Friday, August 8, 2008

Julie Ocean - long gone and nearly there

Julie Ocean sent me their record through Burning Angel a couple months ago. It wasn't the normal kind of record I'd get through that crew, and I'm not even sure whether the review ever got posted, but I really dug them. Much like Blondie, Julie Ocean is a band, although JO is without the confusion of having any females in their fold. As incestuous as DC and it’s auxiliary bands can be, I never really thought we’d see an amalgamation of Swiz and Velocity Girl members, much less a union facilitated by Peter Cortner from Dag Nasty, but it’s here and I'm not arguing.

Julie Ocean take their name from the Undertones song and definitely have an UK sensibility about them. Luckily (for me at least) these gents are old enough that their touchstones are older than Oasis. I don't think I can stomach another American band wallowing in affected Gallagher-isms. long gone and nearly there is chock full of hooks and guitars like Teenage Fanclub and GbV having a mutual backslapping session at Mac McCaughan's place. I’m not sure who's taking the leads on this record, but both parties get props for being tasty as hell, driving and chiming with equal power, but never resorting to full-on wankery.

As anglo-philic as the chiming guitars and sunny harmonies are here, Julie Ocean definitely tip their hats to their indie rock pasts, especially on Looking At Me/Looking At You where the boys bring some stateside pride through a little Husker Du homage. It's a great song that closes the record nicely and leaves you wanting for more. There are about a million other bands who could take the hint on that. While the whole record clocks in under a half-hour, there is not a bad song in the ten that comprise long gone and nearly there. I’m not sure whether the title is meant to be taken literally, but it’s certainly apt for Julie Ocean. Whatever has kept these gents from the scene had given them time to write ten of the best guitar-driven pop songs that I've heard in a long time.

Julie Ocean are out on the road next month with Magnetic Morning. It's great for them and they certainly deserve the slot, but I really don't want to have to run the double gauntlet of bitter old Swervedriver fans and new school Interpol trendoids, in Brooklyn, no less. My personal issues aside, they are at Southpaw on 10/21 with MM and Springhouse, which I'm pretty sure is Jack Rabid from The Big Takeover's band. Should be a good night, or at the very least a reason to go home early. The records $10 postage paid from Transit of Venus. If I master simple computer skills, you may be able to buy it by clicking here, if not, check the links below.


1 comment:

jack said...

hi, and thanks for mentioning the southpaw show!

i am indeed in springhouse, and i am a big julie ocean fan -- the show is in fact "big takeover presents" and i personally requested of magnetic morning, who are super nice guys, to let both our band and theirs play with them on these dates.

i'm indeed hoping the readers of your blog will give magnetic morning a chance, not just for their being so nice in letting us two bands join them, but also because the music they've released sounds nothing like swervedriver or interpol (two bands i am a large fan of, but the point remains), and they are recording a new LP now for release then--so we will all have a better idea of the sort of music they will be performing at the show.

here's all the info, in fact, about our band and the other two we are playing with at that southpaw show (there will also likely be a record release party of sorts for our new album with brief unplugged performances with julie ocean and springhouse and probably a few other artists i cover in my mag, two days prior at sound fix records in williamsburg in the afternoon.):

_Springhouse reforms for new third LP _From Now to OK_ and East Coast tour dates 2008!_

It's my old band Springhouse's first LP in 15 years (since we were on the Caroline label), _From Now to OK_, and accompanying "Big Takeover Magazine Presents" East Coast tour with two huge favorites of ours, Magnetic Morning and Julie Ocean!

It's our first shows of any kind in six years, and only the second time we’ve played/toured since 1994!

_From Now to OK_, which we've been working on for the better part of 10 years, is finally finished and will be released in October, just prior to the below tour dates--on limited edition, 550 copies deluxe Bruce Licher-designed letterpress multi-layered foldout CD art package and free internet digital download, Radiohead-style (i.e. pay what you want!). Then we hit the road with:

headline: Magnetic Morning (Adam Franklin from Swervedriver, Sam Fogarino from Interpol, Jimmy from The Album Leaf, etc.)
"Out of all the critically successful new albums coming out this year, a theme seems to be emerging: many of the best albums have come from side projects and supergroups. Magnetic Morning have come along to add to the ranks, and although their short EP only gives listeners a taste of things to come, the EP boasts some beautifully lush, ambient compositions."-Kevin Eagan, Blogcritics Magazine

middle: Springhouse
"[After reunion tours in 1994 supporting Mark Burgess, and 2002 supporting Burgess's old group The Chameleons] the band again got back together, reportedly to work on a new album. Drummer Jack Rabid has teased the work in his own magazine now and then, but to the best of my knowledge, we have yet to see a new Springhouse album (note, finished, 2008!). But somehow, 1993's Postcards from the Arctic has remained one of my favorite albums from the early-90s. Perhaps because of its soothing element hidden behind upbeat rock, the layered guitars and cool mood, I find myself returning to it again and again, often in the evening when I'm not yet ready for something soft and quiet. The band perfectly suits the unappreciated tag, and that's likely why they broke up back then when they did. But the good point is that their albums can often be found in used bins, and I highly recommend picking them up.”--Jeff Marsh, "Underappreciated Album of the Month," Springhouse-Postcards From the Arctic (Caroline, 1993)," Delusions of Adequacy
more info:
and especially:

first: Julie Ocean (new Washington D.C. band, ex-members of Velocity Girl, High Back Chairs, Tree Fort Angst, Saturday People, St. Christopher, Glo-Worm, Severin, etc.!)
“These ten songs are utterly timeless: the bracing, jangly rush of the barely two-minute opener "Ten Lonely Words" could have been recorded at any point from 1965 onwards. The songs are so overstuffed with clever turns of lyrical phrase, ear-grabbing production tricks and good old-fashioned hooks that the minutes whiz past in a seeming blink."-- Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

Springhouse reunion East Coast tour dates 2008 with Julie Ocean and Magnetic Morning:

October 16 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
October 17 - Washington, D.C. @ Rock and Roll Hotel
October 18 - Philadelphia, Pa. @ Johnny Brenda's
October 20 - Allston, Mass. @ Great Scott
October 21 - Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Southpaw (CMJ first night, but open to the public)

October 19 (unplugged, just a few songs)-Williamburg, Brooklyn, NY - Soundfix (Springhouse From Now To OK Record Release Party)

jack rabid
big takeover magazine