Comprised of Danielle Dollar on drums, Hannah Lenkey on bass, and José Joaquín Izaguirre on guitar and vocals, Yukons have been lurking in the shadows of the Atlanta DIY scene, cutting their teeth, like so many bands before them, on a steady diet of supporting gigs and house show performances. Their 2016 debut cassette, Ice cream / Death, revealed a group capable of corralling various elements of ‘90s college rock, punk, emo, and shoegaze, and shaping them into taut, emotive songs full of cathartic hooks and a kind of ominous energy. Even their most pop-friendly tracks couldn’t keep an aura of darkness and angst from bleeding through, which is just fine with the Latinx, predominantly female and queer trio, who have taken to calling their sound Latinx Expression rock.
“I live in a country that’s disgraced Latinx people,” says Izaguirre. “As a Latinx individual, I feel it’s important to create and speak up right now. People give dirty looks when they hear my Spanish in public now. Half the songs on the summer album will be in Spanish. That’s what Latinx Expression means.”
With “Clockwerk,” the lead single from the band’s upcoming first full length, Yukons are looking to step out from the shadows and into the light. Like most of their tracks, it toys with traditional classic rock tropes—guitar-heavy song structures; the brooding, mysterious frontman—before subverting them with a series of off-kilter rhythms and compositional left turns. Listen close and you’ll start to make out the origins of the trio’s compelling template—a bit of Pixies’ manic accessibility, a dab of Slint’s corrosive crunch, a touch of Sleater-Kinney’s jagged urgency. It’s not a new sound by a long shot, but the band plays with eager confidence and an underlying sense of deep anxiety tempered by clear-eyed cool. Life on the margins can be hostile and dangerous, but “Clockwerk” shows it can be plenty powerful, too.