Jaguar Love – Hologram Jams

Rating: ½ · · · ·

When the Jaguar Love project first came to fruition, it was initially 2 parts Blood Brothers and 1 part Pretty Girls Make Graves.  They released an incredible single with “Highways of Gold.”  That was then.  Now the band is 2 parts Blood Brothers and no parts PGMG; will this affect the sound of Hologram Jams?  The answer is yes, and you’ll be surprised how much.

Take Me to the Sea, the group’s first album was fueled with the energy you would expect from Blood Brothers, but this new band doesn’t even really resemble anything of that, other than that you can always recognize Johnny Whitney’s vocals.  That’s about the only thing remaining that you will find on Hologram Jams.

Unfortunately, the missing percussionist Jay Clark really leaves a huge gaping whole in the music.  Instead of turning to another drummer, the remaining duo went straight to a drum machine.  The Nylon Tour in 09′ featured the group as such, but many hoped that this was just a temporary solution.  Without Clark, the beats seem really uninspired, and the guitars of Cody Votalato don’t really add an extra dimension.  If you take “Cherry Soda,” it just sounds like programmed beats with auto-tune. 

After all the promise of the early recordings of this band, Hologram Jams is an enormous let down.  Lyrically, it just seems extremely cheesy. Here’s a sample from “Up All Night” : “We stayed up all night, and saw the sun come up.”  This is disheartening, as the lyrics just come across as if they were written by a teenager in the midst of his first experience with partying. 

While your nostalgic tendencies want to recall the glory dates of Blood Brothers, this album seems to damage everything that they established.  People remarked that this was a New Order meets Black Flag, but instead it comes across like a hardcore Kesha album, only cheesier. 

Perhaps the criticism is extremely unfair, and I’m being overly harsh.  I thought about that sincerely, especially after I praised this band all during the summer of 08, but I feel like I owe every person who read that stuff an apology.  This is possibly one of the least enjoyable listening experiences of my life.  I can back this up with four simple comments: 1) These sound like the beats already programmed into any keyboard you buy at Wal-Mart 2) The guitar doesn’t even seem to serve a purpose on this record 3) Lyrics are pre-pubescent 4) I just deleted this from my iTunes.

Sorry guys, but while I love early Jaguar Love moments, Hologram Jams is the least listenable thing I’ve come across in a lifetime.

20 comments

  • I fucking love Hologram Jams. it is way better than take me to the sea and anything the blood brothers ever put out. It sounds like you just dont get what they are doing. The only apology you should be giving is for your dated-ass taste in music.

  • No offense Steve, but this isn’t anything new by an means. It’s like super teeny bopper hardcore. There are tons of bands out there making the same kind of music, wearing eyeliner, and destroying the minds of young children with their uninspired techno meets hardcore. I apologize if you find that dated, but I’d rather listen to musicians write songs (i.e. use instruments) rather than sampled beats they got with their Pro Tools package so they could scream over it. And, if you think this is better than the Blood Brothers, then we shouldn’t be having this conversation because obviously, you have no idea what you are talking about.

  • I’m not offended I just love this record and I think you don’t have a clue what you are talking about. “Super teeny bopper hardcore?” Eyeliner? Have you listened to the record? It sounds like you are just going off on some emotionally charged tangent because people actually like this band and maybe nobody liked yours thus you write uninformed record reviews for a living. The inference here that you cant write a song to sampled instruments further illuminates how dated you musical taste is, how bout NIN? how bout MGMT? how bout the xx? Are the people in those bands not musicians because they play to samples? Love it or hate it this record is light years ahead of what they were doing on Take me to the sea and it sounds like it might just be over your head.

  • Steve-
    I appreciate you stating that this is about opinions, so let me further go on about this since we disagree, just to state my status. I actually listened to the record…did you? I mean, tell me that mini-rap breakdown during “Cherry Soda” doesn’t sound like something Limp Bizkit would pull. You can’t…its childish, and there isn’t a lot of artistic talent. Second, I was never in a band…I just spent all my time listening to musicians, like NIN, who had talent, and used it. Sorry, but the beats on Hologram Jams are unoriginal, and the most basic thing you would hear cheerleaders dancing to at a Lakers game. As far as MGMT goes…are you going to consider them groundbreaking and futuristic? They took what Animal Collective was doing, made it poppier, and sold it at Hot Topic…no one will tell you that the second, less electronic, half of their album was good. No one. I just don’t understand why people think this is so futuristic…its techno beats from the 90s (which were never good) with hardcore screaming from the 80s. It’s not new and creative…its rehashing because they ran out of ideas and lost their percussionist. At least Take me to the sea had some balls behind it…this is just childish and belongs at the mall.

