Jonny Polonsky
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Jonny Polonsky

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The best kept secret in music


"The Power of Sound-Spin review"

10.26.04 On just his second studio album in eight years, Polonsky embellishes pristine power pop with light psychedelia and heavy riffing.
- Spin Magazine

"The Power of Sound-All Music review"

10.12.04 Jonny Polonsky's The Power of Sound is his first full-length album since 1996's Hi My Name Is Jonny. It is a welcome return. He sounds older, tougher, and less quirky. There is more power in his power pop, both because of the beefier guitars and heavier drums but also due to the sense of lost time and opportunities that often pops up in the lyrics and the more emotional and assured vocals, too. Most importantly, the hooks are sharper and more memorable this time around. "Let Me Out" is a perfect opener, blasting out of the speakers like a call to arms; "Much Love" is a bitterly sad song with sugar-coated chorus and some a classic Harrison-esque guitar soloing; "Calling All Babies" makes stunning use of the old quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic and matches "Let Me Out" in the anthem stakes; "Live for the Light" is a snaky, heartfelt rocker that explodes into some classic AOR guitar riffing. Throughout, Polonsky sounds committed and in total control of his craft. Even the less exciting songs like "Shitstorm" and the acoustic "All This Freezing" put 98 percent of power pop-inspired revivalists to shame. Not that he is a revivalist...well, not so much of a power pop revivalist anyway. In many ways the record sounds like it could have been released before Hi My Name Is Jonny, say, in 1994 or so. The post-Pixies/Nirvana dynamics, the shiny and full production, the bitter and defeated tone of many of the lyrics, the at-times howling vocals, the AOR-friendly guitar riffs, and the overall feel of the record bring to mind the days immediately following the grunge explosion when bands like the Posies, Jellyfish, the Gigolo Aunts, and Matthew Sweet were combining the sonic assault of grunge with the classic pop songcraft of '60s groups like the Hollies and their '70s offspring like the Raspberries. It is an unexpected approach, and it seems too early for records to be harking back to that time, but Polonsky pulls it off for the most part. You may find yourself wishing for a more organic sound or a less aggressive approach like he exhibited on his debut, but that was a long time ago. Jonny has moved on and so can you. There are enough great songs and performances here to sweep away all your doubts. This is one of the best rock albums of 2004. Don't let it pass you by.

-Tim Sendra
- All Music Guide

"General-Frank Black"

"This guy was born to be a rock star and he creates the music to back it up. He is amazing."
- Frank Black (formerly Black Francis of the Pixies) - n/a

"general-Jeff Buckley"

DoubleTake: ...have you ever heard of a guy named Jonny Polonsky?
Jeff Buckley: Oh yeah sure, the amazing Jonny Polonsky. Yeah. He came to CBGB's Gallery and ripped it up.
DT: It was a good show?
JB: He killed 'em.
DT: ...His songs, they're kind of derivative of stuff he likes -- the Kinks, the Beatles...
JB: Well, on the outset, and then the charm of it is that he's brought it into his own thing. It's a nice miniature. He does it with soul; you can tell the difference between someone who just slips into the Beatles or something and someone like him.
-Jeff Buckley (from DoubleTake Magazine)
- Double Take Magazine

"Hi My Name is Jonny-NY Times review"

"Pop music as simply catchy and infectious as that of Polonsky's heroes The Beatles and The Monkees."

- New York Times

"Hi My Name is Jonny-MTV Online review"

"24 minutes of blissful heaven."

- MTV Online

"There is Something Wrong With You-Kerrang! review"

"Jonny Polonsky writes exactly the kind of genreless songs that are likely to never sound out of date. They're not trying to be anything but hooky rock songs, with an admirable lack of posing, that crawlunder your skin and stay there."
- Emma Johnston - Kerrang!

"Hi My Name is Jonny-SF Examiner review"

"Jonny Polonsky has come up with a debut album to rival all debuts...Track for track, Polonsky's songs stick in the brain--every one a completely turned out gem"
-Denise Sullivan - San Francisco Examiner

"Hi My Name is Jonny-Raygun review"

"The kind of dazzling pure pop music that will remind listeners of those magnificent Liverpudlians, John Lennon and Elvis Costello. Don't guffaw. I'm telling you folks, he's that good."

- Raygun magazine

"The Power of Sound-CMJ review"

10.26.04 All the elements that made his debut in underground sensation are still in place: blistering energy, catchy melodies and clever attitude.

- CMJ (College Music Journal)



The Power of Sound (Loveless Records, 2004)
Hi My Name is Jonny (American Records, 1996)


There is Something Wrong With You (eggBERT Records, 2001)


"Freezed" (from There is Something Wrong With You e.p.) featured in t.v. series "Providence", 2001

"Down Low" (from Hi My Name is Jonny) featured in t.v. series "Providence", 2001

"Long Gone" (from There is Something Wrong With You e.p.) featured in t.v. series "Roswell", 2001

"In My Mind" (from Hi My Name is Jonny) featured in the film "Feeling Minnesota" with Cameron Diaz, 1996


Feeling a bit camera shy


In the post-Nirvana, pre-Strokes era that was the mid-1990’s, rock and roll seemed to be dying a slow, ignoble death. Then, in 1996, a record unleashed a quiet fury throughout the land via a young, scrawny kid from Chicago. Hi My Name is Jonny was an instant fave with critics, and an overnight underground sensation. The story of how the record came to exist in the first place was almost as bold and exciting as the songs themselves.

As a youth, Jonny would deluge his favorite rock stars with his numerous home recordings, at the time operating under the nom-de-rock, The Amazing Jonny Polonsky. One of his targets included the Pixies’ former frontman, Frank Black. Said Black at the time, "I get a lot of tapes, but these tapes were different. They were incredible, totally rockin' stuff. This guy was born to be a rock star and he creates the music to back it up. He is amazing."

After a trip to Los Angeles to record new demos with Black in the production chair, the songs were brought to the attention of legendary record producer Rick Rubin, who promptly signed Polonsky to his American Recordings label.

Barely eighteen years old at the time, Polonsky set up camp in his mother’s house in suburban Wilmette, Illinois with an eight-track recorder and a slew of instruments at his disposal. After recording and performing all the tracks on the album himself, hit producer Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Matthew Sweet) was brought in to mix the record.

Polonsky then hit the road with his live band, supporting his mentor Frank Black on a three-month North American tour, three weeks on Lollapalooza, and countless live shows in between. Then, American lost its distribution deal and Polonsky was left without a record label.

Fast-forward eight years to the release of The Power of Sound, which was, astonishingly, only Polonsky’s second record. Where did the man go? EVERYWHERE, it turns out. He spent the better part of the 90s and beyond touring and/or recording with the likes of Neil Diamond, the Dixie Chicks, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Local H. The Power of Sound was heralded as a welcome return by Spin, Rolling Stone and CMJ. Jonny and his band hit the road once again, this time handpicked by Audioslave to open for them on their entire 2005 US tour.

Upon returning home, Polonsky headed straight into the studio with his band to record some demos. This new batch of tunes ups the ante in a serious way. Polonsky still sucks you in with his infectious melodies and youthful exuberance, but this time it’s clear he’s out for blood.

The songs come fast, throttle you like you asked for it, state their case and get the hell out of the way just in time for the next one. Picture The Monkees cross-polinated with the James Gang. This is garage rock for the stadium.

Or if you like, take equal parts Pixies, Replacements, Queens Of The Stone Age, Weezer, T. Rex and Jeff Buckley. Mix with obsessed rock ’n’ roll fan from Chicago.

Serves millions.