Well, you made it!
We just posted the final song of Thermidorian Reaction. The album is whole. The year is almost complete.
Under is a finisher. The first incarnation of this song was in 2000 as a rock song. We actually had every intention of recording it for this project as a rock song, but as with every song on this record, the song revealed itself during the recording process to be something very different than what we had originally intended.
There are multitudes of electronic layers and textures on, in, and around the guitar and bass bits. This is one of only two songs on the record that feature a main guitar part in standard tuning. Ginny's vocals and bass playing are quite nice. The background vocals on the bridge feature Ginny and Tess and really add something very special to that part of the song.
We hope that you enjoy this last song of the album and have enjoyed all of them.
We will continue to blog and post more material, just not more songs for this record. We plan on making a few more videos and may post some new music as we produce it.
Thanks so much for your kind attention,
Dear JLC Fans,
We have almost completed our journey through the time, space, sound, emotion, and memory that comprise Thermidorian Reaction. If you've been with us the whole time, we thank you for your fidelity. If not, it's not too late to get all 11 of the songs so far posted before the final song is posted next month so you can say that were on the path before the end.
And I did say 11 songs were posted - we just posted Broken Branches. It is a wintery song. Full of images of snow, frost, and ice. As with all of our material, you can read many different meanings in the lyrics. Thanks to Frankie B for giving us an interpretation of the song: that it focuses on the struggle to begin again after a catastrophe, which seems pretty topical really, and something that Frankie pointed out has happened many times and resulted in many good outcomes.
Speaking of the wise, knowledgable, skilled, soulful guitarist, none other than the legendary Frankie B plays lead guitar on this track. Frankie's guitar sounds as if each note is being wrung out of it rather than played on it. Ginny provides her always amazing vocals and adds some windy textures with accordion. Nathan plays the acoustic guitar and is responsible for the multitude of electronic notes and swooshes and drums. Tess contributed the siren-like background vocals on the verses. And as with every song on this record, we owe a debt of thanks to the incredibly gifted songwriter/musician/sound engineer Brian Andrew Marek who provided much needed guidance on production and sound.
Next month, we will post the final song of the record and complete this year-long trek. Thanks for reading this and, more importantly, for listening to the music. We really appreciate all of you.
Dearest Country Folks,
Apologies for failing to post a blog entry last month. We were so confused and frightened by the results of the travesty of democracy that was the 2016 presidential election that we didn't have the strength to blog.
We did, however, get our November song posted. Nightflier is a song that makes us extremely proud. We collaborated very well on that song and were very pleased with the results. We also had the pleasure of being accompanied by the multi-talented Mike Holdinghaus as he lent some really killer mandolin to this piece. This song has some of the neo-folk mojo of songs like Constant Tide from the last album, but lyrically is more cohesive.
This month's offering is perfect for anyone who has the holiday blues coupled with the fear and uncertainty of the post-apocalyptic future we seem to be rocketing toward in the wake of President Von Clownstick's impending inauguration. I Am is maybe less a song and more a performance piece as the music is intertwined with the most terrible French phrase lesson of all time. The industrial percussion sounds like it was cribbed from a Fritz Lang film while Ginny's vocals sound like the account of a trauma survivor. This was always intended to be our December song, but seems especially appropriate for 2016.
We will continue to blog and post our little songs as long as the first amendment allows us to do so.
Vive la resistance!
Just Like the Country
Happy Halloweiner, Hellboys and Ghouls!
It's that time of year again to get dressed up as your favorite creature of the night and go out and trick or treat. This year Nathan will be going as the creepiest ghost on television right now: Mr. Robot!
But you can't listen to that, right? So we have a bone chilling tune just for you. It's call Blood From a Stone and it's a somewhat unsettling piece of music, but not altogether off-putting. The song starts out in the key Ab minor with some acoustic guitar and synth that intersect in many places making it hard to tell what instrument is playing which notes. Over that we hear some atmospheric e-bowed electric guitar. The verse modulates into Ab major and there are some irregular measures that make you feel a little uneasy as they float by. The chorus has some very dramatic piano chords before the song "resolves" from the relative minor (F minor) into the introduction, which is the verse's parallel minor. Music theory nerds: rejoice or denounce! Ginny has some great vocals on this and her melody really ties together a dissonant chord progression so smoothly that the total effect is beautiful, sad, and strange.
