"I'm in far more familiar territory here as Phil Yates and The Affiliates's third album is released on the joyous Futureman Records label. Party Music!
is pure Power Pop, leaning a little to the UK New Wave of the late 70's.
I make that reference because although the feel is very jangly and melodic, there are unusual choruses on the likes of "Triple Fisting" and "Nothing Happened". It tends to be a UK thing at times, a slowed down chorus with more words than you'd expect and it works beautifully. The likes of Joe Jackson and Graham Parker do it really well, as does Phil Yates.
Tom Petty is another adept at this and there are plenty of similarities to Yates's vocal, Petty Wise, there's also a hint of Ian Broudie. The lead guitar work is exemplary and I'm constantly reminded of Brinsley Schwarz in Rumour mode.
All this matters not one jot, because Party Music!
is excellent fare, beautifully written songs with some bitter lyrics dressed up in a sugar coating. "One Man's Trash" is like a Sun Studio Version of Power Pop.
"Drink Myself Blind" is all "Labelled With Love" and "Peter Francis Geraci" is Clash like until the slowed down Costello like Chorus. It's a belter of a song ending up like a buzzed up Monkees. "Bite Your Tongue" is a lyrically excellent It's You And Me and It's A Quarter To Three Piano affair.
If you wanted to know what the band are really about though it's probably best with the opener, "My Favorite Bag". It's a jangling riff happy wisp of a song, exactly what a great Power Pop song should be. Phil Yates and The Affiliates have offered up a crackerjack of an album. Well Done All!"
- I Don't Hear A Single
, June 10, 2018 - Full Link
"Though I like his new album Party Music!
, I didn’t include a song in last month’s list because Yates had moved away from Vermont (albeit to Chicago, my hometown!). Turns out, he recorded the album in Vermont and everyone else still lives her, so, to quote Señor Chang, “I’ll allow it.” So a delayed shoutout to his loud and brawling new song “Send Him the Bill,” where he does, in fact, let the bastards get him down."
- County Tracks
, The Best Songs of May 2018 - Full Link
is the new album from Chicago's Phil Yates & The Affiliates. The ten tracks are energetic rock in the vein of Jimmy Eat World and All American Rejects. With plenty of fuzzy twang, catchy melodies and good hooks, the band serve up a record that grabs one's attention and then holds on."
- Floorshime Zipper Boots
, May 31, 2018 - Full Link
"Yates & Co. follow up their fine 2015 release No Need to Beg
with this collection of rollicking power pop that yes, just might be party music (if it's a cool party). The guitars are front and center here, and the hooks and melodies aren't too far behind - "My Favorite Bag", "Triple Fisting" and "Send Him the Bill" are a rocking 1-2-3 punch before the relatively slower-tempo'd "Nothing Happened" gives you a chance to breathe. Reminiscent at times of The Posies and Elvis Costello at others (especially "One Man's Trash") Yates & the Affiliates deliver the dictionary definition of power pop in fine fashion."
- Absolute Powerpop
, May 24, 2018 - Full Link
"No one’s rewriting the rock history book here (or reinventing the wheel) but with nods to a few of his heroes like GBV and The Replacements , Yates and his crew bite down hard with the guitars and toss in plenty of hooks. Opening cut “My Favorite Bag” is a scorcher right out of the gate as is the nearly-as-great “Send Him the Bill.” On side B (ha, I’ve got a cd but it still lists sides) he cranks out the slower, more tender (ok, sad) “If Only I Was Lonely” while on “One Man’s Trash (Sour Grapes)” they crank the tempo (and volume) back up and then end it with their own version of “Let It Be” entitled “Bite Your Tongue” and then the call it a night. Party Music!
is a tongue-in-cheek title but I like it and I’ll bet live these guys are a lot of fun. Until they come to your town pick up Party Music!
and that way you can give your copy of Party Mix
- Dagger Zine
May 16, 2018 - Full
"In this final Vermont hurrah, he lets his power-pop freak flag really fly on the opener “My Favorite Bag,” a solid catchy melody with a speedy tempo. ...Yates vocals sound like a cross between Anton Barbeau and Tom Petty. ...Definitely, music that deserves to be heard."
May 16, 2018 - Full
"Phil Yates’ bittersweet symphony is called Party Music!
. ...[I]t is great! Smart, smart Power pop."
