Show Preview: Jeremy Jay @ Stubbs (2/6)

Date Monday, February 6th
Location Stubb’s BBQ
Doors 900 pm
Tickets $8 from FrontGate

Jeremy Jay was definitely on my radar over the last several years, putting out several solid albums in a quick spurt.  He’s done most of his work on K Records, and I’ve heard he’s in the process of new tunes.  His shows are always a blast, as he dances about the stage with either guitar or microphone, consistently connecting with the audience.  For such a cheap price, you can’t make any excuses for not catching JJ at Stubbs.  Get there early to check out Survive, the opening act on this occasion.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/05-slow-dance.mp3]

Download:Jeremy Jay – Slow Dance [MP3]

 

New Music from Geoffrey O’ Connor

Damn you Pitchfork! Your big name status always gets you the singles first! Well, that’s okay, just because you got there first doesn’t mean I can’t continue to express my adoration for Geoffrey O’Connor of the Crayon Fields.  I met Geoffrey years back when he played at our showcase, and I was grateful that we were able to have a show featuring one of my favorite acts.  Now, he’s got some time, and with that, he’s crafted a solo record titled Vanity is Forever coming out on Chapter Music. The first single, though I’ve heard several other tracks floating around (which I posted before P4k back in November–I’m bitter), sounds a bit like O’Connor channeling a shy Jeremy Jay, just bringing a bit more sheen to the shimmering pop.  I can feel in my heart that this album’s going to be a winner.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Whatever-Leads-Me-To-You.mp3]

Download: Goeffrey O’Connor – Whatever Leads Me To You [MP3]

Jeremy Jay – Splash

Rating: ★★★★ ·

2010 is going to be a busy year for Jeremy Jay.  His first album of the year, Splash, is just being released, while there is another album slated for release later in the year, not to mention his work on the movie Belle Epine.  Will all the work distract his natural knack for writing amazingly introspective pop numbers?  By the sounds of this album, Jeremy is still going strong, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

JJ begins the album with “As You Look Over the City,” which one can assume is his own personal narrative about his recent move to London, demonstrating his ability to approach the subject matter from third-person.  His guitar never seems over-bearing, and the accompaniment by his band always seems perfectly fitting to his deep croon.

While many will accuse Jeremy of staying in the same vein as his last two albums, there are definitely differences.  Point of evidence one: “It Happened Before Our Time.”  This is the first time he’s really messing with his vocal delivery, changing the pitch and the tone, both going a long way to evoke the mood of the song.  When his voice lightly echos in the background of the song, you can tell that he’s really pushing the boundaries of what he can do.  Then you have the second piece of evidence, ” Splash,” which has a quicker paced guitar line, sort of reminiscent of a more nostalgic version of The Thermals.  All the while his voice lands quietly atop his music, as it always seems to do.

One of the best things about Jeremy Jay is that while he sounds so familiar, he definitely has a taste all his own.  You can see his constant form of wondering, especially in the way that he writes his lyrics.  Take, for example, “Someday Somewhere,” where the chorus itself evokes that sense of search, or that sense of longing for something. He’s often in his own world, dancing around, using that speak-sing approach that was made known by his mentor of sorts, Calvin Johnson.  You combine that approach with his lyrics and you are left wondering, but in an involved sort of way, as listeners should be.

Everything about Splash really does sound familiar, but as the album takes a turn near the end, starting with “Why is This Feeling So Strong,” you get the feeling that Jeremy Jay is about to make his move; at times it almost feels as if he’s about to let loose a power chord to just blow you away, yet as always, he refrains.   He’s got one more album coming out this year, and the way he’s pushing his sound, who knows exactly where that record will end up, but we can only hope that he continues to put out consistently enjoyable collections of songs such as this.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/01-As-You-Look-Over-The-City.mp3]

Download: Jeremy Jay – As You Look Over The City [MP3]

New Tunes from Jeremy Jay

Those who’ve been following us know just how much we here at ATH love Jeremy Jay.  Not only has he already released several albums of classic American pop, but he’s got more on the way.  Splash, his newest album, is set to hit stores on May 25th via K Recs, and our preliminary listens have us thinking this will be one of our favorites of the year (or mine at least).  If you like what you hear, you need to make sure to check out Jeremy this year at SXSW.  He’s playing for free at Urban Outfitters (3/17), Beauty Bar (3/17-Official), and Flamingo Cantina (3/18).  You’ll want to check the guy out, and then you’ll want to get your hands on his new album, and those old ones are probably required for your collection as well.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Jeremy_Jay_Splash_07_This_Is_Our_Time.mp3]

Download: Jeremy Jay – This Is Our Time [MP3]

Jonathan Richman in Austin (1/25-1/28)

JonHonLet’s face it, if you don’t know who Jonathan Richman is, odds are you’ve been living under a rock.  His influence is all over the place, from Art Brut to Jeremy Jay.  After breaking up The Modern Lovers, Jonathan went solo, which is how we’ll find him this week as he hits Austin for four nights in a row.  You should catch one of these shows for sure.

