Set to release their new album next week, Seattle trio Dude York pay tribute to adolescent romance and early noughties ‘mall punk’ with their whirring scuzz, catchy jangling hooks and gritty vocals. And we cannot get enough.
We think one of the best ways to get to know a new band/artist is by asking them what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Claire from Dude York to talk about her ‘Five Favourites’ – five songs or albums that have influenced her songwriting techniques, or simply take her back to a specific feeling or time. Check out her choices below, and make sure you watch the band’s new video for ‘Should’ve’ at the end of this post.
Jimmy Eat World – ‘Your House’
This is one of my absolute favourite songs and Jimmy Eat World in general was a big influence for me on our new record. Play this song very loud driving somewhere sentimental in your car, you might feel feelings! Our single ‘Falling’ is kind of about falling in love in your late 20s to the soundtrack of your early teens, and it’s supposed to start as a sonic reference to this song (and a lyrical reference to Dashboard Confessional if anyone is keeping track). I think there’s a lot to admire about this band; I love how expressive Jim Adkins’ voice is without being cloying, and the way he uses harmonies really intentionally and loud. Bleed American in its entirety is a pop record that can’t or at least shouldn’t be pigeonholed, it moves through totally different sounds seamlessly. They are masters of wordless bridges and hooks, so good lyrics would probably just mess them up. I have also done the important experimental research on a few tours now: If you wear a Jimmy Eat World shirt you will only meet nice people and have pleasant conversations, it’s a good energy.
No Doubt – ‘Sixteen’
I remember listening to this song with fresh ears when I was first starting to make music which required a.) figuring out how to sing and b.) figuring out how to write harmonies. The first 30 seconds stopped me dead in my tracks when I realized Gwen Stefani’s basically just yelling? In key? And it actually sounds amazing?!? At the time I didn’t have much of a singing range basically because I was afraid to be loud or sound bad at all before getting it right, but I loved how these harmonies sounded so I tried singing them alone in the car or the basement to see if it was even possible to hit that note and when I did it I felt like I had unlocked a superpower. It’s hard to choose a No Doubt song though, so I have to give honourable mention to ‘Simple Kind Of Life’ for having some of the most inspirational lyrical honesty and delivery for me. I always felt it was a special song in that way, but revisiting it this year at the same age she wrote it (and let’s just say during my Saturn return, although I think it may have been a few months late), it hits me that much harder. When she says “you seem like you’d be a good dad” you can actually hear the smirk on her face and it’s the best.
Yuck – ‘Operation’
I just love so much about how this song sounds. I’m not always drawn to vocals being mixed way down or being so fuzzy you can barely tell what they’re saying because it can feel intentionally buried, but in this song everything has enough space to be appreciated. The vocals are just another fuzzy instrument, not more or less important in the melody than the guitars and it all trades off with every section elevating into the next effortlessly. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, I think this song is (bad pun intended) well designed. And just really good.
Weezer – ‘I’m Your Daddy’
Weezer is a huge influence on me and sure, maybe I wouldn’t even play guitar if it wasn’t for “the early stuff” but that’s not as funny as this song. I’ve had a side project Weezer cover band for MANY years (despite only playing something like 5 shows) with a very specific premise: we play only songs the casual fan has never heard of and the serious fan hates. Usually, if I’m getting ready for one of these shows I’ll be playing the songs at Dude York practice and Peter or Andrew will say “what’s that?” and I’ll say “Goat Reward” and they’ll say “oh” or “maybe it should be a Dude York song?” and usually it’s too hard to divorce myself from the source material to even consider it, but I have to admit I did it with this song! I don’t remember whether it was before or after that but around the same time I heard the Rivers Cuomo episode of Song Exploder and he described doing essentially the same thing as part of his song writing process, copying something from a song he liked and then distancing himself and intentionally hiding the source material until he can’t remember where it came from, revisiting it and writing a new song around it. So that’s how I know it’s ok. He wouldn’t mind, he does it too.
Josie and the Pussycats – The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
This movie came out when I was 11 years old and every single one of my friends had the soundtrack, knew every word, and we were all saying the same thing back and forth to each other, “Why isn’t this a real band? Why is this so much better than any real bands? Why can’t whoever made this soundtrack just become a real band because this is probably so much better than whatever they are doing right now?” This is obviously the narrow view of a pre-teen with limited googling ability in 2001, but in retrospect I think there was still some truth in it. The soundtrack really resonated with me at the time because the idea of this band from the movie coupled with the songs to back it up hit a sweet spot between the energetic sound of the dude rock bands on the radio I was leaning towards and the feminine energy I could actually relate to. That’s not to say those bands didn’t exist and thankfully I think there are more now than ever, but at the time it was hard for me to find anything that satisfied quite like Josie. We played a halloween covers show in 2014 where we dressed up as the Pussycats and played three of the songs and it was so fun. They were just fun to play and sounded great! Or at least I think they did, there’s no video evidence and it was a DIY show… But I think it re-opened the door to those songs in my mind, there’s no reason why bands like Josie and the Pussycats can’t be real.
Massive thanks to Dude York for sharing their awesome Five Favourites with us!
Falling, the upcoming album from Dude York, is out 26th July via Hardly Art. Watch the video for latest single ‘Should’ve’ here: