Hill Country Live Presents
The Please, Please Me, Yellow Tie Guy
410 7th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20004
The Please, Please Me
A trio whose instrumentation consists of guitar, cello, drums and glockenspiel? That’s downright curious. Odd, even.
And yet, there’s nothing odd about the carefully crafted indie-pop by the Please, Please Me create on their new EP, Shake a Little Harder. Unique, yes, and full of sonic moods that swing from playful and sexy to pensive and longing. But the oddest element of this Austin band’s musical existence just might be the puppet that wound up in the video for their Kickstarter campaign — and helped them raise $12,656 to record with producer CJ Eiriksson (U2, Fastball, Blue October).
As is often the case in these matters, it’s the unexpected twist — or seeming disaster — that turns out to be the saving grace for lead vocalist Jessie Torrisi, drummer Agustin Frederic and cellist/backing vocalist Alissa McClure. When the filmmaker slated to create their Kickstarter campaign video bailed a week before they were scheduled to start recording, they turned to the Archimedes film collective, which agreed to do the video for cheap — as long as it featured a pink Muppet-like creature they’d been longing to build.
“It seemed crazy, but video is gorgeous. And that set the tone for the EP,” says Torrisi, the band’s founder and songwriter. Wanna see it? Click here.
As EPs go, this one had a long gestation. Philadelphia-born Torrisi, who spent a decade in Brooklyn drumming for glam bands before leaving to front her own project, spent two years hunting till she found Frederic, a fellow NYC expat, on Craig’s List. It took another six months to convince Texas native McClure, whose cello was gathering dust in her parents’ attic until the Please, Please Me claimed her, to quit her day job and start touring. That was in 2012. Ten tours and 42,000 miles later, they’re ready to share their studio debut with the fans they’ve acquired on the road.
At Eiriksson’s urging, they stuck with their unlikely instrumentation on the album. “We weren’t sure how it would work without a bass,” says McClure, “so I started playing around with octave pedals and delays.” Torrisi and Frederic soon followed, throwing effects and electronic drumpads into the mix.
The result is a sound that’s danceable, singable and just weird enough to keep listeners intrigued. They refer to it as “poetry you can dance to” or “feel-good heartbreak songs.” And with Shake a Little Harder coming out July 15, they’re ready to make more. In August, they’ll step back into the studio to record another EP, this time with Grammy nominee Frenchie Smith.
For Frederic, a Costa Rica native who’s worked on crews for artists from Santana to Fiona Apple and now engineers sound for the Intergalactic Nemesis, the studio is fine, but he’d rather be on the road. “Live is what sets the bar,” he says. “You can have a great record, but you have to be able to deliver onstage.”
For this band, the festivals, the packed clubs, the couchsurfing, the shitty shows — even the mysterious shake in their beloved van — are all part of the ride. It’s not about money or fame, insists Torrisi, who also teaches journalism and writes for a human rights group. “We just want to make mind-blowing music before we die.”
Yellow Tie Guy
In January of 2011, Daniel W. Hill & Mary Celeste, who have a long history of rocking out together, joined forces with guitarist Jason McKinney and drummer/producer Darren Guzzone for a mere 6 weeks of practice before recording in YTG's Alchemical Records studio in Waldorf, MD.
Over the course of the next year, Daniel and Darren would mix and master the project in house, while being joined by drummer Ralf Madrigal for a rigorous performing schedule.
In May of 2012, Yellowtieguy released their debut album "Joy in the Mourning" in coordination with 98 Rock's Noise in the Basement program hosted by Matt Davis.
Since the release of the album, YTG has had the pleasure of being played on college radio, rock alternative radio, and freeform internet radio stations. YTG has had the honor of performing with national acts in Cleveland, Boston, and all around the DC/MD/VA area. They have a growing national and international fan base, and have no intentions of slowing...or turning the volume down...