- Smart Smart Music
, May 6, 2018, Full Interview
"I became a Phil fan with the second disc, 2015’s No Need to Beg
, which was one of my top albums of that year. Party Music!
is the new one -- and, if anything, the pop/rock/roots amalgam is working even better than before. ...This disk is outstanding. It’s chock a block loaded with balls out rock and damned good tunes and times. "
- Rich Kaminsky, Off-Beat!
, WPKN Radio, 89.5 FM, Bridgeport, CT, April 27, 2018
"Vermont’s Phil Yates &
the Affiliates play a nervous, jumpy brand of guitar pop. The guitars
(played by Yates and Kevin Stevens) are choppy and clipped like a
Strokes album, but the rhythm section is far more flexible, with
bassist Raph Worrick aggressively stretching his parts underneath the
melodies; he might actually be the most distinct instrumentalist in the
band. Over that confident backing, Yates’ smooth, almost poppish voice
glides in a deceptively effortless fashion."
- Vincent Harris, Free Times
, July 6, 2016
"Phil Yates loves Elvis Costello. Therefore, we love Phil Yates. If you don't know who Costello is, cue up Brutal Youth
on Spotify right now, young grasshopper. We'll wait ... OK, now give Yates' "Burn It Down, Bernadette" a spin. We know, right?"
- Dan Bolles, Seven Days
, August 26, 2015
"The latest from Phil and
mates is a good example of the way the perfect guitar jangle rides the
crest of the rhythm section as each song unfolds, the sprightly beats,
the bass percolating just under the surface about to break through.
These are the things summer soundtracks are made of. Musically, they
remind us of The Successful Failures - in fact Phil's voice even sounds
a little like TSF's Mich Chorba!"
- Ray Gianchetti, Kool Kat Music
, July 2015
"No Need to Beg
by Phil Yates & the Affiliates is just a damn good rock record. And
that's all. That's not meant as a slight to Yates — he wouldn't be on
this list if it were. Rather, it's meant to highlight his knack for
writing efficient, no-frills songs that succeed as much for their
sticky melodies as their simplicity. There's no overblown production or
obnoxious artistic posturing. Just damn good songs, played damn well,
dammit. Especially if you're a fan of early Elvis Costello, check him
- Dan Bolles, Seven Days
, June 24-30, 2015 - Full Link
"Top-notch power pop that reminds me of Ken Stringfellow."
- Absolute Powerpop
, June 10, 2015 - Full Link
"Poppy and rocky with a bit
of a Brit rock vocal influence. Definitely some reminiscent 90’s
flare to his tunes (I keep thinking of Del Amitri’s “Roll to Me” as I
listen). All that plus a presence of Americana-ish
folky-tonk. Opens with a catchy single, to be sure and the last
track is an appropriately mellow outro on acoustic very reminiscent of
- WRUV 90.1 FM, Burlington, Vermont
, June 9, 2015 - Full Link
"As far as folksy power pop
goes, Phil Yates & The Affiliates are fairly uncompromising in the
way that they blend both genres so effortlessly and perfect on No Need
. Reminiscent of classic pop/rock artists like Velvet Crush, Bill
Lloyd, and Big Star, PYATA add a refreshingly honest and personal touch
to their lyrics that is too often forgotten about in the pop genre.
Pairing those lyrics with irresistible hooks such as the ones on "Grass
is Always Greener" and "Masterpiece", is what makes this album one that
deserves attention and praise."
- Power Pop Gumdrop
, May 12, 2015
4.4 stars out of 5 stars
- 1001 Records: For Music Lovers
, May 6, 2015 - Full Link
"The band bashes out a Replacements-like brand of upbeat indie-rock on its new album, No Need to Beg
- Brent Hallenbeck, Burlington Free Press
, April 30, 2015
"Think of early Spoon, or
Yates’s favorite rocker Elvis Costello – bands that can play, don’t go
dark or heavy or use synthesizers, and are often adored. Phil Yates and
the Affiliates latest LP, No Need to Beg
, nails the classic indie rock sound I’m talking about, and I couldn’t be happier."
- Can I May I
, Aprl 27, 2015 - Full Link
"It’s the way the perfect
guitar jangle rides the crest of the rhythm section as each song
unfolds, the sprightly beats, the bass percolating just under the
surface about to break through. These are the things summer soundtracks
are made of. ...
The results are not unlike Teenage Fanclub’s louder moments, or The Lemonheads’ quieter ones."
