Dream Jefferson
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Dream Jefferson

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Hip Hop Alternative




"New Release: DREAM JEFFERSON – Punch Perm"

We’re super stoked over at The Indie Machine today because Dream Jefferson have just released a brand new album on the masses, Punch Perm. Their electro-rap-rock sound is about as infectious as it gets and the best part….you can download the whole thing for free over on their Bandcamp page. The LP was produced by the band and mastered by the one and only Chris Sampson. - The Indie Machine

"Dream Jefferson Could Soundtrack Your Next Party"

Well, this was a surprise. Who would've thought a hip-hop/electronic duo from Ottawa could deftly combine old skool rhymes, b-boy beats and Friday-night hipster danceability? Inexplicably, Dream Jefferson's latest album, Punch Perm, manages to do just that.

The seven track affair barely clocks in at 30 minutes (and can be downloaded in full over at their Bandcamp page), but that's still 30 minutes of a drunken, sing-a-long basement party. While the music's not as galvanizing as, say, Odd Future, Dream Jefferson are a hell of a lot of fun--which is exactly what party rap should be.

"For too long, party rap has been the province of the hyper-sexual, presented comically or with straight faced perversion, with little or nothing to bridge the gap. What the genre lacks is a basis in reality, as opposed to a juvenile masturbatory fantasy, an honesty which would allow for a connection between the listener and the artist... From this day forward, party rap will be divided into two strata – everything else and this, [Dream Jefferson]," wrote the group on their website.

With intentions like those, is it any surprise these guys deliver some good times? - The Citizen Insane

"Dream Jefferson"

It occurred to me while watching Lemmy, a documentary about the titular front man of Motörhead: maybe the reason rock ‘n’ roll’s “fuck you” ideology has persisted these many years compared to punk’s relative disappearance is that it maintains such unerring faith in itself. Punk rock is basically nihilist, not so much “fuck you” as “fuck you, me, society, Pink Floyd, the dole, etc.” No future, right? Also, no heroes, no experimentation, no fusion—just the isolationists/purists and the rest of us sellouts. Rock music has never shied away from valorizing its progenitors, even when the ideology of that valorization has all kinds of holes in it—misogyny, alcoholism, drug abuse, and a tendency to martyrdom as cliché as the tendency to romanticize self-destructive behavior in the first place. (Incidentally, as I write this, news has broken that Amy Winehouse, a singer known for her authentic musical voice and “I do what I want” attitude—one in the same, we’re led to understand—has died at the age of 27.) A whole range of figures from the genre, from Dave Grohl to James Hetfield, hail Lemmy as one of the truest manifestations of a lifestyle, a man who is likeable because we understand how uncompromisingly rock ‘n’ roll he is and always has been. He will not apologize for anything, even if that thing is an unfortunate impulse to collect and display Nazi paraphernalia. Fuck me, right? The test of an artist’s rock mettle is whether they continue to not care what anyone thinks even when their behavior becomes truly odious.

So, yes, this is a review about an electronic/hip-hop group from Ottawa. But what it’s really about, as music reviews usually are, is finding something to believe in. White, middle-class people have their ideological straw man: rock ‘n’ roll all middle fingers up and hedonism, as if doing what you want and fucking everybody over in the process hasn’t already been co-opted by everyone from Richard Branson to Crabtree & Evelyn. Old school hip-hop, meanwhile, probably the most socially relevant genre to have emerged in the last quarter-century, is easy to enjoy and appreciate but more difficult to replicate for the demographic that I am (perhaps unfairly) assuming make up most of CMG’s readership. So the indie set has learned to live with the contradictions and the self-legitimizing hypocrisy of a glorified attitude problem. But this review is partly about the in-between, that lifeblood of po-mo syntheses—that saner absurdity that has produced a band like Dream Jefferson, a band with an intense and sincere faith in the pop world they live in.

