Band: Young Jesus
Release Date: January 24, 2012
Free mp3: “Fallin’ For You” (’til January 27!)
“I just wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly with the bands on Wednesday. I’d love to hear how it went and when you think you might be able to post something.”
Oh, and: “Let me know!”
That would be a very cheerful, helpful, just all around wonderful woman — we’ll call her Kathy — who, before following up with me as she was then, had been for about a week corresponding back and forth with me via email about a Red Bull promotion Young Jesus was involved in with another bright young Chicago-based band named Brighton MA.
As I understood it at the time, the two groups would be engaged in a friendly battle of the bands competition, taking them across the country from Chicago to Los Angeles, with the winning rockers being awarded with an opportunity to record at Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica.
Slow to respond on the first go, I was then peppered with a few emails more from Kathy about the promotion. Of course, either Kathy was good at her job, or she just so happened to really want a write-up, a blurb, a whatever to appear within the pages of Chicago Tunes. (Kathy: “If nothing else, we’d love if you could do a little listing, tweet or blog about it.”)
Pithy blurbs don’t happen here — see question #4 (and its answer) on my FAQ page — and quick prep with Young Jesus’ EP at the time, Late Night Standards, sounded good enough for me. So, what the hell. Why not a full interview with the guys (and Brighton MA)? It seemed a good fit.
So Kathy did what any completely reasonable PR person would do: She got my cell number in advance and then arranged a time for the men of Young Jesus and Brighton MA to hunker down and have a chat with me.
When the predetermined time arrived, she had the LA-bound buses screech to a freakin’ halt and pull off to the side. All in an effort, you know, to get the boys focused and in check for the lovely, likely softball questions I’d throw at them.
We had a nice chat, about 10 minutes, and then for the first time in the site’s history — holds true still — I imported the audio to my iTunes and then did nothing with it. Absolutely nothing. It sits on my computer hard drive completely untouched.
You see, any time after an interview — literally any other time — I’ll import the audio to my iTunes and then transcribe everything to an easy-to-read, blogged format. The results look a little something like this.
Over a year later, and Kathy’s emailed ping remains without an answer from me. It’s not, shall we say, one of the finer moments of the project I’ve been calling Chicago Tunes.
I’ve begun an album review with this true story because it wouldn’t have felt right, to me, to dig into Young Jesus right away without disclosing my limited experience with them and their music. I mean, Young Jesus isn’t just any band. They’re a quartet of musicians who, free of charge, shared with me their stream of consciousness thoughts on live performance and Santa Monica and then they — nor Kathy, come to think — ever read the fruits of their labor.
With that all said, Young Jesus has a new collection of songs named Home available for public consumption on Tuesday, and I must say it’s a delight of a release, especially for a band that a) is making its full-length debut with Home and b) as of this post — and more importantly, the recording of Home — remains unsigned.
It seems Young Jesus has been shouldering its promotion of Home through a single track: “Away.” (The tune is free on Bandcamp, by the way.) I mean, I can’t seem to read through a piece on Young Jesus this month without an “Away” mention, too. Perhaps I’m as liable?
“Away” was probably a safe bet to help sell the album. It assumes, you know, many of the norms of a Young Jesus track on Home: Vocal intro, big drums, gentle ooooss and some John Rossiter yelling. In many ways it’s a perhaps unintended composite of what else to expect on Home.
Despite the push for “Away,” my jam happens to be “Fallin’ For You.” It’s an adorable tune, really, that the total hopeless romantic within you will respond to. A snip of its lyrics reveals all you might need to know: “I’m not saying I’m the man for you. I’m just a kid who’s fallin’ for you.”
“Fallin’ For You,” as it were, also makes for a decent test of your John Rossiter vox leanings. Honestly, in the first spin or two, his deep baritone was something to get used to. Jarring in the way that the front men of, say, The National and Beirut might sound for newbs.
The tune that follows it, “New Cool,” is something of a rich, unintended amalgam of a handful of songs I’ve heard recently. For me — stay with me, I beg — it’s strangely Like Pioneers’ “Gift From a Holiday” with touches of King Sparrow’s “The River” and Generationals’ “Victim of Trap.” I feel pretty strong about this and welcome any and all opinion. “Gift From a Holiday” came right away — largely the similar cadence of their vocals at 1:55. ‘The River” and then “Victim of Trap” entered the fray after more analysis.
Home, really, is a series of rock encores, one after the other. (By the end of “News,” Young Jesus applauds itself, actually.) It’s like any of these songs could feasibly cap a set of music. They’re passionate and mostly anthemic.
- Young Jesus, based here in Chicago, is: John Rossiter (guitar/vox), Shawn Nystrand (bass), Cody Kellogg (lead guitar) and Peter Martin (drums).
- Balls! Unless you were there, you just missed the band’s record release show at Lincoln Hall. Stay tuned for future engagements.
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