Shane Butler is no stranger at this point to the psychedelic rock scene, having released three of the best albums of the genre in the last decade as part of the band Quilt. In 2012 he started Olden Yolk as a solo side project to explore one-off musical ideas, beginning with a split 7” with Weyes Blood released in 2014. Soon afterward, he was joined by multi-instrumentalist Caity Shaffer, turning it into a collaborative project. In February, the duo finally released their first, self-titled full-length record, and last Friday they came to DC9 as a five-piece band to present the songs live.
What is most immediately noticeable about Olden Yolk is just how deep the influences behind them must go. This isn’t the garden-variety Revolver- or Their Satanic Majesties Request-influenced sound that so much of modern psychedelic music seems fixated on. Instead, it reaches in other directions – The Pretty Things’ SF Sorrow, Donovan’s Sunshine Superman, F.J. McMahon’s Spirit of the Golden Juice (which Quilt covered in full for Turntable Kitchen’s Sounds Delicious series last year). While these influences and others have always been present in Quilt’s music, in Olden Yolk, Butler and Shaffer seem to feel even more free to explore them to their conclusions. The result is an almost timeless effort, one that manages to sound both like a throwback and very modern at the same time.
Of course with the group only having only one album, the show at DC9 focused entirely on it. The album already has a loose, live feel to it, so for the most part the performance followed it very closely, but witnessing the interplay between Butler and Shaffer’s frequently intertwining vocals and hearing the many layers of the music created live served to showcase how strong a debut it is. Highlights included the jaunting “Cut to the Quick,” the angular “Takes One to Know One,” and the languid, laid-back “Gamblers on a Dime.”
Olden Yolk’s self-titled debut album is out now on Trouble In Mind.
DC power pop/garage rockers Bottled Up opened the show with an energetic set. The group released their first, self-titled EP last year, and followed it up with a new single, “Perfect Place,” in April.