Yam Cannon

tuber rockers release jamtastic new album

by Arya Roerig

It’s possible Yam Cannon loves everyone. The happy-go-lucky attitude that made this “sweeter-and-more-powerful-than-a-potato-gun” act an Eau Claire jam staple is branching out to a new, full-length album.

“The world’s greatest tuber” recorded their new album, the 60s psychedelic jam-athon Registration Round, at an empty House of Rock on a Sunday afternoon.

“It’s definitely the old-school San Francisco sound when we get cooking,” said Joe Thielen, who plays rhythm guitar. “A friend called it mushroom rock, we call it tuber rock; it varies.” (A tuber is like a potato, kids.)

Semi-regulars on WHYS radio, Yam Cannon debuted in fall of 2006 with a Mousetrap appearance and have been local favorites since. The Mousetrap will also be holding the band’s CD release party April 18.

While their live shows can get a little intense … “We prefer to play three sets in a four-hour block – really get a groove going,” says Thielen.

The new CD is surprisingly listenable, even if you’re not into jamming for hours on end. Some tracks, like How Big Is It, conjure up images of ska, minus the horns and with an added cello and much funkier bass, while Goin’ Surfin, as you can imagine, wants you and all your friends to party on the beach till the break of day.

Bassist and vocalist Greg Hirsch’s voice is deep, clean, and almost blues infused, while cellist Matthew Probst keeps things interesting with solos. Original members Thielen and drummer Matt Hankey round out the lineup, holding down the funk.

The mix is also reminiscent of the band’s influences, which vary from Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa to Ween and the Raconteurs.

“It’s only about two or three takes on all the tracks. It’s pretty garage-like, but clean,” says Thielen.

Two songs from the Cannon’s first 2007 release are also newly reworked on Registration Round, while about half the other tracks have been written within the last six months.

“People just kept asking when we were going to have a new album out,” said Thielen. “We have about two CDs worth of stuff so hopefully this isn’t our last.”

    Yam Cannon CD Release Show • April 18 • The Mousetrap, 311 S Barstow St., Eau Claire • 10pm • FREE • ages 21+