New York (Relax!)

I hate panicking like I’m about to go deaf

Sometimes I feel like my hearing is all I have left

My ears were the first feature mentioned and first dropped from his list

of stellar qualities I brought to the ship

I hate myself when I’m too stuck in my head to listen

I hate when I’m too drunk to make smart impressions

With every trip to the restroom, my confidence lessens

Damn, I don’t know how I’d get by without patient fam

I just wish I could return the lesson

I hope you understand

A woman needs time to dance like Frances before she can make her Lady Bird

I may not be the best in the city but I could

make some new friends, cut some dead ends

Trim my thunderous thoughts into standards to live by

I don’t mind if it means training my brain for jazz

even though my earliest connections to it make me spazz

funny how a new table topic is not good, bad bad

I just want to live at shows like I always have

If I miss the blue notes and green mills, I might go blind

I miss the attention to detail of photography

I wish I could rewind

CD (The Original Ode)

I’ve been studying poetry on Pandora since middle school

that’s around when my habitual library trips turned from books to CDs

singing Taylor Swift got me through my first breakup

how bout that for cool! Cool? please...

I was too quiet to be popular

I guess some guys were intimidated by my ability to read lyric sheets

it’s cool, my passion burns through me

but this never was about me

funny ‘cause now it’s cool to have the greatest authors up your sleeve

I can’t wait to go back to Florida and show Andy, Miss Williams, Miss T

and Mister Paterno, who believed in my film journal entries,

all the inspiration they’ve given me

who could have known such great teachers would be buried in Plantation and Davie?

they might be skeptical about the dancing

but I think they’ll still be proud to have raised me

 

Around him, I act righteous even when I know I’m wrong

That’s not how I usually am

I don’t know what it is about his care that makes me feel so strong

but it makes my head explode

no need to pass the bong

don’t let my smile bring you down

I don’t like to see my best friends’ frowns

just talk it out

I won’t judge you for sharing your fears

I’ve felt the same pain for years

I’ve only recently begun to overcome

look what one boy’s mistake has done!

but I’ve grown, I’m grown

you know I’ve always learned best through lyrics and songs

Happy 4th And Happy Birthday To Ray Angry

Growing up, I never put my hand over my heart when my class was instructed to rise for the pledge of allegiance. I always stood up, but I refused to blindly support America’s reliance on one invisible “He” under the guise of patriotism. The entwining of religion, government, and capitalism in the U.S. always felt to me like part hapless attempt to unite us under misguided nationalism, part self-fulfilling dystopian prophecy. Followers of ancient religions who do not question antiquated ideas are more susceptible to wielding faith for the wrong reasons. 

 

This morning, I was listening to one of my all-time favorite albums, Regina Spektor’s 2009 release “Far,” which touches on these topics in both broadly painted and deeply personal manners. A pair of back-to-back songs on the album—“Machine” and “Laughing With”—demonstrate the arc of thought I felt about allegiance, independence, and the 4th of July after almost getting hit by a drunk driver along my walk to Starbucks to write this blog post.

 

"Everything's provided

Consummate consumer

Part of worldly taking

Apart from worldly troubles

Living in your prewar apartment

Soon to be your postwar apartment

And you lived in the future

And the future

It's here

It's bright

It's now,” Regina Spektor sings on the post-apocalyptic ballad “Machine.”

 

Also this morning, I saw Ray Angry’s post on Instagram:

 

 

I don’t know what funny story he was referring to, but Ray's positivity made me think about the little things I have to be thankful for despite the constant looming dread in this country. And I felt more like Regina Spektor on “Laughing With”:

 

"But God can be funny

At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or

Or when the crazies say He hates us

And they get so red in the head you think they're 'bout to choke

God can be funny

When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way

And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini

Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious

Ha ha

Ha ha"

 

So cheers to galvanizing spirits like birthday boy Ray Angry who bring people together through artistic entertainment! We celebrate you.

 

Happy Independence Day to all who have the privilege of independence in America— and to all whose human rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" have been violated, but continue to live and laugh in the face of uncertainty, war, and careless consumerism.

 

 

Sound Over Noise

Vulnerability is the most reliable measure of artistic authenticity. The hundreds of performances I’ve seen have shaped me into a sharper detector of bullshit. If someone is in this business for the right reason, they are driven by a desire to lift the souls in the room—not assault them with noise—whether it be through sincere singing, honest banter, or strange sounds that catch the swirling thoughts in our brains when words fall short, making us forget all the noise and feel the music. There is plenty of intelligent noise in the world, but when we step back and analyze how it sounds in the context of human relationships, we become more cognizant of the impact of violent sounds. How about we clear out the bullshit and focus on experimental yet thoughtfully produced content that will reach listeners far and wide not by way of artistic hubris, but pure love for the human connection that results from the craft?