- The Big Takeover
, April 23, 2015 - Full Link
"No Need To Beg
is the new
album from Vermont indie band Phil Yates & The Affiliates. Yates
has a sound that is reminiscent of The Mountain Goats, Buffalo Tom, The
Replacements, and The Lemonheads. The ten tracks are tight, spirited
- Floorshime Zipper Boots
, April 20, 2015
"On his second full-length album with his band the Affiliates, Yates
doesn't abandon his steadfast influence, Elvis Costello, but
accompanies him on a '90s alt-rock walkabout, exploring the desire for
something more. ...Yates keeps with the writing skills showcased on
previous albums, particularly his penchant for wordplay. In the rocker
"Little French Earthquakes," he is delightfully creative with rhyme.
This track adds a sexy twist to the album, with [bassist raph] Worrick and drummer
Jake Blodgett building tension with a bass-and-drum break that leads to
the coolest guitar solo on the album."
- Kristen Ravin, Seven Days
, Burlington, VT, April 15-21, 2015
"The new record from Phil
Yates & the Affiliates, No Need to Beg
, will be a sleeper contender
as one of the best local albums of the year. ...[F]or my money Yates is one of the finest rock songwriters in
Vermont. A sneak-peek single he recently sent my way has a little bit
of "angry young man"-era Elvis Costello to it that I really dig."
- Dan Bolles, Seven
, Burlington, VT, January 7-13, 2015 - Full
From Burlington, Vermont, Phil Yates & The Affiliates have a great
power pop sound that's perfect for a summer night. For a point of
reference, Elvis Costello perhaps?"
August 15, 2014 - Full
for his witty lyrics and post-punk pop sounds, Yates brings carefree
fun to serious subjects while bouncing the beat to make it all
worthwhile, and altogether a hoot and a half."
- Illinois Times
August 8, 2013 - Full
and company deliver a...blend of rootsy pop that lives comfortably
somewhere between the Jayhawks and Gigolo Aunts. ...The bouncy bass of
"Teeth or Pedal" and the soul of "Loaded" work very well... [L]istening
to this record is a more than pleasant enough way to spend half an
- Kevin Finn, TheNoise-Boston.com,
July 1, 2013
Yates & the Affiliates played some complex pop that had me guessing
where they would go next. Yum, make me work for it. ..."Could You Be
The One?" and "Pretty Girls" had me happily rocking."
- Tim Lewis, timstriangletribune.wordpress.com
April 21, 2013
only do they sound like a tight unit, opening track 'Might As Well
Settle' is lifted by some guitar work that's best described as jaunty,
and we mean that in a good way. In fact decent guitar lines are a
running theme; it's the six string that makes 'She Has Your Name' that
little bit better. ...'Pretty Girls'...picks up for the chorus,
completing an opening trilogy of note. 'Three Cheers' and the lively
'Teeth Or Pedal' also tie in nicely with the vibe created here. There's
a hint of punk fury in 'Honeycomb' and 'Burn Burn Burn' is nice.
...Want some good old fashioned alt-rock? You'll find it right here.
Turns out it's not so sour after all."
- The Sound of
, March 8, 2013
"Bill Ellis, a St. Michael’s music professor and former critic for The Commercial Appeal
in Memphis, Tenn., describes Yates’ music as having “a strong, sort of
jangly post-punk pop sensibility to it, in a good way.” According to
Ellis, Yates produces a sound reminiscent of artists like The
Replacements, Buffalo Tom and The Lemonheads.
- Andrew Caringi, The
, March 6, 2013 - Full Article
instruments that populate and embroider Oh So Sour
— multiple guitars,
bass, Rhodes, drums, bullhorn, to name just a few — all fall
effortlessly into place and time. But Yates’ lyrics, simultaneously
tongue-in-cheek and openhearted, cause his presence to stand out to the
extreme, at times reminiscent of the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle,
with whom Yates has played, and the Lemonheads’ Evan Dando. Lines such
as “You’ll probably be happier when I’m gone / You can’t say that about
your looks,” from “Pretty Girls” and “I’ve dug a hole and now I’ll dig
an abyss” (“Three Cheers”), are just too good not to steal center
stage. You can relate to Yates’ sad-bastard declarations without
sinking pitifully deep into them. It would not be fair to overlook the
expert performances executed by the Affiliates. On tracks such as “She
Has Your Name” and “Loaded,” they truly shine. Special kudos to the
supplemental guitar work of Kevin Stevens and Raph Worrick
(Dirtminers). Of course, lines such as “You can’t call it cheating when
she has your name” (from “She Has Your Name”) often steal your
attention away from the band."
