It all began in a tiny closet in Manhattan and involved music students making noise under the moniker of Killer BOB. Adrift in idiosyncratic rhythms and fractured melodies, the band (having subsequently shifted their name to JOBS) – originally consisting of guitarist David Scanlon, bassist Rob Lundberg, and drummer Max Jaffe and later adding violist Jessica Pavone – offers wildly divergent and often unclassifiable tangents through which the group amasses all their collective histories into an erratic and wonderfully unique aesthetic. Genres are beaten into submission and discarded by the side of the road as they traverse the contours of their craggy musical impulses.
Their experimental rock tendencies are awash in avant-garde arrangements and unpredictable musical rambles. Disorienting in the best way possible, the band approaches their work like a visual artist, with subtle nods to their influences and communal experiences but also striving to break free of any adherence to formulaic structures and thematics. Certain tones are beautifully distorted, and melodies are pushed to their absolute limits, and still the band delivers a burst of charged rhythmic lightning directly into the recesses of your brain.
They are set to release their latest record, endless birthdays, on August 7 via Ramp Local. You can pre-order the album here.
For our first glimpse into this new album, the band has shared lead single “Brian”, an odd and involving collage of post-punk, electronic, and krautrock lineages – imagine Devo spending time in the studio with Oneohtrix Point Never and Kraftwerk and you’re getting close. It’s a totally unrecognizable brew of shifting sounds and vocal theatrics, a perfectly balanced whirlwind of experimental instincts and musical adaptations.
“The video concept for ‘Brian’ came to me during the endless email/file sharing process of making endless birthdays,” Jaffe explains. “This was actually a few months ago, before everyone was already living in a Zoom meeting. But the concept of a video made inside a document took on an added resonance and almost urgency after social distancing mandates became the norm. Lyrically and vocally, the song already has a surrealistic energy to it. The lyrics, by Jessica Pavone, are drawn from dream journals and offer some constructive solutions (and pointed criticisms) for more universal dilemmas, so it seemed only natural that the video attempt to offer a creative solution to making “music videos” during this time via this warped dreamlike webspace.”
He continues: “Also worth noting is that we did two ‘takes’ of this, typing/formatting along to a slowed down version of the track, and the majority of what you see is from the second take. So this can essentially be thought of as a performance-style music video as well. These are the times we are living in, expressed in live Google Doc form.”