Download your copy of Jimkata’s new album
“Ghosts and Killers” HERE
Jimkata pleasantly surprised me with their first studio album, “Burn My Money,” and I have been a big fan ever since. I have yet to hear any negative buzz regarding the Ithaca-based quartet (Aaron Gorsch– Keys/Guitar, Packy Lunn– Drums, Evan Friedell– Vocals/Guitar, Dave Rossi– Bass) or their album- surprisingly, no brainless bashing on Phantasy Tour. I have heard only praises from listeners, caught a couple of great shows in NYC (at Sullivan Hall) and at Camp Bisco 9, and noticed their fan base expanding outside of New York. I think the success of their first album comes from the band’s willingness to release it as a free download online, with the option for fans to donate. It may not initially cover the costs of making an album, but Jimkata has gained invaluable support from new fans and old friends. The band’s newest release “Ghosts and Killers” will be available on September 9th, also as a free download- but if you can, donate to show them some love.
“Ghosts and Killers” is a concise 6-track album that can easily be listened to twice in a row. Comprised of only one new song (“Chalice III”), the other five are songs the band has polished on tour over the years. The album has been dedicated to the memory and spirit of Guitarist/Keyboardist Aaron Gorsch’s mother Amy Gorsch, who passed away this summer after a battle with cancer. It was produced by Matt Saccuccimorano and recorded this summer at Electric Wilburland Studios in New York. Perhaps the most striking aspect of both Jimkata releases is the impeccable production. Saccuccimorano is capable of taking a young band’s music and making it sound big time. A listener can zero in on any sound they want; every instrument is cleanly recorded with no one part drowning out another. There is noticeably more drum processing on “Ghosts and Killers” and the album is a lot less about the low end.
Many older, influential bands in the Jam/Electronica scene have reached the pinnacle of their careers, and even I find myself irritated with how much work it is to be a fan, and fight off the temptation to be a hater. Jimkata is my breath of fresh air; hard working, highly accessible and unflinchingly positive. “Jimkata’s lyrics delve deep into emotionally dense aspects of the American human experience,” said Rob Uslan (Supersillyus), “But whether it be love, death, or merely just grasping for the remaining breaths of life to prevent our unfortunately imminent social and economic collapse, Jimkata keeps reminding us that life is too important to be taken seriously.” Not to mention that their manager, Russ Friedell, is one of those guys in the music industry that would encourage even Hunter S. Thompson to get involved. After an impressive followup, I’m already anticipating Jimkata’s next full length album.
Track by Track Stream of Consciousness:
1. Ghosts and Killers: The album kicks off with with Aaron Gorsch’s arpeggiated keys, which sound like The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” Friedell’s vocals start off high but within his range. I love how he can handle switching from low to high notes so often. There is a lot of Rock n Roll influence in this track. Short and truncated play from the bass, drums and guitar which provides a nice effect. I think Gorsch’s backup vocals are soothing, and he is a nice compliment to Friedell, who does most of the belting out. (3:59) Some wild glitch sounds blanket the main synth line and trail off to near silence. The band enters at the end to round out the song together.
2. Concrete Breakdown: “Be sure to tell ’em Large Marge sent ya!” The song starts with a strange sample from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, pretty catchy, hah. Lulling intro building up to a solid downtempo groove that sounds great with Friedell’s vocals. Rossi’s basslines in this song are intimidating, which works well with the song’s uncompromising message. “And fire, hot fire, burns you down. It shakes and breaks and takes the town. And all the lies that tie you down, we’ll break them.” Packy’s drumming is speedy. I like the high hat but the snare hits could be a little cleaner. The bridge sounds like an alien beacon drifting across space, with a lot of old school Moog modular bleeps. The final frontier steeze. I’m excited to get down to this one at a show.
3. Feed: The song begins with a sound like a bicycle bell being looped. During the verses, they seem to be going somewhere with a message regarding the country’s financial sector: “Big man’s got a big agenda, feed the bottom line and rise to the top.” But I can never really connect with the confusing lyrics- nothing sticks out to me. The chorus isn’t one of my favorites, because I’m not a fan of the electro pop style synth. Friedell seems to be trying too hard to sing the chorus in a high pitch. Once they start to jam after the second chorus, I am much more intrigued as things get slightly weirder. Cool synth pad atmospheric sounds that slink in nicely, slow guitar, hollow bass beats and Packy going to town on the cowbell! As the song speeds back up, the synth and guitar go for one of their wild runs where you can picture fingers flying across keys and strings.
4. Devil’s in the Details: One of the more lyrically driven songs, with an almost Pop quality. Of course Jimkata, even at their Poppiest, have intelligent Electronica and compelling lyrics to back them up. “Riding through the valley, tonight I’ll turn my car into a bed,” sings Friedell, “And when I see sunshine I hope it lifts the fog right off my head. Because the devil’s in the details in your head, and the thoughts that create the world around you, the things you love and the things you dread.” I really dig the reference to crashing in your car on a road trip, and the mountainous imagery. “If dust and rust cover my skin and I just let it settle in, will you shake me up?” The song fights against inaction and encourages the listener to accept agency to overcome their troubles. Obviously, I’m into that and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
“Devils” opens with a cool electronic chime sound, like you were just warped into a video game. The band’s ability to add swirling layers to songs is most evident in their slower tracks. I love Gorsch’s choice of synth and guitar tones to accompany Friedell’s voice. Rossi plops fatty bass atop a wild array of blips and smashes. I’m not the biggest fan of electronic drums but Packy is able to play them in a way that adds an extra element to the song without losing that organic drumming touch. Sounds like a Roland 808 80’s drum machine (3:07). Probably one of the most hilarious and random breakdowns ever, as the song stops suddenly and they drop a familiar sample from The Dave Chappelle Show… CHARLIE MURPHY!
5. Roll with the Punches: The hypnotic play between guitar and percussion in this song is dope. Friedell’s vocals are becoming much more versatile. I like the emphasis he puts on certain words and syllables while singing. “And who bought the news? And who bought the radio? Because they don’t play good songs no more. And who bought the information that sells so well on the TV station. Lord, cus the truth went out the door.” I sure do love when a band who’s music I am into can also get me thinking deeply about some questions I am asking myself. I may sound like a broken record regarding their lyricism, but sometimes good music can do that to you.
The song’s bridge allows Jimkata to explore some of their familiar psychedelic riffs, leading up to one of their better peaks, where all the members throw it down to build it up. This track has a very exuberant quality to it. Cool sing-along towards the end that I’m sure are a crowd pleaser. “No prison guard can tell me where I can’t go, I’m gonna roll with the punches ’til it gets old.” This idea of being free, even though we may not live so free, is badass.
6. Chalice III: What must be the third part in a series of “Chalice” songs (“Thy Maiden’s Chalice Book One/Book Two”) that begun in their album “Burn My Money.” These songs progress like a story with “Chalice III” as the climax. “III” kicks off with a repeating clean ass sci-fi synth progression, with Packy Lunn tapping out a marching band-style subtle beat. There are some phantasmic vocals singing “whoa whoa”– not sure if they are Friedell’s voice with effects or not. If there was a dance party taking place in an epic futuristic story, the characters would probably be getting down to something like this. Dramatic breakdown that sounds like some sort of serious battle between the human race and the robot uprising. Heavy powerful bass and drums. Fairly menacing synth sounds during the breakdown that transition well back into the beginning sequence.
Fall Tour Dates:
9/9 – Ithaca, NY – The Haunt – CD Release Party w. Black Castle
9/10 – Poyntelle, PA – Meeting of the Minds Festival
9/11 – New Paltz, NY – Cabaloosa – w. Timbre Coup
9/16 – Utica, NY – Utica Music Festival @ Saranac Brewery
9/17 – Greenfield, MA – Wormtown Music Festival
9/18 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Putnam Den – w. Capital Zen
9/23 – New York City, NY – Rocks Off! Boat Cruise – w. Brooklyn SoundLab
10/29 – Oneonta, NY – The Oneonta Theatre
Be sure to check out my review of Jimkata’s first album “Burn My Money” HERE