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Artist of the Month
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September 2016
Them Jones
"A Mountain of Nonsense
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Philly rockers Them Jones craft far-out riffs and psych-drenched anthems, reviving and reinventing soundscapes reminiscent of the Age of Aquarius on their new LP A Mountain of Nonsense.

 

Beginning with the steady buzz of “Mended All Made Clean,” the five-piece's efforts make one take notice, as reverbed screams and gritty cymbals collide with satisfying repetition and impassioned diction. As if filling the narrative chasm between Mikal Cronin’s “Gone” and Ty Segall’s “Inside Your Heart,” Them Jones’ album opener sinks deep into the hearts of listeners without pretense or apology. “Hollow Man” captivates in a similar fashion by teaching its audience patience as atmospheric dissonance gives way to melodic guitar and harmonized vocals that paint a glaringly relatable portrait of a man with “wounds to mend.” A deliciously contemplative downer, the track is as haunting as its namesake suggests. Soon after its end, the infectious tempo and throbbing beat of “Outburst” fills the silence, switching the mood of the album from the musings of a contemplative loner to the pulsating heart of an unabashed romantic.

 

The bluesy growl of “One of These Days” casts a spell on its own terms, making the most of initially sparse but precise instrumentation, before blooming into an audible homage to the genre’s predecessors as well as its current greats. Furthered by “Acute Mountain Sickness Blues” and the addictive hook of “Honeytrap,” Them Jones prove that their metaphors are as memorable as their ability to shred. As the album progresses, the dreamy melody of “My Heroine Pretends” suitably precedes the delectable swagger of “Well Enough Alone,” which serves as the perfect prelude for the introspective depth of “Jennifer, My Plastic Girl” and “The Shrinking Violet Light,” which resurrects the candidness of Jay Reatard and the poetic genius of The White Stripes pre-De Stijil.

 

Ending with the delectably menacing “Now I Become Death” and trippy glory of “These Canyons,” A Mountain of Nonsense should be considered quintessential for any music lover. Them Jones’ official debut LP is well-deserving of heavy rotation and adoration. - Dianca London

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scene blog

The Deli Philly’s April Album of the Month: Dope Boy Magick - PO PO

The Deli Philly’s April Album of the Month: Dope Boy Magick - PO PO

The fuzz is strong with this one.

PO PO’s Dope Boy Magick sounds as if it’s being transmitted through a cloud. The debut full-length of once brother trio-turned-solo project of lone remaining bro Zeb Malik is a collage of outcast-rock past, with influences culled from goth, punk, and even witch house, but as its grungy bass crunch and oodles of reverb blur the borders between styles, the record becomes a sort of “Variations on Alienation for Drum Machine and Distorted Guitar."

I swear this is a good thing. For one, the murky hiss covering each track makes the jumps between creeping electro and squalling garage seamless, not to mention exciting. Malik is an expert appropriator, casually flipping between riff-heavy acid sludge (“Dnt Wnt U, Jst Wnt It All”), raucous surf (“Bummer Summer”), and pristine electro bliss (the phenomenal “Let’s Get Away”), making the record lively and unpredictable, like a mixtape for the counterculture.

It’s also mesmerizing; the reverb on these tracks distorts Malik’s whine to the point where he’s not communicating in words but in a wash of vowel sounds, and the dejection he’s able to convey with a sigh recalls the perpetual disaffection of Bradford Cox. Like Cox, Malik is able to settle comfortably over a noise record’s various faces, flying over Magick’s more interactive first half and becoming another texture on its subtler but-no-less excellent second. He almost disappears in the hypnotic rhythms of the final four tracks, adding the haunting echoes in “Sik Sik Sik” and becoming a droning hook for “POPONGZU.” This section ends the record on a baffling but tantalizing note. These tracks are some of the album’s most realized, and when “Teen Dreamz” slyly slinks away, it feels like a fitting end to such an elusive record.

I say elusive because Dope Boy Magick keeps its audience at a distance. There’s a tangible apathy here. On “Dnt Wnt U, Jst, Wnt It All,” Malik sings, “I fuckin’ love you,” but he doesn’t sound like he’s going to do anything about it. He’s not interested in action. His record’s bare-bones, catch-all ethos encourages thoughtful, meditative listening, and all that haze he provides seems to lend itself to smoky, dimly lit rooms where everyone’s on too many substances to do anything but gaze blankly and bop along. My advice? “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” You can purchase Dope Boy Magick via Mad Decent. - Adam Downer

PO PO - "Teen Dreamz / Let's Get Away" from stereogum

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