  • This critique is totally ludicrous and I’m not even going to dignify it with a response. If you don’t get the genius of this record you should probably be serving jaguar love coffee not reviewing their records.

  • Man this comments section is cracking me up…

    On another note, this album is really not good. Not one thing they are doing here is groundbreaking or ahead of it’s time. Steve, I could understand you liking this album and just say that’s your opinion, but groundbreaking? You think this is groundbreaking? I’ve got Garageband at my house. Find someone who can scream and we’ve got this record.

  • Steve-
    Are you in one of my 8th Grade classes? That’s the only way you could like this album. Don’t even get me started on your love for Owl City.

  • Nathan,

    I agree with Steve, you’ve missed the point completely. I think Steve was so aggressive with his well put comments, is that you made an effort to bash the shit out of this record when in all actuallity, it’s fucking good and better than anything you could ever release.

  • Chaz-

    Youre missing the point here my good friend. It’s not that I’m concerned with ever putting out a record, my goal is to merely express my opinion on the music I listen to here and there. This is a band I’ve listened to a lot, seen live, and seen their old band. This record simply sucks. I was nice to give it .5 stars because it didn’t deserve that. I think if anything, I actually sat down, made valid points about the weakness of the album, and ignored the fact that you and Steve’s inexperience with music has led you to believe that this is innovative. It’s not, and because you like it, I respect that, but I’m not going to pretend like I would waste my time ever listening to it again.

  • wow nathan you really zinged me with that owl city comment. Really witty stuff, I can see why they hired you for this blog. It’s totally fine to dislike this record, everything these guys have ever done has been super polarizing, but your points are so absurd and without validity that it seems like you’d be better off cleaning toilets than writing. I’ll just start with your comment about it sounding like “Hardcore Keesha” Tell me is the mosh breakdowns or the chugga chugga guitar riffs that lead you to that characterization? Other than the fact that these dudes used to be in Blood Brothers, Hologram Jams has about as much in common with Hardcore music as a Bing Crosby record does. Then you throw out “Limp Bizkut” and “owl city” and it just sounds like you are grasping at straws to trash them. You say that “there are tons of bands out there making the same kind of music”, I challenge you to name one band that sounds like Jaguar Love.
    Ray Ray, instead of sitting around in your pajamas bashing other peoples art on the internet maybe you should bust out that copy of garage band and try to actually do something, maybe Trent Reznor will hand pick you to support NIN like he did Jaguar Love. Hologram Jams is the fucking shit and everything you guys say makes it clearer that it’s just over your head.

  • Steve. I will let Nathan defend your attack on him in your first paragraph.

    As to your second paragraph directed at me: NIN hand picked Jaguar Love to play TWO shows with them. A YEAR AGO. That was way way way before this album came out and they were still touring behind the greatness that was their debut LP. If you are misunderstanding us, we loved that album. Try looking around on the site to see how much we loved that album. Reznor based his decision on their previous material and not the crap they are putting out now. I highly doubt Trent will be picking them to open any shows for them anytime soon.

    And over our head? What exactly is over our head? It’s cheap ass dance beats made on a computer with a great screamer over it? What’s not to get? They got lacy man.

  • Oh Steve, how misinformed you must be on the world of music. First off, you requested several bands that are doing the same thing, and since you seem to think that everything here is so original, and the only ties to hardcore are Johnny’s vocals, well, here are two bands that suck equally as much as this record: Jeffree Star and Brokencyde. Yea, I don’t like those bands either, and their music is in no way artistically challenging, or even interesting, just like this record. The mere fact that you look beyond hardcore in this whole argument is ridiculous…I mean, BB defined the new wave of hardcore, and these two guys simply can’t ignore that past, and you shouldn’t either. I like the fact that you think the “chugga chugga” guitars are incredible and probably groundbreaking, since they are the same guitars heard on every pop punk album all over the land…nothing groundbreaking there. And mosh breakdowns? Have you ever been in a real mosh pit? There is nothing to mosh about here. I think by mosh you mean they turned up the guitars for ten seconds. And, the funny thing about NIN is that Trent probably didn’t have anything to do with picking the bands, that is what a booking agent is for, trust me, I worked on that side of things. Not to mention the fact that earlier NIN works featured samples that Trent played on his guitar, then ran through a machine, thus why they have multiple guitars on stage at their live shows, not to mention the fact that he wasn’t that ground breaking either…see Ministry or Throbbing Gristle for earlier industrial work. Thanks for your time Steve, and please return with a comment that doesn’t have holes in it.

