The Enigmatic Foe
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The Enigmatic Foe

Band Pop Rock


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“That’s the rabbit,” Jared Colinger said during a phone interview. Referring to his song, “Enigmatic Foe,” from the Favourite Hallucination EP, where the song speaks about “the part of us that we don’t really want anyone to know about that causes us to do things we don’t want to do.” Colinger sees that represented by the rabbit on the front cover artwork by Chad at Charkole Studios. Down the rabbit hole we go with Colinger, discovering the lostness of the wonderland within our souls—struggling against that clever foe we’ve named ourselves.

The cover art came about because Colinger’s manager knew Charkole Studios who had a backlogged piece that was available for use. Colinger says, “At first, I didn’t like it at all; I didn’t see how it related to the 6 songs at all. It’s a mismash of images, and the EP itself is a mishmash of sounds I like.”

It seems a natural fit, however, because the other-worldly collage hints at the spiritual layers in Colinger’s music. “There’s a cross with a fish engraved in it, and there’s some Christian imagery in the music.”

Like Todd Fancey, Colinger’s EP comes with heavy tones of the 70’s—bubblegum pop summers, soft warbling melodies, airbrushed photographic musical interpretations. The 2006 project seems to have unearthed this side of Colinger who says, “I have a lot of pop sensibility to my music that I wasn’t aware of, and having Frank (Lenz) involved gave it a 70’s feel.”

Former Starflyer 59 drummer/SF59 producer/Headphones member Lenz has been a hero of Colinger, so he was thrilled with the chance to have Lenz at the helm as producer. While the title track of Favourite Hallucination definitely has the 70’s wash, it’s followed by “Cinnamon & Cigarettes” with full jazz club swing.

Since the release of Favourite Hallucination, Starflyer 59 members Jason Martin and Steven Dail have been recording with Colinger for a 2007 EP. One song, “Awkward Social Graces,” is available at Colinger’s MySpace page showing what Colinger describes as the music as coming from “much more warm creative environment.” “The songs are a little more pop-oriented, little more focused.”

Spiritually, Colinger explores faith in a way reminiscent of that current Headphones member—David Bazan. It’s not the perfectly manicured faith which Colinger experienced in his Southern U.S. environs growing up. Colinger’s faith is like the cross in the corner of the cover: it’s there but within the mismash of voices, thoughts, and sounds which surround us in life.

“My whole goal as a musician and songwriter is to reach out to people who are like me, to vocalize my weaknesses in the hopes that it will create some kind of welcoming community. I grew up in Tennessee, the Bible belt, and certain things are beat into you. Some denominations use scare tactics to bring people in, judgment houses [for Halloween], and I don’t really like that people’s first image of God is that they’re going to hell.

“My whole goal is not to preach, but to share my own experiences in the hopes that someone might want to know a little more. Depict my own weaknesses.”

So “Favourite Hallucination” is about “not having much luck in the love department” (Colinger’s own description of his life). “I fall for these really great girls who are getting out of a bad relationship and don’t trust guys.” So the song is “about a girl who is not there, A song about disillusionment.” Yet, the whole idea of starting to believe in a hallucination has parallels with faith in God—which some would say is a delusion and some faithful might admit to being scared that He’s a delusion. “Cinnamon & Cigarettes” has “got a pretty sexy lyric” with it’s dreams of “pillow talk.” But as Colinger says, “The whole point is in the last lyric”—“My heart smells like cinnamon/But my thoughts reek of cigarette smoke.” “If you get so consumed with the desire for sex, it will take you over.”

It’s that kind of mismash of faith and challenge, Christianity and rabbits, that you will find on Favourite Hallucination. -

Jared Colinger’s Favourite Hallucination jumps back and forth between moods both sunny and brooding to create a quaint little sojourn for the listener across landscapes of summer days and looming grey twilight.

The title track starts things off with an airy sound straight off of the pop rock soundtrack of the summer. With charm and grace, “Favourite Hallucination” takes the listener by the hand and sets them on the path that awaits them. “Carefree Indifference” further advances the sound later by adding an almost retro, jazzy feel to the mix, adding depth without adding any unneeded complexity or muddying the feel.

Songs like “Cinnamon & Cigarettes” and “Ships Collide” set a moodier tone, demonstrating an impressive ability to change speeds and even musical approaches without sacrificing any of the quality, poignancy or sincerity. “Cinnamon & Cigarettes” does founder at times, though, and may go on for too long. Similarly, “Enigmatic Foe” trudges along a bit too slowly and the listener’s journey through the landscape that Colinger creates slows to a crawl.

Both melancholy and touching, “The Mediocrity” stands out from the pack with its juxtaposition of both of the dominant tones of the disc with a mix of light and shadow, making it the standout track on the disc.

With a charming mix of moods and feelings, Jared Colinger manages to guide the listener through the landscape of his musical mind’s eye without leading the listener by the nose, leaving up to each of us to choose which scene is the favorite hallucination.

