Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The family that plays together...

Just over a month ago I expelled a little verbiage on the latest album from singer/songwriter mainstay Jeremy Morris, who's been pumping out a bevy of pop-centric records since the '80s.   These days, collaborations are more his thing, as was the case with 2016's Hit You With a Flower, credited to The Jeremy Band.  Increasingly, Jeremy doesn't have to stretch out very far for willing collaborators, as a flock of them live under his own roof and share his surname.  Some of his offspring have even spun-off with their own tune savvy pursuits.

The Lemon Clocks, for better or worse, are not models for what I've spelled out above above, as the lineup entails Jeremy and couple of unrelated chaps, Todd Borsch and Stefan Johansson.  This retro-fitted trio are unabashed purveyors of '60s psychedelic and Brit Invasion rock, tossing in just about every trippy indulgence of that era into the fray, save for a theremin.  Tones of the Byrds, the Hollies and Syd-era Pink Floyd all waft their way into the Clocks intoxicating elixir, uncannily sounding like the genuine article.  The band's second album,Time to Fly dropped in 2015 and is a doozy.

Jeremy's son Peter doesn't put on any throwback airs, instead embracing a more contemporary motif via his trio Cardboard Highway.  Their full length debut, Reach, commences with "Washboard," a downcast, but melodic post-punk stunner that allures with a tingly guitar bit and gets exponentially better by the second.  Death Cab For Cutie wishes they still had the chops to produce something this visceral.   The remainder of the oft atmospheric Reach ebbs and flows, albeit not as consistently persuasive as the aforementioned "Washboard."  Nonetheless Cardboard Highway have all the corrugated components in place for a sturdier second act. 

The Glowfriends charmingly twee moniker belies a considerably more pensive and sophisticated modus operandi.  Those acquainted with this Kalamazoo, MI collective will no doubt speak of their dreampop tendencies, but on their fourth disk, Gather Us Together, the distortion factor is dialed back, instead eliciting a similar tact to the Spinanes and '90s Yo La Tengo.  Helmed by Jeremy's daughter April Zimont (alongside brother Mark) The Glowfriends resonant indie-pop ranges from placid to playful, eschewing any of their chosen genre's tricky pretensions and hangups, resulting in their most rewarding and accomplished foray to date.  Highly recommended.

...And we come full circle with the man that literally helped make all of this music a reality.  The Jeremy Band's All Over the World, is a re-visitation of Mr. Morris' back pages, the bulk of which were tracked live in San Diego, 2013.  Alongside his erstwhile chums Dave Dietrich and Todd Borsch, World is a family affair with the touring version of The Jeremy Band expanded by next-of-kin Peter, Mark and April.  Touching on back catalog favorites like "Pop Rules" "I Want to be With You" and "Chain Reaction," with a couple new ones sprinkled in, the record makes a solid case for Jeremy's near-lifelong tenure and functions as an ideal place for neophytes to grab an earful.

All of these titles and more are available straight from the source at Jam Records, where you can sample all the album's herein discussed.  Have at it!

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