 

The JMI family looks forward to seeing the positive human impact of Ray Angry’s musical reign.

Record..

(an ode to my teachers)

I never was your angel

I’d never be your sycamore

but if there’s one thing I have to thank you for,

it’s that short holiday record

I can’t lie, it’s a weak story but

I wouldn’t have grown so tall without it

I want to put your memory to sleep

but first I gotta tend to the seed

 

he takes a look at himself

after brushing off the heart from his highest shelf

he does the dirty work for Him

he resuscitates and

finally sees the flaw at the seams

(hadn’t taken a hard look in days)

up from the depths of his vision

rose money on a gold plate, or so it seems

 

blood orange fingertips, purple palms

gold lips, let me speak

blue roses aren’t natural— leave that to the sky

I’ll take the red one, please

got my guy lounging on the highest cloud

I’m dancing on donuts and slinging krispy kreme

OK, enough with the comedy, for real

it’s sweet to feel safe in these new sheets

 

Berlin got blurry so I drowned the static

out my ears dripped Coltrane’s saturated attic

Puberty 22

Sunflower Bean hue

Jay Som’s opening for Paramore

nuclear seasons are still true

I’m lacing my pops with rum because

I only see green light when I’m with you

oh shit!!!

I TOLD YOU BITCHES TO LISTEN TO Run The Jewels 2!!!

 

In my view, Young Fathers and Snail Mail are the future

I’ve been around the world, a Noname Nobody

studying with Blake scholars and Big Thieves

I finally found a suture, I stapled my own magazine

I never had the privilege to cross the ocean until 

these academics saw my potential and met my need

Now I’m balling at 5 in the morning, listening to Ray Angry

Ain’t Chance funny?

Now I’m like ooz moon, reptile queen

Vintage Vinyl’s owner told me his friend signed Charli

 

Boys and girls don’t see past me on the street anymore

I’m propped back up on the pedestal, or as you call it, “stage”

Gotta be above it so here I am, hovering above my personal hell

Proving that just because you couldn’t see,

it doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to act my age

I’m still writing poetry, it’s just more self-assured

because I realized I’m not getting any younger

you haven’t been paying attention so you haven’t seen me

putting together the pieces to grab my own favorite stars

there’s one out there named Nobility

Milky way worship rots your teeth, but without it Mars

would only have bars in our dreams

 

lived there, lucid London flat/ been there, but 

didn’t stop eating beef because it made me fat

but because shit hit the fan and tainted the garden

so let’s look deeper, listen closer

this cartoon is smarter than it seems

Hollywood killed your American dream

Let’s go home to the record store

I know hot spots from Seattle to Brighton

Roam then listen with all our friends later

We’ll lie after a long day of climbing

Smoke and fall alongside my new record player

How could any music lover feel like dying?

I’m back in the zone, bopping in my beats to Badu

 

I love the way you absorb my rays and see the

northern lights buried in my arctic brain

The Tromsø public library is the coolest club in this country,

haven’t you heard?

Hello? I still got my ability to lace words into the absurd

Don’t you know you can call me from anywhere in the world?

Trust me and I’ll entertain the possibility of you

being the Rejjie to my Clairo

Homeshake me up, I just want your sun kiss

 

If I can’t get back the lizard ring I left at her house,

it’s okay ‘cause I know snakes

so far, the weight is worth the upgrade

I love the snow but I never craved constant cold

I’m fine with dry heat if it means seeing constellations

The coast is near for when I need a splash of water

I feel alright in this light

Won’t you spin another old record?

Bringing Quality Into The Fold

Hailing from Plantation, Florida, Taryn Nobil is a Journalism major at Northwestern University.  Music is her greatest passion-- her belief in the power of the arts to guide positive change has always served as the primary inspiration for her writing. In addition to her involvement in NU's college radio station as both a DJ and blogger, Taryn has written about arts and entertainment for Variety Magazine, Sun-Sentinel, and Willamette Week.  She also expresses herself through poetry and balances her creative pursuits with her multimedia inclinations. Welcome Taryn!

Division

If a human life is one whole unit of the measurement of time then we’re all engaged in the process of division.  We make choices almost every second as regards how we’re spending our time. Divide your seconds, your minutes, your hours, your days, your weeks, your months and your years into the subunits you want to result in the greatest sum upon your death. Death is not to be feared but rather marked as the end of the time you have to divide. The sum of time spent with or thinking about family and friends. The sum of time spent thinking about and acting to help others. The sum of time spent creating.  The sum of time spent thinking about and acting to earn money. And please don’t forget the sum of time for fun.  May we humbly suggest playing a vinyl record and studying the packaging art?  An unpretentious record which will entertain you and make you feel good?  Click on the tab for products for sale on this site and keep clicking and dividing during the wait until Steve Wilson’s Sit Back, Relax & Unwind lp is in your possession. Play. Repeat. Play. Repeat. And you thought math was always going to be annoying?  Divide.  

Antero Sievert

JMI is excited to announce we have signed Olympia, Washington resident Antero Sievert to a recording deal.  Mr. Sievert was born 21 years ago in Valencia, Spain’s third largest city.  The New York Times wrote of Valencia :

For hundreds of years, people in and around the city have formed symphonic brass bands. Children grow up learning to dance the jota and boleros and to play works by Mozart and Stravinsky, with flamenco coursing through their veins as well. Bordering the Mediterranean on Spain’s east coast, Valencia has long been the nexus of Western, African, Hispanic and South American cultures, the various musical traditions blending with the local.

In recent years, this city of about 800,000 has had an infusion of fresh sounds with the establishment, in 2011, of the first international campus of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The campus set up state-of-the-art facilities in Santiago Calatrava’s soaring City of Arts and Sciences complex. It was a marriage made in music heaven.

A whole new music scene has since developed, merging the city’s musicians with students from all over the world. Visitors are finding many more concerts to attend, more bars and clubs in which to hear music and a generally more artistic and youthful vibe. Valencia is turning into a university town, with the emphasis on music, and it may be one of the few Spanish cities that is now more vital than it was five years ago.

“What’s happening here is what’s next musically,” said Brian Cole, dean of academic affairs at Berklee Valencia, over lunch in the city [in 2014].. “The area has a completely musical population.”

Mr. Sievert, born to a Peruvian father and Texan mother, moved to Austin as a child where he learned the piano.  Now a senior at Evergreen State College, he came to our attention on late night Instagram live video streams.  His ethereal tone on piano, all long delicate fingers and bristling solo ideas virtually screamed that his is a major voice with which to be reckoned. Nominally a solo-piano effort, Mr. Sievert’s JMI debut, titled _The Underscore after his Instagram handle _antero, will feature original compositions and arrangements including strings, trombone and percussion, the latter one of Mr. Sievert’s other talents.  

We will be gleefully updating our plans with Mr. Sievert as the ideas flow.  We can’t wait to see how this scene continues to play out. Welcome to the JMi family Mr. Sievert. 

Won’t you sign on the dotted line

We have agreed to terms to record the JMI debut by a musician making his professional recording debut.  Our new artist is a 21 year-old college senior who now lives in the Pacific Northwestern part of the United States but he’s lived all over and hails from a background rich with South American and European music and influences. We will be providing a full bio and picture soon.  Recording will be at Reservoir Studio in NYC with an invitation-only live gig shortly before the recording and the dates will be posted in our important dates section of this site.  We are beyond excited to showcase this incredible young talent and make a classic press of JMI vinyl. 

Great Debate

There is a high probability that human lives only allot a finite amount of time.  For music fans that time may be roughly divided into two categories: collection and analysis.  Collection may refer to the time spent seeking and acquiring new music.  Analysis may refer to the time spent listening.  The smaller quantity of music to which a person listens, the better that person may appreciate it, picking up new things with repeated listens to the same music, especially music produced with such repetitive listening in mind.  However, the more music a person collects, the more different music a person may learn.  How a music aficionado divides her or his time reveals a lot about the core of their interest in music and even about larger aspects of their personality.  What kind of music fan are you?  What kind of person are you?

Spreading the gospel

Organic chemistry is a subject most people avoid. Except for would-be doctors and science aficionados, no one sees much of a need to know about elements and their combinations which explain life and Inamimate objects. But the effects music can have are a form of organic chemistry. Most music fans are familiar with the changes in mood produced by listening to certain songs or albums, from a simple mood change to a life changing course adjustment. So what is the  organic chemistry which makes up the transformative power of music? 

Oh, you were waiting for a logical, interesting answer? We don’t have one. We don’t know shit about organic chemistry either. Now get outta here knucklehead and go buy a Steve Wilson lp.  Buy it for yourself, for those times you just don’t know what to do. When such a time arises, play the record, hold the jacket and sleeve and read the text and look at the beautiful pictures. Smell the inside of the jacket, that heady mix of cardboard and vinyl. If at the end of the 38 minutes or so you haven’t experienced a change or been entertained email us, we’ll talk. 

