iPod voyeur: YACHT looks into the future of the past

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The future has potential to be totally fun. Eco-friendly flying cars, new friends from outer space and moon parties sound like a great way to spend the year 3000, but these are only amateur, optimistic predictions. The Portland-bred dance duo YACHT has been surveying the possibilities for years, taking notes and spacey tips from musical scientists of days past. And today, a retro-futuristic playlist has been born. 

Don't panic-- the near future still looks hot. YACHT is currently touring its upcoming album, Shangri-La, their follow-up to 2009's See Mystery Lights, coming out on DFA in June. And they're playing a yet to be sold-out show at Bimbos (Wed/13) this week. 

Beyond that, there's good news and there's bad news. Looks like band members Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans aren't thinking things will turn out so hot, hence their own new song, Dystopia, a totally amazing African-inspired electronic track about upcoming apocalyptic events. The good news: they're not scared of fire nor jackals. I'm thinking they have a collection of magic lasers and protective suits prepared. 

The Guardian has requested proof of their research in playlist form; their current top 10 most-played tracks. Take note, drink water and wear comfortable shoes.

 

Zager & Evans, "In the Year 2525"

This song is the musical equivalent of one of our favorite books, Olaf Stapledon's "Last and First Men," a science-fiction future history that tells the tale of the next two billion years of time, touching on eighteen distinct versions of the human race, from regular flesh-and-blood people to birdlike creatures living on Neptune. Zager & Evans only go about ten thousand years into the future, put they hit some classic sci-fi themes on the way, like genetic engineering, mechanical automation, and test-tube babies.  

 

Chromium, "Fly On UFO"

This is a sentiment we at YACHT can all get down with. You see a UFO in the sky, beaming with promise, lights in primary colors like an 80s movie, and you yell up to the sky: "Come back later!"

 

Incredible String Band -- Way Back in the 1960s

A psychedelic future-past ballad, about an old-timer looking back fondly on the 1960s -- a time before World War three, before England "went missing and we moved to Paraguay," and we still used the wheel. 

 

Cerrone. "Supernature"

In a world of depleted resources, the ambitions of science have no limits. Wouldn't we do anything to feed the starving masses? Including poison the world with chemicals that would create mutants "down below"? If Mary Shelley  was a French disco producer, "Frankenstein" would have sounded like Supernature.

 

Hawkwind. "Silver Machine"

Simplicity is king. This song has the best lyrics in the world: "I just took a ride/ in a silver machine/ and I'm still feeling mean/I got a silver machine." This is like ZZ Top for space hogs, an all-night truckin' jam for the long haul to Alpha Centauri.  

 

Ganymed, "Future World"

Sick, almost disgustingly slick space disco from a band whose whole deal was wearing full-deck silver space costumes. 

 

Dee D. Jackson, "Automatic Lover"

Amid a soft pink haze, Miss Jackson looks at the erotic robot in her bed, polished chrome gleaming under white satin sheets, come-hither, raises her perfectly glossed lip in a snarl, and utters: "Your body's cold."

 

Marvin Gaye, "A Funky Space Reincarnation"

Is the future going to be a cold impersonal landscape dictated by the efficient will of our machine overlords? Or, light years ahead, are you and me going be getting down on a space bed, smoking some new shit from Venus? The prophet Marvin Gaye proposes the latter. 

 

Toni Basil, "Space Girl Blues"

Toni Basil is known for "Hey Mickey (You're So Fine)," a song so ubiquitous in the brain of kids who grew up in the 80s that it doesn't even seem like it should have an author. She also did this bonkers cover of Devo's "Space Girl Blues," perfectly embodying the new-wave space girl, cold as ice, destroying your mechanism. 

 

Charlie, "Spacer Woman"

Neo, neo, neo, neo, neo, neo, neo-feminism. In 2096, what wave will we be on?

 

YACHT
w/Bobby Birdman and DJ Pickpocket
Wed/13, 7:00pm
Bimbo's 365 Club
1025 Columbus Ave, SF
www.Bimbos365Club.com

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