by Jeff Milo
...out on the road, for Jamaican Queens, even if their hygiene's taking a hit.
More on the inherent risks of van-life (as the trio wrapped up their Midwest/east-coast tour with Lightning Love) after you dig their new single...their debut single, actually, from the forthcoming full-length: Worm Food
Listen: - Jamaican Queens - "Kids Get Away"
An arresting trundle of hip-hop-tinged booming beats shuffles under ardently strummed acoustic guitars and that unmistakable yowl from former Prussian-pop-proclaimer Ryan Spencer creaks a kartwheel from lower rasp to higher nasal slaloms between bombastic plumes of whizzy-wheeling synth gysers.
Yes, this is the first song off the first album by this pair of songwriters (with Adam Pressley and kicked-forth by the live kit-work of Ryan Clancey), but Pressley, who recorded this pair of songs in his Ferndale studio suggests listeners shouldn't take it as an indicative stylistic road map.
"We're not out trying to find something earthy and digital or anything," Pressley said from a New York coffee shot last weekend. "We wanted to make something that had a consistent sound palette and the acoustic guitar was just the piece of the puzzle that pulled it together."
Switch over to side two, the cover of My Bloody Valentine's "When You Sleep," and there's just nothing acoustic about it. "I was just attracted to that vocal melody," said Pressley (the one, if you're wondering, facing away from the camera).
"That (orignal MBV recording) is basically an R&B song with waves of noise and dissonance over it, if you strip that away and rearrange it a little this could be like a Beyonce song."
The shows, opening for Lightning Love as the Ypsi pop-trio pushes the Blonde Album, their recently released 2nd album, have, for the most part, Pressley said, been going quite well. There's inevitable duds or band squabbles, but sharing a van and sharing special intimate moments of exhilerating vistas from atop DIY-loft-venues of the midnight skyline of the glittery-busle of downtown Chicago laid out before you, have lead the bands to bond.
Pressley's blunt when he says that touring just ain't what it used to be, in terms of rewarding results. It's still worth it, in the end, and Lightning Love's tour has exposed them to a new fan base. He and Spencer are both grateful for the chance to flex their legs again on tour, with this new band. But it's rougher out here in post-Internet-world. "People introduce themselves to new music via blogs; the Internet is the new venue that bands are playing. I feel people going out to an event that's musical these days is usually gonna be to go dancing for a DJ, that's become the new rock band. That's okay; especially for us becuase we are an electronic-oriented band, we're adaptable to that."
It's the recordings, be it Blonde album or "Kids Get Away" that stay... For Pressley, with recording (music) admittedly his "number one passion," he sees this "Internet-effect" as emphasizing the attention that
laptop-set-blog-buzzing listeners will pay to the recorded efforts. "You can play a show and totally mess up or whatever or it might be better than any recording ever made but it just happened that one time and only the people-there got to share it. But recordings are forever. I always concentrate on making those as good as they can be because that will never change, recording's the most important thing."
Then there's Van-life, ...rough...as always. "Touring is the least healthy thing you can do, at least the way that I personally treat myself on a tour," said Pressley, recalling his numerous runs with former IL-based quirk-pop outfit Ohtis and, later, Prussia. "I'm getting little sleep in the least comfortable places, smoking more than I normally do, drinking every night, eating the shittiest food and even then not eating as often as I should..."
This tour's no acception on that front, Pressley assures. "But at the same time, if I were doing this at home, being as unhealthy as I am now while just, ya know, being-back-home, I'd feel way worse, cuz it would mean I woudln't be doing what i wanna do: which is playing music."
Jamaican Queens - (Ryan Spencer on vocals/guitar/bass, Adam Pressley on bass/vocals/guitar/sequencer/synth and Ryan Clancey on percussion).
Performing this Friday 9/15 @ D.I.Y. Street Fair (in the Loving Touch - 12:15 a.m.)
Full line up of DIY
musical performers HERE.
Performing Sunday Night -outside on MT's main stage is Passalacqua - a group/performance hinted to be the featuring slot for this year's "big surprise..." (ala Insane Clown Posse/Charm Farm from 2011)
They've got a video that's almost ready to be viewed... until then, there's this taste of debauchery: