Joel Jerome At Origami Vinyl, Saturday January 17th 2015
‘I record all the time. old stuff, new stuff, covers, and everything else. i record with friends but mostly by myself. recording music is my thing,’ wrote Joel Jerome on his band camp page, whereas I read a LA Weekly article about him a few months ago, proclaiming him the behind-the-scenes indie king! It is the really the case, many local bands, such as Cherry Glazerr, La Sera, Globelamp, Tashaki Miyaki, and Sarah Negahdari from Happy Hollows, have recorded with him, as he basically produces young artists associated with the Manimal, Burger and Lolippop labels, but since he is a humble guy, he prefers to say he records bands because he is ‘just there to guide them and help them make it happen, help them get the best they can out of themselves’.
I knew him as the mastermind behind dios (malos) a band which was around a decade or so ago, then I saw him with his Babies on Acid, but I kept missing him as just Joel Jerome, his new and simpler moniker. He was on the bill of a few shows I went to, but his set was so late I unfortunatelydidn’t stayed, then he played at Amoeba and I missed him again for some reason. But I knew about his talent for sweet harmonies and Beatles-que melodies, so I drove to Origami Vinyl on Saturday night where he had an in-store.
I arrived when he and his band were doing a long soundcheck, with lots of vintage organs and guitars, and I watched head way up, as the setting at Origami is always a bit strange, musicians play in the mezzanine and people break their necks to watch them. As soon as they started, the store filled with lush Brian-Wilson-inspired psychedelic soundscapes, injected with a few Harrison-like warm layered guitar riffs, and even a Doors-Manzarek organ solo on a song or two. I know, it’s a lot of big names, but this is the thing with Joel, you hear these influences but his music sounds new nevertheless.
He released ‘Psychedelic Thriftstore Folk’ last September on Manimal and this may just be the beginning of a very prolific year, as he picked the 12 songs among a stock of 240 or so recorded songs! His musical excursion in 60’s-70’s tainted nostalgia and dream-pop psychedelia soaked in reverb, reminded me sometimes a bit about Chris Owens’ work with Girls, as he is someone who was able to digest so much great music of the past only to regurgitate it as his own retro and trippy soundscape. I had a big smile when he played his psych 60’s hymn-like ‘Everybody Wants Somebody’, just before he explained there was even a big sax solo on the record. Like several other songs he played, the harmonies, the melody felt both familiar and astonishingly fresh, distilling a warm and familiar nostalgia of musical genres.
He said in an interview he will be re-recording a lot of dios stuff because he ‘was never really happy with any of it’. The songs will be released in a series of EPs titled ‘dios on dios’, and should I also say he recorded ‘When Beck Was Cool’ a few years back, a series of great covers of old Beck songs. Joel Jerome never stops recording and he writes sweet, odd and sensible songs, wearing their influences on their sleeves but so sincere and revealing such a big heart that they will put a large smile on your face.