JJAMZ (pronounced juh-jams) is an LA-based supergroup (and super group) made up of 5 members from various well-known bands: Lead singer, Z Berg (The Like), Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes), James Valentine (Maroon 5), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), and solo artist, Michael Runion. Sorry for the parenthesis overload.
I came across these cats by way of my good friend Jamie, who’s music taste I love and respect as much as anyone else’s. Interestingly, when asked what I thought about the album, I said it reminded me of a more powerpop Rilo Kiley – which is when she told me about all of the various bands that these artists come from.
While these days I definitely tend to go for artists with a more unique sound than JJAMZ, good songwriting is good songwriting; and as long as there’s a hook of some sort and vocals I like, chances are I’ll be a pretty easy sale. They certainly don’t break any new musical ground on their debut album, Suicide Pact, but they do as good of a job as anyone out there right now of writing solid poppy alternative rock songs. The album finishes stronger than it begins (in my opinion), and I especially love the few ballads thrown in at the end. Most of the vocal duties belong to Z Berg, who goes from playful to sensual, and whose voice will remind you of a lower, less country-tinged version of Jenny Lewis’s.
Suicide Pact has been in heavy rotation here at Fred Hystere Headquarters; with my favorite songs being the title track and super catchy (but sad) “You Were My Home.” Check them both out below.
*JJAMZ’s debut album, Suicide Pact is out now via Dangerbird Records.
JJAMZ “Suicide Pact”
JJAMZ “You Were My Home”