- Take Me To The Sea - - 2008-08-19
- Jaguar Love EP - - 2008-06-03
|Take Me To The Sea
Aug 19, 2008
"The beauty of Jaguar Love is how they manage to compose songs so intentionally vicious, strange, and manic, and yet totally hook-driven." --Seattle Times
"'Bats Over The Pacific Ocean' is an amphetamine-raging alt-country anthem, marching to an over-excited acoustic strum/snare beat, while Whitney waxes nostalgic and abstract
in his inimitable wail. Can't wait to hear the album." --Exclaim
For over a decade, Johnny Whitney and Cody Votolato were members of the Seattle aggregate The Blood Brothers, a band whose immolation of the hardcore blueprint and a forward-in-all-directions aesthetic gained them a league of ardent fans. As a member of Pretty Girls Make Graves,J Clark brought noise, texture and pop sensibilities to three albums before the band adjourned two years ago.
When The Blood Brothers went out on what would be their final European tour, Clark accompanied the band as a stage tech. As stress fractures were becoming apparent in the Blood camp, the three struck up a friendship, a “new rocking alliance”, if you will. Eschewing such antiquated concepts as the farewell tour, posthumous releases and specially designed commemorative laminates, singer Whitney and guitarist Votolato began writing songs in the spring of 2007, and were soon joined in the new venture by multi-instrumentalist Clark.
“Jaguar Love was a name we could all agree on,” Whitney says. “We wanted to find a name that had a positive feel without being corny.”
Whitney describes the winter 2008 recording sessions for Take Me To The Sea as “insular and liberating.” In addition to their respective roles, Whitney contributed keyboards and Votolato played some bass. But for all intents and purposes, Clark was the ship’s captain, playing drums, bass and keyboards, as well as supervising all of the recording, mixing and engineering for the disc at Seattle’s Two Sticks Audio (producer John Goodmanson was called in to assist with recording the drums).
When new groups are spawned from the members of respected ones, the results can be somewhat tenuous (ask any aging prog-rocker who bought that first Asia album). Sure, as Blood Brothers, Whitney’s idiosyncratic vocals were jarring and exhausting, while Votolato generated six-stringed righteousness that seemingly channeled Greg Ginn, Captain Beefheart or Andy Gill (sometimes all in one song). Likewise, Clark's guitar and keyboard work lifted Pretty Girls past expected 'indie' signifiers. With resumes that are completely above reproach. It was essential that Jaguar Love find a balance between their new music as well as reconciling listeners’ pre-conceived notions of how said music should/could sound.
“I think anytime anyone approaches a new record by any group of musicians expecting it to be similar to a previous recording, they are setting themselves up for disappointment,” says Whitney. “Yes Jaguar Love is much different than any Blood Brothers or Pretty Girls Make Graves records, but there are going to be some inevitable similarities. We definitely set out to write some songs with pop sensibilities, as opposed to the unhinged quality of our previous bands. When you listen to songs like ‘Jaguar Pirates,’ ‘Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers’ or ‘Vagabond Ballroom,’ we haven’t abandoned [our past] entirely.”
“Over the years, I feel like I've simplified everything with each new song I write,” reflects Votolato on finding freedom in dialing things down a few notches. “It’s really fun to be able to write in a traditional way. I'll probably always wig out a bit, but I really like simple guitar playing and chord progressions. ‘Bonetrees And A Broken Heart’ and ‘Georgia’ are good examples of songs that are little more on the traditional side of things.”
Take Me To The Sea's 10 tracks are bracing and alluring, and as surreal as they are anthemic. The opening chugger, “Highways Of Gold,” was one of the first songs the trio ever wrote, successfully navigating the rails between speeding-ticket frenzy and perfect pop forever. “Bats Over The Pacific Ocean” was Whitney’s take on a folk ditty, but when his bandmates got on it, the tune was transformed into the amphetamine-abusing great-grandson of the Moody Blues’ “Question.” The Votolato-initiated “Vagabond Ballroom” will sound great alongside such neo-classic-rockers as the Mars Volta and the Raconteurs. Clark’s Hammond and hard-drive powered “Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers” ponders a world where Joe Cocker’s classic Mad Dogs And Englishmen cavalcade returns from the past to share a train ride with Daft Punk.
