Jukebox the Ghost’s third album Safe Travels marks a period in the band’s career that’s steeped in change, both personally and professionally. Relationships dissolved and crumbled. Loved ones passed on. The band themselves relocated from Philadelphia to New York City and played over 200 shows since the release of their last album in 2010. In the midst of so much change, the band spent months in the studio creating what would become “Safe Travels”, a record that represents a shift in the band’s creative trajectory.
“It felt like the music was finally growing with us — Songs that relate to who we are as people right now, not who we were when we were 19 or 20,” Siegel said. “This record is more heartfelt; part of that came from not worrying about exactly what kind of music we were supposed to be making and instead just working on songs that felt genuine and natural at the time.”
Safe Travels, at its core, represents three people going through universal life changes — A way of coping with how quickly things can turn around, for good and bad. And though it’s clear their sound and outlook have matured to addressing some darker subject material, their brand of upbeat pop still remains intact.
“We’ve always been the kind of band that juxtaposes darker lyrics with upbeat music, but this record feels a little more personal,” Thornewill said. “In the grand scheme of things, it’s certainly not a downer record but you need pain to get joy, and joy to get pain; they’re inseparable.”
Bolstered by an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, an appearance at Lollapalooza, and extended opening tours with Ben Folds, Guster, Adam Green and Jack’s Mannequin, the band has acquired an incredibly loyal (and sometimes rabid) fanbase since the release of 2008’s “Let Live and Let Ghosts”. Over the years, Jukebox the Ghost has maintained a tour schedule that most bands would balk at, playing over 150 shows a year and becoming a well-oiled, high energy live band. This summer, the band embarks on their biggest headline tour to date after performing at Bonnaroo on the album’s release weekend — Their Bowery Ballroom show in June has already sold out two months in advance.
“Safe Travels” also marks the first time that the band had been afforded unlimited studio time. The sessions took place in Brooklyn, with their friend Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, Jenny Owens Young) producing and engineering. The result is a collection of 13 songs that finds the band maturing both musically and lyrically. The band was also able to work with a string section for the first time, which gave Thornewill the chance to flex his compositional skills and formal classical training.
They’d be the first to admit that their previous two records had a charming, “hyperactive” quality about them, but you don’t get that sense here. There’s a balance between the peppy piano pop of songs like the album’s upbeat opener “Somebody”, the bouncy synth-pop of “Oh, Emily” and the radio-ready drama of “Don’t Let Me Fall Behind” to more poignant, contemplative songs in the album’s second half that represent the band’s desire to travel into new sonic territory.
“In the past Ben and Tommy sometimes wrote from various fictional perspectives” says drummer Jesse Kristin, “but the songs on this album feel closer, more personal, and steeped in actual life experiences.”
This creative shift is best exemplified by “Dead,” “Adulthood,” “Ghosts in Empty Houses,” and “The Spiritual” – songs that deal with death and mortality head on, with an immediacy that was masked on previous albums.
“Adulthood” was initially a difficult song for Thornewill to perform. Written before his grandfather’s death from lung cancer, the line “In my lungs I still feel young” was painfully prophetic and the overall message that “from adulthood, no one survives” became all too real. “Dead” approaches a similar theme with understated elegance. The song begins with Siegel’s innocent, boyish croon over a ghostly drone and builds into a climax with post-rock ferocity entirely new to the band’s catalogue.
“Even though we’re tackling some difficult themes this go-round, we’re still a band that wants people to feel good,” said Tommy. “We’re the same upbeat band we’ve always been, but we’re firm believers that pop music can have depth.”
Ask Brooklyn’s Jukebox the Ghost why their third album is called ”Safe Travels,” on a surface level, it’s likely they’ll tell you about a song by Austin’s Red Hunter, who performs as Peter and the Wolf. The song, from his 2006 album ”Lightness” became something of a mantra for the band. ”Since we’re always in new cities and away from the people we love, that song really hit home for us,” said Ben. “It was a song that represented saying goodbye.”