- Sean Hood, Seven
, Burlington, VT, February 13-20, 2013 - Full
"Phil Yates makes his full time living as a math teacher, and his new
EP Tumble Stairs
got an additional
talent (ugh). “Good Morning To You” is a minor chord gem in the best
Lindsey Buckingham tradition. The slow country “Barely There But
Blowing” is a witty ballad about not “getting’ any.” Yates has a goofy
sense of black humor that makes itself present in “Ninjas Vs. Zombies”
and “The Bottom Of An Urn.” "
December 10, 2012 - Full
its way into my regular rotation this summer with unabashed pop hooks,
sugar-sweet harmonies and some of the cathciest damn melodies this side
of the La's."
- Dan Bolles, Seven
, Burlington, VT, December 7-14, 2011
Burlington, VT twangy country-rock/pop with Yates' thin, boyish voice
and witty lyrics. "Good Morning to You" sets the EP's joyously
jangly tone with jaunty guitars, loping drums and verse after verse of
classic, harmony-laden melodies. The remainder of the EP follows
in kind, with Yates ruminating on topics from love to, um, ninjas."
- WRUV, 90.1 FM, Burlington, VT, August 31, 2011
...it's fun, and it's light-hearted. [Phil]'s driven
by seeing if he can make sharp and quick tunes."
- John Powell, Angelica
, August 2011 - Full
"Phil Yates doesn't write good pop songs. He writes really
good pop songs. And
that's no mean feat. Tumble
by Phil Yates is as close to a perfect pop record that
Burlington has seen in years."
- Dan Bolles, Seven
, Burlington, VT, July 20-27, 2011 - Full Review
Yates traipsed about town in the early part of the millenium,
schlepping engaging and endearingly silly folk tunes about
French-Canadian waitresses and kazoos. After bouncing around
Chicago and Los Angeles, Yates returned to...Vermont, where his tunes
have dipped into winsome, twangy country-rock akin to Old 97's and Clem
Snide. There's still a silly streak; the centerpiece of Tumble Stairs
Yates' upcoming release, is a tune called "Ninjas Versus Zombies,"
which tempers its inanity with a Big Star-ish power-pop riff and a big,
- Patrick Wall, Free-Times
Columbia, SC, June 15-21, 2011
songwriter Phil Yates recently sent along a rough mix of a new cut that
will appear on his forthcoming, asyet-untitled EP. I gotta say, I’m
intrigued. Yates admits to a touch of Old 97s hero worship, which is
evident on the track. As someone who spent a fair amount of time bowing
at the altar of Rhett Miller with my own musical ventures, I can’t hold
that against him. You shouldn’t, either. Catch Yates and his backing
band the Affiliates at Radio Bean this Friday."
- Dan Bolles, Seven Days
Burlington, VT, March 2-9, 2011
highly recommend that you request [Phil Yates & The Affiliates]
play "Ninjas vs. Zombies (Let's Keep Our Heads)." You'll thank me
- Dan Bolles, Seven Days
, Burlington, VT,
November 10-17, 2010
"Phil’s a legitimately funny musician. Many of the form’s wannabe
practitioners skimp on the “musician” part at the expense of the
“funny,” and vice versa. What’s more, Phil pulls it off with an ability
to pull emotional strings as well. For example, from Phil’s “Without
You”: “…Like a funeral without any dead/ Like the Flintstones without
Fred…” Oh, and Phil’s known for whipping out a kazoo now and again, so
what’s not to like? "
- Sloop Biederman, DailyLimerick.Net
"Headliners held its first singer/songwriter night. The guitar
strumming was smooth, and the songwriting was witty. The best
lyrics I heard were from Yates, singing about a Canadian coffee
waitress: It'd be fun to kiss you in
French/It'd be fun to tickle you in French/Sure wish that I knew French
- Otis R. Taylor, Jr., The State
, Columbia, SC, April 30,
"Steeped in the barbed lyrical tradition of Elvis Costello and Randy
Newman, Yates is a clever songsmith with an indelibly off-kilter sense
of humor. His songs are simple and folk-based and, much like
Newman before him, he sings from the heart, generally about what he
sees. His simple, strumming style blends perfectly with his
straightforward vocal delivery, incorporating the witty words with
sweet, simple melodies that stick in your head like peanut butter to
the roof of your mouth."
- Patrick Wall, Free
, Columbia, SC, March 31, 2004
"Any songwriter bold enough to namecheck himself in song is immediately
worth your attention. Phil Yates put(s) his clever craft and
composition to use as a singer-songwriter."
- Kevin Foster Langdon, Free Times
, Columbia, SC, December