Now, looking over that last paragraph, there are several classic-rock references, one techno mention and one unapologetic rendering of the word “pop.” If that mélange of musical touchstones doesn’t convince you that Jaguar Love are writing their own rulebook, you must think gas prices are coming down and Jesus is on her way back. As much as they’ve grown as musicians and friends, Jaguar Love are all about ripping off the rearview mirrors and going forward at top speed; something they’ll gladly show you later this summer, when they hit the road augmented by guitarist Craig Bonich and keyboardist Jessie Nelson, both on loan from funky Britpop warriors Head Automatica.
47 minutes after you’ve been taken to the Sea, you gotta wonder: Are J-Love distancing themselves from an underground scene that often champions the mediocre? Are they rocking with a clean slate? Do these things even matter when the music is so thong-twitchingly good?
“We’re not reacting to anything,” says Whitney calmly. “We wouldn’t couch what we do in terms like that.”
Come to think of it, neither should you.
|Jaguar Love EP
June 3, 2008
Like a phoenix from the ashes, Northwest supergroup JAGUAR LOVEfeatures guitarist Cody Votolato and singer Johnny Whitney from the Blood Brothers, along with J Clark from Pretty Girls Makes Graves (guitarist then, now drummer, multi-instrumentalist and producer).
However, the story is very different. After relocating to Portland from Seattle, these ferociously creative and once-noisy musicians have now added incredibly catchy melody to their songwriting. Votolato's crazed Japanese electric 12-string guitar parts remain as intricate and Beefheart-esque as ever, but Whitney has turned his scream to Bolan-esque glam. Result: Pop music. Of a sort.
Having just completed their debut album, JAGUAR LOVE bring you the mother of all tasters. The JAGUAR LOVE EP includes two album tracks"Highways of Gold" and "My OrganSounds Like…" as well as the non-LP "Videotape Seascape" (on the CD version only).
The debut album Take Me To The Sea* follows on August 19.
JAGUAR LOVE will be playing several European festival and club dates throughout June and July, before returning to the US for extensive US touring in the late summer and fall. (http://www.matadorrecords.com/tours
News From The Matablog
The (cough) executive branch of Matador Records and Filmworks will be attending South By Southwest in Austin this week, and while the label isn't putting on a huge gig of our own, we fully intend to gatecrash everyone else's (this is not, btw, an solicitation for invites to sundry booshit showcases -- we already run the risk of missing bands we're nuts about, such is the overload over 4 nights). However, two members of our glittering roster will be making offish festival appearances : SHEARWATER - 1am Friday, March 20 18th Floor, Hilton Garden JAGUAR LOVE - 8:45pm, Thursday, March 19, Beauty Bar (I Heart Comix) In addition, Shearwater will be performing at Mojo Magazine's annual BBQ (Saturday afternoon, Mean Eyed Cat) and Jaguar Love will be playing the MySpace/Blacksheep Fellowship party at the Cedar Door (201 Brazos Street) on Thursday afternoon. Neither of those shows are officially sanctioned SXSW events and as such, you'll not need a badge or wristband to attend. If you're looking for more fun things to do in Austin this week, the venerable Showlist is one of the better sources for (relatively) accurate / up-to-date info regarding shows, parties, etc. that won't require SXSW credentials (or in many cases, an admission fee).
