Category Archives: Artist Spotlight

Lunch With CJ Boyd and DMA [Artist Spotlight]

By (Staff Post)

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Today I had the good fortune of enjoying a tasty lunch at the Siam House here in Fountain Square with CJ Boyd and Dave “Moose” Adamson. What did we eat? I got the red curry. Dave got the Pad Thai. CJ got the ????. I don’t remember.

What did we talk about? Superstition, rationality, nihilism, Aphex Twin, among other things.

CJ was in town playing a house show and stopped by the JNR headquarters. We just announced his incredible new album, Precariat. It is a masterpiece in my humble opinion.

“I think it’s the best album I’ve ever done,” CJ said between mouthfuls of curried chicken.

CJ is perpetually on the road. Touring, playing house shows, crashing on couches and floors. “Living hand to mouth,” as he puts it. “There’s nothing else I’d rather do,” he declares.

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He has created for himself a life of unique freedom. “I studied philosophy in college and when I was done I decided I wanted to play music and travel and that’s what I’m doing. I loved philosophy and maybe when I’m old and my body doesn’t work anymore, when I can’t jump over fences and wrestle with my friends, I’ll become an academic, when my body fails. But while my body is young I wanna do this.”

And do it he does. Living the nomadic life of the wandering artist, performing coast to coast and in Europe, year-round. Challenging and exploring with his music, reflecting back much of that exquisite wanderlust through the prism of evocative compositions that traverse open spaces of time and distance. Sheww!! That was some abstract mumbojumbo! But it isn’t that easy to simply describe CJ’s music with words. So let’s listen to it:

Here’s the track “Peradora” off the new album Precariat. Enjoy!

Jad Fair’s first Artist in Residence LP announced today [Artist Spotlight]

Spring has sprung and along with that comes the announcement of Jad Fair’s first LP as our Artist in Residence, here at Joyful Noise. The first and newest LP, Let’s Born to Rock, is a collaboration with Strobe Talbot and features the upbeat and classicly lo-fi song “Back on Track”, anounced today! If you haven’t been keeping up, Jad Fair has teamed up with Joyful Noise this year to create 4 LPs to be released exclusively on the label, featuring collaborations with Strobe Talbot, Norman Blake, Danielson, and R Stevie Moore.

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Let’s Born to Rock is only available through the “Artist in Residence” box set from Joyful Noise. Only 450 copies will be made of each LP, all of which feature original paper cutting artwork from Jad Fair. Let’s Born to Rock is featured on a Cyan Blue Vinyl and the box to store the LPs highlights artwork from Jad Fair and is hand numbered and signed by the man himself.

In other words, this is too cool to pass up! Each LP will be released quarterly for the next year, and if the song “Back on Track” is any indication of what we can expect to come from Jad Fair and his dynamic collaborations, there is A LOT to look forward to.

SON LUX SPOTLIGHT [Artist Spotlight]

By (Staff Post)

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Here’s what folks have got to say about Son Lux’s new albumc

 

“There’s no question Lott is a gifted composer and Lanterns is his most arresting album to date.”
NPR

“Son Lux’s Lanterns is looking like one of fall’s most fascinating new releases.”
Stereogum

“Lanterns isn’t piecemeal beats or hastily assembled clutter, rather it begs to be heard as the lingua franca of the past and the future, something spoken on a pseudo-spiritual plane that connects the analog and digital realms.”
Pitchfork

“In giving his compositions a little more leeway to spin and pirouette with maximum emotional force, Son Lux has made his best album to date and proven the wisdom of waving goodbye to restraint once in a while.”
The Line of Best Fit

“With its dense layering, the album always feels like it’s in motion, constantly shifting and changing in a way that makes its deliberate construction feel like nothing short of a miracle as the album effortlessly drifts along.”
All Music

“Son Lux has created a brilliant piece of work with Lanterns, there’s never a dull moment on this record.’
Grimy Goods

“Lanterns features an almost mind-bending collage of strings, wind instruments and synths, layered over top of insistent electronic beats and paired with haunting vocals. It’s a delicate balancing act that would probably implode if left to a less skilled hand.”
CBC

“By exploring and flipping the textures of seemingly commonplace elements, Lott delivers multi-layered songs filled with fresh air…”
Consequence Of Sound

“[Lanterns] carves out a space located snugly between body and brain, where warm instrumentation smacks into chilly waves of sub-bass, and choral vocals are recast in futuristic soundscapes.”
SPIN

“His palette is impossibly wide, but he’s not simply mashing everything together. Instead, classical and rock and dance and hip hop and ambient talk to each other furiously, often all at once.”
PASTE

WHY? Golden Tickets [Artist Spotlight]

By (Staff Post)

“Banana Mae”—the 2nd track on Golden Tickets—is probably the greatest song ever written whose subject-matter is the twitter feed of a young girl.  I’m about 99.5% sure that this is the girl in question.


The song kicks off with these lyrics:

Follow me, Banana Mae,
if you wanna seeWhat I have to say. 
Now I’m only less than twenty-tres.
ut I’ll twit a tweet
to make your hair turn gray. 
My real name is Anna Mae
[“Not like ‘Anime’ like animation, but like Anna…Mae.  Like two words, like Anna…Mae. Like Anna…Mae *fastforward repeat breakdown*”]
Let me sing you some
selections from my twitter page.

What is so peculiar/unusual and cool about this concept is that it breaks the song’s hermetic seal of romanticized artistic self-reference.

As soon as I listen to the song’s 1st verse, I can—if I so choose—leave the song behind and go interact with it’s actual subject, via twitter.

In reality, I’ll probably refrain from doing this, since this wee, young lass probably doesn’t need to be hearing from gnarly old PR guys.

But it’s the technical possibility of interaction that is so appealing.

When he was in Apogee, before forming WHY?, Yoni Wolf says:

I always liked to inflict a moment in the spotlight on members of the audience–not voluntary or involuntary, but just regardless of the individual preference–to frame them in this temporary bubble of fame.

This thematic inclination towards breaking the fourth wall & incorporating the audience into the performance eventually manifested in a novel format for composition whose fruits are collected on the Golden Tickets EP:

“We would write a theme song [about a fan]… Like Mighty Mouse. It would be a song about that person.”


They did a Golden Ticket song to raise money for victims of the Tsunami in Japan.  They did a Golden Ticket contest to benefit victims of Tornado devastation in the South.  They sold a Golden Ticket on eBay.  They did an iconography contest, and gave a golden ticket to the winner.  They did a video contest and awarded a Golden Ticket to a man who didn’t even attempt to do anything sensible or edited in any interesting way, but merely submitted footage of his shirtless & dreaded self mouthing a wordless monologue into the silence stipulated in the rules of the contest.

Unlike the other contestants who pretty much lucked out or were merely generously, Dropjaw earned his Golden Ticket.   

If you purchase the Gold Vinyl format of WHY’s Golden Ticket EP, you might get lucky and find a golden ticket of your own in the record sleeve.  Redeem this ticket, and you can have your own theme song written.

WHY? ask WHY? Just buy the record.