Recently I was at a show at the Precinct in Somerville, Massachussets. ELF and I were there to see the Froggy and the Friendship, formerly known as just the Frog. It’s nice to see the backing band has a name for itself now. Their set was great, as I knew it would be. It was off the wall, silly, and it rocked. No surprise to me there, really. The real surprise was the following act, JJF.
JJF is friends with Froggy and the Friendship, having been featured in a song on the album, T3RD. I knew of them through that, but not for their own music. What I heard was good alternative rock, and watching the three piece band play, I could easily tell they were enjoying themselves and not being too serious. Good on you, JJF, good on you. Before I had left I mentioned to Froggy that I wanted to review the band on the blog. It was a few weeks later that I received a copy of JJF’s album. After having listened to it a few times, here’s what I have to say;
The Jimmy Johnson Files, otherwise known as JJF, comprise of Dan Goldberg on drums, Scooba Dooba on bass/vocals, and Dv L Baronson on guitar/vocals. Normally a three piece alternative rock band sounds very rough live. Think about all the “grunge” bands you may have heard in years past, even their studio stuff was rough, and that was the style. Nothing but raw rock. Live, JJF was no different. Raw music, and a lot of fun.
Listening to the studio recording still had a bit of a raw feel, but what a difference from them live. Maybe it was the acoustics in the club, or something else I cannot pin down, but in the studio there is a lot more polish, and it absolutely 100% works. Give credit to Sean Cahalin for mixing it down, and Nick Dragoni to the mastering. I heard so much more in the guitar work than when live, and that was a pleasant surprise.
JJF is definitely not a band that takes lyrics too seriously. They do what works, and what is fun for them. It fits in great to what they do musically, and is so much more different than a lot of bands that come to mind. Fun is fun, and the energy it creates live is even better. The track “Beer & Cigarettes” mentions that ‘yogurt is nutritious’ and makes it work wonderfully. I actually laughed the first time I heard the line, and immediately thought of songs like “Chic n Stu” by System of a Down, and the old Roger Miller (points for you if you know who he is) song that mentions ‘maple syrple’ (rhymes with purple). I laughed the first time I heard Sirge sing about ‘pizza pizza pie’, too. Anyone that can do that is awesome in my book, and I don’t care if its country music, either.
Tracks like “FuckShit” and “Two Chords” poke fun in their own way. They are also a tribute to what can be done with so little in terms of music and lyrics. It’s the fun behind it that drives these tracks, as it seems to do on several others. Look at their NWO style shirts. How can you take a bunch of guys who love wrestling that much so seriously? I get the feeling that any day with JJF is a good time. Who can’t love that?
So what do you get when you take solid alternative rock, fun lyrics, and a good time? Three letters, J – J – F. Go see them live and get their album. Even if their genre isn’t tops on your list of favorites to listen to, they are too much fun to miss live, and it spills over into their album, too. Their picture is on this page above the Frog's, so click it to find their Facebook page. Also visit www.youtube.com/yakbardar for JJF video clips. It's got some other good stuff on there too. Listening to JJF is like drinking a bottle of good. Pop the top and chug it.