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All Songs Considered
Wed April 23, 2014
Song Premiere: The Jazz June, 'Over Underground'
Christie Front Drive, Texas Is the Reason, Knapsack, The Promise Ring, Cap'n Jazz, Gauge, Sunny Day Real Estate, American Football, The Casket Lottery, The Get Up Kids, Braid — no, this isn't a dream Emo Diaries compilation. These are the '90s emo bands that have, in recent years, reunited for tours or even recorded new material after long silences. (Mineral and Rainer Maria... we're waiting.) It's been a bane to those annoyed by a tossed-off hashtag, but mostly it's a boon to those who never stopped listening, to the kids just now discovering teenage feelings, and the excellent young bands working within that sound now.
In the late '90s and early '00s, The Jazz June was the odd band out. The members came from hardcore, but loved John Coltrane and Dave Brubeck, which resulted in an aggressive and structurally complicated discography released mostly on the Louisville hardcore label Initial Records. (If the band is new to you, 2000's raucous The Medicine is a good place to start.) Twelve years after its last album, "Over Underground" marks the studio return of The Jazz June from a split 7" with Dikembe.
Whatever happened in the intervening years, "Over Underground" isn't the scrappy, nails-dug-in emo of The Jazz June's past, but rather the kind of song Built to Spill might have written if it had gone power-pop. It's bright and sunny, but not without a touch of regret. (Gotta keep it emo somehow, y'all.) Guitarist and vocalist Andrew Low says it marks the "next phase of the band."
To be honest, I borrow a lot of lines for songs from my good friend, Will Edmiston, who is a rad poet in Brooklyn and former Jazz June tour manager. I sent an acoustic version of "Over Underground" to him for his birthday a few years ago because we were both feeling a distance between some of the people and ideas that had once been so integral to our everyday lives. Fast-forward a couple years and we're releasing it with The Jazz June, our first release in over 10 years. It feels like some of those pieces have been put back in place.