Realistic A&R

Back in the days when the record business was profitable based on sales of physical records, labels invested money and time in grooming not only artists, but executives responsible for selecting those artists and the songs, or repertoire they would record. That position has largely gone by the wayside where cutting costs triumphs over long term artistic legacy. Well, as we hope we made clear elsewhere on this site, other internet posts and most of all our recorded output, we value legacy over all. So, we are proud and pleased to announce that we have agreed to hire artist and repertoire representative Robby Alexander Finkelstein. Mr. Finkelstein, a student at Valencia College in Florida, is also a powerful instagram presence with his Rewind Hour and Robtherealest accounts which are part of the Chatting With Suga network started and sanctioned by our own label owner Suga Steve Mandel. As you may see in the thumbnail photo with this post, Rob has a deep background in music production since at least the age of 14, when he believed he needed to use each finger on a different fader of his control desk. Believe us, he’s learned a lot since then. Welcome Rob and we look forward to your first signing.  

The sound waves

Recently we had a listen to the all-analog lp Steve Wilson Sit Back, Relax & Unwind with Mr. Wilson himself.  It was the first time he experienced listening to it on vinyl (as opposed to the tape playbacks at recording session).  He said it was the first time he ever liked hearing himself play on one of his recordings.  He also said it made him feel like he was a kid again listening to music at his parents’ house. The experience got us back to the drawing board of trying to describe what is so special about non-digital recordings.  Here goes : on all analog the sound waves coming out of the speakers produce a vibration which causes a slight physical sensation in the ears and throughout your whole body which leaves you microscopically but physically moved by the end of an album. No? We will try again in a little while no doubt. In the meantime, listen to the lp and feel the sound waving. 

Hocking lugies

The music we make and the digital media we use are deliberately provocative.  We want you to react and when you do, good, bad, but not indifferent, we have succeeded.  That success is diluted by impurities introduced outside the very tight JMI structure. Even a great financial success would be a failure of the JMI aesthetic if it were achieved in association with people or entities outside JMI. We are constructing a monument to our insularity, like the companies and people we most admire. Thanks for observing our ride but please don’t break our stride. 

Heart of Glass

Philip Glass’ “song” 4’33”, whose chart instructed the musician to not play their instrument for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, is today’s JMI crush.  The intended enjoyment from the performance of the song consisted of listening to audience and ambient noise for 4 minutes and 33 seconds.  This kind of originality,  bravery and dare-we-say challenge of the audience is something for which we strive at the label.  If you think you’re the next Philip Glass we want to record you. 

Jazz A Geddon It

Ray Angry took a giant step toward his rightful place as one of the rising stars of jazz by leading 3 nights at NYC’s Blue Note Club.  Everyone who knows Ray knows he can play with anyone but what we found out last week is that his original compositions stand up and supersede even the best standards and new classics when played live.  And, he’s a super entertainer and leader by example even when thrown in the deep end with the heaviest of jazz heavyweights.    The sky is no limit for Ray and we can’t wait to showcase his JMI lp debut Ray Angry One later this year and promote his live performances celebrating its release.  We promise no more all-star shenanigans, just the world-class quintet which recorded One.  

2018

Although we abhor most traditions we also like to understand how it feels to embrace them so without further adieu here is a list of things we resolve in 2018:

1. Spread as much love and empathy as we can by insuring as many people as possible listen to Steve Wilson Sit Back, Relax & Unwind;

2. Press Ray Angry One;

3.  Record at least one new lp;

and finally 4. Make sure everyone in our lives knows how much we love them and that we understand how imperfect and even maddening we can be but that we are trying our best. JMI: we always try. 

Themes

Quincy Jones wrote the theme song to Sanford & Son.  Harry Nilsson wrote the theme song to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father and John Sebastian wrote the theme song to Welcome Back Kotter.  With today’s explosion of high quality television on cable, streaming and even network, there would seem to be a need for equally high quality music.  That’s where we come in.  We’ve got a few choice cuts from Steve Wilson’s Sit Back, Relax & Unwind and Ray Angry One which would fit any project.  You know where to reach us with your inquiries and offers. 

Expect not expectorate

We come now to write about the value of expectations.  When you expect morality, goodness and love you have a better chance of getting them.  If you expect greed, selfishness and hate you have a better chance of getting them too.  Not wanting to expect a lot to prevent disappointment is fear-based cowardice.  Let’s hold each other and ourselves to the highest standards possible.  It’s okay to fail.  It’s not okay not to try.  JMI: why not try?