Jom Comyn
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Jom Comyn

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter




"Sled Island 2014 Day Two Recap"

The steady flow of talent continued at the Ironwood with the appearance of Edmonton’s resident bearded baritone bard accompanied by one sister auburn hair surprise. A lumber-jacketed rallying call to all of Mother Nature’s children, Comyn’s neighbourly continence and rambling folk rock inroads proved to be melodious foothills unto themselves. Traversing a languid lyrical landscape like a seasoned hitchhiker, Comyn’s deceptively organic electric guitar forays approached the rugged Rockies while dragging the rolling Prairies in their wake. (CL)

Jom Comyn’s voice is like velvet. Even his speaking voice was pleasing to hear. It was the kind of voice you could pipe through a crashing 737 and it would soothe everyone into not being afraid of the fiery death that is moments away. The music bled introspection effortlessly, smooth but forceful swells of folk rich with attention to detail. Tom Murray’s absolutely gorgeous fire-engine red Rickenbacker bass thumped a reassuring bass line throughout, like the heartbeat in the chest of the man you love as you lay your head on his chest at the end of a particularly delicious make-out session. Even the banter had an easy charm: when referring to the fan that was blowing guitarist Jessica Jalbert’s hair dramatically, Comyn quipped “it’s like being in a Meat Loaf video.” Well-crafted sound, guileless delivery, quality direction, inspiring vibe. More like this please. (JO) - Beatroute // Christine Leonard and Jennie Orton

"EXPLORERS: Jom Comyn is of the Land"

Our province, and all the modern society we see today, was built on immigrants, explorers, intrepids and everyone good and bad in between. Farmers and ranchers weren’t merely farmers and ranchers. They were teachers, they were carpenters, they were welders, tradesmen, jacks-of-all-trades – all at the same time. They had to be.

Likewise with Edmonton musicians and artists in this city – they like to explore. Where else could you be a touring musician in multiple bands at one time, or use old blown-out microwaves from the back alley of a club as packaging for your first noise rock EP? – like one 26-year-old artist who goes by the name of Jom Comyn.

Of course it happens elsewhere – but that kind of freedom just says something about Northern living.

For some reason, most people think Jom Comyn, aka Jim Cuming, is a folk artist. Far from it. From a rural upbringing in Ardrossan, just East of Edmonton, he sings like Lee Hazlewood filtered through ‘90s teen angst and stories by Alberta novelist Robert Kroetsch. His guitar is electric in more ways than one, scrapey like sandpaper. His father was a professional musician in the ‘70s and ‘80s when you could still be a band playing week-long gigs at a hotel bar. Cuming’s music is deep in the personal sense, engaging and, at times, quite melancholy.

“For the longest time, I didn’t know if I could write a happy song,” he says. In a place where it’s mostly winter, you could understand that. Summer is pretty damn sweet, and “in Edmonton, you want to engage with the outdoors,” he goes on. “The outdoors are usually so hostile, you just recuperate and make this little world for yourself. But in the summer it’s like, fuck that! I’m going to go for a bike ride and then get drunk.”

Cuming has met and worked with quite a number of folks doing real groovy things in Edmonton. It was just a matter of time before the exploring began: Post-rock, Irish drinking music, hardcore, concept folk, loose indie rock. He has penchant for melody, but has also delved into the abyss with a couple weird avant-garde noise projects.

“No notes – this is the frontier,” Cuming says.

From his old hardcore band Crippled Children, his exploration into what most wouldn’t even call music took the form of two-piece band called Pear Hands, and a one-off project called Chishu Ryu — named after the 1940s stoic-faced Japanese actor. Cuming has a degree in film studies at the U of A.

While he’s not making noise music at the moment, his appreciation for the art form has not strayed. If you could say any local rock artist is “influenced” by noise music, it would be Jom Comyn.

“Philosophically I can get behind noise, perhaps more than anything else, almost,” he says. “In a way, it may appear to outsiders as the MOST masturbatory kind of music. But I think kind of it might be the least.”

How can that possibly be?

“Because you’re never ever, ever, ever going to get big playing noise music.”

Cuming doesn’t act like he wants to “make it” in the lame, schlocky music industry sense. It’s about following compulsions, a love for art and coming home.

“When I started the Jom Comyn thing I had this whole mythology of returning home, fulfilling the circle and becoming whole. This city means something because I was born here. I am of this land. Everyone gets inspired by New York or Paris, but Edmonton doesn’t belong to the world. It can be your own.”

