Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Elemental” by the Jim Jones Revue from their 2011 album, Burning Down Your House, on Punk Rock Blues Records.
This is a story of how a British fivesome managed to take the roots of 1950s American rock ‘n’ roll and spill its guts out, resurrect it, and figuratively set fire to every stage they’ve shredded on with piano-driven rock and sweaty, rough and tumble vocals. As frontman Jim Jones would say, their sound is “rough but juicy, brutal with a swing, rock ‘n’ roll.” In essence, he just felt the world needed to rock again.
Jim Jones, of Thee Hypnotics, met Rupert Orton through being in Black Moses and thanks to a blues night in a club in London, they joined forces with Gavin Jay, Nick Jones, and Henri Herbert. Struggles notwithstanding, their 2008 self-titled debut that took them 48 hours to record earned pennies and apparently sounded like white noise if turned up too loud. However, The Jim Jones Revue continued to deliver results through their onstage raucousness until the time when real rock ‘n’ rolling machismo was in demand. Johnny Thunders’, The Ramones’, and The Stooges’ visceral stage presences, Jones felt, were nearly lost in modern rock bands, so and the JJR gladly channel them, along with vintage booty-shakers and soulful ’50s rockers. On Burning Your House Down, the band’s second record, produced by Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Grinderman), they create a sound that would be if Jerry Lee Lewis and The Stooges made a record.
Before SXSW, the Jim Jones Revue had never played stateside, and shortly after the release of Burning Your House Down, the JJR were scheduled to play on the Late Show With David Letterman. Although they had to reschedule because Hurricane Irene caused New York to essentially shut down, they finally made their network TV debut and seemingly blow Letterman’s socks off. Just try to imagine Marty McFly playing Johnny B. Good at your high school prom. Although the audience was much savvier and thicker-skinned, there’s something about The Jim Jones Revue that wants to melt your face off and make you dance at the same time. “Elemental” gets under your skin, makes you want to boogie, and rip your surroundings apart.
If you missed them at Bumbershoot, check out our in-studio just a few days before where they stuffed their loud amps and equipment in our tiny studio. To find out where they’re going next, check out their website and MySpace page. And if you still need a little more, check out the video for today’s song of the day, “Elemental”: