Aaron Jentzen
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Aaron Jentzen

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter

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Music

Press


"New Sounds: Aaron Jentzen"

Assured and determined, Aaron Jentzen drifts through a soundscape built from scraps—both instrumental and atmospheric. Jentzen's voice at times summons the spirit of Ian Curtis, Nick Cave and other vocalists whose voices are often deep and shrouded in shadows. But while the influences may slip through at times, Jentzen is an artist in his own right, and his voice sits just right within the songs, his lyrics cutting a path through the music as he peers over ledges and into the depths where life often leads, offering detailed sketches of the people living in his words. (4 stars)
-- Eden Munro - VUE Weekly -- Edmonton, Alberta


"Aaron Jentzen (Feature)"

Jentzen takes risks on this record, fusing instruments, styles, and production techniques in unconventional ways and topping them all off with a heaping dose of his mellifluous, droning voice. Amidst the hoopla of genre jumping, it is this voice that is probably Jentzen’s most unique asset.
-- Nicole Rappin - The Cut, Carnegie Mellon University


"CD Review"

Musically, Jentzen hews toward a baroque Pop/Gothic New Wave pulse with a decidedly Indie Rock shimmer, like a dark chocolate swirl of Bauhaus and Joy Division for historical authenticity, The National for modern perspective and a dollop of Michael Penn for bittersweet counterpoint. Vocally, Jentzen is every bit as compelling as his music — and that’s an accomplishment — as he weaves his baritone into a hypnotic charm that’s reminiscent of Peter Murphy and Iggy Pop at their most romantic and seductive.
-- Brian Baker - Cincinnati CityBeat


"CD Review"

Jentzen’s voice is steady and assured in the lower registers, and his brand of pop isn’t exactly orchestral, but it's heavily layered in a multi-instrumentalist's dream. It’s intentionally textured throughout and completely thought-out.
-- Gordon Lamb - Flagpole -- Athens, GA


"Jentzen reinvents himself (Feature)"

Best known locally as the former frontman for Chalk Outline Party and music writer for City Paper, Jentzen steps out on his own with the five-song EP "Great Inventors," produced by Eckert with an elegance that calls to mind not only Joy Division but Brian Ferry, The National and Nick Cave.
-- Scott Mervis - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


"Collaboration has its benefits for Aaron Jentzen"

"Great Inventors" is immediately striking because of Jentzen's vocals, which resemble Curtis' by way of his distinctive lower register. But Jentzen's music differs from Joy Division; it's lush, fleshed out, elaborately constructed and filled with surprises.
-- Rege Behe - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


"Rockin' Reviews:"

"the music has unique character that allows the listener to be effortlessly swept up in the song. Jentzen's lyrics require concentration to fully understand their depth ... his songs can be transformed into an entire musical experience if listened to in the right mindset."
-- Colleen Ferguson - The Globe, Point Park University, Nov. 19 2009


""Great Inventors" turns criticism into craft"

"... a theatric, atmospheric approach to instrumentation and mixes in the pop sensibility of '80s indie rockers like The Smiths. Making use of everything from synthesizers to bagpipes, Jentzen at times creates a multifaceted wall of sound in which his drawling baritone naturally fits."
-- Shawn Klocek
- The Duke, Duquesne University, Nov. 12 2009


"Hot Picks"

"Aaron Jentzen ... makes lush, atmospheric, expansive pop epics reminiscent of The Church and the American Music Club."
-- Mike Machosky - Tribune-Review, July 27, 2009


"Aaron Jentzen, “Great Inventors” and “Magnetic West”"

I wholeheartedly recommend you go to Aaron Jentzen’s reverbnation page by clicking here if you love “elegaic baritone” (as his webpage puts it). He reminds me of everything I love about Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, and Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National). And similar as his voice is in general style to these guys’ it’s still got a distinctive spectacularness that makes him a must-listen in his own right.

His overall sound to my ears is closer to The National than any of the other influences his website cites. In particular, “Magnetic West’s” crisp acoustic guitar and beautiful cellos (played by Cellofourte) really could have fooled me had you simply told me I was listening to The National. And if you do not know why that’s a serious compliment to be compared to The National, then quite simply you must not be familiar yet with this album. And you should really remedy that ignorance of one of the best albums of recent years.

(Full disclosure: I know Aaron Jentzen. Fuller disclosure: I’d just as enthusiastically recommend his music to you if I didn’t.) - camelswithhammers.com, philosophy and culture blog


Discography

Self-titled debut album -- out Fall 2010

"Great Inventors EP" -- Nov. 2009

With Chalk Outline Party:
Unreleased recordings -- 2007
"Psychic UK" single -- 2006
"A Plan Lost in Dreams" EP -- 2004
"New Tracks" EP -- 2004
"Shiny Penny Things" EP -- 2003

Photos

Bio

GREAT INVENTORS EP out now

-- Produced by Todd Eckert, best known for CONTROL, the award-winning 2007 biopic on Ian Curtis and Joy Division, directed by Anton Corbijn

-- Recommended if you like The National, Nick Cave, Scott Walker, David Sylvian, Leonard Cohen, The Church

-- Debuted at #9 on national Underground/Specialty radio charts

-- European mini-tour dates: June 2010

-- Current projects include original soundtrack music for Ride to Hell, a video game coming next year. TV placements pending with MTV and other networks.

-- EP release includes press mailing to regional and national media outlets and specialty radio servicing by Notorious Radio.

BIO
Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Aaron Jentzen’s solo works are cinematic avant-pop, sung in an elegiac baritone, offering echoes of Scott Walker and Nick Cave, alongside qualities entirely new and his own. With spare arrangements built upon lush drones and atmospheric textures, his style bridges underground rock, folk and minimalist composers, Scottish traditional music and art-pop, whether he’s backed by a full band, a cello quartet, or solo.

Jentzen grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan — land of shuttered auto plants, universities and Iggy Pop — the oldest of seven brothers and sisters. Obsessed with Scottish music from an early age, he traveled all over the U.S., Canada and Scotland, playing in bagpipe contests. Singing started when he joined a choral group as a teen; within a year he had performed in St. Peter’s Basilica, Notre Dame, and on NPR. These interests co-existed with sneaking out to basement punk and noise shows, and six months of listening to The Velvet Underground & Nico nightly. After moving to Pittsburgh, Jentzen launched Chalk Outline Party, which performed at high-profile shows in the region, earning press accolades, a following and a Top 10 song on specialty radio, before disbanding in 2007.

Jentzen’s lyrics can be simple and imagistic, or dense and rhythmic, but always grounded in literary language and suffused with the post-industrial landscape of Pittsburgh, and peopled with characters drawn from both daily life and travels. Some songs were written in frost-bitten Pittsburgh basements, another on the top of a mountain in Albuquerque; some music came together in studios, some in airplanes, some in the streets of Berlin. In some you may hear the influence of a young Leonard Cohen or David Sylvian, Peter Gabriel or American Music Club — or contemporary indie acts.

“Magnetic West,” at first a simple acoustic song, takes on added emotional and tonal depth with the addition of a cello quartet midway through; in “Great Inventors,” the teenage bliss of discovery collides with the emergence of adult realities, atop a programmed beat and shimmering guitar atmospheres. “Yesterday’s People,” with its stark verses and bagpipe hooks (!), looks back on not only people from the past, but also long-lost selves.

Jentzen is also an award-winning music critic, music editor for Pittsburgh City Paper and a freelancer for many other publications.