Desert Island Albums – Volume 1

12 08 2013


JC here.  The blog’s lain fallow for a while so I’m starting a new series to be published at least weekly if not semi-weekly.

The series is called Desert Island Albums and the concept is just that I’m going to be talking about albums that I love (and would wish to have with me were I stranded on a deserted island).

So, here’s volume 1, I hope yez all dig it.

Ben Folds Five [self titled] (1995)



This thing comes roaring out of the gate with Jackson Cannery; pounding piano, thumping kick drum, and Folds’ voice, plaintive but strong, imploring us to “Stop the bus”.  As the album progresses I am genuinely surprised  at how big this three-piece outfit manages to sound.  It’s partially due to recording/mixing, and mostly due to Folds’ fast-fingered piano work filling in every gap like musical caulk.  It sounds like he’s showing off but at the same time it never feels like he’s overplaying.  I was introduced to this album my freshman year in college by my roommate JC.  The only thing I knew by BFF was the song Brick which was at the height of it’s popularity and constantly playing on the radio.  We both hated it, but he insisted that they were actually a decent band and made me to check out their debut album.  I fell in love, and here I am writing about it 15 years later.  The album closes with one of my favorite resignation waltzes: Boxing, a ballad about a boxer who knows when to fold ‘em explaining to his trainer why he’s giving up.  A beautiful and aching wrap-up to a raucous, thrashy, bouncy, fun album -the necessary cool-down after an intense workout.



  • Jackson Cannery – “Stop the bus, I wanna be lonely”

  • Philosophy – “And it’s really not that you can’t see the forest from the trees -you just never been out in the woods alone”

  • Best Imitation of Myself – “Last night I was east with them, and west within -trying to be for you what you wanna see”

  • The Last Polka – “My my, the cruelest lies are often told without a word.  My my, the kindest truths are often spoken, never heard”

  • Boxing – “Well sometimes I punch myself as hard as I can yelling nobody cares, hoping someone will tell me how wrong I am”


JCB On the Road

19 07 2011

J put together a little travelogue from the Uptown Summer Tour 2011, you’ll see shots from Solid Sound, NYC, DC, CT, and plenty of highway. Cheers.

JCB lays it down

26 10 2010

Checking in with hot young post-punk soul singer JC Brooks about the new “To Love Someone” 7″ that Addenda Records is releasing on November 16th…

You’ve been described as “enigmatic”, that’s not uncommon for a front man but new for a soul man. Just who is JC Brooks?
Wow, that’s heavy. I mean, I’m just… an individual, y’know? I get compared to Otis Redding, James Brown, and all that; one cat called me the black David Byrne. That’s cool, but dig, I make music that people have to dance to. I make music that people have to make love to. I’m sure Sam Cooke did that too, but I’ve also got some songs you could burn your house down to. Which Sam didn’t have. So we’re all individuals. Feel me?

Your last single was a Wilco cover, which over 100,000 people have checked out on YouTube; Wilco themselves posted it and it’s gotten you some real recognition. What else has happened with JCBUS?
It’s been wild, man. The whole trip has been really nice. Being written up in the New York Times, the Tribune, the Sun Times. We’ve toured the US, Canada, and Spain. We were the house band for the Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue, playing alongside Syl Johnson and the Notations. We headlined the Metro, played Park West, Music Hall of Williamsburg. We’ve supported Mayer Hawthorne, Lee Fields, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens. But we’ve also played with straight rockers like Mudhoney and Soundtrack of Our Lives. Our biggest show yet was opening for this band called Poi Dog Pondering – crazy name right? – in front of 7,000 people at Ravinia. And yeah, getting the nod from Mr. Tweedy was a huge highlight.

You haven’t even been around for that long either. Still the same line-up as the first record?

No, we’re six strong now. Kev on drums, BT plays Fender bass, Billy’s the guitar slinger, and Chris Neal and Zelm trade off on horns, keys, percussion, whatever it takes. It’s a tight group. Tight enough to fit in the van, dig?

What’s this I hear about a new 7” single?
Yeah, it’s a sample of the new LP and it’s coming before the end of the year on Addenda. Recorded live in the studio with all pre-1965 gear. “To Love Someone” sort of shows how we could cut a record that feels and sounds like our old favorites. It’s a roller skating jam, a make-out joint. Of course, the flipside, “Everything Will Be Fine”, the lyric is a little more progressive. It’s a rocker; it’ll roll you right out of your chair. It’s as close as we’ve flown to a real retro sound but it’s still definitely us.

So you’re not part of the retro soul movement?
I met some of the Dap Kings, and the Budos Band, Paperboy Reed, all these beautiful people making beautiful music, but I’ve got my own bag. I can’t be someone I’m not. These watch-wearing, fast-talking, corporate types are always trying to put us in these little boxes. I’ll play an indie club or I’ll play a dirty old hole in the wall, and if people come, what’s it matter? You get fucked up, maybe you meet a little somebody. It’s retro, neo, geo, it’s music man.

So what’s next?
We’re finishing up our 2nd long player, Want More. We’ll do a proper tour of America and get back over to Europe again. We’re working on this little movie thing with this cat from LA. I always loved the movies, y’know? But don’t worry, the whole thing is happening right here in town; we’re still just good Chicago boys.