“With You” is from Strange Bodies’ 2014 self-titled debut LP, which is available for free download from Bandcamp »
To say that we’ve been waiting for new tunes from Chicago bedroom musician turned full fledged psych rock outfit J Fernandez is a bit of an understatement. After seeing them live for the first time at last year’s CMJ, it was the one question everyone seemed to be asking, myself included. A question that finally has an answer. Nearly two years after the re-release of Fernandez’s No Luck and Olympic Village cassette EPs as a double EP via Morning Ritual, Justin Fernandez and company are raring to release their Memorize Now EP.
“Cosmic Was” finds Fernandez at his most groove-conscious and also congruently at his most straightforwardly poppy. Fernandez’s psychedelic diversions are streamlined a bit in favor of a downright dance-y guitar jangle and buoyant brass licks. The spirit of those old 70s psych bands is alive and well but not exactly imitated which allows the track to clock in at a very radio friendly 3 minutes instead of becoming one of those 10+ minute forever jams. There’s not a heck of a lot Fernandez does to through you off the rather snappy route he draws up but there’s no need to – J Fernandez has you hooked from the second the guitar enters, each other element a piecemeal addition that complements that initial guitar riff without ever displacing it.
J Fernandez’ upcoming Memorize Now EP is out October 14th on France based atelier ciseaux. Preorder for a limited run 12″ is available now.
It’s not surprising that Rivergazer, the solo project of Porches guitarist Kevin Farrant, would garner comparisons to Porches – in fact when I heard the first single “Whimper” off debut album Random Nostalgia, it was the first thing I noticed. On “Whimper” Farrant seemed to be aping Aaron Maine’s slow, syrupy drawl and vocal inflection in a way that while not an exact replication oddly recalled the Porches frontman. That however is where the comparison began and ended and in many of Random Nostalgia‘s slower numbers the potential of Farrant’s songwriting becomes beguilingly clear.
“Random Nostalgia”, the penultimate and title track of the Rivergazer album is perhaps the greatest display of what Farrant has to offer. It’s a sparse, mostly acoustic number but its simplicity is perfect to quash all those pesky Porches comparisons resolutely. Farrant pairs the album’s indie pop leanings with the narrative showcase of a downtempo ballad – it’s a pitch perfect combination of infectious melodies, revealing lyricism, and stellar arrangement in the use of its horn accompaniment that makes it an enjoyable track. Farrant captures the spirit of twentysomething ennui where the first pinpricks of nostalgia are first felt in a style completely devoid of flash and sizzle but no less rewarding.
Random Nostalgia, the debut full length from Rivergazer, is out now on Father/Daughter Records. Grab your copy here »