My Jerusalem

Location: New Orleans, LA

Matt Bricker, Kevin Bybee, Ashley Dzerigian, Evan Jacobs, Jeff Klein, Jon Merz

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Jeff Klein, a nighthawk at the diner, dispensing sobering observations in his smoke-curled voice, and backed by a choir of similarly ragged angels on the group's debut, Gone For Good. Bassist and vocalist Ashley Dzerigian (formerly of Great Northern) provides the tender counterpoint to wounded, Raymond Carver-in-miniature relationship stories like "Love When You Leave." That drama is teased out in the burnished brass of trumpet player Matt Bricker (The Polyphonic Spree) and trombonist Jon Merz, who can shift the mood from the Mariachi kicks of "Remember Everything" to the Bacharach/Brill Building builds of "Sweet Chariot." And keyboardist Evan Jacobs layers in the atmospheres and tugs at the heartstrings while drummer Kevin Bybee keeps the rolling, rhythmic pulse. Indeed, it's probably way too many people to make a sound this lonesome.

But maybe that's because, despite all the attendant expectations when you start throwing around the words "Americana," "cigarettes and whiskey," and other mainstays from the singer-songwriter thesaurus, Gone For Good refuses to stay on its barstool and cry into its beer like it's supposed to. Even Klein's voice never settles down, sliding from a seductive, Southern Gothic croon to a spooky subway rattle to an anguished scream, while the music similarly jumps from stately indie-rock reminiscent of The National to fringe dwellers like the anthemic, self-described "ABBA on ecstasy" swells of "Sleepwalking" and the Tom Waits-fronting-Franz Ferdinand angry dance party of "Bury It Low." It's a formula as patchwork as the duct-taped equipment the band used to put it together, and as geographically jumbled as the collection of New York, Los Angeles, and Austin musicians who crammed into a pair of New Orleans French Quarter apartments to get it all on record.

Both the album and the band have caught the attention of both NPR ("a beautiful orchestral pop record") and the BBC, and received glowing reviews from the likes of musicOMH ("a sensational opus") and This Is Fake DIY ("a head-turning debut"). They may not have wandered the desert to get there, but My Jerusalem offers its own sort of recognizable salvation-one that also allows a stiff drink or two.






Shake The Devil

The Band Introduction