Tuesday, June 12, 2012

LA Music Scene Darlings + Musical Escapism = JJAMZ

Back in my late teens/early twenties, I would spend most weekends (plus a handful of weeknights) adventuring along the east coast, seeing bands from across the country. Although I was in New York, surrounded by many great local acts, I was drawn to many bands from the west coast, particularly those who were popular in the LA music scene. My adventures even took me to California a handful of times, in which my wonderful friend Melissa was my guide. Back in 2006, I remember receiving a MySpace request from someone, or something, called JJAMZ. I had no clue who it was, so I poked around before I let them be my friend. Once I looked around, I realized that it was a band, comprised of some of my favorite musicians. JJAMZ, pronounced, juh-jamz (you gotta put a little stutter in it), is the musical love child of long-time friends James Valentine (guitarist for Maroon 5), Jason Boesel (drummer for Rilo Kiley, The Elected and Bright Eyes), Alex Greenwald (actor and Phantom Planet frontman), Michael Runion (solo artist), and Z Berg (lead singer and guitarist of The Like), in respective alphabetical form. The side project was formed as an outlet for the friends to express themselves, outside of their current obligations.

Valentine, Greenwald, Berg, Runion + Boesel. Credit: JJAMZ

Since I received that MySpace request years ago, I hadn't heard much of the band, until late last year. JJAMZ was signed to Dangerbird Records, and their debut album, Suicide Pact, is slated for a July 10 release. I got my hands on the tracks "Heartbeat" and "Never Enough," and the tracks are amazing. Z's sultry, slightly raspy voice, pairs perfectly with the melody provided by her talented bandmates. The songs definitely have an electronic feel, but upon listening closely, you can tell that the arrangements are multi-faceted. These would be a perfect soundtrack for a Bret Easton Ellis novel (well, minus American Psycho), or a welcomed addition to the Drive soundtrack - especially "Heartbeat." If these songs are any indication of what will be delivered on Suicide Pact, this album will definitely be one of the best albums of the summer. I'd love to get my hands on a copy before it hits shelves, to give it a few listens and write a solid review, before it goes live. 

JJAMZ will be on the road, joining the Nylon and Starbucks Frappuccino Summer Music Tour with Neon Trees. Check out tour dates and snag your tickets here. Seeing as I have seen 3/5 of the band perform live on numerous occasions, I highly recommend you get your tickets early - its going to be a good show. 

If you like what you heard, head over to  jjamzmusic.com for a free download of "Heartbeat." While you're there, you can also check out the video for "Never Enough." Don't forget to check JJAMZ out on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.


  1. Holy blast from the past haha

    1. Tell me about it. I remember doing merch for The Like when I was nineteen - they had to smuggle me into a couple 21+ venues. I can't believe its been ten years since we we all met, thanks to good old Rooney. Time flies! :)