On “Safe Travels”, Jukebox the Ghost manages to contrast these darker themes with the same optimistic sound and a familiar sense of youthfulness that stays true to their core.
Ben Thornewill: Piano/Vocals
Tommy Siegel: Guitar/Vocals
Jesse Kristin: Drums
Seth Kallen: Guitar/Backup
2007, "Jukebox the Ghost EP"
2008, "Let Live and Let Ghosts"
2010, "Everything Under the Sun"
2012, "Safe Travels"
Consequence of Sound Gives Safe Travels 4 out of 5 Stars
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Grief and hopelessness are viruses, slowly destroying our spiritual immune system in preparation for...Grief and hopelessness are viruses, slowly destroying our spiritual immune system in preparation for our grand shuffle off this mortal coil. Their sudden onset can be too much to handle, leading to illnesses like cynicism and despair. In the midst of a devastating viral outbreak (represented as breakups and the death of a parent and grandparent), Philadelphia power-pop trio Jukebox the Ghost recorded their third album, Safe Travels. With these 13 tracks, the lads fought against the onslaught of life, death, and maturity with the greatest medicine of all: unceasing optimism.
On Safe Travels, even the band’s purely fluff cuts are much stronger. Album opener “Somebody” is like a more even-keeled leftover from Everything Under the Sun, with the infectiousness centered around a simple piano and pulsating guitar, the perfect complements to the song’s simple message of companionship. “Oh, Emily” sees them hone their sound further, taking a familiar concept (apologizing to a girl whose heart you’ve smashed) and adding layers of regret under the chugging instrumentation and vocalist/guitarist Tommy Siegel’s aw-shucks performance. Where once there was slight hokiness, the shouting harmonies and personal lyrics (“I’m lost at love with everyone, and now’s as good as any place to start”) are flawed and organic.
On the surface, “Man on the Moon” is their most quaint and adorable track to date, with Siegel’s boyish croon reaching maximum cheek pinch-ability. Still, the song works because of just how cute it becomes. It’s just after the knockout punch of hazy instrumentation and comparing yourself to the man on the moon that the feeling of isolation sneaks in. Once it’s inside, though, it’s not a destructive force. Instead, that pain and incompleteness are life-affirming, keeping life as the focus as you ponder your insubstantial existence in the great black void.
Still, the bite of “Man on the Moon” is nothing compared to the vicious combo of “Dead” and “Adulthood”. The latter’s most valuable addition to the album’s emotional and narrative arcs has everything to do with what it doesn’t do. Increasingly joyous waves of cheery, vaguely operatic piano are unleashed, with the listener instinctively waiting for the band’s musings. What comes, though, is neither depressing nor reaffirming, with singer/pianist Ben Thornewill summing up maturity by stating, as matter-of-factly as possible, that “from adulthood, no one survives,” indicating this is our last phase before we’re worm food. Thornewill’s tone leaves it up to the listener to react, either with dread and despair or a dedication that you’ve got plenty of time to perfect being an adult.
Rather than dress up a heartbreaking topic with shimmery sounds, “Dead” infuses a charming concept with hallowed instrumentation. The protagonist of the cut explores life after death, curiously wondering what happens next. What could be overdone, borderline Goth-y, is sweet because it all builds to our ghostly hero imploring the Powers That Be not to make life have meaning or to give us peace in the afterlife; instead, he offers a simple prayer that we all “deserve a unique exit from this world.” Throw in the slow-building rumble of crashing drums and arena-rock guitar, and it adds a sheen of increasing desperation to our hero’s request. The shift in dynamic is a much-needed break and gives the album a moment to reset for much bigger things to come.
