In the weirdest of times, the greatest of gifts—two new tracks from the Yella Bella boys
I’ve enjoyed the gentlemen of Brooklyn-based band Yella Belly on several occasions, in various forms—
Tearing it up and shaking it down on the Rough Trade stage, driving the dance party at their first Boogaloo at The Broadway and gamely Tetris-ing themselves into a definitely-not-band-sized photo booth in pursuit of some HOT INSTAGRAM CONTENT—maaaaybe at my suggestion—at The Anchored Inn.
In summary: along with being delightful dudes, they’re truly talented musicians, DJs and drinking buddies. And while you’ll probably just have to take my word for it when it comes to those last two claims (for now), I’m stoked to present some extra evidence of the musical variety that serves as perfect proof of the first.
On this very strange Friday I’m beyond thrilled to introduce some very sweet tunes: *TWO* new tracks from Yella Belly in the form of ‘The Long Haul / Mean ol’ Mama’—the second installment of the group’s AA-side single release series, following the band’s 2019 debut, ‘Bad Dog / Last Days.’
When it comes to these songs, “equal parts Texas grit and New York grime”—a line from the Yella Belly bio and phrase I’ve filed in my notes under both “copy I wish I wrote” and “epitaph ideas”—feels pretty on-point. Both are songs perfectly suited for swigging beers at an urban honky-tonk (an oxymoron, were it not for Williamsburg) or your local dive—whether that be in Brooklyn or Austin. Tracks that, with their assorted whoops, howls and growls, one could easily imagine inspiring arm-in-arm, bar-wide sing-alongs if life were a movie (or enough people were drunk).
But until these songs reach that “Friends In Low Places”-like level—or at least until we’re allowed to pack together in public and touch each other again—I highly recommend consuming them here and now, along with insights from Yella Belly’s Will Thompson. Over email, the singer and guitarist described the pair of songs as the result of extended experimentation, a product of writing and DIY recording sessions across Brooklyn as the band worked out what, exactly, kind of music they really wanted to make:
“The group is still so new, to the point that when the band finally got to sit down and think out the next release, we didn’t know where to begin. Everyone was coming from previous bands that were more or less exclusive with high-end studios, producers, other people calling lots of the shots. We ended up recording and producing the whole thing ourselves, and a lot of it in ways none of us had really done before. One night we’d be held up in our guitarist Jack’s apartment with toy instruments coming up with who the hell knows, and the next we’d be getting together to try stuff out at Figure 8 studios in South Brooklyn, and then it’d be something completely different the next time. All the while, the band was compiling tracks for these eventual songs. We even have the next release ready to go after all this. To cap it off, the band migrated upstate to the Catskill Mountains to mix everything down with Eli Crews at his home studio. We’re starting to find our sound slowly but surely, or are we… probably not.”
Listen/enjoy/share the hell out of ‘The Long Haul / Mean ol’ Mama,’ and don’t miss the chance to catch Yella Belly *live* on April 23rd at Baby’s All Right—
I’ll be the one up front, really trying to make that sing-along happen.
Yella Belly is singer/guitarist William Thompson, bassist Connor Jones, drummer Jake Hiebert, guitarist Jack McLoughlin and keyboardist Steve Vannelli.
‘The Long Haul / Mean ol’ Mama’ was engineered and produced by Jack McLoughlin and the band all over Brooklyn (which included sneaking over to Figure 8 Recording in the middle of the night for tracking). Mixed by Eli Crews at his upstate sound fortress in the Catskill Mountains. Mastered by Joe LaPorta at Sterling Sound.
Grab your tickets to catch Yella Belly at Baby’s All Right on April 23rd with Luke Rathborne, Wet Leather and Danny Leggett (info and tickets here!), follow the band on Instagram at @yellabellyband and find all things Yella Belly at yellabellyband.com.
Feature image (provided by the band): Hannah Berg