Playing nice [with audio]

Playing nice [with audio]

Last week Feedback made our way to Michael’s Bistro to hang out with a couple of the members of The Nice Jenkins. As Wilco‘s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot emanated from the speakers overhead, Jenkins drummer Adam Brock, who tends bar at the restaurant, poured us a tasty winter ale, and singer and guitarist Rob Cheatham sat down with us to discuss the group’s latest endeavors over a bison burger and hummus platter.

The Nice Jenkins join NYC rockers The Octagon for shows at Wild Wing Café and Outback Lodge this weekend.

C-VILLE Playlist
What we’re listening to

"Sea Foam," by Land of Talk (from Applause Cheer Boo Hiss)—Frontwoman and guitarist Liz Powell has a voice that’s sweet yet also manages to sound slightly inebriated. This song starts slowly but builds to an energetic chorus and showcases her impressive voice and catchy guitar riffs.

"Altavista," by Come On Children (now The Janks)—Maybe you’ve have heard Jeff Grosfeld sing this local road-referencing love song at a Sarah White and the Pearls show.

"Essence," by Lucinda Williams (from Essence)

"Boom!," by The Roots, (from The Tipping Point)

"Starfish and Coffee," by Prince (from Sign ‘O’ the Times)

"Stevie Nix," by The Hold Steady, (from Separation Sunday)

"I Think I Lost My Headache," by Queens of the Stone Age (from R)

Since the summer, the band has been busy making trips out to Rod Coles‘ Esmont studio and putting together the follow-up to their 2006 debut, The World Famous Hallelujah Cotton Candy Rent Party! "It’s been a monster, man," says Cheatham, "but it’s been going great. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done. I don’t think you’ll be able to ignore it." Though they’re still mixing and putting the finishing touches on a lot of the songs, they hope to have the new album out in early 2008.

In the meantime, the Jenkinses are by no means sitting on their asses. They recently played at Zinc (which seems to be attracting more and more great local music), Orbit Billiards and this past Saturday’s Noble Savages fest at Satellite Ballroom (click here for photos and video of the night), and this weekend they’ll kick off a weeklong East Coast stint with New York rockers The Octagon. "Everyone who hears them will think they are really good," Cheatham says. "They’re even louder than we are. The Clash is the best example I can think of—guitar rock, but sort of edgy and accessible at the same time."

Take a listen to "Ordinary Life" by The Nice Jenkins:

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Courtesy of The Nice Jenkins – Thank you!

As for the Jenkins sound? "I think we’re in a mid-’90s British rock band," says Cheatham. "Adam thinks we’re in an indie rock band. Jordan thinks we’re a pop-punk band. And Dana…he only cares about the songs he writes. It’s funny. We’re all on these different pages, but we somehow figured something out." So, whatever your taste may be, the Jenkinses will have something for you when you check them (and The Octagon) out at Wild Wing Café on December 7 and Outback Lodge on the 9th, before they head north for shows in Philly and the Big Apple.

New dreams

Take a listen to "Not Missing You" from Dreaming Isabelle‘s Awake:

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Courtesy of Dreaming Isabelle – Thank you!

The Nice Jenkins isn’t the only local band with new tunes. Feedback just took a listen to our advance copy of Dreaming Isabelle‘s new EP, Awake, the follow-up to their 2006 self-titled debut, and its a nice mix of pop hooks and sleek production. The group recorded these four new tracks right here in town at the Virginia Arts Recording Studio. Though they’ve had to reschedule their December 6 release party for next year, you should be able to find Awake on the shelves at Plan 9 sometime this week.

More Waives

Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees have also wrapped up a new record (like The Nice Jenkins, they recorded with Rod Coles), and last week C-VILLE arts extraordinaire Brendan Fitzgerald got a chance to join Jim in his van and have a listen (the only proper way to test out a new record, of course). Brendan says that though the album wasn’t recorded live with a single microphone like the Divorcees’ debut, Coles and the band made, in Jim’s words, "a conscious effort to have motion in the texture of the music," and that backing vocals from Sian Richards and Sarah White on "Since You Been Gone" ("not a Kelly Clarkson cover," Brendan assures) add an "extended family feel."

Rocking into ’08

And the JPJ will rock…Van Halen jumps into town on February 22.

Springsteen is coming in April, and now Van Halen has announced that they will also rock JPJ on February 22, with David Lee Roth at the mic. We also hear that a few more big announcements for 2008 are on the way (we’ve got our fingers crossed for Neil Young). If you don’t like arenas, there are some other good acts headed to town. Indie rock veterans Yo La Tengo will play Satellite on January 9, as will country singer-songwriter Corey Smith on February 7, and Tuvan throat-singers Huun Huur Tu will come to Gravity Lounge on March 10. Stay tuned for more ’08 announcements.

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