'Los Angeles feels like a post-apocalyptic city; barbed wire, helicopters, smog, drought, earthquakes. The sun's always out and it's always the same temperature though so it's all like one long weird dream day. A lot is going on here all the time and it's totally incomprehensible which is unsettling in a good way, but it also feels like absolutely nothing happens here. A lot of nastiness right up against a lot of beauty. The two blur and shift constantly. It's very different from what we expected when we moved here from Chicago and that's good'.
- Young Jesus
It sounds like an introduction straight out of a Marvel comic book: smog, drought, earthquakes. Chicago rockers Young Jesus are soon finding out that LA isn't all about the golden beaches and music making heaven many bands first anticipate, but then that suits these musical prophets just fine.
Young Jesus are a Chicago band who, like so many in the USA do, have taken their trade to the bright lights of Los Angeles, CA. Are they searching fame? The hipster life? Do they take themselves too seriously? Alas no. When you speak to Young Jesus you get a sense of humour and warmness which is less LA and more talking to an old friend. How refreshing for a music writer! Self described as 'Killer Tofu by The Beets meets Jesus Christ by Brand New', Young Jesus are on the verge of releasing their latest record entitled Grow/Decompose available from May 13. And boy are they giving little away, pre-releasing the second track from the album G.
'There's always the spine of a story running through our records, so that helps guide it a little. Just go through a break up, think about unanswerable questions, read weird books, eat rice, take the S.A.T.s, quit smoking and go back to it and quit again and go back to it, maintain your Hingus, work full-time, grow up listening to Chicago pop-punk/emo and The National and you will have written a Young Jesus album'.
I couldn't have described it better myself, but with such an incredible track like G I feel I owe it to the masses. First of all, the song is so easy to relate to, despite being about a man wearing his mother's dress and meeting some kind of lover! How? Because the song's young protagonist Neil sounds like the hopeless soul we all know somewhere or other. And that feeling is perfectly portrayed in the music, the guitar is distorted and rock and roll, the bass cuts loud and proud underneath, and lead singer John Rossiter's voice compliments the sadness, humour and reality in perfect harmony. It's true, we all grow and decompose just the same:
'I want people to do whatever they want with it [their music]. I hope they find something to relate to because I think that's a powerful feeling and can help with a lot of anxieties and depressions. At least that's been our original intent: to be sincere and allow people a space to feel the same, or different!. My view on the meaning of music is that it's meaningless but I will keep trying to find meaning in it until I die'.
Part of the beauty of Young Jesus is their realistic and warming approach to what music should be and mean. Previous releases such as Home and Maybe Baby EP further embody the dynamic that music, not "indie" or "DIY" or "LA", is what you should be buying into a band for. Young Jesus work hard to create their music. There's no posing going on, check out their facebook page if you don't believe me, it's a band which hasn't fabricated an ounce of their music and personality to sell records, something which happens too often in today's new alternative music culture.
'I think it's very important to distinguish between the DIY scene, which is full of hard working, caring, self-sufficient, community-oriented, nuanced weirdos: the best people! And the now-commodified idea of "indie". We help run a small DIY tape label called Hellhole Supermarket and we're super proud of it and the bands on it...the "cooler kids" are the people that take DIY culture and commodify it. They are the end point of a lot of hard work and don't care to have the awareness of where that comes from'.