Jail Weddings – BOTW 13

This weeks Beat Of The Week is brought to you by Dan Falvey of FatCat Records.

Whilst bands like Vivian Girls heralded a new wave of acts influenced by Phil Spector’s song writing and production techniques, there have been very few that have sought to truly encapsulate his famous wall of sound and the densely layered, lush vocal melodies of the groups he produced. Enter Jail Weddings who actually sound like you might expect a Phil Spector produced band to sound if he could only man the mix desk from his own jail cell; dark, paranoid and fucked up but with all of the pop sensibilities that make 60’s girl bands such as The Crystals essential listening even today.

It would, however, be wrong to see them as simply a kitsch throwback band. I first heard of Jail Weddings in an interview with Cedric Bixler and whilst the musical output from the two frontmen is obviously very different, Gabriel Hart, the vocalist and songwriter for Jail Weddings shares the same desire to take risks as the Mars Volta man in both song writing and performance style. With lyrics so honest they make you cringe in recognition of times when “encounters like this one ultimately end with a kick in the nuts”; a line taken from one of my favourite songs of the last five years, their debut 7” “Somebody Lonely”. It’s tale of lonely desperation and sexual frustration in a downtown LA bar and it sounds like a coked up Roy Orbinson fronting the Shangri La’s for a soundtrack to a lost Martin Scorsese film.

In performance Hart’s whole body shakes like Elvis’ hips in the early years and he contorts his voice like an exorcism of the angst evident in his songs. He is backed up with the sun-drenched harmonies of the devastating duo Jada Wagensomer and Katya Nadia Hubiak, and a wrecking crew of a band that look and sound like they formed a tight bond over a night discussing each other’s previous misdemeanours and felonies.

Jail Weddings debut album “Love is Lawless” is out on the 26th October on White Noise/Tru-vow on CD/LP/Digital and I’m pretty psyched for it. My only wish is that one day the “Phil Spector/ Jail Weddings California State Prison Session” can happen. Now that would be one hell of a marriage.