Jared Mees & The Grown Children
Fun, lyrics driven epic, sing-a-long, dancey co-ed folk rock in the vein of Cake, Paul Simon, Arcade Fire and Bright Eyes. Music that can be both somber and ecstatic at the same time. Live shows often end with the band in the crowd and always "exude a tone of child-like optimism" - NPR
Who the Hell do you think you are? – Willamette Week
Jared Mees, Reclinerland, Leigh Marble, Ross & the Hellpets
White Eagle | 836 N Russell St., 282-6810 [map]
[ACOUSTIC POP] Dear Jared Mees: Who the hell do you think you are? You come out of nowhere, hot-gluing lyrical turns of phrase together like Elvis Costello if he had grown up an American stoner, and now this! Your album, If You Wanna Swim With the Sharks..., is fucking fantastic. Okkervil River and Kind of Like Spitting come to mind, but Swim With the Sharks is a hell of a lot more fun, what with all its bouncy rhythm and doubled vocals, its quick quips and tender touches. You even threw in some country and surf-y tracks! Listen, Jared, I'm not mad at ya, it's just that if you keep recording music this good, I'll have to come see you at the Crystal Ballroom instead of the White Eagle. You don't want to do that to me, do you? Sincerely, CASEY JARMAN.- White Eagle. 9:30 pm. $6. 21+.
Portland Tribune Show Review – Portland Tribune
Portlander Jared Mees also co-founded Tender Loving Empire, a local collective that puts out limited-edition, handmade runs of a variety of art.
That sensibility – a distinctly Portland blend of lo-fi and high quality – pervades his new album, “If You Wanna Swim With the Sharks … ,” which is being released in hand-silkscreened packaging (with glow-in-the-dark ink) by Tender Loving Empire.
Mees’ songwriting is a combination of relatively simple pop melodies and insightful, detailed and deft turns of phrase. These are songs for the morning after and the night before – rambling, gambling songs written about slackers and screw-ups.
“Panama Anthem” is the perfect ode to slacker living, culminating with the phrase “Someday, someday … just not today.”
West Coast Performer Album Review – West Coast Performer
If You Want to Swim with Sharks is Jared Mees’ thoughtful debut album on the label that he co-founded, Tender Loving Empire. Relating stories of mindless jobs, train-wreck love affairs, and the constant struggle to not give into pessimism, the Portland-based songwriter gives a very honest account of the middle-ground morass that only time seems to fix. Surely many twenty-somethings can relate.
With a voice similar to Stephen Malkmus’ lackadaisical lull, Mees brings the same wry wit and slacker folk charm to his songwriting. Throughout most of the album, the songs simply feature Mees and an acoustic guitar, with the occasional backing vocals of his wife, Brianne Mees. However, the lyrics and guitar melodies are enveloping and the album never feels lacking.
On the first song, “Suicide Squeeze,” Mees sings: “You’re in the suicide, suicide, suicide squeeze / You’re drunk and you’re speaking that drunk Christianese / You’re breaking down now with the greatest of ease / And you’re falling and licking your own bloody knees.” On “Working and Drinking,” Mees tells of only being capable of dreaming while asleep. His lyrics illustrate the mundane existence of ping-ponging between a boring job and the escape of drinking: “I’m the man of my dreams when I’m dreaming / At least that’s how it seems to be seeming / During those six short hours between working and drinking.”
If You Want to Swim with the Sharks is all about being stuck in the middle, being a minnow swimming with the sharks; but Mees’ first effort is anything but middle of the road. (Tender Loving Empire)
Irresistible Melodies – HarmoniumMusic.com
"Packed full of irresistible melodies and clever turns of phrase…between the varied instrumentation and deliberate dashes of harmony Mees displays an impressive talent with composition and signs of greatness to come”
Wide Eyed Exuberance – Indiefolkforever.blogspot
If You Wanna Swim With the Sharks... is full of songs mixing highly palatable pop-punk and sincere and rambling indie-folk, with a wide-eyed exuberance...