Former Johnson Citian Jared Colinger has made it back to East Tennessee after his musical career took him out West. Colinger and his as-of-yet-unnamed band come to Acoustic Coffeehouse, 415 W. Walnut St., for a Sunday evening show.
His music has some humor in it and also distinct influences from artists like Elvis Costello, The Beatles, Squeeze and XTC, as well as a group called Starflyer 59 whose members Colinger has worked with on his own albums. He describes his lyrics as having “the kind of self-deprecation usually reserved for a Woody Allen movie.”

He considers his music therapeutic — good for him as well as his listeners.

“I would classify it as independent pop rock, but thematically I seem to be self-deprecating,” he said. “I do like to revel in my own weakness — in hopes others might find solace. There are all sorts of emotions that come out through my music that probably wouldn’t otherwise.

“I like songs that musically sound upbeat but the lyrics are a polar opposite. Writing songs like this may be my way of balancing out something that’s depressing.”

Colinger moved from Johnson City to central Oregon to sign with indie label Allalom Music in 2005. He had a successful run of shows in clubs, festivals and living rooms, then followed the label to Arizona. He’s now relocated to Knoxville and still has deep ties to Johnson City, and has played here at Acoustic and other clubs several times.

A multi-instrumentalist, Colinger plays mostly guitar. He’s released several EP albums: “Light From A Dying Star,” “The Summer EP,” “The Darker Side of Happy” and “Favourite Hallucination.” He’s also done a full-length album called “Songs I’ll Never Hear Again.”

He’ll perform with a relatively new band that includes a drummer, bassist and second guitar, although Colinger admits that “we’re still working on a name.”

It’s a pop sound that doesn’t get covered so much by indie singer/songwriters, who lean toward folk and Americana. But even though his sound isn’t typical, Colinger’s journey has included the usual triumphs and disappointments of the independent artist. Being a musician remains a difficult profession in which to succeed.

“I still enjoy it,” he said, “but I have come close to the edge of quitting so many times. You get frustrated. You usually promote yourself, book yourself, do all the merchandising yourself; I’ve had some help from managers and great friends, but it’s all about finding a balance between your passions and reality, in doing what you truly love and what’s necessary in order to pay the bills.”

The show is on Acoustic Coffeehouse’s Next Door stage and starts at 10 p.m. There is no cover charge.

For more on Colinger, visit and at


The Darker Side of Happy EP (2005) (CD & Digital Download)
Favourite Hallucination EP (2006) (CD & Digital Download)
The Summer EP (2007) (CD)
Light From A Dying Star EP (2007) (CD & Digital Download)
Songs I’ll Never Hear Again (2008) (to be released)
Black Vol. 1 (2009) (to be released)
Daughters & Daggers (2010) (to be released)

Pop Komm 2004 (IRL Music)
Start The Music Compilation Vol. 7 (Velvet Blue Music)
We Make Our Own Mistakes Vol. 1 (Allalom Music)
Eartaste Sampler Vol. 3 (
We Make Our Own Mistakes Vol. 2 (Allalom Music)



With sharp lyrics, the playful pop bite of the best of the 70s and 80s, and the kind of self-deprecation usually reserved for a Woody Allen movie, Jared Colinger has brought his music back to east Tennessee. Called a “purveyor of bedroom pop that rocks ever so gently, worming its way into your head with warm, rich, and instantly familiar melodies” by the Bend [Oregon] Bulletin, Colinger’s prowess as a pop-rock balladeer belies the rich and varied levels in his music. His lyrics run the gamut from the joy of new love to disillusionment with the old, from wanting to like yourself to being afraid of what we have in our minds. He has collaborated with Frank Lenz (Pedro the Lion/Starflyer 59), Jason Martin (Starflyer 59) and Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric).

Originally from east Tennessee, Colinger moved to central Oregon to sign with indie label Allalom Music in 2005. His career got a kick start in mid 2006 when Jared had the chance to work with Frank Lenz (Headphones/Starflyer 59) on his debut release (the Favourite Hallucination EP), full of whimsy and indie pop orchestration this album garnered favorable reviews nationwide. Coming off of a successful tour Jared entered into the studio again, this time with Jason Martin (Starflyer 59/The Brothers Martin/Bon Voyage) to record a more guitar driven album (the Light From A Dying Star EP); showing a focused improvement over his previous release, this album builds off awkward situations and confusing relationships in a manner everyone can relate to.

The beginning of fall 2007 marked another major change as he settled in Arizona to prepare his focus on touring in Southern California and recording his next project with Ronnie Martin (Joy Electric). What began as another EP turned into Jared's first full-length album entitled Songs I'll Never Hear Again; a more dance-oriented, electro-pop vibe than previous efforts. The album has yet to be officially released.

Colinger moved cross-country in early 2008 to Knoxville, TN, found fellow Knoxville band mates in the fall of 2008, began touring the region aggressively, and in January 2009, threw away his moniker in favor of the collective band name, The Enigmatic Foe.