You can’t really appreciate the power of the band’s unceasing smile in the face of doom without seeing them at their most devastated. To achieve that end, the band offer up the profoundly uncharacteristic “Devils on Our Side” and “The Spiritual”. The former relies solely on Thornewill and his piano. Already known for gorgeous vocal performances, Thornewill’s newfound level of comfort with his voice lets him forge notes and tones that are as perfect and fragile as crystal, eventually melding with the piano to create an otherworldly harmony. Lyrically, it’s the perfect vehicle for their ponderings on the power of death’s finality, with Thornewill musing, “What’s the use of lying?/The truth itself will speak volumes when we’re dying.” Hope and pain, optimism and doubt swirl together for a heartbreaking experience.
The album’s emotional journey reaches its climax in “The Spiritual”. Though not the album’s best cut, it plays out like a funeral hymn (which the band reportedly performed at drummer Jesse Kristin’s father’s ceremony), offering a sense of finality and closure. But that serenity doesn’t involve metaphysics or philosophy or existentialism; it’s understated, delivered from a place of exhaustion, as if the boys have said their peace and just want some quiet. It pulls back the last remnant of their shiny veneer, revealing not suffering but a dignified calm.
And that’s all you can do in life: keep your head up as the Universe perpetually rains down sorrow. As far as accomplishing that goes, Jukebox the Ghost have won the war, if only temporarily.
Essential Tracks: “Dead”, “Adulthood”, “Devils on Our Side”, and “The Spiritual”
AV Club Reviews Safe Travels
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Itinerant art-pop trio Jukebox The Ghost—which has been based in D.C., Philadelphia, and now New Yor...Itinerant art-pop trio Jukebox The Ghost—which has been based in D.C., Philadelphia, and now New York—is one of those bands so full of ideas and hooks that at times they come off as a little too eager to impress. The band’s two songwriters are pianist Ben Thornewill and guitarist Tommy Siegel, who sound equally inspired by Ben Folds, Fountains Of Wayne and Queen. On the first two Jukebox The Ghost albums, this resulted in songs loaded with complex harmonies and dense lyrics, often at the expense of clarity. But just when Thornewill, Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin seem too mired in mini-suites, they come across with a song as perfect as “Somebody,” the fiendishly catchy track that opens the band’s third album Safe Travels. From its faintly world beat rhythms to its sticky chorus and multiple soaring bridges, “Somebody” is the kind of feel-good single that deserves to dominate the radio all summer. It justifies all of Jukebox The Ghost’s past overcranked diddling.
On the whole, Safe Travels is a more direct album than what the band has done before. The ’70s-style disco strings of “At Last,” the childlike sing-song and wiggly synth break of “Say When,” and the urgently anthemic overtures of “Don’t Let Me Fall Behind” are all meant to move people, either by cheering them up or by sympathizing with their troubles. Much of the music on Safe Travels is peppy and bright, but the subject matter of songs like “Dead,” “Adulthood” and “Ghosts In Empty Houses” is fairly serious, dealing with losses big and small. While Safe Travels still gets overly busy and bombastic at times, and while Thornewill’s and Siegel’s songwriting can still come across as overbearing, the potential is always there: Not just for another unbeatable winner like “Somebody,” but for little beams of light to come breaking through the clouds, illuminating the clutter.
Safe Travels Scores a 7.7 in Paste Magazine
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With Safe Travels, Jukebox the Ghost has learned to let go completely. The New York-by-way-of-Philly...With Safe Travels, Jukebox the Ghost has learned to let go completely. The New York-by-way-of-Philly trio has made a modest name for itself out of catchy, clever, girl-on-the-mind pop, but omnipresent pressure and tight control of their craft has poked some holes in their first two angsty, insightful albums. So they changed addresses, shifted focus and voila!—a third record founded on liberty, melody and fraternity. While previous releases proved their potential, the addictive ambition of Safe Travels issues mainstream radio a call to action: We dare you not to play this.
