Radio rock had a proud moment in the ’90s. That polished-for-mainstream froth of A&Rs shoveling moneybags at the DIY ’80s kicked up its heels across the airwaves under the guise of “alternative,” its crunchy guitars and glistening choruses earning popular appeal and Lollapalooza stages. London’s Yuck captures an engaging bit of ’90s nostalgia on its self-titled debut (released on Fat Possum Records), acknowledging the decade’s flourishing indies (Yo La Tengo, Pavement) while aiming through to Butch Vig–helmed FM staples (Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage). We asked Yuck frontman Daniel Blumberg to tackle our brief questionnaire, in which he ponders the weepiness of March of the Penguins and reflects on what he’s learned about the United States in the past few months.
Life + Times: What can you recall of your earliest musical memory?
Daniel Blumberg: Playing my dad’s banjolele.
L+T:What music do you first remember meaning something significant in your life?
DB: Neil Young’s Harvest.
L+T: What is the sweetest sound you can think of?
L+T: What movie always makes you cry?
DB: The penguin movie where they give birth to the penguins and then some of the baby penguins die.
L+T: What’s something people might not know about your self-titled album?
DB: The photo on the back was taken in a place called Lee Valley.
L+T: Have you ever been in love? What did it feel like?
DB: Boiled egg.
L+T: You’ve been touring the US quite a bit for this album. What’s been your favorite city to visit? Where are the best crowds? Best food?
DB: I really like San Francisco. It has great bookshops, and we played a venue called the Fillmore. I like the pickled stuff in the South, and Nashville is my favorite for seeing friends.
L+T: What’s something you now know about the United States that you didn’t before you got here?
DB: The coffee is shit.
L+T: Your album often evokes a sense of nostalgia. What do you find yourself feeling nostalgic for?
DB: George Dicker’s old house; we used to share bogeys.
L+T: In the Yuck biopic, who plays each band member?
DB: Klaus Kinski.
L+T: Complete the following sentence: “Being from London means I can always…”
DB: See Big Ben if I really feel like it.
L+T: It’s a rock & roll dinner party. You can invite three rock stars, alive or dead. Who do you invite?
DB: Alex Shields (A Grave with No Name), Mauro Remiddi (Porcelain Raft) and Jennifer Herrema (Royal Trux).
L+T: What song do you wish you’d written?
DB: Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again.” It’s so perfect.
L+T: What’s the last lie you told?
DB: I told [Australian band] Tame Impala that their gig was really bad, but it was a joke. The gig was really good, like always.
L+T: Tell me a secret.
DB: I think my dog, Toby, is a goat. I miss him a lot because I don’t live with him anymore. And Rex—I miss him too, and he’s about three-fourths sheep.