Tag Archives: Rock

[TMN Interview & Album Review] The Bones of J.R. Jones’ Third Studio Album: Ones to Keep Close

 

“Listening to music is a deeply personal experience and the way one interacts with any art reflects their past.”

 

There’s something distinctly recognizable about American music– whether it goes by blues, roots, Americana, or any similar moniker. Stylistically it’s always soulbaringly expository; a reflection of our rich history of diverse musical influences. There are always those creations that are unmistakably the product of America; sounds that capture the grit of the swampy south, the loneliness of our dusty highways, and the solitude in our mountains. In his third studio album Ones to Keep Close, The Bones of J.R. Jones manages to capture all of these sounds.

 

As the production of solo-artist Jonathon Linaberry, The Bones of J.R. Jones keeps alive the flavors of genres and styles long past their original heyday. In order to better understand the man and the process responsible, check out the interview below:

 

TMN: Can you tell me about some of your influences and what you’ve taken from each of them?


My influences range quite the spectrum… but if I had to pick a handful I would say Son House for his passion and, Springsteen for his melodies, and Tom Waits for his sense of theater.

TMN: If you could get into a room with any musician, contemporary or historic, to make a song, who would it be and why?

 

JL: It would be Howlin Wolf. Nobody can write a swinging blues riff like him.

TMN: You’ve been known to find solace and inspiration in your farmhouse in the Catskills. Can you tell us more about your creative process?

 

JL: There’s not much of a process. It’s more of just sitting still and turning [off] all computers and electronic devices. Forcing myself to do that and forcing myself to be stimulated in other ways is the best to get the creative juices flowing.

TMN: How did you come to acquire your distinctively American sound?

 

JL: Can’t say why that happened. I suppose it’s just the music I fell in love with growing up. You hear something and it resonates with you at moment. It creates an experience for you. That’s something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

TMN: Were there any seminal moments in your life that influenced your musical ear?

 

JL: For sure, hearing Blind Lemon Jefferson in a dorm room my first year in college changed my trajectory. I wouldn’t be doing what I do now if I hadn’t stumbled in that room so many years ago.

TMN: How would you describe the Americana/blues/soul sound of today? (i.e. where’s the music coming from, what are the themes/messages)


JL: I think there’s a lot of different school of blues. Some try to stay true to their roots. I think that’s it’s own form of respect for where the blues came from. Other’s take what’s been done and try to innovate a bit… in my humble opinion many times that crashes and burns. There is the rare instance where someone comes across and something truly unique and it’s a success… but I feel like that’s few and far between.

TMN: When you aren’t creating music, what do you like to listen to? Any other genres or sounds that you’re a fan of?


JL: I listen to a lot of jazz. Roy Eldridge and Chet Baker is always in rotation these days.

TMN: On lead single “Burden”, you write that “it came out of a place where people search for someone to share the weight of the world”. How has emotional isolation, even loneliness, shaped you as a musician? As a person?

 

JL: It’s shaped quite a bit. I travel by myself. I play music by myself. Spending four weeks on the road by yourself can’t help but influence every facet of your life… socially, creatively or personally.

TMN: Is there a message behind Ones to Keep Close? What would you like to tell your friends as they listen to the album?

 

JL: There is no overall theme or message per se. The record as a whole was an attempt from me to try something a little new. To grow beyond my other records. As a result, it sounds bigger, fuller and hopefully a little more thoughtful. I don’t like telling people what to take away from my music. Listening to music is a deeply personal experience and the way someone interacts with any art reflects their past. If the music is any good it should creates it own theme with the listener. That’s what I hope to do.

Ones to Keep Close is a creation that blends together Linaberry’s diverse influences as a musician, while paying homage to the tenets and traditions of each. As Linaberry says during the interview, he stays true to his roots and his roots are his own– showing respect to his predecessors in the process. Though strictly a solo artist (playing every instrument) in the past, Linaberry incorporates the talents of his friends, artist Nicole Atkins and producer Rob Niederpruem for this latest production.