The timing here is fantastic. Maybe even poptastic: Just in time for summer sun, Safe Travels is all wandering verses, passionate pleas and legitimately happy percussion. Unafraid of jaunty piano and unleashed from traditional guitar rock, the guys betray a truly unexpected, if expertly selected, series of influences: From Billy Joel territory (“At Last”), they treat listeners to Death Cab For Cutie (“Dead”), Keane (“Adulthood”) and Ben Folds (“Everybody Knows”) alongside a strange and falsetto-friendly blend of the Darkness and Weezer ("Somebody”). It’s like they made a statement of being young, and it’s clear they enjoyed doing so.
Throughout the 13 songs (and as many aesthetics) of Safe Travels, the guys prove significantly smoother than their band name, if occasionally academic. Flexing no shortage of crafty songwriting, they make sad sound positively upbeat: “Oh, Emily, you’re a funny girl / I didn’t mean to break your heart.” These are lessons learned in maturity and embraced with flexibility, the point of "Oh, Emily” being sure, our break-up is ugly, but not as ugly as if we’d chugged on through it.
And to prove their elasticity, they also make sad sound absolutely devastating: “What if there’s always been a tiny hole inside my heart leaking very, very, very, very slowly? / And if you’re dead, how do you know you’re dead?” With its slow sweep of cymbals, “Dead” stretches and expands, channeling god and self across four minutes of atmosphere to become the album’s strongest salute to youth. Yeah, it hurts. It hurts a lot. But sometimes it hurts really nice.
NPR's All Songs Considered
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March 31, 2008 - If School House Rock morphed into an actual band, it'd be Jukebox The Ghost. A gro... March 31, 2008 - If School House Rock morphed into an actual band, it'd be Jukebox The Ghost. A group of graduates from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Jukebox the Ghost makes erudite rock that's playful and incredibly catchy. The songs are largely piano-driven pop affairs that leap cheerfully from track to track with a youthful innocence that's infectious without being overly earnest. The band's first full-length album is Let Live & Let Ghosts.
Jukebox the Ghost is a trio featuring Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin. Dynamic chemistry, raw talent and polished skills are the key ingredients to Let Live & Let Ghosts. Thornewill's piano work and spirited songwriting marry brilliantly against Tommy Siegel's grainy guitar style. Even without a bassist, Thornewill adapts the piano rhythmically against Jesse Kristin's punchy drumming.
Let Live & Let Ghosts opens with "Good Day," a quirky and surrealist exercise in wordplay set against playfully clever instrumentation. "The song describes an imaginary 'street' that you could live on and place all your loved ones, dead and alive, as close or as far away as you like," says Thornewill. "A street that eliminates the boundaries of time, distance and nature."
The trio has been building momentum since selling out their first headlining show in their hometown Washington, D.C. earlier this year. The group says more "firsts" are yet to come, including a tour abroad in late spring, and filming a music video.
Washington Post Album Review
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MANY INDIE ROCK bands start small, with a lo-fi single or a handful of crummy-sounding MP3s. Not Juk...MANY INDIE ROCK bands start small, with a lo-fi single or a handful of crummy-sounding MP3s. Not Jukebox the Ghost. The D.C. trio decided not to hold back on its debut long-player, "Let Live & Let Ghosts." With music that's dynamic and often delightful, if sometimes a shade too theatrical, the band demonstrates ingenuity to match its ambition. "This is not a test/It's the real thing," not one but two of the album's songs credibly assert.
Ben Thornewill's piano defines most of these tunes. Like many piano men who turn to rock, Thornewill has classical chops and cabaret tendencies. "Victoria" isn't a Kinks cover, but it does recall that band's music-hall ditties. (Originally dubbed the Sunday Mail, Jukebox the Ghost has an affinity for British baroque-pop bands.)
Sung either by Thornewill or guitarist Tommy Siegel, the songs are mostly about love or the end of the world, and render each subject with equal conviction. But music this ebullient is ideally suited to the giddiness of infatuation, which makes "Hold It In" the album's exemplary track: Piano, rhythm and voice all scramble to convey the run-on emotion of "maybe I'm in love and, baby, it's starting to tell."
