll, but it’s definitely got some indie elements to it and some country elements to it as well,” lead singer Nate Cook remarks. “I hate over-hyphenating music. It just gets too fucking obscure too quickly.”
Just over a year ago, the Yawpers formed with a vision of making music that rocked without any unnecessary pretense. According to Cook, in order to “simplify the living shit out of everything,” the Yawpers play with only acoustic guitars (they don’t even have a bass player) giving their tunes a pure, organic sound.
“We were in a fucking way out there indie-alternative band for like four or five years and it just got so obscure and just up its own ass with how heavy it was,” Cook comments. It really started to bug me. I’ve always been more of a songwriter. When we started the new project, we decided we were going to go as simple as possible.”
Nate Cook’s abrupt, emotional voice brings to mind Jack White’s (formerly of the White Stripes) solo work, but the Yawpers as a whole sound quite a bit like Wilco with just a touch of Elvis. Most of the bands’ members got into music at a young age, but only the drummer originated in Boulder.
“We all just kind of independently grew in different scenes in different parts of the country. Then we all coalesced here in Boulder and we’ve been hitting it ever since,” Cook says. “Boulder’s just kind of a transient community, people come and go all the time so it makes sense…We’re all from all over but we just happened to get it going here.”
The band’s name—which sounds a bit like a species of alien—is actually a reference to Walt Whitman’s “To Myself.” Much of what makes the Yawpers work so well comes from Cook’s poetic roots.
“I’m kind of a poetry nut,” Cook admits. “When we were forming the band, it just made sense to draw from that particular area. A lot of our songs are named after poems. Our first record is named after a Wallace Stevens poem. We have a lot of references to poetry in our work.”
Their newest record, “Capon Crusade,” will be released in less than a month. The album has an incredible retro-rock sound that nods to the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. Simple, poetic authenticity again takes precedence over anything else in their music. The entire LP was recorded over just eight days.
“We aim for simplicity, so we spent as little time in the studio as possible,” Cook explains. “We did everything live in the same room. Even the vocals are all live, the instruments are all live.”
Though the Yawpers have only been together a short time, they have been touring the majority of this past year. After getting a following in the Rockies and out west, the Yawpers took to the road on a larger scale.
“Being on the road is a mixture of heaven and hell, I guess,” Cook says. “I like the anonymity of going into new places and getting to meet new people. We’ve played great shows all across the country and that’s really all a musician can ask for.”