Joy Cleaner
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Joy Cleaner

Bloomfield, NJ | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Bloomfield, NJ | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Alternative Rock

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"Album Review: 'Total Hell' by Joy Cleaner"

Many will claim to have been there, but I genuinely was: the debut performance by Joy Cleaner at Newark, New Jersey’s Index Art Center on February 27, 2016. That in less than a year and a half, the trio has put together such an accomplished album — released on one of the world’s most respected indiepop labels, Jigsaw Records out of Seattle — is truly impressive. Total Hell is packed with sharp lyrics, undeniable melodies, and confident playing.

The sticks click, and lead track “My Psychic Dent (Is Acting Up Again)” kicks off with the lines “We had to scream so loud/over the karaoke crowd/Another night, my head is in another cloud.” In the yearning chorus, bassist Kyle Wilkerson’s voice reaches up to another register — which on first listen evoked some band from Liverpool — as he admits to “shaking like salt tonight.” It’s a minute and a half of pop perfection.

The cleverly titled “Disposable Outcome” ups the rock quotient a notch. “A temporary fix to a nonexistent problem is all you could come up with,” guitarist Joey DeGroot sweetly sings, with Wilkerson providing harmony vocals. DeGroot contributes a concise guitar solo, and the song concludes with insistent drumming from Cory Billemeyer. (Billemeyer has the cool look of an Amish kid who went on Rumspringa and never came back.)

Joy Cleaner is the rare young band that isn’t afraid to slow down their tempos. While their live performances are marked by punk energy, Total Hell features several gentler tunes. On “I’m Not From Some Other Dimension,” there’s a charming catch in Wilkerson’s vocals that recall Evan Dando. And on your “ba-ba-ba” score sheet, you can check off this one.

After “Poisoned (Purple Teeth Version)” bops along, an acoustic guitar introduces “Moving Backward,” with verses sounding like a battle between folk and rock. (Who will win??) Next up is the album’s lively first single, “Fuck Up and Run,” its title a nod to Liz Phair. You can see the fun video here.

“Ritual Dogma” seems like a lost track from the softer side of Unrest, with a windswept chorus. Next, Wilkerson begins “Impossibility for Me” with the couplet “Every time you and I run into each other, I need to throw a hundred down onto the bar/And if I don’t loosen up enough to turn you my way, at least the walk to my house isn’t very far.” We’ve all been there.

DeGroot handles another low-key number, “No One Before You,” which brightens up during the chorus. And be careful, scorekeepers, that’s a ba-da-da, not a ba-ba-ba. The album ends with the indiepop clatter of “Worm.” It’s a joyous clean sweep for the kids from Bloomfield, New Jersey. - Salt in Wound


"Premiere: New Video from Joy Cleaner"

Yesterday, we premiered the video for C.R. and The Degenerates' "Limited Addiction." It consisted of a montage of footage from The Degenerates' tour with their buds in Bloomfield's Joy Cleaner. Today, we get to see images from that same January tour, only this time they're from the perspective of Joy Cleaner.

On July 14th, Joy Cleaner released their debut album, Total Hell, with Jigsaw Records. The record is a collection of alternately jangly and jagged power pop gems. Today, we're premiering the video for Total Hell track "Impossibility for Me."

Songwriter Joseph DeGroot says of the track, "The song is about my many failed, drunken attempts to overcome anxiety in social situations. It's the first time I had a song pretty much entirely written in my head before I even picked up a guitar to play it."

Have a look and a listen to "Impossibility for Me" right here. Total Hell is available now over at the Jigsaw Records Bandcamp page or wherever you like to get your digital music fix. - CoolDad Music


"Joy Cleaner - Total Hell"

Your first question upon hearing Total Hell might be 'is this a compilations of hits from Joy Cleaner?' Your second question may well be 'who the hell is Joy Cleaner?' Fair enough, let's take the second question first. Joy Cleaner is a power pop trio from New Jersey which includes Kyle Wilkerson of the late Makeout Vertigo. Kyle and pals Joey and Cory display a knack for loading each track with wall-to-wall hooks and playing them with anthem-level energy. As for the second question, to my knowledge this is their only album to date, but it is full of sharp-edged indie pop gems. Good stuff at a good price! - When You Motor Away


"You're Going to Love Joy Cleaner"

As always, Jigsaw Records quietly releases another gem into the world: Joy Cleaner‘s Total Hell. This brand new album is filled with fuzzy guitar riffs a la Teenage Fanclub or GVB, but there’s an innate playfulness that gives a lifting spirit to listeners. When you boil it down, it’s really just a great collection of guitar pop songs that slip into your subconscious as you attempt to sing along hours later. My favorite track at the moment is “Disposable Outcome,” but I haven’t skipped a single track, so that’s saying something! You’re free to grab the new album over at Jigsaw. - Austin Town Hall


"Joy Cleaner - Total Hell"

After releasing the discography compilation from Makeout Vertigo, we kept in touch with Kyle Wilkerson, and when he passed along some tracks he recorded with his new band, Joy Cleaner, we jumped at the chance to release it! The old school indiepopper in me wants to liken this to Masters Of The Hemisphere, simply because JC are at times a dead ringer for that underrated (and much-missed!) '90s band. However, I also acknowledge that more modern references could be helpful to some, so I'd say this is great for fans of bands like Dogbreth and Diners; bands that maintain a balance between jangly/breezy indiepop and rough/edgy indie rock, keeping the hooks and melodies up front. This album is chock full of hits, too numerous to mention, and will be the perfect soundtrack for the entire summer (and beyond)!

RIYL: Dogbreth, Diners, Masters Of The Hemisphere, classic jangly indie rock - Darla Records


Discography

Please No Half-Steppin' cassingle (Are You Kidding Me Tapes, 2016)
Split Flexi-disc with Spowder (Are You Kidding Me Tapes, 2017)
Total Hell LP (Jigsaw Records, 2017)

Photos

Bio

After playing in numerous indie rock and punk bands together since 2009 to varying degrees of artistic success, guitarist Joey DeGroot and bassist Kyle Wilkerson decided to form Joy Cleaner in 2015. The duo saw the new band almost as a challenge to themselves to take a more mature, accessible, and deliberate approach to songwriting. Recruiting Cory Billemeyer on drums, Joy Cleaner began performing live in early 2016 and were immediately praised for their full embrace of pop songwriting while still retaining a scrappy alternative edge, with many positively comparing their sound to bands such as Teenage Fanclub, Guided By Voices, or the Lemonheads.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Joy Cleaner embarked on many short tours that took them outside their native North Jersey, playing to audiences in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Albany, Atlantic City, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia. In July 2017, their debut album Total Hell was released through Seattle's Jigsaw Records and was received very positively, with reviewers noting the album's "wall-to-wall hooks" and "undeniable melodies."

Summer 2018 proved very eventful for the band. In June, the trio embarked on a 10-day tour with their new drummer, Justin Grabosky of Trim Tabs, which brought them to Cleveland, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Boston, and New Haven, among other cities. Following an opening spot for the Shacks at WFMU’s Monty Hall in Jersey City, the band hit the road for Georgia in August to perform at the annual Athens Popfest. The 2018 festival line-up included headliners Guided By Voices, the Mummies, Dean Wareham, and Ex Hex, and brought Joy Cleaner’s music to an even wider audience.

As of September 2018, the band is steadily working on new music for their sophomore full-length effort, with plans for a 2019 release date.


Band Members