Published on March 6th, 2019

The deterioration of character in “Der Blaue Engel” (“The Blue Angel”) is one of the most aesthetically pleasing demises in cinema, like a drowning captured in balletic detail. The emotional and physical deaths in the torrid relationship of cabaret vixen Lola Lola and Professor Rath are made more real by the acute visual language of the film.

So it is with the music of modern crooner Scott Yoder, which has the feel of crafted pop and then a sinister bent that feeds off the intellectual savagery of noir cinema and his own real-life experience as an indefatigable working musician. Visually, he evokes the glam of T. Rex and “Aladdin Sane”-era David Bowie while being more on par musically with the brooding genius of Brian Wilson

“They are one and the same to me,” Yoder says of music and visuals. In an interview with PureHoney, he explains, “At least while I’m alive and on the road I need to illustrate the full idea. To connect the dots and submerge them in a visual experience. Senses are linked that way for me. One always seems to trigger the other.” He goes on to say how his music “accumulates in demo form” from tour to tour and gets shaped through sound checks. 

Scott Yoder

Yoder learned his craft in the Washington state psych-rock band The Pharmacy, and became enamored of the road before charting his own path forward. His second solo album is 2018’s almost-palindromic “A Fool Aloof.” For 2019 he is planning a set of new music videos and a campaign of vinyl single releases, and being Yoder he means for both projects to have a symbiotic relationship. On this tour, he is accompanied by frequent collaborator Fiona and touring mates Plastic Man in what is always a multi-sensory experience.

“We’re not some jazz combo in a corner, quietly virtuosic and content with our craft to stay in the shadows at a tasteful volume,” he says. “If we’re demanding you look our way, I have to make sure that when you look it’s not just a handful of schlubs in jeans looking cool and disinterested.” 

Plastic Man

Yoder has formidable help in Plastic Man, who do extended work on this tour, opening with a set of their own and returning to the stage as Yoder’s band. Founded in Florence, Italy in 2012 by guitarist and singer Raffaele Lampronti, Plastic Man have alternated between trio and four-piece, but whatever the lineup, the devotion to psychedelic pop in all its indulgent sensory overload prevails. 

The band has two full-length albums to its credit, variations on psych-rock themes proving Plastic Man are as flexible as their namesake. 2015’s “Don’t Look at the Moon” is laced with monochromatic 13th Floor Elevators cues, while 2017’s “Sounding Aquarium” is poetic like Captain Beefheart’sTrout Mask Replica.”

Pearl & the Oysters

Plastic Man’s layered take on traditional psychedelic music mixes in the requisite ’60s acid wash with same-era surf and garage punk, stoner rock grandiosity and a touristic little bit of country twang. It’s a punchy sound that might also seem tongue-in-cheek, maybe even delightfully naïve, and if it’s all a bit cartoony, consider the possible inspiration — but not the one you’re probably thinking. While the DC Comics character of the same name easily comes to mind, look further back and farther away to Renzi and Rebuffi’s 1952 creation, Tiramolla, a stretchy stick figure of a character who’s been getting himself into all kinds of hijinks through several iterations since. 

This tour’s international flavor doesn’t stop with Plastic Man. French expats who’ve somehow found themselves living in the collegiate wilds of Gainesville, Florida, Juliette Davis and Joachim Polack are the fab happening known as Pearl & the Oysters. Their music is a breathing tapestry formed in some strange alchemic space between foundry and loom. Imagine liquid fire passing through a sieve and being spun into ornate carnival-esque metalworks. Or just think X-Ray Spex with digital prowess. Since PureHoney premiered their video for the dreamy “Lake Alice” last February, Pearl & the Oysters have released “Canned Music,” a shimmery second full-length album.

Scott Yoder plays March 8 at Voltaire in West Palm Beach with Plastic Man, Pearl & the Oysters and Dirtbike, $5 Advance, $10 day of show. Doors 8pm. ~ Abel Folgar

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