1/25 – Cactus Cafe – 8:30 PM

1/26 – Cactus Cafe – 8:30 PM

1/27 – Continental Club – 8 PM – $10

1/28 – Continental Club – 12 AM – $10

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Jonathan-Richman-Our-Dog-Is-Getting-Older-Now.mp3]

Download: Jonathan Richman – Our Dog Is Getting Older Now [MP3]

Pants Yell! – Received Pronunciation

pantsyell-received

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Amidst the world of lo-fi stands one Slumberland Records band who is willing to go against the grain.   Ladies and gentleman we present to you, Pants Yell!. Well, we don’t actually present them to you, as Received Pronunciation is the group’s third proper release.  Still, after being all over the SR catalogue this year, and I assure you, we’re still into it, we now have a new record to fall in love with as the year draws to an end.

You see, when opening track “Frank and Sandy” comes through your speaker, you’re not sure what you were expecting, but you most assuredly weren’t awaiting the haphazard delivery of the lyrics, let alone the song itself.  It just seems to sort of traipse along, ever really reaching any sort of climax.  Such restraint, however, is actually refreshing.

You can find much clarity and precision on every single song that plays through this album.  If you added heavy string arrangements, and perhaps a few more witticisms you might call this a Belle and Sebastian record.  Still, that is lazy journalism, but if I told you that they sound like a much more confident Oh No! Oh My! you would probably be a little confused.  More so, there is a particular youthfulness in this that B&S have moved beyond, perhaps even a little naivete, but such innocence, especially in the banality of the lyrics really makes the listening experience one of the most enjoyable of the last several months.  Take the humorous “Spider,” which seems like an elementary student channeling Calvin Johnson.

This album just continually seems to give back to the listener, each song seemingly a touch different then the last, while consistently staying in the same place.  Take “Someone Loves You” versus “Not Wrong,” two songs that have similarity in song structure, but the hurried percussion in the former picks up the tempo, creating a song that sounds nothing like the tune that will follow two tracks later.  And as the album draws near to an end, it all seems so familiar.  Perhaps those who fell in love with Jeremy Jay will find that they can take his promise and craft, hand it over to a set of vibrant like-minded youths, and it will come out like Received Pronunciation.

Everyone is sure to grab ahold of this band, as they are clearly ready to step into a light of their own.  Three albums into their career, and it seems that the group can’t go too wrong.  Let’s cross our fingers that Pants Yell! continue to build upon the talent and joy displayed in their latest effort, Received Pronunciation.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/06-Someone-Loves-You.mp3]

Download: Pants Yell! – Someone Loves You [MP3]

New Tunes from Jeremy Jay

JeremyJay-01-bigI’ve been a fan of Jeremy Jay for a long time, mostly because he dances just like this photo.  As I got ahold of his new 7″ Breaking the Ice, I was pleased to see he had done a sweet little cover of Buddy Holly as the B-Side.  If you dig this song, and vinyl, you can buy the 7″ from K Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Jeremy-Jay-Words-Of-Love-Holly.mp3]

Download: Jeremy Jay – Words Of Love [MP3]

Papercuts – You Can Have What You Want

you_can_have_what_you_want-papercuts_480

Rating: ★★★★½

This appears to be the decade where people actively seek out the atmosphere of a quiet bedroom recording, as bands like Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes burst forth with warmth and comfort, the kind you would find beneath your Grandma’s quilt in your room. Unfortunately, Jason Quever and his band, Papercuts, have often been overlooked in the discussion, though few will feel that way when this record hits the streets.

You Can Have What You Want is the third proper full-length from Quever, and listeners will find that this is his most complete collection of songs to date.  The songs are the most fluid he has composed, and they seem to courageously go from one shining moment into the next. Melodies rise just as you thought they’d fallen away, and it all feels as if a master architect assembled the songs piece by piece; everything on this record feels absolutely right.

Jason’s vocals sound amazing this time around, albeit a bit underdone at points. Some will find fault with this approach, as you must surely dig deep into your listening experience in order to grasp the lyrics, but most will find this aesthetic quite appealing whilst searching for their favorite tune as they rearrange their closet by color.  Take “The Machine Will Tell Us So,” a song that meanders carefully through seas of organ and cymbal work, almost so quiet you can’t help but let wonder if the music is only in your head; then the chorus bursts in full of calming melodies, taking the song in an entirely different direction, though only for a moment.

