Jack Ruby Presents – Over Wires And White Plains – Review

Jack Ruby Presents is a pretty loaded phrase. Jack Ruby was a complicated and perplexing figure who managed to alter the coarse of history on live television. The idea of  Ruby himself presenting anything is both comical and insane. The moniker seems fitting for the roots-rock outfit that is Jack Ruby Presents, though I’m not entirely sure why. It could be that the band possesses a semi-legendary status in the small college town of McMinnville, or it could be that the band projects a sense of sincerity that (however deranged) Ruby himself possessed and tried to express. Or it could simply be that it is a complicated and loaded name for similarly complex band.

I first heard of JRP through word of mouth and decided to give their tunes a listen. The Cardboard EP, as it was called, was making its rounds on campus and was also streaming on the groups myspace. I listened to each song, and while they sounded like legitimate songs in every sense of the word they were missing something. After a few minutes with each song I realized that the arrangements sounded as flat as the name the EP had taken. There was simply no energy. Because of this I maintained a small interest in the band because they’d started at my college but managed to miss all of their live performances in and around campus. Not long after The Cardboard EP the band signed to Homeskillet Records and rumors of a debut LP began to circulate.

Two years later, at the urging of JRP’s front-man, Jesse Hughey, I stood near the back of The Satyricon in downtown Portland with a friend. I watched as a couple of local acts bumbled through their sets and wondered if I’d made the right decision. After a bit of set up Jack Ruby Presents took the stage and with smiles plastered across their faces they launched into their first song. Instantly I realized that this was a different band. The energy that was so lacking on their studio recordings came across ten-fold, filling The Satyricon, pushing its way into everybody’s psyche and bubbling up in the spaces between. I left the show hoping that JRP’s would be able to capture that energy and figure out a way to put it on a disc.

On May 15th, 2010, Jack Ruby Presents released their debut LP: Over Wires And White Plains, on Homeskillet Records.

The album spans 12 songs of haunted legends, late night drunken blues, heartbreak and home. The band seems to float through the upbeat tunes with a welcoming elegance and sink to the dirty depths of the soul on the more sorrowful numbers. The ability of the band to inhabit these polar opposites with such sincerity is equal parts fascinating and rare. Lead vocalist Jesse Hughey’s voice is the one you want singing you to sleep at night. His deep and homey vocals are those of a soul much older, one well versed in the cigarette smoke and whiskey tunes he often sings. Christopher Hernandez’s song’s are complex tales of lives loved and lost complimented by his emotional vocals and fabulous guitar playing. Melissa Davaz’s tunes are similarly dark but she leaves many of them behind as her beautiful and soaring vocals seem to lift her up and away. Aaron Owens’ remarkably tight and technical drumming rounds out each song without overpowering, something rarely found in music today. But it is when all three harmonize and croon together over Owens’ drum lines that the band is at its strongest. It is during those moments that you realize Jack Ruby Presents is much more than the sum of its parts.

Over Wires And White Plains signals that Jack Ruby Presents is not a small time band from a small town on a small label. Each of the 12 songs holds its place on the album in way no other song could. There is not a wasted chord, or a spare moment and you wouldn’t want one. It’s a rare album in a sea of collections. As soon as it’s over you’ll pray you can give it another hour of your undivided time. It is a powerful album that could compete with anything on the market if given a chance. It carries with it the story of a band growing, learning and loving every minute of it. In a sense, Over Wires And White Plains is everything it could have been, should have been, and always wanted to be. Everybody wants to bottle that feeling you get when you first get home: that overwhelming sense of comfort and joy and sincerity. Jack Ruby Presents has done just that.

Get your copy of Over Wires And White Plains here.

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No Age – Brain Burner – Live

I should totally be asleep, but instead I’m studying for french, and listening to No Age. So why shouldn’t you do the same? Maybe not the french part.

One of my favorite No Age tracks is Brain Burner, the last track of their most recent full length album, Nouns. It’s a sub two minute adrenaline driven romp through punk-rock and it is unbelievably simple, and even more catchy. Below is a live version of said track. The vocals are hard to hear, but the energy is unmistakable. No Age, would completely tear your house apart, and this proves it.

And in case you actually wanted to “hear” the song, here’s the studio version. The quality isn’t THAT much better..

My other favorite track from Nouns is Teen Creeps, and below is the studio version of that song as well..

If you haven’t heard Nouns in its entirety, change that right now, it’s almost the weekend, you’ve got time. If you point your browser to subpop, the bands label you can snag a copy for a meager 12 dollars. Do it. Click the album art below to surf to sub pop and pick yourself up a (relatively cheap) piece of punk rock awesomeness.

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains

Cymabals Eat Guitars. What to say. A band with a 9 track self-released album. Its out there, find it. Somehow. My friends, this music rules. The influences on this band are so numerous I could only list a few and be off the mark. They combine the dirty melodic hooks of a Pavement with the swag of an MGMT and the lyrical stabbings of Tokyo Police Club. Their soft moments are beautiful. Their rockin moments are rockin. And everything else fits perfectly into place.

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains

looks like this:

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And sounds like this:

Cymbals Eat Guitars – And The Hazy Sea (Track 1 from Why There Are Mountains)

This is the first song off the album. This song showcases the bands perfect use of loud/soft song dynamics. No one has harnessed dynamics like this since The Pixies or Nirvana. The song starts off almost blaring and then lulls only to scream out again in a beautiful and controlled chaos.

