Fresh Lumber: Tobias Jesso Jr., Diamond Rugs, Bop English
Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon
While Tobias Jesso Jr. could technically qualify for our International Scouting category – hailing from Vancouver – I thought better to include him as some of the freshest young lumber to hit me this year. I first heard Jesso when a mini-feature made by La Blogotheque was making the rounds late last summer. Set in a dimly lit Los Angeles bar housing the afternoon’s regulars, it immediately made an impact. There was a starkness and poignancy that reminded me of John Lennon. Yet, there’s the self-effacing lightness of Randy Newman. I immediately started circulating it with my friends.
Jesso released Goon earlier this year, one of the more anticipated debuts I can remember. With streaming music services offering so much new music every week, I’ve gotten over the anxiety of waiting for new albums to be released by veteran artists. But Jesso’s debut is one I looked forward to for a good six months. And it was worth the wait.
Find in iTunes: Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon
Diamond Rugs – Cosmetics
Chalk up this find to the Rdio New Releases “Scroll scroll scroll stop point click” method. Diamond Rugs is a technically a super group, composed of members from bands I’ve never delved into terribly much – Deer Tick, Black Lips, even Los Lobos. Fortunately I didn’t know this going in, since super groups can have a negative connotation. The fewer the preconceptions, the better. I think Diamond Rugs eschews preconceptions as well, as they simply cut to the chase.
Cosmetics, recorded old-school on 8-track tape, sticks to a rambunctious rock path, paying homage to those that came before them. Many of the riffs are quickly reminiscent of Mike Campbell and Tom Petty, Crazy Horse’s albums sans Neil Young and even Dire Straits. I interpret the overt influences as completely intentional, representing the resurrection of a rock formulas that never went out of style – and never will. But the execution, energy and sequencing is certainly all their own. And Cosmetics is a damn good time as a result.
Find in iTunes: Diamond Rugs – Cosmetics
Another stumbled-upon new release find on Rdio, Bop English brings a completely fresh energy and production to the day. Hyper retro beats, soulful funky synths, and snazzy guitar lines had me coming back on a daily basis. And after a few listens I could’ve sworn this was coming from England. But, nope, Texas.
Bop English is the solo debut of White Denim’s James Petralli. Admittedly unfamiliar with White Denim, I found out that they are a ZZ Top meets Thin Lizzy outfit from Austin, Texas. The song construction with both bands is immaculate and immediately gratifying. Though I think I prefer Petralli’s Bop English. Bonus feature: Petralli can sound a bit like Jemaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords, which adds some humorous undertones.
Find in iTunes: Bop English – Constant Bop