Of course, Papercuts aren’t afraid to pick up the pace, at least musically.  “Dead Love” and “Future Primitive” are both set back to back, which may be due to the fact that each of these songs call for a bit of toe-tapping, though one must only do so in place, as the vocals are not begging you to move about. “Future Primitive” is the first single from the album, and features a lot of the elements of the rhythm section of Jeremy Jay, only with quieter lyrics, if you can imagine that. Sure, it’s a standout track, but almost every track here shines in its own manner.

The title track to the album, “You Can Have What You Want,” is just yet another example of how beautifully Jason shapes his songs; he is able to fill up empty space with bits and pieces of vocals and instrumentation, all pushing the song to the fullest potential.  Really, this is all one needs to ask of his or her favorite musician: can you get the most out of your song? The answer to that question, and in regards to this whole album, is a resounding yes! If you want something to listen to in your bedroom, this album may be the best one for your ear.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/papercuts-you-can-have-what-you-want.mp3]

Download: Papercuts – You Can Have What You Want [MP3]

Jeremy Jay – Slow Dance

jeremy-jay

Rating: ★★★★ ·

Jeremy Jay seems to be relentless when it comes to releasing material, as this is his second album in two years, on top of various 12″s and 7″s.  Slow Dance, once again released by K Records, is not a huge departure from last year’s effort, but there are some subtle differences that demonstrate Jeremy’s move into brand new territory.

“We Were There” enters the game with some noticeable keyboard work to comfortably coat the song in a dense fog of 80s synth melodies.  At the core, it’s still the same old Jeremy pushing forward driving rhythms to accompany his spoken word delivery, but the new element displays a decision to pursue different ground.

“In This Lonely Town” picks up the same style from last years A Place Where We Could Go, with its swaying rhythm moving back and forth across the speakers.  At this point it seems as if the man can construct these songs with such ease that it’s hard to see him not releasing an album a year.  “Gallop” plants its roots in the same soil as the preceding song, but that bass line just begs you to bop along the way.

“Canter Canter” and “Slow Dance” pull back the reins just a little bit, as they drop the steady groove that has given the album its pacing up until this point.  Not only do the vocals seem to take a step back, but the overall movement of the tracks demonstrates Jeremy’s newfound appreciation for a track that will build and build upon itself.  Still, the vocal lay of the land is the most noticeable change here, as if our narrator is slow dancing his way through a field of poppies.

Then comes “Winter Wonder” into the scene.  Another slow number, but the remnants of this song don’t seem rooted in either classic rock n’ roll nostalgia nor 80s throwback. In fact, it’s one of the most modern songs Jeremy Jay has constructed to date, which definitely wins him some points, as he seems to finally control the slower tendencies of this album.  But he immediately jumps back into the classic R&B sound on “Will You Dance With Me.”  The barely audible piano meshed with the bass work propels the song along, though still noticeably slower than pervious numbers.

The closing number here is probably one of the better songs he’s written to date.  It’s as if he is channeling a more traditional approach to independent music, with gentle guitar work smeared with flowery vocals.  This would fit perfectly in the lexicon of classic 90s indie pop songs, and it’s the perfect close to another admirable piece of work from Jeremy Jay.

As it all draws to a close, the one thing that will remain with listeners is that Jeremy Jay has gone a bit slow on us.  While the first half of the album benefits from the pacing of old, the second half demonstrates the songwriters capabilities to compose slower melodic moments.  Not a huge change overall, but another solid piece of work.

SXSW Watchlist: Jeremy Jay

jjIn case you didn’t follow our list of best albums of 2008, odds are you missed one of the gems of the year, Jeremy Jay. He’s got a new record slated this Spring off of K Records, and its been kicking around in our heads over here at ATH for the last few weeks. It’s a slow-burner, but as with all Jeremy Jay outings, it reveals more each listen.

This time out, he’s got a bit more of a step to his tunes, which is sure to delight audiences, as his unique stage dancing is one of the many reasons he’s so endearing. His understated speak-sing delivery is reminiscent of Calvin Johnson. His reliance upon classic R&B musical stylings, is more than just a throwback, as no one seems to do it with more passion. Simply put, its this passion and classic tinged tuneage that makes Jeremy Jay worthy of your time during SXSW.

He’ll be playing Wednesday, March 18th at the Beauty Bar at 1 AM.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/05-slow-dance.mp3]

Download: Jeremy Jay – Slow Dance [MP3]

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