Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away” (Acoustic Version) (Stereogum Premiere)

Here’s a reminder about a great band from your indie rock past: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, one of the first bands to ever make me feel self-conscious saying their name out loud. Their 2005 self-titled debut was one of a few pivotal albums that revealed the potential power of the internet — and MP3 blogs like this one — to break artists before a record label did. Today we’re premiering an acoustic, stripped back version of my favorite song off their debut self-titled album called “Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away.” I loved the weird juxtaposition between Alec Ounsworth’s nasal, pliable voice, all that tambourine and guitar, and its tenuous connection to the fantastic title, a phrase that sounds lifted at random from a Tennyson poem.

Ten years later, I’m the one writing this blog rather than reading it, and CYHSY are embarking on an anniversary tour on which they’re playing this debut album start to finish. Ounsworth recently played a stripped back living room tour, and playing intimate rooms with just a guitar inspired him to record these acoustic versions of the band’s initial songs. The most interesting addition here is probably the thick layer of harmonica. His voice is surprisingly intact with all the same stringent tone and suppleness, and hearing it on acoustic guitar exposes how simple and elegant the melody line is. If I didn’t know better I’d say this was a new Tallest Man On Earth song, not an old Clap Your Hands Say Yeah one — funny because I never would’ve compared them before. Listen to the new acoustic version, and the original for context, below.

Here’s the original:

Catch Clap Your Hands on this 10th anniversary tour:

05/15 Santa Fe, NM @ Santa Fe Railyard Plaza
05/26 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/27 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/29 Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
05/30 Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls
05/31 Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
06/02 Indianapolis, IN @ Radio Radio
06/03 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
06/04 Little Rock, AR @ Stickyz
06/05 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
06/06 Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
06/08 El Paso, TX @ Low Brow
06/09 Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom
06/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
06/12 San Diego, CA @ Casbah
06/13 Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
06/14 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium
06/17 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
06/19 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
07/17 Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
07/18 Vancouver, BC @ Electric Owl
07/19 Spokane, VA @ The Bartlett
07/22 Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
07/23 Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
07/24 Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater
07/25 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
07/28 Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
07/29 Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
07/31 Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
08/01 New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom
08/02 New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom
08/16 Elora, ON @ Riverfest Elora

The 10th anniversary edition of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah includes a download card for bonus versions of the songs as solo acoustic cassette tape recordings from Ounsworth. Pre-order it here.