Jukebox the Ghost Goes to the Zoo!
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In between two headlining gigs in New York City this weekend, Jukebox The Ghost found time to spend ...In between two headlining gigs in New York City this weekend, Jukebox The Ghost found time to spend some intimate time with a different type of crowd – those with a little bit more hair, an odd odor, and not much to say in return. On Sunday afternoon, the indie trio from Washington, DC ventured up to the Central Park Zoo for the first time in seek of a different kind of animal collective, where kingdoms are clear and jeans, I mean genes, are worth discussing.
There aren’t many bands that I would consider taking a trip to the zoo with. In the mass amounts of children and tourists, I wondered if perhaps we were all a little too old to be chasing after polar bears and ducking into rain forests. But what made the day ideal, and what makes Jukebox The Ghost one of the more promising bands I’ve recently discovered, is that they aren’t afraid of accessibility. At one point, lead singer and pianist Ben Thornewill pointed out a red panda to a small child. Did she yell and scream at the sight of a budding rockstar in front of her? Nah. The recent grads who’s debut EP has brought many-a-smiles to a growing fanbase, are in a word – likeable, and it doesn’t matter if they are on stage or at a zoo.
I wasn’t quite sure if the day’s trip would yield a safari-themed album in the near future, but I think Jukebox’s love for animals grew after an initial indifference. Only drummer Jesse Kristin would fess up to which animal he was most excited to see (the aforementioned red panda), and provided interesting animal factoids throughout the day. Did you know that the sloth is related to the anteater, or that the red panda is in fact most closely related not to a panda, but to the raccoon? Me neither. And while Jesse was spitting out tidbits of information, vocalist and guitarist Tommy Siegel was making pop culture references to Calvin & Hobbs. I noted that if Tommy and Calvin were animals, they’d be in the same animal class—their resemblance is almost uncanny.
And while polar bears and puffins and penguins (oh my!) were all enjoyed by the three, the llama in the children’s petting zoo seemed to be the highlight of the entire day. “Do you guys not see the llama,” Tommy exclaimed as we were walking towards the pen. “We get to feed the llama!” All three quickly whipped out some change for food and said hello to the statuesque animal in front of us. I’m pretty sure Jukebox The Ghost made a new fan at the Central Park Zoo that day, to which they commonly referred to as “guy.” Of all the animals he seemed most intrigued by the group in front of him. However, when asked what his favorite song off the new EP was, “guy” the llama was too shy to respond. Ah, animals – so spotty sometimes.
The late afternoon brought in the rain and we decided it was time to depart the little oasis within the city. The band’s show that night at Rockwood was a couple hours away and after a late set the night before, rockstars and monkeys alike need their rest once in a while. Look out for their debut full-length to be released sometime this fall, and keep close watch whether any inspiration came from a four-legged muse. Who knows, maybe the joked about “zoo tour” will actually become a reality. If any band could pull it off, and still win over hipsters, children, and animals alike, it’d be Jukebox The Ghost.
Catch the Buzz - Jukebox the Ghost
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Who? With undeniably infectious hooks and never-boring pop formulation, D.C.-born, Philadelphia-base...Who? With undeniably infectious hooks and never-boring pop formulation, D.C.-born, Philadelphia-based three-piece Jukebox the Ghost rekindle the communal, sing-along pop styling of '60s FM radio with their excellent debut full-length, Let Live and Let Ghosts.
Boasting an array of influences (notably Ben Thornewill's training as a classical pianist), the guitar, drum, and piano outfit get hands clapping and pipes shouting in unison on everything from cheery verse-chorus-verse ditties to dreamy multiple-movement miniature rock operas. Jukebox the Ghost is a refreshing reminder that the lighthearted electricity of a fantastic pop song is still filled with live wires.
