One listen to The Kickback’s new single “Rube,” and it’s easy to step into the both wonderful and strange imagination of lead singer, Billy Yost.
The catchy track off of the Chicago-based indie rock band’s sophomore album Weddings & Funerals was fueled by a series of events dreamt up by Yost upon reading Libra, a fictional book about Lee Harvey Oswald by Don DeLillo. “There are a lot of things I took away from the book, the most compelling of them was: Lee Harvey Oswald was a fucking dunce machine,” Yost tells Alternative Press.
“It’s easy to make the man a monster, but it’s also not that hard to relate to him,” Yost adds. “I imagined a woman falling in love with [Oswald] while shopping at the Jewel-Osco grocery store on Milwaukee and Ashland Ave. in Chicago. She watches him get put down by Jack Ruby and gets all worked up about it. She’s filled with lust and rage and starts poking holes in all the soup cans. The kind of thing you secretly hope a girl would do for you and then would be promptly horrified if it ever happened. I don’t know. I was working through some shit.”
Produced by Dennis Herring, Weddings & Funerals is Yost’s articulation of heartbreak (the aforementioned shit) in musical form — a “one-sided view of someone trying to work through a divorce,” as he puts it. While poking holes in soup cans isn’t your typical ideation of longing, Yost’s struggle with love and the resulting state of mind it can put one in is something many can understand.
Both “Rube” and “Will T,” the album’s first single, are decidedly more upbeat than earlier songs off of The Kickback’s 2015 debut album, Sorry All Over the Place, and demonstrate a maturation of the band’s sound while still carrying over familiar elements. If the first two singles are any indication, Weddings & Funerals, set for release July 14, will be a defining album for the band. “I’ve never been more confident in a collection of songs,” Yost says in the band’s Pledge campaign.
Listen to “Rube” below, and catch the band at Wonder Bar in Allston on July 11.
Featured Kickback photo by Jacob Boll.