The second track on the album differs extremely from the first, but in a good way. This album is a mixture of many things, but it never sounds incongruent, muddled or confused. The different amount of material to be found in these songs will keep you interested for at least one listen, hopefully many many many more.

At times the album grabs the shoegazers of the 80’s, or lo-fi of the 90’s or the horn crazy members of Broken Social Scene. At times the album attempts to capture you sonically like Radiohead, Wilco or the Youth themselves. This album is worth every dime you’ll spend on it and it will all go straight to this great band. I can’t wait to see what becomes of these dudes.

Here is their myspace: http://www.myspace.com/cymbalseatguitars

Noise Pop

Naw dogs, I ain’t talking bout the festival (though Stephen Malkmus will appear there this year). I’m talking about noisy pop music. Think early Pavement, like Slanted and Enchanted sort of stuff, or Guided By Voices, or some Sonic Youth even. The melody is buried, but finding it might just be the best thing that ever happened to you. 

Well sons and daughters, two bands have been creating music that is verrrryyy reminiscent of Pavement’s early work. Whether they listened to Pavement as children is irrelevant because what we have here is some genuine and interesting people creating sounds that others just aren’t. It’s fresh. I will say it–again, it’s just fresh. Will you like it? Who knows, probably not, but that’s not the point. It’s fresh. Every indie band in the world can kick out a jam these days and indie kids (including myself) will just eat it up. It takes balls, punk roots and a cassette recorder/player to accomplish what these two bands have accomplished. 

The first band I’ll break my silence to discuss is No Age.  Their newest album is called Nouns. It looks like this:

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No Age is a tough band to explain. They haven’t been around forever, but they have. They know their roots (80’s punk) and they respect while taking it in a completely different direction. No Age is a band that knows what they are and what they want. They do their thing and are perfect at it. There is so much buried beneath the “noise” and it is easily dismissed. But give their newest LP, Nouns, a listen or 5 and just take it in Especially if you’re having a rotten day. This will carry you through. 

Similar to Pavements earliest work, No Age is a band that experiments with noise, distortion, feedback etc. While this is nothing new, especially in indie rock, it actually is completely new. I can’t explain it better so check out the album, or just the song below, if it intrigues you, figure it out and get the LP, or get the LP and then figure it out. 

This is the video for their song The Eraser from their newest LP titled – Nouns

 

*******

The second band/artist is Wavves. Yes that is WA-V-V-ES. AND for a bit of confusion, his debut album is called…Wavves…yeah..and his newest album, which I will be refering too is titled Wavvves…yeah…WA-V-V-V-ES. Perfect. It looks like this…

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Wavves is the brain-child of a 22 year old San Diago, California resident with a lot to lose and so much more to gain. Wavves is a noise pop band that will probably be owning your ear drums, or at least you internet blog space, for years to come. Ingenius, is really the word to describe his work. His music was originally captured on cassette tapes and distributed around. The music is just ridiculous. Pitchfork knows it (http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/12783-wavvves/), ABC news knows it, courtesy of Pitchfork… (http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=6630685) and I sure know it. I haven’t heard anything that was quite this interesting in a long while. I’m going to post a couple videos. The first is a video of the song So Bored, and I’m not sure if its a fan made video or what…but damn, it’s weird. The quality is a little sub par, but its noisy music anyway, don’t expect much. The second video isn’t a real video but rather a youtube box that will play some audio for a little over 2 minutes with a black box in the background. This “video” is for the song Gun In The Sun and somehow is actually also terrible quality. The lyrics in that song are particularly awesome, “I’m just a guy with nothing to do, I’m just a guy with something to say” croons lead singer Nathan Williams over noisy distorted guitar, a simple drum beat and some girl singing….uh….something….?

Wavves – So Bored (from the new LP Wavvves out March 17th) 

Wavves – Gun In The Sun (from the new LP Wavvves out March 17th)

 

Seriously yo, if you dig this at all, find some high quality versions, and buy this music!

Stephen Malkmus + The Jicks NEW ALBUM!?

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Yup, that’s right, already.

Yesterday, via phone, and through a snowstorm strong enough to make Alaskans cold Stephen Malkmus confirmed to SPIN magazine that The Jicks are planning to head into the studio in June of 09 with hopes of releasing the record later that year.

Quick release from the Malk man, I’m so pumped, Im chest deep in finals, but smiling bright. It’s on its way folks. It’s on its way.

Read the whole spin article here. And rejoice. It also ends with the inevitable Pavement reunion talk where SM says probably the nicest thing about the band he’s said in the last year. Enjoy

Article:  SPIN Article Jicks New Album

KoL

Need a good album or four to check out? How bout the Kings of Leon back catalog?

Only By The Night (UK)

Kings of Leon – Only By The Night (4/5) released 09/23/08 RCA

BotT

Kings of Leon – Because Of The Times (5/5) released 04/03/07 RCA

ASH

Kings of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak (5/5) released 02/25/05 RCA

YaYM

Kings of Leon – Youth and Young Manhood (3.5/5) released 08/19/03 RCA

Check em’ out. They are all great. Southern Rock. If nothing else their album covers kick ass. (www.KingsofLeon.com)