The Jonx
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The Jonx

Band Rock Punk

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Press


"Nightfly: Fur Sure (live review, July 2009)"

On a recent evening at the Backroom, Woozyhelmet and Side Arms were in fine form, but the Jonx owned the night. All the groups were loud, but the Houston/Austin punk trio seemed to be coming at you from every direction. It was much more visceral than listening to the band’s MySpace page, but have a go anyway at www.myspace.com/thejonx. The highlight was the Sonic Youth-like closer “Scent of Earth,” which lasted for what seemed like two hours. - The Houston Press


"Saturday Night The Jonx, Golden Axe, & Awake at The Mink Backroom (live review, May 2008)"

The Jonx closed the night and reminded me just how wonderful a trio they are. The trio plays music like a drunken mathematician raving about a favorite theorem. Yet, for all its mathrock qualities, the Jonx music is never cold - it drips with feeling. Stuart Smith's guitar is as capable of crunching out dissonance as it is capable of throwing out a lovely melody, Trey Levigne's bass work is always aggressive and muscular, while Danny Mee's drumming is ever nimble and powerful. Together they interact in the same manner as one of those Japanese animae robots where various robots combine their powers into one super-robot. Appropriately, all before them were crushed into submission. I'm so glad that Danny Mee's move to Austin didn't mean the end of the Jonx. - Free Press Houston


"CD Review, No Turn Jonx Red (January 2007)"

The Jonx opens No Turn Jonx Red, its second full-length album, with a minute of ragged guitar noise that sounds like a band revving its engine. Think of it as a warning: This may not always be pretty, but it will be compelling.

When the screeching stops, the band launches into Parachute, a rock song with the closest thing to pop hooks you'll hear from an avant-garde punk band. This sets the tone for an album that juggles punk, pop, math rock, noise, screams, and political and cultural statements.

Standouts include Island, with its slow build-up and quick poetry ("We want to say it's wrong to kill / The words we have no longer will"); Cashews, bassist Trey Lavigne's weird self-portrait that starts with basic facts and swells to something more surreal; and Building Tomorrow's Slums Today, a driving, spoken-word squall decrying urban sprawl.

The fact the Jonx - which includes Lavigne, Daniel Mee on drums and Stu Smith on guitar - is able to do this without a hint of pretension is admirable. The band doesn't rely on arty vagueness, nor boring noodling; this is solid rock with brevity and punch. Even discordant moments are engaging in these hands.

The band has grown tremendously since its early EPs. The songs on No Turn Jonx Red are cohesive, and the lyrics are purposeful. The tighter playing is showcased especially well on The Scent of Earth, the 12-minute instrumental that ends the album. Add the band's powerful, spare live show, and the whole package points to one of Houston's most-inventive hard-rock bands.

This is a complicated collection to be sure, but there's nothing so difficult about the Jonx's music that should keep the band playing to just the smart kids on the Houston music scene. It's time for everyone else to take notice. - The Houston Chronicle


"Best of 2006"

7) The Jonx, No Turn Jonx Red (Mustache)
I've heard it said that a city gets the scene it deserves; I'd add to that that sometimes it gets the band it deserves, as well. For sweaty, ugly, quasi-polluted, business-rules-all Houston, the city that kinda-sorta defines the whole Ugly American aesthetic, The Jonx are one of a small-small handful of bands that fit the bill. They're loud, brawny, complex, and sarcastic and earnest at the same damn time, somehow, like The Minutemen transplanted to Clutch City. (Which makes some sense, considering that both bands sprang out of what're probably two of the biggest urban-sprawl metropolises in the country.) Luckily, The Jonx also happen to be both tight as hell and brilliant at what they do, and they're genuinely nice guys with a great sense of humor, besides. "Cashews" is one my top ten songs of the year, on any album. - Space City Rock


"Two Nights Ago: Linus Pauling Quartet, the Jonx, Jenny Westbury at Proletariat (live review, November 2007)"

Middle band the Jonx were likewise amazing. I’ve known Trey Lavigne casually for about six years, and have crossed paths with (Houston Press contributor) Danny Mee on a few random occasions, yet have never before managed to see them play. I am a stupid, stupid man. Pounding, gymnastic bass lines; careening guitar fission; absolute percussive pandemonium. Slint meets the Minutemen meets Fugazi meets Television meets a point in sonic space-time you didn’t even know existed.

Their mostly instrumental set flew between funky/jazzy post-punk, screaming noise, math-rock workouts, and eardrum-melting feedback drone with precision and ferocity. The Jonx are one of those bands where each individual part would be a thoroughly engaging piece of music all on its own, yet they somehow work together instead of vying for attention. Their closing song, for example, opened with a loping bass figure that could absorb you for hours in its simple effectiveness, then drew in Mee’s pounding, tribal-pulse drums, with sheets of sound slicing through courtesy of Stuart Smith’s guitar. Throughout this lengthy workout, drums and guitar came into and out of focus, providing clear direction and purpose before devolving back into chaos. The only thing keeping it all together was the steady pulse of Lavigne’s bass. The whole thing made me think that they were trying as hard as they could to lose it and that somehow, like Reagan-era theories of Mutually Assured Destruction, this antagonistic tension kept the whole thing from collapsing in on itself. - The Houston Press


"CD Review, No Turn Jonx Red (January 2007)"

Four years and four releases after their start, it's still tough to pin down the sound of The Jonx. Maybe it's the unique time signatures that rampantly chug through the rock trio's recordings. Or maybe it's the ever-alternating vocal duties, which flutter from spoken word to grating dissidence.

Their latest release, No Turn Jonx Red,which again finds no one band member fronting the vocals, is best when they just shut up altogether. The first two minutes of "Escape (This Is Not a Song)" are a lush, delay-drenched dream. The song finally finds the band slowing its tempo and giving a glimpse of sleek aural beauty, if only for a brief moment. Before the listener can take it in, Trey Lavigne's vocals come roaring along with rolling bass riffs. Three songs later, The Jonx return to instrumental works with "The Scent of Earth," a 12-minute lesson in math rock that could make Steve Albini blush.

All in all, No Turn Jonx Red keeps listeners on their toes. Rough around the edges, the group refuses to lose the grit that keeps them distinguished from other bands. And unconcerned with fitting in with other musicians, they write whatever music they want to and explore avenues others just wouldn't dare. - The Houston Press


Discography

Vocabularian Herds (CD, 2009)
No Turn Jonx Red (CD, 2006)
The Return of the Death of the Revenge of the Jonx (CD, 2005)
Jonx 2: The Wrath of Shawn (CDEP, 2004)
The Jonx (CDEP, 2003)

Photos

Bio

The Jonx are a rock band's rock band. Drawing on (and quoting from) artists ranging from Coltrane and John Zorn to R.E.M. and the Minutemen to Loop and Earth, the players are rock geeks all: guitarist Stuart Smith was a DJ at free-format radio station KTRU-FM; bassist Trey Lavigne spent nearly a decade at Cactus Music, one of Houston's few remaining independent record stores; drummer Daniel Mee has worked as a music critic for the Houston Press and the Austin Chronicle.

During nearly seven years of activity in the underappreciated Houston indie rock community, the band has developed a strong reputation among their peers for clever, sophisticated and passionate songwriting and tight, powerful performances. They have shared bills with avant-garde luminaries including Rocket From the Tombs, Don Caballero, U.S. Maple, Make Believe, Do Make Say Think, Melt-Banana and Mike Watt, as well as many talented and beloved friends including Deerhunter, the Black Lips, Indian Jewelry, Golden Axe, Pterodactyl and the Octopus Project.