As with all of our songs, we got some invaluable help from Brian Andrew Marek and some excellent input from Craig and Tam England. But we want to specifically call out the production help we got on this one from the late, great Gig Thurmond. He really understood what we were trying to do and had some good advice for us. We are grateful.
We hope you enjoy the new tune. We are working hard on getting these out month after month, and the nice comments that we have received from all of you on Facebook and in person really make it worth our while.
Eat some candy and F Society!
Do you wish to be as happy as we? Well, you've got the power inside of you right now. Use it, and download If I Had a Light, the September song from Thermidorian Reaction, from Happy Dude c/o Just Like the Country, 742 Evergreen Terrace, Springfield. Don't delay! Eternal happiness is only a download away!
Aah, it seems like only yesterday we were posting or first song from this burgeoning collection, but it turns out it was about five months ago. We have just posted the last song of summer in this year of the Reaction and have ended, as we so often do, on kind of a downer.
Without a Word is a classic Just Like the Country track that would have been completely at home on our previous album, Saint of the Open Opera. So if you liked the slightly askew progressive folk that dominated the first album, you'll love this tune featuring some nice accordion work from Ginny and a typical (for us) odd and changing meter.
This song was the hardest for us to realize of this new collection. It seemed too simple and straightforward for us to really find it. Once we finally settled on the djembe and tambourine percussion, we started to understand the song as it sounds in this recording.
The lyrics are the type of inscrutable poetry with which we are infatuated. Pete Brown (no relation) has always been a huge influence on our lyrics, not to say that we measure up to that level.
In other news, we have posted a video for our "most likeable song ever," Forty-Five. We are really proud of this as it is the first video we made ourselves. We did consult our pal, Jacob Reynolds, who gave us some good advice, but we conceived, shot, and edited this clip with our own hands. Admittedly, half the video is found footage from two public domain films (Wicked Woman, 1953 and Blonde Bait, 1956) both starring the incomparable Beverly Michaels, but we edited this footage together to create a narrative that was completely original of either film. Of course, there are a few shots of us in this video as well, but to emphasize the theme of isolation in the song, we never appear together in any one shot. Check it out, and you will not be disappointed.
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of stuff you don't have to read to like our music.
Just Like the Country
Vive la France!
This month's release from Thermidorian Reaction is the song that gave the album its name. The song is called Forty-Five, and it is a rocking piece of prog pop with more guitars than you can shake a stick at and some really great vocals.
This song was originally conceived to be anti-pop with an odd time signature that sounds like a record skip. Music nerds will notice that the song starts with a two beat pick up followed by alternating measures of 4/4 and 7/8. The doubled lead guitar/Theremin melody is awkward yet strangely hummable like 70s-era heavy metal but comes off a lot sunnier in the context of the opening.
The verse comes in with acoustic guitar and drum machine with an asymmetrical riff. Guitar textures involve a ton of controlled feedback using an e-bow that create a lot of tension relieved in the chorus that is an incantation of regrets buoyed by nostalgia sung over the skipping riff from the intro.
The bridge has the line that starts "Forty-five French Revolutions..." that gives the song its name and the album its name.
There is a soaring guitar solo that stretches the strings and imagination and pushes toward the last lines of the song incorporating a response to original lines of the chorus.
Maybe this is more inside baseball than you wanted out of a blog post about a pop song? Maybe it's not enough? Let us know what you think. People who have responded to our posts have gotten their questions answered in a prompt and friendly manner, so you can definitely ask us anything and will get a response.
One more thing: our thoughts are with the people of France in the wake of the attacks that they have suffered recently. They are our country's oldest friends and embody the highest ideals of artistic life. We, all free-thinking believers in freedom, family, and equality, will not be defeated, or even cowed by theocrats of any kind.