A mere selection of pop-cultural references and figures from the seven-track Punch Perm, delivered with total, corner-pocket seriousness: Ronin, Frank Miller’s Batman, Final Fantasy, Ridley Scott (rhymed with Killer Croc and Iggy Pop), Vincent Gallo, Bill Murray from Ghostbusters, Shakespeare, Kate Middleton, Romancing the Stone, Terrence Malick, Naked Lunch, Jesus Christ, The Legend of Zelda, Sylvester Stallone, Battleship, “Come Sail Away,” and Blazing Saddles. These, by themselves, might seem like a disconnected stream of pop-cultural gibberish, but when sandwiched between lyrics like “We find the purple concealed something we already knew / The fine lines between red and blue” (“Purple Hearts”) and all of this catchy dance music, they are instead the constellations under which our personal dramas take place. They make up a recognizable world, not one whose authenticity needs to be constantly interrogated and assessed.

What I see when I look at this string of references, when I hear them spit out with speed and dexterity over the blip of a hyperactive electro-pop, is a coda for living in the world not as one wishes it to be, but as it exists. Enmeshed in this po-mo saturation is less meta qualities or commentary—the artist recreating something but locating themselves outside or above it—than a totally sincere, enthusiastically lived experience. Sincerity is key: we can’t talk about Odd Future without all kinds of cynicism and doubt necessarily creeping in. (Is the fact that I’m offended the point? Is the whole thing a gag?) In other words, whatever intellectualism we accredit Odd Future must be met in equal parts with our own. There are no such barriers to entry for Dream Jefferson, a band who place a genuinely funny rejoinder to the royal wedding (“Westminster Abbey”) alongside a totally serious love song (“Embrace Before the Fall”). Dream Jefferson are not so much a cerebral exercise, and also very far from stupid. That you require no justification for enjoyment of this album reflects its modern character and total lack of sensationalism.

Check out the bloody, beating heart at the center of this mess: “Our complimenting differences could form a nicer person / Hanging on to something, just your normal type inertia / When I use the ink for printing and the blood to write in cursive / A hundred nights of hurting, a hundred days of visions / The hundred nights, you earned ‘em and the hundred days you didn’t / The hundred nights will worsen as the hundred days are vivid / But the hundred nights for certain are a hundred days of living.” It might seem like yanking the most heartfelt passage on the album out of context is a crude thing to do, but the whole album feels like a disjointed yank from context. That’s why it makes so much sense to me. It resembles the world I live in.

Plus, it’s a great dance record. “Purple Hearts” and “All Things Shining” are the kind of melodic electronic music that manages to be both sappy and cool. The arrangements are manic but patient, like “The Danger Room,” developed and allowed to be textural even as it tends toward the unhinged. The production is great, and many of the songs have a decent chorus to go with the tumbling excess of language. There’s something about how Dream Jefferson are making dance music without subjecting their audience to the hedged bets of condescension (LCD Soundsystem) or sensationalism (Odd Future) that I think is worth writing about, if only to document that it actually exists somewhere.

When it comes to necessary myths we’re unfortunately accustomed to heroes, though they’re always eventually disappointing. What music like this suggests is that we can revel in this vacuum we call culture, make a party of it, and reclaim that space as our own. The material of our lives as playthings, of as little importance as these tragic heroes we keep propping up to diminishing returns and at the expense of their lives. Punch Perm gives a whole new meaning to “paint the walls with your brains.” If this life we’re living isn’t something to believe in, then what is?
- cokemachineglow

"[PREMIERE] Dream Jefferson – PUNCH PERM EP (w/ “Robo Kill Beneath Disco Club Layla” & “Purple Hearts”)"

