Two Songs from: Z Berg

zbytennesseePhoto by Tennessee Thomas

Z Berg (JJAMZ, The Like) has kicked off her solo career with some acoustic tunes. There are four altogether, all quite good. The acoustic format showcases both her voice – sunny with a touch of smoke, delicate, sweet but not cloyingly so – and the glimmering sharpness of the lyrics.

These two are the ones I particularly like.

First up: Charades, which I have a feeling is the one I will be humming while walking barefoot in summer rainstorms from now on:
 
Charades by Z Berg
 
And second: I Fall For the Same Face, which is for anyone who has ever, like me, looked at the rogue’s gallery of their objets d’affection and muttered I have a type and a problem with rueful amusement.
 
I Fall For the Same Face by Z Berg
 
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DON’T FORGET TO FILL OUT THE NTSIB READER SURVEY! 10 questions that should not take more … Continue reading

2012: A Year In Pictures, October and December

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Johnny Hallyday, Beacon Theater, Oct. 7, 2012
 
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Blake Mills, Terminal 5, New York, NY, Oct. 16, 2012
 
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Fiona Apple, Terminal 5, New York, NY, 0ct. 16, 2012
 
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Fiona Apple, Terminal 5, Oct. 16, 2012
 
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Beast Patrol, The Studio at Webster Hall, October 19, 2012
 
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Alex Greenwald and Z Berg, JJAMZ, The Studio at Webster Hall, Oct. 19, 2012
 
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Alex Greenwald and Michael Runion, JJAMZ, The Studio at Webster Hall, Oct. 19, 2012
 
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Sweatheart, Terminal 5, … Continue reading

2012: A Year In Pictures: July – September

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Alex Greenwald and Z Berg, JJAMZ, Webster Hall, New York, NY, July 10, 2012
 
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Michael Runion, JJAMZ, Webster Hall, New York, NY, July 10, 2012
 
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JJAMZ, Webster Hall, New York, NY, July 10, 2012
 
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Lita Ford, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
 
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Bret Michaels, Poison, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
 
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C.C. DeVille, Poison, Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
 
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Bobby Dall, Poison, Nikon at Joes Beach Theater, July 13, 2012
 
IMG_6334 Continue reading

Postcards from the Pit: JJAMZ and Beast Patrol, the Studio at Webster Hall, 10/19/12

One of these years I will get myself together and actually acquire a CMJ pass. This year was not that year. That said, while I only saw two CMJ sets, they were very good sets.

The event I attended was the CAA Showcase in the Studio at Webster Hall, and the first band was Beast Patrol, from Brooklyn. Beast Patrol are much heavier, aggressive, and face-melty live than they are recorded. Seriously, the music they have on-line is a shadow of their live show. They can shred.
 
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Sample track:
 
Disbeliever by beastpatrol
 

And then, switching genres at CMJ’s traditional breakneck speed, it was time for JJAMZ, of Los Angeles, who were their usual delightful power-poppy selves:
 
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  Continue reading

August Video Challenge: JJAMZ, Heartbeat

And now, JJAMZ‘s homage to both The Police and ’80s horror movies, or, the creepiest video I have watched this summer.

Seriously, I love this song but this video totally gives me the howling fantods.

Naturally I must therefore share it with y’all so we can all watch it from behind our fingers together, preferably in the middle of the day with all of the lights on.

Even more seriously, I’m intrigued by how this song, and in particular this video for this song, combine to interact, if you will, with Don’t Stand So Close To Me, which is ALSO a pretty creepy song.

The video, is, like JJAMZ’s version, also set in a school, but has a distinctly playful feel.

All three of The Police are clowning around as the song plays. Sting, as himself, inexplicably wears puffy golden wings for the first minute or so, spends the last 30 seconds dancing with a lacrosse stick (was it Let Us Use All The Props Day?), and at one point, as the harried teacher, takes off his shirt Superman-style.

In stark contrast, what JJAMZ and director Eddie O’Keefe ask the viewer of their … Continue reading

Postcards from the Pit: JJAMZ, Webster Hall, 7/10/12

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Alex Greenwald and Z Berg, during LAX

I’m putting this shot first mainly because it is my favorite from the evening. I’m fond of the song, too, even though at first Alex Greenwald + what seems to be a frilly love song = major cognitive dissonance.

But by his second verse – So I carved both our names into my pale white chest/Asked you to do the same/It seemed a reasonable request/I nearly lost it when you said yes. – things have taken a turn back towards familiar and deeply weird territory.

Overall feelings: It was a great show. They powered through a selection of tunes from their new record, Suicide Pact (out now!), including the title track, Heartbeat (now with super-creepy ’80s horror movie video!), Never Enough, Cleverly Disguised,Get What You Want and Square One, and also did an awesome cover of Elastica’s Connection.

They are on the road with the NYLON + Starbucks Summer Tour through the end of July, and after a few of their own shows will be headed out with the Superhumanoids in August. Check their … Continue reading

Y’all Need to Listen to This: JJAMZ

First, an introduction.

Some of you may recognize those faces, but, for those of you that don’t, they are, from left to right: James B. Valentine (Maroon 5), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet, Mark Ronson & The Business INTL), Z Berg (The Like), Michael Runion (solo artist, The Chances) and Jason Boesel (solo artist, Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes), and together they are JJAMZ.

Second, a brief meditation on the nature of film, and also of music and video. One of my friends recently noted that “the measure of a film may be how narratively clear and deeply moving it is even if you don’t have the language at all.”

I’d expand on that to say the measure if a music video is how narratively clear and deeply moving it is even if you’re watching it with the sound off.

I give you as an example the video below, for JJAMZ’s new song Never Enough, starring Z Berg and Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, United States of Tara) … Continue reading