jena berlin
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jena berlin


Band Alternative Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


This band has no press


passion waits as the program keeps going (watch the city burn records) - 2005

the song "the thief" appears on deep elm record's "this is indie rock vol 2" - 2005

quo vadimus (jumpstart records) - 2007


Feeling a bit camera shy


Although Jena Berlin has named their sophomore full-length Quo Vadimus – Latin for “where are we going?” – the Philadelphia, P.A. quintet seems less concerned with the final destination than with the unpredictable, uncharted process of actually getting there. After all, it’s always been the lessons learned and the connections made during the journey that has validated this fiery post-hardcore band’s unshakeable core of DIY values. Regardless of all the trials and tribulations of being independent and punk in a landscape increasingly preoccupied with scene politics, commercialism and the glossy shell that surrounds it, Jena Berlin has persevered and Quo Vadimus is another impressive chapter in their compelling history.

When Jena Berlin formed nearly four years ago, their mission was simple: music should be openly shared with the masses – an exchange of ideas, if you will - and together we can build something based on friendship and camaraderie…not cut-throat competition or the superficial musical hierarchy that follows. If it sounds like something vaguely socialist, that’s because it is: Jena and Berlin are the two cities in Germany where Karl Marx attended college. The name is a reminder that art – and even living and surviving on your art – should be about substance and meaning; not about surface appearance or hype. Doing so makes for a stagnant, gridlocked scene, severing the lines of communication and thus making it impossible to foster a proactive community of likeminded music supporters.

Thankfully, Quo Vadimus is anything but stagnant. Beside subject matter which traverses everything from social change to personal evolution, there’s a volatile storm brewing beneath the album’s eleven angular songs. It’s a relentless whirlwind of dynamic, dueling guitars. It’s an unstoppable hurricane-force rhythm section…the backbone which bends and twists, but never breaks. It’s Jon Loudon’s erupting, exploding and always heart-stopping vocals, singing an earnest narrative by which it’s impossible not to be captivated. It’s all of this, plus an intangible feeling of cohesion between members, as if each part of the song could not exist or thrive without the others. Symbiotic relationships like this not only allow Jena Berlin to feed off one another but to grow and develop within themselves as well.

Jena Berlin have always cited bands like Boy Sets Fire, At The Drive-in and Texas Is The Reason as a touchstone for their sound: impetuous, youthful and with a fire in the gut, but open to revolutionary ideas and the notion that change can be positive. Their 2005 debut Passion Waits as the Program Keeps Going captured a hungry, enthusiastic band igniting a spark that would find them lighting stages ablaze across the U.S. While they were borrowing equally from Dischord and Midwestern scenes of the early 90’s, the band was also injecting a new-school punk sound and hardcore aesthetic into their music and live performances.

Let’s not forget though, it’s all about the journey: the victories and defeats of being on the road for six months a year, not to mention cultivating new friendships which propel Jena Berlin forward while simultaneously providing the insight to reflect on that time. Although the band remains as incendiary and urgent as ever, Quo Vadimus benefits from maturation and a sense of purpose that only experience can bring. Jena Berlin still might not know where exactly they’ll end up, they’re happy to hang on tight for one hell of a ride.

~chuck daley @ bear trap pr