Greg Hoy Presents “Yay For Effort”

When you think of Greg Hoy, you can’t help but be reminded of that memorable music era of the late 70s and early 80s when quirky and fiercely original artists expanded the limits of pop radio. Legends like Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Warren Zevon and Nick Lowe. Or bands like The Replacements, The Cars, The Boomtown Rats, Talking Heads, Squeeze, and many others. This Bay Area-based creative has a hand in all aspects of his music as a singer-songwriter, multi- instrumentalist, producer, recording engineer, and record label owner. “I’m also something of a marketing guru,” says Hoy, “as well as a jingle and sound composer and producer, “people engineer” in the tech world, and an art director. But when you boil it all down, I’m really just a guy in a band.” Greg has worked with Glenn Branca, J. Robbins, Steve Albini, and hip-hop icon Ice-T, among many other luminaries. His songs have been featured on network television shows such as One Tree Hill and MTV’s Made. Other highlights in Hoy’s career include performances at Noise Pop, SXSW, CMJ, and on the main stage at Latitude Festival in the UK.

Yay For Effort is clean, clear, and easy on the ears, but with a hard-edge at all the right moments. “Hope is just another word,” sings Hoy, then continues with, “regardless of what you heard,” establishing a theme of optimism in a world torn asunder. If Hoy’s words appeared on a Hallmark greeting card, you would be hard-pressed to decide whether they belong in the “Thinking Of You” uplifting-note-to-a-friend section, or closer to the cards helping a loved one deal with grief. And on Extra Effort, his new remix EP, he’s leaned on legendary producer J Robbins to provide a mix that brings the title track to new levels of grandeur.

The “Yay For Effort” music video grabs you from its first frame of VHS-glitch-chic. It evokes a post-Covid landscape where girls and guys just want to have fun despite the impending doom and gloom surrounding them. Hoy, playing guitar while wearing a bright yellow hazmat suit and gas mask, stirs the unconscious mind, making the viewer think of a lost Devo video from the ’80s, or perhaps Paddington Bear after having survived a nuclear Apocalypse. It is cutting-edge without pandering. Its bare-bones production will linger with you long after the latest major label, AI- assisted flavor-of-the-month pop fix. “Yay For Effort” gets an A, not only for effort, but for waking us up from our mainstream stupor and reminding us that indie rock is still alive and kicking.

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