Wednesday October 17, 2012
Los Angeles indie-pop supergroup JJAMZ have just premiered the new lyric video for "Suicide Pact," the title track from their critically acclaimed debut album. The clip is a black and white found footage affair featuring the upbeat song's melancholy lyrics in both English and French. "Suicide Pact" is the third single from the album, following "Never Enough" and "Heartbeat."
Created by director, Eddie O'Keefe, the footage in "Suicide Pact" was pulled mostly from fifties and sixties teen delinquent b-movies. "I'm a big fan of that cinema sub-genre and so most of the footage was pulled from my own collection of exploitation nonsense," says O'Keefe. "A few sequences were taken from anti-drug public service announcements as well; stuff you might have seen in health class in 1959."
JJAMZ, initially started as a break from each member's respective bands, is comprised of Maroon 5's James Valentine, Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes' Jason Boesel, Phantom Planet's Alex Greenwald, The Like's Z Berg, and Michael Runion.
Time Out New York called Suicide Pact "the year's best indie-rock record, full of sticky tunes, chewy guitar textures and some excellently icy vocals." The band will appear at a handful of showcases this weekend for CMJ Music Marathon in NYC, and will then kick off a run of fall dates including Boston, Washington, Philly, Chicago.
The band will close out the tour in Los Angeles with a special performance at The Troubadour on November 7th with Mini Mansions supporting. Tickets for the show are available now on Ticketfly.
Suicide Pact is available now on iTunes via Dangerbird Records.
First things first. Itís pronounced Juh-Jamz. Like you have a stutter.
JJAMZ. Why do we feel like we already know them? Is it because James is the lead guitarist for the always radio ready Maroon 5? Jason the drummer of indie institutions Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes? Alex the singer/writer/guitarist from Phantom Planet and Mark Ronsonís solo records? Michael a beloved musician/artist/designer? And Z the leader of LA girl gang The Like?
No? Not ringing any bells? Maybe it's because this is how you feel when you hear something at once fresh yet familiar. Like you've accidentally dialed up next yearís radio. This is what happens when five Best Friends come together to play music for no other reason than the joy it brings and the refuge it provides. After years and years of playing in their own bands, to varying degrees of success (James has Grammys, Jason was once nominated for a Woodie), they realized the absurdity of never having joined forces, and set out to right that wrong.
The resulting effort is their debut album, SUICIDE PACT, an offering as honest and personal as you might expect from people that have had each other's backs (and occasionally been at each other's throats) for the last 10 years. Only friends this close could provide such a rewarding synthesis of disparate musical tastes, coupled with perilously revealing lyrics; it's as if Rumours were recorded by My Bloody Valentine, Fiona Apple sang Heart of Glass, or Andrew W.K. wrote Saturday Night Fever. This mix of accessibility and surprise stands as JJAMZ' greatest asset. You knew that James had great guitar chops, but did you know he can make a racket? Jason is every indie fan's favorite drummer...but he loves disco? Alex is a classic front man, but he's also a consummate musical director, at home on every instrument. Michael writes beautiful, intimate song-poems with big choruses. As for Z... well, whatever your preconceptions were of Z, you're only half right...or wrong.
One might think the album's morbid title suggests compositions suitable for seances and animal sacrifices, but that's sadly not the case. Listeners will find heart wrenched narratives chronicling the dreams and desires common to youth (NEVER ENOUGH, SUICIDE PACT), Club Jams for the Thinking Man (HEARTBEAT, SQUARE ONE), and fun, potential summer anthems (LAX, CLEVERLY DISGUISED) that will make people want to drive around topless (Their car's top, obviously. Stop blushing). In fact, if there were a dance club that played intelligent, musical, lyrically driven songs that you return to again and again, Suicide Pact might populate the entire playlist.
So there you have it. It's not the most unusual story. Best friends making music. Happens all the time. Yet, when listening to this collection of songs, you can't help but sense something else at play, something beyond the driving rhythms and lifting melodies. It becomes clear that this is as much a testament to their powerful songwriting as it is to their equally, if not more, powerful friendship. This band, this de facto family, has made a Suicide Pact. It also happens to be the name of their record.