Jpegasus – ‘Popular’
It’s not often that I am made speechless or brought to a loss of words while watching a band perform. And in moments where this has happened in the past, it’s even less often that it is due to the fact that whatever I’m watching or listening to is impressing the hell out of me and I just can’t seem to mold it into words. Maybe even finding the words would be doing a disservice to the musicians. I have found myself here a few times though. The first time I heard Alt-J, I couldn’t necessarily wrap my head around it, but I knew that I loved what I was hearing. Tune-Yards were the same way, as was James Blake.
A week or so ago, I found myself in a small living room, surrounded by about 15 to 20 other people. Jpegasus were playing and sounded amazing in this tight room through a small PA. I have tried to write about these guys in the past, as they are friends and I’ve seen them a few times before throughout different phases of their band. I remembered struggling for words trying to write out what I thought about their music the first time. I knew that I really loved it, and wanted to express that on the page so other people could as well, but it was a real uphill battle for me. I’m pretty certain that no one was happy with the product (hah!). So as I was in this living room in this house with these other people watching Jpegasus, I realized that maybe this is music that is best left experienced. Maybe this is something you have to see and listen to on your own, because my words might never be able to do it justice. I can lead you to the water, but as always, the drinking is up to you.
I have had Jpeg’s new EP, “Popular,” for over a month now and have had ample time to digest it. Three songs, just about 8 minutes long, “Popular” is the perfect introduction to a band that are as cohesive as they are confusing. The irony of the title is blaring as these guys are clearly more concerned with doing what they wish artistically than their popularity or ability to be easily categorized. Obviously, I highly recommend getting this EP and letting it sink in, but you really don’t experience Jpegasus until you see them live. It’s more easily understandable when the live show is witnessed. I assume it’s similar to watching a young Devo, in their formative years. If these kids stick it out, I see a bright future for them. “Popular” is out now, download it at jpegasus.bandcamp.com, and be sure to catch them at The Space in Fort Walton Beach this Friday night, Sept. 27. You’ll thank me.
If You Haven’t Heard: The Great Book of John
“Open up your heart, and show us what you know.” I have always had great respect for Birmingham musicians. There is a specific brand of honesty that bleeds from the music bred in the city in the northern section of Alabama. Two artists usually come to mind for me: One is Jesse Payne, a folk rock troubadour, and the other is the now-defunct Wild Sweet Orange. Rising from the ashes of the latter and carrying on the tradition of distinct Birmingham talent is The Great Book of John. The four piece stitches together romantically ethereal rhythms and deeply introspective ideas to make music that is overtly passionate and dutifully sincere. Connections can be made to early Radiohead, The Fire Theft and Dr. Dog’s more insightful side. The group already has two full length albums under their belt and are rapidly approaching the release of a third. Earlier this year, GBOJ gave us a taste of what’s to come by releasing the song “Dark Star,” which is a hypnotic, raw mashing of guitars, keys, tasteful drumming and lyrics filled with longing. I’ll be keeping a close eye on these cats, as they’ve already impressed me and are certain to have plenty of great things on deck. You can catch The Great Book of John playing with Pensacola’s own Kent Stanton and Imaginary Air Show at Sluggos, this Saturday, September 28.