    Here is a link to people that are regarded as great music writers, and they seem to have the same sentiments as I do: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/13959-hologram-jams/

  • Man you are really trying here aren’t you buddy? Jeffree star and Brokencyde? Is that a joke? This record sounds nothing like that. You seem to be trying to paint this picture that this band appeals only to teeny bobber mallrats and that simply is not true. I saw them play to a packed room at a 21+ club in Portland new years eve and people were loosing their shit. Since you seem to be to stupid to comprehend the sarcasm of my eariler comments let me state it like I would to a 3rd grader for you, I don’t think chugga chugga guitars or mosh pits are groundbreaking, I think hardcore is silly and dated, I was making fun of you. You said it sounded like “hardcore keesha” record when in fact this record does not have a shred of anything remotely hardcore on it. The fact that you just went off on a tangent without actually understanding what I was saying makes you look incredibly stupid, and further illustrates my point that you are unfit to review this or any record.

    As for trent, yeah i’m sure he just lets his people pick the bands he goes on tour with, he doesn’t seem opinionated at all (side note: this is sarcasm). Ray Ray heres a link to them playing the first song off Hologram Jams with NIN.
    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=53744229

  • Well shit man if Trent Reznor likes it, then I change my mind, I like it too!

  • Steve-

    First off, let’s not try and belittle me, as it’s you that clearly lacks any intelligence. Go back and read your post, realize that in sentence 5 and 6…loosing is actually spelled with 1 o and to actually needs another o, so let’s not be childish and say I shouldn’t write, when you obviously can’t write. Now, I don’t understand why you can’t get past Whitney’s vocals being hardcore. I’m not saything this album is hardcore, I know the difference…I compared it to dance music for hardcore kids…a la Brokencyde (btw…Brokencyde, who my students listen to, has far better beats, sorry pal)

    And booking bands is actually done by a person by a booking agent. Sure, occasionally they will run it by a band, and I’m sure Trent could have said no, but he probably didn’t care, but he certainly didn’t hand pick them for anything. And as for your claim that it’s for 21+, I saw them on the Nylon tour because I went to see Patrick Wolf, and it was nothing but twelve year olds. So, we both have a valid point,

    What you should realize is that you and I have different tastes. I never attacked you, and only tried to illustrate my point as the reviewer. I’m sorry you disagree, but please stop wasting space on the comment page here, as your point to thinking they’re forward-thinking in any way is not relevant, mostly because it’s not true. So I say we just agree to disagree, and you can go back to your bad tastes, and I’ll stick with mine.

    And I love how you didn’t comment on another site, who is known for strong writers and tastes, saying the exact same thing…that this was generic. Ignore the points you lose, great way to argue.

  • K so just couple of small notes, I adore both Jaguar Love and The Blood Brothers equally, but comparing them is like comparing oranges and apples, you can’t do it because they’re different.

    Also it’s very very diffcult to make something ground breaking, music has been round for so long that everything will be rehashed cause there is nothing new.

  • Uhmmm i think everyone is missing the point.
    They changed their direction on this album sure its simplistic but a band is allowed to change their style and in this “genre” of music not one record is the same as the other. I think its refreshing to hear Whitney in a slightly different light its full of energy and overall an optimistic spin. I can almost guarantee that J Ls next album will be even more different than this one. Music reviews are stupid anyway noone should have the right to rag on an album everyone likes different stuff so music reviewers should keep their opinions for water cooler talk and keep it off the internet.

  • I agree completely. Loved The Blood Brothers, Loved Take Me To The Sea, but this album is complete garbage. It sounds like a million other dance-pop hardcore bands out there. Neon Blonde sucked as well, and so did The Blood Brothers’ last album, and now I see why. Johnny Whitney is determined to make hardcore for teenage girls and that’s it.

  • I think it’s awesome, and seeing them play it live w/ a drummer made it that much better. They seem so extremely passionate and energetic, i can even ignore the 2 things about this album i don’t like…up all night’s redundancy and the little freak out fall on the floor part. Oh and whoever said there’s no talent on this album, that’s ridiculous..for a two piece band i think there’s plenty, or enough for me at least.

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