The whole album is orchestrated around making you feel something; loneliness, exuberance, energy. It has been described as a “stomp-along” experience, and the track titled “The Drop” certainly stands out in this regard. I envisioned hearing this song coming out of a jukebox in a dimly-lit bar on the side of a highway, as you hear the crack of a pool table in the back. “I See You”, a 180 bpm track that ups the album’s pace significantly, ends with classic-blues style triplets that conjure images of American muscle cars doing burnouts. The tracks “Please” and “Sister” employ the use of gospel-inspired call-and-response and hymnal organs, making you feel as though they should heard on the church bench. Ones to Keep Close sounds like the embodiment of American life and culture heard through the lens of music. As you listen to Linaberry’s latest album, think about what feelings the music invokes for you and how that could be a reflection of your past.

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[Alternative/Rock] Sunflower Bean – Wall Watcher

Sunflower Bean
Wall Watcher

Manhattan-based Sunflower Bean has caught our attention with their latest single off their debut album Human Ceremony. Describing themselves facetiously as “night music” in their bio, the track “Wall Watcher” indeed sets a perfect tone for the cool kids jammin’ in the moonlight in an indie daze on your local street corner. You would just want to be their friends. Very reminiscent of the all-hailed Joy Division, the drums in this track give this song an edgy English rock flare. And with the title of one of New Order’s best hits in their album name (“Ceremony”), we’ll really never be able to get away from that comparison. Blessed with some rock-goddess vocals mixed with the perfect amount of reverb, the lead singer adds a delicate touch to the otherwise grunge-y tune making it a great listen for most any ears the entire time. Keep up the good work, Sunflower Bean. We’re looking forward to seeing where this album release takes you.

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[Indie/Rock] Wild Beasts – Woebegone Wanderers II

Wild Beasts
Woebegone Wanderers II

Contrary to what their name evokes, Wild Beasts continue to be some of the smoothest and softest songsmiths around with unreleased track ‘Woebegone Wanderers II,’ which was premiered on Jon Hopkins Radio 1 this week.

Recorded around the time of their last release, Present Tense, which was quietly one of the best albums of 2014, the song is a continuation of ‘Woebegone Wanderers’ which appeared on the British group’s debut Limbo, Panto way back in 2008.

After gently swirling around the space in your head in that signature brooding Wild Beasts style for around two minutes, ‘Woebegone Wanderers II’ dissolves into echoing glitter for the final third, floating off until you inevitably drag it back down for yet another listen.

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[Indie] Misterwives – “Our Own House” [ALBUM REVIEW]


In an indie music scene becoming more and more saturated by the week, it’s becoming more important than ever to stand out amongst your peers, both sonically and professionally. Some rely more on marketing than talent to get by (and are generally well-known) while some may be the next great thing but can never find an audience. It’s very rare to find a combination of the two, and Misterwives may be TMN’s favorite of the bunch. They have built a wonderful strategy to build up a genuine, organic fanbase from the bottom up and are making all the right moves to stay in the spotlight for years to come. And when the fans come to their intimate, yet explosive, live shows (which we’ll get into later), this New York quintet puts their talent where their mouth is and rocks out. On their debut album, “Our Own House”, they quickly turn the heads of anyone who wasn’t yet on the hype train.

From start to finish, this album is one wild ride you won’t want to get off of. The album starts off with the title track and while it takes a bit to build up, the energy carries on through the next five tracks until we reach “Coffins”, our personal favorite off the album. Absolutely gorgeous harmony work that would make even Lykke Li blush. From there on out, it’s all euphoria to the end of the album in “Queens”. In all honesty, this album is like a cracked out lovechild of Matt & Kim and Monsters & Men and we couldn’t love it more.

If you like what you hear and you live in the US, chances are you’re in luck. Misterwives are kicking off their own national tour this week and stopping on both coasts and everywhere in between (If you’re at the Columbus show and recognize me, I’ll buy you a drink. A full list of tour dates can be found here and don’t forget to pick up “Our Own House”, out today!