A la prochaine,
Just Like the Country
Hello to all the somebodies out there!
We have something new for you (as we do every month - you may be noticing a trend here): It's a new song from our growing album, Thermidorian Reaction! This one is called Somehow, and we're really proud of how far we stepped outside of our comfort zone in making this track.
Let me explain. You, loyal Just Like the Country fan, may have noticed how our songs tend to focus on darker subjects of loss, alienation, misery, and fruit pies. But this song leaves all of that seamy material aside and is rather sunny; not just musically, lyrically too. And speaking of the music, this song has a definite Latin feel with the percussion and Caribbean steel guitar slides. Heretofore, our Latin pop influence was not something that we have allowed to come out of us in original compositions. We also had this late 70s Nashville guitar solo come out in this song, which we thought worked even though, on paper, that sounds like a really weird combination.
Maybe you will disagree that it worked. Let us know what you think.
BTW we will be at the Hartford from 6PM to 9PM tonight (6/18/2016) playing this song with our Sonic Spectrum Consultant, Mr. Brian Andrew Marek, on percussion and the incomparable Frankie Bonuso on lead guitar. We will also be playing some of our Latin pop favs from Sergio Mendes, Miami Sound Machine, and Billy Joel (yes, Billy Joel is half Cuban - no kidding; look it up).
Hasta luego, Amigos!
Al Igual que el País
aka Just Like the Country
Dearest Country-fied Listeners,
We have a new treat for you! It's our May release, Mile-Wide Talk, and, furthermore, we have completed the releases for Spring! Once you devour this spring-green third course from the meal that is Thermidorian Reaction en entiere, you hopefully will only have your appetites whetted for the main courses to follow.
This month's installment has had a long prep time. We wrote the first draft back around the turn of the century in 2000, and it still has the feel of our previous band, Head Cleaner, to it. However, this version is very much a JLC tune with it's use of psychedelic organ, e-bowed guitars, layered electronic drum textures, and overdubbed vocals.
This is the first RAWK song of the album, which will sadden some of you and thrill some of you. But if you have been listening to us for any amount of time whatsoever, you won't be surprised to realize that the first three songs of this record inhabit at least three different musical genres.
Lyrically, this one poses questions about the layers of one's persona with references to Gary Numan and Hiroshima.
Influences that stick out to us are The Pixies, Butch Walker, and early Who.
We will be playing Mile-Wide Talk along with tunes from Walker and Concrete Blonde and possibly a song from our first album at the Hootenanny at the Hartford Coffee Co in Tower Grove South, STL, tomorrow night (5/21/2016), 6:30 to 9:30. Come on out and see us along with a whole bunch of other great musicians like Terry Wall, Drew Garland, Walt Schmitt, Tim Waddell, Joey Koenig, Patty Maher, and the incomparable Frankie Bonuso!
Just Like the Country
Your patience has been rewarded with yet another aural treat from your favorite art rock duo. I mean us, Just Like the Country, just in case you were thinking Steely Dan or Tears for Fears or, uh...Hall and Oates?
Anyway, this little tune is a throwback to those heady days of our youth in the late 1980s with some slick drum loops, candy-sweet background vocals, and overdubbed harmonicas, which is kind of surprising to us. When we wrote this song it was more of a dour, contemplative folk song. Art often reveals itself as you work.
Check it out on the Music page.
We don't like to tell you what to think a song is about, but we will point out some allusions in the song:
You know, just a happy little pop song.
Well, stay tuned kids. There are a lot more fun facts about this and the next ten songs that we will dribble out over the next ten months.
Thanks for your patronage!
Ginny and Nathan
aka Just Like the Country
News from the world of JLC!
Tired of hearing about the Presidential election? That's not a real question. It's a device to get you on my side. You see, by asking a question that everyone agrees that there is only one rational answer, I intimate that we are all alike and, therefore, simpatico. Anyway, here's where we will post stuff that we want you to know and that (we hope) you will want to know.