Recommended if you like... Ben Folds Five, Weezer, the Decemberists, the Rocket Summer.
Their latest: Let Live and Let Ghosts, out now via the Rebel Group.
Don't Miss this Band
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DC's Jukebox the Ghost are an extremely entertaining piano-pop trio that writes cleverly optimistic ...DC's Jukebox the Ghost are an extremely entertaining piano-pop trio that writes cleverly optimistic songs. Their music gives off an aura that vaguely resembles happiness. Imagine!
Upon first listen to these guys you will probably think two things (depending on how in touch with the '90s you are); "Ben" and "Folds." It's true that singer/piano player Ben Thornewill shares strong vocal similarities to that other Ben's tenor. And, of course, it doesn't quell comparisons when they're both piano men. But Jukebox the Ghost probably lean a little more towards the dramatic flair (a la Queen) than Folds did (or does?).
People go crazy for these guys at their shows. Maybe you will, too?
Daily Texan Album Review
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"You'll Like it if you like: They Might Be Giants, Ben Folds" I'm a sucker for the piano. As muc..."You'll Like it if you like: They Might Be Giants, Ben Folds"
I'm a sucker for the piano. As much as I love Guitar Hero and as awful as I am at playing the actual guitar, there's nothing like hearing a great melody on the ivories. This would explain my fascination with the term "piano-driven rock," even though it's relatively useless phrase that PR companies often apply to any band that features keys, whether or not the piano is prominent in the music. Nevertheless, if I see that label, you can bet I'll be giving it a listen.
That's what made me listen to this week's selection. According to the lovely folks peddling Jukebox the Ghost's Let Live and Let Ghosts, not only is it piano-driven, but it's also "infectiously groovy." (You had me at "infectious.") As excited as I was to hear this "piano-driven masterpiece," in the back of my mind there was still a worry that it would end up being a knock-off of The Fray, and I would subsequently be required to stab myself in the eardrums.
That was far from the case. When the album opener "Good Day" kicked off, I knew it was going to be a good day. Highlighted by a classically influenced piano line, the song is pure indie pop genius: Think old Shins and with a little more production and instrumentation. Because the tune was so good, I was too scared to immediately listen to the rest of the album for fear of it being awful and shattering my early perception of the Washington D.C. trio. I finally got over that minor mental speed bump and continued onward.
The highlight of the record is "Beady Eyes on the Horizon," a tense, dramatic track that plays insanely well, sort of like an indie epic, if you will. If there was such a thing as progressive indie-rock, this is the track of record, the perfect example of the genre. Perhaps my favorite part about the album is that the band understands the idea of selecting a musical theme or feel to flesh out during the course of the album. It's not a concept record, but all the tracks play on practically the same wavelength, enforcing the group's sound without ever becoming repetitious.
ALERT: Ladies and gentlemen, we have found our first official diamond in the rough. Let Live and Let Ghosts is an amazing album, full of so much happiness and energy that you can stop going to Starbucks for your morning kick in the pants, and just let the music take care of those adrenaline problems for you. The vocals are extremely similar to Ben Folds, but with more flair, a la Queen. Vocalist Ben Thornewill's piano playing reflects his classical training without turning the tunes into indie-Beethoven. Folks, this is a five star album, and if you're one of those people who likes to know about bands before the rest of the world, you need to acquire Let Live and Let Ghosts. Jukebox the Ghost is on the verge of something magical.
Put Another Dime In
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When everybody I know who's ever seen a Jukebox The Ghost gig informed me that the band has a Ben Fo...When everybody I know who's ever seen a Jukebox The Ghost gig informed me that the band has a Ben Folds-esque quality to their music, I'll admit, I was a little nervous. Not that I didn't enjoy Whatever & Ever Amen like everybody other alt-rock lover in the mid-90's but I've never really fallen for his style of piano-driven quirkiness, completely.