Fcuk Jay-Z and Kanye, the only new rap release you need to be worrying about is the new Dream Jefferson EP Punch Perm which went live to the world a few minutes ago. Dream Jefferson’s Corboe and Owel trade verses with slick ferocity, not slipping an inch from their stellar debut EP Sasquatch Bury Their Dead. The music gets a bit more adventurous as they slip in some chill throwback synths on “The Seed and Sower” and some funked up trotting beats and grunty vocals on “All Things Shining.” The rhymes and storytelling are quick, irreverent, and on point as they drop odd references to things like The X-Men (“The Danger Room”), The Royal Wedding (“Westminster Abbey”), and Final Fantasy and Beyonce in the same song (“Robo Kill Beneath Disco Club Layla”). I don’t know how Corboe and Owel got album art that is basically a mirror of what happens when you hear these jams. Nifty trick. Also a nifty trick is fleshing out their sound with a guitarist and some lady back-up vocals. Damn, ok, so now I think I have to post “Purple Hearts” too. - The Burning Ear

"Voting for DREAM jEFFERSON"

Punch Perm, the new (free!) EP from Dream Jefferson, is basically the flipside of what I wrote about Danny Deleto a few weeks ago. Or, in case you don't feel like going back and reading what I said then: I liked Danny Deleto's EP because of how much it defied my expectations. By contrast, I like Punch Perm precisely because it's exactly what I was expecting.

The connection isn't completely random, of course: the two bands are both part of the Rifle Eyes Collective. That said, where Danny Deleto seem to be interested in pushing their music out to some very interesting places, Dream Jefferson are about sticking with what they do best -- that is, beat-heavy hip-hop.

And make no mistake, saying it's what they do best is no figure of speech; they really excel at it. Songs like "Purple Hearts" and "Robokill Beneath Disco Club Layla" are absurdly catchy, to the point that even someone as hip-hop illiterate as me can get into it. I may not know much about the genre, but even I know that the beats are big and bouncy, the rhymes are fun, and the whole album is a joy to listen to. In other words, it lives up to the high standards the band established their first time around -- and it's proof that playing into expectations is a good thing, especially when those expectations were high. - i(heart)music


Sasquatch Bury Their Dead (11 Nov 2010)

“This is not your younger cousin’s party-rap, this is Dream Jefferson and as far as I am concerned they’ve wiped the slate clean” – TheBurningEar.com

*”Vampyroteuthis” and “Bedtime Ballet” were used as the themes to season 1 and 2 of Aux.TV show “Something New”
*”This is Baskerville” was featured in cross-Canada advertising campaign for Coors Light Silverbullet contest

Punch Perm (22 July 2011)

“Punch Perm gives a whole new meaning to “paint the walls with your brains.” If this life we’re living isn’t something to believe in, then what is?” – CokeMachineGlow.com

“Pulsing hip-hop featuring lyrics that are humorously symbolic and nonsensical.” - The Independent (UK)

Manchester Blue ( 19 June 2012)



Dream Jefferson is a new wave electro-hip hop group from Toronto, ON.

Beginning as a duo, rapper/singer Owel Five and rapper/producer Corboe released their debut Sasquatch Bury Their Dead. Their sound was an undeniable party-rap, an amalgamation of electro-lo-fi hip hop with rapid fire lyricism. With the addition of guitarist Ian Strasbourg and vocalist Tovah Fine, their sound and song-writing matured with the release of Punch Perm. The result was a lusher, textured instrumentation accompanying the driving beats and songs maturing out of party tracks.

With their upcoming release Manchester Blue, Dream Jefferson furthers their evolution. Songs of love, loss, pain and uncertainty are delivered with cocky confidence and rapid fire delivery over compositions of driving lo-fi electro and 80’s new wave expand into soaring crescendos. This is a band that has not only found their stride, it has developed their strut.

Dream Jefferson have played Canadian Music Week the past three years and played North By North East (NXNE) in 2011 and 2012. If you haven’t seen Dream Jefferson live, you don’t know the meaning of “sweat through your shirt”.

They were recently featured in CokeMachineGlow.com’s “Fantasy Covers Podcast”, where they covered Bruce Sprinsteen’s “I’m Goin’ Down”.

Band Members