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[Indie Rock] ISLAND APØLLO – Miracle

ISLAND APØLLO
Miracle

Newly monikered indie rock outfit ISLAND APØLLO has administered an attack with new single ‘Miracle’. The release of their self-titled EP is expected February 17th and this release shall be the anchor for a successful run. Residents of the Orange County area, the five-piece excites with danceable pop rock reminiscent of Capital Cities. This record fuels us with a healthy chorus full of horns and a lengthy bridge. Join them in Santa Ana, CA on February 21st for their EP release show at the Constellation Room, tickets here. Free CD’s to everyone at the show. Be sure to also check out their first single ‘Lion Eyes‘ and their live acoustic version of Arcade Fire’s ‘Deep Blue’ for Orangewood Guitars.

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[Indie Rock] Owenstone – Summer Lane

Owenstone
Summer Lane

Los Angeles based indie rockers Owenstone are offering a glimpse into their upcoming EP with “Summer Lane.” Better yet? You can snag a free download right now.

Contemporary and carefree, this one could easily top your mid-summer play counts. Picture it billowing out over the ocean from the radio deck of a classic convertible cruising down the highway.

After a leading riff of pulsating, infectious rhythm guitar, prepare to be immersed in blissful, dreamy wanderlust. Frontman Nathan Owen’s vocals meander gently between the layers of melody–melody laced with coastal vibes, clasped to rivulets of strings that tether it aimlessly to both blacktop and countryside. A solo, redolent of sitar, adds timelessness to the contemporary–sealing a spot on my summer go-to playlists for years to come.

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Talking Good Music and Vibes with Aer [TMN Exclusive Interview]

Aer Photo 3

’Aer – Says She Loves Me’
’Aer – Won’t Laugh’
’Aer – Spades, Clubs & Diamonds’

The most innovative artists are often those who transcend and challenge genre constraints. Over the last couple years, Boston-based Aer have shown an admirable disregard for categorization, steadily building a following with their sunny, style-fusing sound. Today marks the release of Aer’s sophomore album, an appropriately self-titled project that truly captures their essence. From start to finish, Aer feels like the young duo’s most cohesive project to date, progressing their sound and narrative to a new level of maturity. I was lucky enough to chat with the guys behind Aer, Carter and David, and found them to be full of good vibrations, just like their music. Stream a few tracks above, check the interview down below and make sure to head to grab the album HERE.

TMN: Let’s start at the beginning. I know you met in high school and were part of a larger band back then. I was curious, what was the name of your band and what kind of music were you playing when you first started?

Carter: We were called Moken Airwalk, which is kind of funny, because some people are trying to draw the connection that we took the name Aer from Airwalk, but it was unrelated. We were a 4-piece band—it was vocals, guitar, bass and drums. The music was heavily influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers so it was kind of like smooth melodic rock, but we also had a lot of hard funk.

TMN: Tell us a bit about your progress and growth in the last few years and how things have changed since the inception of AER. 

David: The focus hasn’t really changed at all. It’s still been about us enjoying, growing and sharing our experiences through the music. But what has changed is just the amount of fans has grown and it’s crazy to see that. To go to these shows in different parts of the world, even now like in Europe, to see fans come out is incredible. To me, that’s really the only thing that feels like it has changed. We still work with the same people; we still have the same team from the get-go and have just been building on top of it.

TMN: One of the things I love about your music is how hard it is to categorize. How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard it before? What kind of genres would you include?

Carter: I alway just try and tell people to listen to three songs and then make their own definition because it’s definitely hard like you said. But I always include, in no particular order, the words alternative, rock, hip-hop influence, reggae and some pop aspects too. If I had to compare it with some artists, I normally say Black Keys, Kid Cudi, Sublime and maybe Slightly Stoopid all in a big pot. Stir it all up, serve it up, put some butter and maybe some sauce on top, and see how you like it after that.
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