July 21, 2010

Taking what I can get: My love for Jenny and hate for Johnny

I can admit when I'm wrong. Especially when it comes to misjudging music. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a roundtable discussion showcasing new summer tunes on NPR. And what, to my surprise, do I hear? Jenny Lewis is coming out with an album in August. Holy hell. But ... there was a catch. It was with Scottish singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice. Ugh. They played a sample from the first single, "Scissor Runner," and I immediately hated it. I had adored everything Lewis did ... up until that. What the eff does that title even mean? Enter my Johnathan Rice bias.

It's no secret I have a complete music and girl crush on Ms. Lewis, frontwoman of the amazing Rilo Kiley, who is taking an extended hiatus from the group to focus on her solo career. 

Apparently, she is doing a solo-plus-one thing these days, adding her boyfriend of five years, Rice, to the musical mix. Rice played on Lewis' second solo album "Acid Tongue" and hit the road with her last year to support that record. He's a good musician. I just have never been able to get into his solo music.

Or so I thought until a few days ago. I downloaded the first two songs released their debut album as Jenny and Johnny courtesy of my college friend William. He profiled the lovers' of all things L.A. for Spin.

After hearing both songs in their entirety, I'm convinced you could pair Katy Perry with JL (I don't want that to happen by any means) and that no-talent "California Gurl" could pass for a musician.

 Evidence of said amazing skills. My video taken April 2009 in Sacramento during the "Acid Tongue" tour.

Which brings me to the original point. Rice is actually listenable on what I've heard of "We're Having Fun Now." Perhaps I'm partial to Lewis, so I'm overlooking my past disdain for Rice because he's the reason I have new JL in my life. Or maybe she is just that good and can't help but bring out the best in her musical partners.

So now I have Johnathan Rice booming out of my laptop speakers. I guess I really am having fun now. Thanks, JL.

The bf/gf have perfected the Americana/folk rock sound so it's refreshing to see them go in the pop direction just in time for the summer's end.

Unfortunately, I live in Arizona, and the duo are one of many groups boycotting the state because of SB 1070. But my friends in the Pacific Northwest and California can see them on tour starting Sept. 1.

Until then, "Scissor Runner" and my early favorite "Big Wave" to hold you over until their album drops Aug. 31.

Jenny and Johnny: "Big Wave"

Jenny and Johnny: "Scissor Runner"

Downloads courtesy of Spin.com:

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