Good news is that while Jukebox The Ghost definitely does have a Ben Folds influence (perhaps it's the keyboardist and his jaunty stage antics), the DC 3-piece also has an acerbic feel a la Stellastarr* or even, since we are talking about DC, a tinge of Fugazi. The band cites Queen, Ben Folds Five, Apollo Sunshine, Tally Hall and Muse as their musical models. I guess you'll just have to listen and judge for yourself. While the band does seem like it could get the ever-popular 'buzzworthy' tag on VH1 (I guess that's good or bad depending on how you look at things), there's undeniably something about Jukebox's tunes that's instantly appealing.
The 40-minute set included tunes about the end of the world, the beginning of relationships and everything in between. Finally something decent (excluding Exit Clov) to come out of The District! It's been a while; especially since the demise of Q And Not U, Black Eyes and D-Plan (RIP, all those great acts).
Jukebox the Ghost Live @ Piano's!
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It's been a while since I've latched onto a band. Okay, that's a total lie. It happens on a regular ...It's been a while since I've latched onto a band. Okay, that's a total lie. It happens on a regular basis, but I'd like to pretend that it's much more special than that. Because, in truth, it actually is. At least for me. See now that I'm super busy all the time (trust me, I'd rather have the opposite) these posts will be less regular but when I do post, do know that they are worthwhile. And this is one to take note of.
Let me introduce you to this band named Jukebox The Ghost. They are from DC. They are a trio. And they will make you happy. Not just "whew this is fun," no sir. This is what I listen to every single morning on my way to work to ensure I have a good day. Because when you are listening to Jukebox The Ghost, every thing just seems so dandy.
I love pop music. This is no surprise to anyone who knows me. I like songs that are memorable, bands that put on a good show, and music that is different but accessible. Jukebox The Ghost fills that niche just perfectly. Their piano driven vaudeville act is creative and cool, like a hip Ben Folds, or a Rufus correlated into something concise, authentic, and sweet. For every sing along there's a surprising change of pace, and for every happy-go-lucky note there's an unexpected lyric. Each turn and twist you go through with this band is worthwhile. Because in the end? You absolutely adore them.
This is, after all, only hearing a handful of songs. But trust me, I think I've listened to them enough times to understand that I really like this band. And the more I hear, the more I will love them more.
So come out on Saturday, at 8 PM sharp at Pianos and let me introduce to you your new favorite band.
Live DC - Jukebox the Ghost w/ Ra Ra Riot
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...Jukebox the Ghost probably hate comparisons to the Ben Folds Five, but it is hard to avoid, simpl......Jukebox the Ghost probably hate comparisons to the Ben Folds Five, but it is hard to avoid, simply because of their set-up—electric piano(s), guitar, drums, complex arrangements that build from quiet harmonies to rocking Queen-like climaxes, and a frontman who’s cute enough to make a VH1 Top 10 Sexy list. It’s unfair, since a spate of other influences ensure that they aren’t derivative, and more importantly, they’re a lot of fun. Like it or not, the attitude of a band’s fans says a lot about the performer, and when dozens of hands shot up to clap along with Ben Thornewill in the very first song, they won me over instantly. I don’t mean that he stopped and made us all clap at some breakdown, it was just a split second where the people that loved that song participated in the concert without prompting, just because they could. Man, that’s a good metaphor for the way rock shows bring together individual fans of records from isolation into a cohesive audience, I hope I can remember it tomorrow!
Anyway, I was thinking that JtG had a touch of the funky stop-and-start chorus thing that Mates of State does, but the guitar solos manage to make the songs rock like the John Henry-era They Might Be Giants too. And then, Lo and Behold, they whipped out a cover of Birdhouse in Your Soul cranked up to a 70s glam-rock level. DC needs more bands that inspire Sing- or Clap-alongs rather than the Stand-still-muse-ats.
The band can play sets ranging from 30 minutes to two hours.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.