It has been a while since I asked the readers of CampusRiot “are you listening?” and I hope you still are.
The last time was to bring you Manhattan, the debut album from New York City band Skaters. While the band this time around is also based in New York City, Brooklyn to be exact, their sound a bit different. Well, a lot different. But in a totally good way.
The band is Jukebox the Ghost. A trio consisting of Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin that formed while attending George Washington University in 2003 and dropped their debut album Let Live and Let Ghosts in 2008. Jukebox the Ghost is one of those bands that create so much sound for a three piece that it seems almost unfathomable. While listening to any of their three albums (Everything Under the Sun and Safe Travels being the other two, respectively) you think you are listening to a band with as many members as Arcade Fire, or The Polyphonic Spree or Candy Claws. The sound is so large, it doesn’t seem like it can come from just three people (another band that bends the rules of science in similar ways: The Fleeting Ends) and it definitely doesn’t seem like it can translate completely to the stage. They manage to pull it off though, in a manner that seems effortless. There really is nothing like seeing Jukebox the Ghost live, and there probably isn’t another experience that is just as happy as one of their live shows.
(photo via Erin Browne)
Their jangly pop songs are full of substance. It’s like if they finally made a way to make Lucky Charms nutritionally sound. Catchy hooks, a healthy dose of killer harmonies and relatable subject matter make up their accessible sound. Some songs sound New Wave influenced, some seem straight pop influenced, and some seem to have heavier rock elements. They combine these ingredients to create a sound that can’t be found in any other band out there right now, and they own it. Their audience reflects the diversity in their sound, consisting of children, teens, uneasy millenials and even their parents.
Their live shows are a treat all their own, and I was able to attend a date on their “April Fools mini tour” this week. Playing one full set of originals, followed by a full set of “embarrassing” covers, this was a show not to be missed. They mixed old favorites with newer-already-classics and even debuted some tracks off their untitled fourth album that is due out sometime later this year. From start to finish energy was high. There wasn’t a single person in Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory that didn’t have a huge smile plastered on their face. Their music just illicit’s that type of response. It is impossible to not immediately feel stupidly happy when listening to Jukebox the Ghost. I dare you to try. After an hour long set of originals, the guys disappeared for a few minutes to change into button ups and suspenders and came out for the best wedding band-sans-wedding set known to man.
They kicked off the set with a flawless cover of “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness and I would venture to say that everyone in the venue was singing along. Honestly, if there is a person out there that doesn’t sing along loudly and enthusiastically to “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” I don’t want to know them. That person is not to be trusted. Other hits included “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and “Highway to Hell” as well as “Power of Love” mashed up with “Ghostbusters.” Yeah, wedding bands wish they could be this good.
With a new album coming up this year, now is the perfect time to delve into Jukebox the Ghost if you haven’t yet. As always, I’ve made it almost too easy for you and included a couple tracks below.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Cover)
Are you listening?
Featured photo via Jukebox the Ghost