Friday, August 20, 2010

Jenny And Johnny Have Fun; You Can Too

Jenny And JohnnyJenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice have been hacking around on stage for some time. But last winter, they decided to make it official.

They didn't get married. They went into the studio and cut enough tracks for an album, I'm Having Fun Now, due out at the end of August. The first single, Big Wave, is already out but it wasn't the first track released. To warm up fans with a new sound, they put out Scissor Runner for free.

"Nobody told us to make this record, nobody told us to start a new band, and nobody even knew we were doing it," Rice told Billboard. "We just wanted to record some songs together, and if we were underwhelmed by the results, we would just keep it to ourselves."

They aren't keeping it themselves any longer. The indie rock couple, backed by big label Warner Brothers, is touring the U.S. with a heavy schedule through September on the West Coast before heading east.

They have always had chemistry on stage. Ask anyone or check out this clip from a live fan cut session of the song that was my introduction to what would become Jenny and Johnny. It was played at the Echo in Los Angeles.

So, for anyone who knows, Jenny and Johnny are hardly strangers, especially in Los Angeles. They've played each other's songs, written for each other's albums, and joined each other on tour. Shortly after Rilo Kiley wrapped its tour in Japan in 2009 was when the two were anxious to try out a new folk-infused alternative surf rock sound.

To do it, they enlisted Rilo Kiley’s Pierre De Reeder and drummer Jason Boesel. And for the most part, the demos might have gone unheard had Jenny, Johnny, Peirre, and Jason not had so much fun. Nine days was all it took to seek out producer/engineer Mike Mogis and start a new band.

I suppose some longtime Jenny Lewis fans might be taken aback by the new sound. Some have said they like her better on her own. I'm not one of them.

Jenny needed to break away from pop alternative and embrace the down beat direction full on. And for Rice, Jenny's presence adds even more diversity to his eclectic talents. Check out Hard to Believe to understand the contrast.

Jenny And Johnny Light Up Big Wave With 5.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

You know, after shuffling back and forth between Big Wave and Scissor Runner, there is no doubt Scissor Runner is the better track. Had they led off the album with that hit single (despite giving it away as a freebie), they might be closer to a 6.1. No matter, I can always revisit them at the end of the month.

To pick up Big Wave, head over to iTunes. To download Scissor Runner, visit their Website Jenny And Johnny Music or Facebook. Maybe we'll revisit them in September.
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