Jaguar Love stopped by Hot Topic HQ last Fall to record this session in the corporate cafeteria and proceeded to blow the roof off the place. Watching this performance brings me back to last August when the following secret communique arrived from Matador head honcho Chris Lombardi post HT meeting:Our meeting was in "the chamber" there were gargoyles and flaming towers in the reception area, it was like "am I at Ozzys house?" the reception desk was an embalming table and the ceo walked out with her dog "count woofenstien" or something like that ...you guys have NO idea... Where have we gone what have we become.. I'm gonna go get a tattoo or become a "cutter" now....lightly slice my limbs away.. Anyway mtg was good they upped their order from xxx to xxxx, they want any merch we have a la stickers postcards or download cards, they were wondering if the band would be available to play the managers mtg in oct and the video is gonna go in rotation at the 200 or so stores that have that capability...the record is also going into in-store play at all 700+ stores as matt said. I told em we want hot topic to OWN this band.... Ok I'm going coffin hunting ....later. CLJaguar Love out on the road again this spring, below dates in support of OK/Go March 20-San Diego @ House of Blues 21-Anaheim @ House of Blues 24-Santa Cruz @ Catalyst 25-San Francisco @ Great American Music Hall 27-Portland @ Wonder Ballroom 28-Seattle @ Chop Suey
(J, Cody and Johnny wishing a GWB a fond farewell. Sort of.) OK, a couple of club dates in the middle of some massive festival gigs on the NiN-headlined Soundwave clusterfück. If you're attending one of the latter, be sure to say hi...as it's gonna be a loooong day. Saturday, February 21 Brisbane - Soundwave, RNA Showgrounds Sunday, February 22 Sydney, Soundwave, Eastern Creek Fairgrounds Monday February 23 Campbelltown - City Hotel with Minus The Bear and Straylight Run Thursday February 26 Melbourne - NEXT! with Minus The Bear and Straylight Run Friday February 27 Melbourne - Soundwave Festival, Melbourne Park Saturday February 28 Adelaide - Soundwave Festival, Bonython Park Monday March 2 Perth - Soundwave Festival, Steel Blue Oval
Our spring Intended Play label download sampler was a huge hit, so we're doing it again. Just like before, you get a track from one of each of our current and upcoming releases. Seven of the tracks have not been released on MP3 yet, and four of those are from albums that haven't been released yet. The sampler this time is a bit more varied musically, from A.C. Newman's jewel-like pop songscapes to the majestic neo-punk of Fucked Up to the gorgeous female vocals of Jennifer O'Connor to a track from Lou Reed's painstaking, thoughtful, first-ever performance of his controversial classic album 'Berlin.' We also introduce an unreleased song from Pavement's 'Brighten The Corner' sessions, due out on the deluxe edition of that album in November. Click on the link to get a zipped file of all 13 tracks plus front and back artwork, and burn it yourself (or just listen to it digitally). And support the bands and the label... if you like the track, click on the album title link below to buy (or preorder) the album (or more individual tracks) directly from us.
Intended Play Fall 2008 (zip file)Track listing: 1. A.C. Newman There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve (from Get Guilty, due out January 20) 2. Belle and Sebastian The State I Am In (BBC Version) (from The BBC Sessions, due out November 18) 3. Jennifer O'Connor Here With Me (from Here With Me, released August 19) 4. Shearwater The Snow Leopard (Remastered) from Rook, released June 3) 5. Lou Reed Caroline Says, Pt. II (Live) (from Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse, due out November 4) 6. Mogwai The Sun Smells Too Loud (from The Hawk Is Howling, released September 23) 7. Fucked Up No Epiphany (from The Chemistry Of Common Life, released October 7) 8. Jay Reatard An Ugly Death (from Matador Singles '08, released October 7) 9. Jaguar Love Humans Evolve Into Skyscrapers (from Take Me To The Sea, released August 19) 10. Pavement Cataracts (from Brighten The Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed., due out December 9) 11. Brightblack Morning Light Oppressions Each (from Motion To Rejoin, released September 23) 12. Times New Viking Call & Respond (from the Stay Awake EP, released October 14) 13. Condo Fucks What'cha Gonna Do About It? (from Fuckbook, due out March 2009)
"Jaguar Pirates" - from the LP/CD 'Take Me To The Sea'. I saw Jaguar Love do-their-thing Saturday evening in the sweaty confines of Austin's Emo's Lounge, and fine though that performance was, a tip of the hat to videographer Jasten King for compiling footage from a recent L.A. show and giving the uninitiated a nice sub-5 minute crash course in this fantastic band.