IT TOOK A WHILE, but Incredible Yacht Control is a band again.
Bret Vogel, who writes and records the songs in his basement, says it's all because of the band's bassist, Adam Sweeney. Sweeney was the one who catalyzed the current incarnation after hearing Amateur Hypnotist, the fourth Incredible Yacht Control album, which the prolific Vogel recorded entirely on his own. Sweeney urged Vogel to put a band together and play some shows, taking on the responsibilities of arranging rehearsals while providing both a PA and a place to practice. "He just kind of put everything together for me and I just showed up," says Vogel.
Amateur Hypnotist was released online earlier this year, and it's available for free once you make a donation to p:ear, but the band is now giving it the proper release show it deserves. It's a dense, diverse bedroom record of garage soul-pop, rich with echo and weird, trippy flairs—including vocal tracks that Vogel recorded on a VCR to get the thick crunch that he couldn't elicit from a distortion plug-in. Parts of it sounds imported from the baroque '60s and others are positively futuristic, displaying squelchy sci-fi sounds alongside classic Mellotron patches.
Incredible Yacht Control is both a continuation of and a departure from the music Vogel was making with his previous band, Crosstide, a band that existed on the cusp of a breakthrough that never quite seemed to arrive. "Crosstide had gotten to this point where everything that we were doing was so thought out," Vogel says. "Everything was going so slow. So many of the milestones—you know, 'You'll get a record deal if you do x, y, z,'—we had done them all and it just wasn't happening. It wasn't the most creative place to be, and we all felt it."
Meanwhile, Incredible Yacht Control slowly fell into place. "I was just recording songs on my own, because that was always my favorite part, just writing and recording, and I had so many ideas. Just that story you've probably heard a million times. I didn't have any plans to release them; it was actually Ruban and Kody [Nielson] from the Mint Chicks, they got really into the demos when I played them for them. They encouraged me to release it as a record as it was, which I wouldn't have even considered."
After the first IYC shows (which included the Nielsons as part of the band), Vogel took an extended break from performing. Now with Sweeney and a new lineup—which currently includes Cameron Herrington on drums, Vogel's old Crosstide bandmate Rian Lewis on guitar, and keyboardist Akila Fields (also of Sleepy Villains and Shy Girls)—the band is gathering steam, bringing Vogel's exceptional songs to audiences.
"What I realized with Incredible Yacht Control is that I'm not making music for any reason," says Vogel, reflecting on the lessons learned from Crosstide. "At this point I'm just doing it because that's who I am and I don't really care about anything else. With technology being what it is—the downside being there's eight million records that come out every day that nobody ever hears—but if really all you're into is making that music, and now you can do it for cheap, then that's pretty awesome. So the takeaway for me is I love making music and I've been able to record a lot of it on my own, and that's the most important thing. If I make decisions to support that, then I'm going to be happy."