Advertisement

Album Review:Gem Jones – Exhaust


gemjonesGem Jones
Exhaust
(Night-People Records)
gemjonesia.bandcamp.com

The latest EP from Gem Jones, Exhaust, is a brief study in juxtaposition. At only 19 minutes, Jones milks Exhaust for every second; vacillating wildly between light-hearted pop romps and intense aural assaults. Yet Jones finds a nice balance, keeping the effervescent material exciting with kamikaze guitar attacks or off-kilter horn lines.
The opener, “Shiver,” is a gleeful, sun-baked number with vocals so caked in reverb, they just spill out of the speakers. The cut toots along on a keyboard pulse which should have soundtracked Mickey Mouse down the river in “Steamboat Willy,” before breaking down into jarring, skronky guitar workouts after each chorus.

Jones follows that up with an easy piano shuffle, some baritone wails that seem to be about a girl and loads of “ooh”ed and “aah”ed backing vocals on a song called “Starquisha.” The second track, even though it comes with a pleasant swing, is still pretty free and challenging. Jones jams a pained howl in your ear right at the top of the song, and is once again liberal with some spacey, heavily-overdriven guitar solos.

The middle of the EP is split between two instrumental numbers. One, “No Why,” is an upbeat organ workout with a cool, martini-sipping swing. The second, “Jam in P,” is a hard left into free jazz. Jones breaks out a belching trumpet, lets the drums off the leash and rewinds the tape on a guitar solo for “Jam in P.”

The crown jewel of Exhaust is the six-minute psych-out “Black Robin.” The fifth track off the EP is a psychedelic, free-jazz, fever dream where the horn section has polished off a bottle of tequila; the drummer is trying to steal the spotlight with furious, machine gun fills; and, the guitarist is just trying, doggedly, to keep the whole thing on the beat. Amidst all of this, Jones barks his way up and down the scale and unleashes blasts of organ. It’s one of the most pleasurable dins to come out of Iowa City in a while.

John Schlotfelt is perfecting his Bloody Mary mix. Though, like any creative endeavour, perfection is almost certainly bound to elude him.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

A collaboration between The Englert Theatre and FilmScene

STRENGTHEN
GROW•EVOLVE

Help us build the greatest small city for the arts in America—right here in Iowa City. Learn more »

Donate Today

Strengthen • Grow • Evolve is a collaborative campaign led by two Iowa City-based arts nonprofits, The Englert Theatre and FilmScene that seeks a major reinvestment to strengthen the arts through modern and historic venues, innovative programming, and new models of collaboration.

For 18 years...

Little Village has been telling the truth and changing our little corner of the world.

If you can, help us head into the next 18 years even stronger with a one-time or monthly contribution of $18, or any amount you choose.

Advertisement

Scattergood Friends Middle School Meet & Greet

Come and visit us at the Iowa City Holiday Farmers Market and the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center on Saturday, November 16.

Learn More
Event Details

Iowa City Farmers Market
November 16
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Robert A. Lee Rec Center

Little Village
2019 Give Guide

Get to know some of the nonprofits helping to make the CRANDIC a better place to live.