It may seem that Edmonton has no myths or legendary stories, but a lot of people like Cuming have been busy creating them.

“Making movies and making stories about ourselves, and reading those stories and seeing those movies, that’s a huge part of mythmaking,” he says. “We make it up out of thin air. How did the Americans do it? By reading Jack London stories about the Klondike. They were just interested in what other Americans had to say about America.”

For the most part, you mention a city like Seattle or Los Angeles, even Austin, Tex., you get a vibe, however subtle; a feeling of the place. They’re “known” for things. What will Edmonton’s mythology and history be in 50 years? What will Edmonton will be known for? Cuming has one thought.

“You walk through the Safeway and fuckin’ Guns N’ Roses is playing and Axl rose is singing, ‘Welcome to the jungle, you’re gonna dieeeeee!!’ and this old lady is buying breakfast cereal. So who knows, maybe you’ll walk in to get your hemorrhoid cream when you’re 60 and crazy feedback will be coming out of the speakers. And no one will be flinching.”

Jom Comyn is working on a new “winter” album, a collection of new, live and unreleased material. He’ll also be playing two shows around the August long weekend, one at Baby Seal Club (a private art space in the Whyte Avenue area), the other out at the Golden West Music Fest near Bonnyville. - Gigcity//Jared Majeski

"Jom Comyn's Sock-Feet Sopoforics"

If Jom Comyn’s music was a time and place, it’d be 3 AM in your linoleum walk-up apartment. When the booze is wearing off. When everyone’s too tired to speak but no one wants to leave so you lay around and watch the plaster ceiling. Somehow, in the crackling guitar and distant vocals, Jom Comyn (Edmonton’s Jim Cuming) captures that liminality. He did it on 2011’s Sunstroke EP, and he did it last week at the Black Dog. Even at four in the afternoon he was able to slip off his shoes and treat the crowd to his sock-feet soporifics.

If you weren’t among that day-drunk crowd, fear not. One of Cuming’s shows was captured on tape last November. It was a deep-freeze Edmonton night, and the now defunct Elevation Room was dark and thermal. Beer thawed icy limbs, and the audience fell into the sleepy warmth of Cuming’s set. Now, as winter lingers, he has released those recordings as Live at the Elevation Room. It includes his self-effacing banter and consists almost entirely of songs from his forthcoming album. Give it a listen and let it carry you into the cool melt of spring. - Sound + Noise//Becky Smith-Mandin

"Jom Comyn: Sunstroke"

Mentioned before are the utterances and inspirations one communicates through simple habitation of an isolated, brutalist centre like Edmonton. Pleasantly mercurial, Jom Comyn’s disparate croonerism makes us venture not waaaaaaay up, but way in; another rural-reared summation of despair, darkness, love and family. Sunstroke fuses steady melody (“Hatchet in the Garage”), sharp-toned proggy instrumentation (“Heatstroke”) and neighbourly back-up; all of course lathed with that familiar subtly of Jim Cuming’s monochromatic vocals. Wherever your tiny existence rests each night, remember to collect dust, soak up the eternal cold and take heed of your surroundings. - Weird Canada//Jared Majeski

"Jom Comyn: Comynge Tegythere"

Jom Comyn takes another giant leap forward in the development of his own micro-genre: snowglobe-folk. Guitar lines still sometimes eddy like slow-floating sediment, settling gently along a song’s backbone, but Comynge Tegythere‘s meteorological sphere harbors more devastating weather as well, sometimes verging on sheer white-out. Layers of noise stratify and coalesce, parting curtain-like to reveal full-bodied songs, scuzz-jazz meanderings, and hangdog laments in Jim Cumming’s signature baritone — a voice which has never held more weight than it does in the ghostly haunting number, “Been Down Blues.” Jim buffs winter sadness to a dull glow of acceptance in a city where the snow never leaves. Shake hard. [Packaged with an elaborate zine for those who attended the tape release.] - Weird Canada// Jessica Faulds


Still working on that hot first release.



Jim Cuming is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Under the stage name Jom Comyn, he has been slowly drawing attention across Canada with a string of intimate solo performances consisting of a reverb-soaked electric guitar and a distinct baritone singing voice. His latest release, In the Dark on 99, has drawn attention on blogs across Canada and beyond, charting on campus stations all across Canada. Jom Comyn has opened for artists as diverse as Slates, Jennifer Castle, Eamon McGrath, Sean Nicholas Savage, and most recently, Elliot Brood at the 2014 Sled Island Festival. Jom Comyn will be performing at this year's Pop Montreal Festival. 

Band Members