Monday, January 28, 2013

The Threw Ups

The Threw Ups

A few weeks ago, one of my tumblr friends, who has the user name hahathisurlistoolongtobepopular, told me she’d like me to promote her music on my tumblr blog. When I told her I could promote the music in my column in a real blog, she seemed really happy.

When I linked to YouTube, I learned that her musician name is Jenny Threwup and that she’s the force behind the musical act The Threw Ups, which I’d heard of. Threwup puts Daniel Johnson first on her list of influences. If you’ve listened to Johnson’s music or seen the documentary about him, you probably already have at least a rough idea what Jenny Threwup’s music is about.

Her music may also remind adventurous listeners of such outfits as Half Japanese or The Frogs. But I think her work is more carefully planned and organized than that; I’d say she sounds a bit more like The Roches did in their early days.

If none of these names means anything to you, I’ll try to give you a good idea what to expect in Threwup’s music. It often sounds like acoustic folk circa early Dylan; perhaps even a little like Appalachian music. One similarity to folk is that the lyrics of each song tell a story.

The way in which certain lines in the lyrics are repeated several times in a row introduce a bluesy element to the music. This is hardly chance. The fine cut "Little Instrumental" opens with some really big blues guitar riffs. (The guitar is acoustic, as it is on almost all the cuts.)

Threwup ends the song "Can't Complain" with a very funny-sounding short screech. "Uhyeah ah" is a real change-up, with its humorous title, its vocal chorus and its electric guitar, which has a pleasing super-dirty sound.

"Remember, Remember” has some lyrical rock riffs, as well as some impressive guitar work. This cut will certainly be the most accessible to listeners who aren't used to experimental music. "Shave Heads" has a hook that will be accessible to fans of both folk and mainstream rock.

There is lyrical overlap with acts like Daniel Johnston or Sparklehorse. One thing that means is that some good surreal language pops up from time to time. I especially liked this from “Give At All”: "When I jump the window, I jump through the door."

If you want to hear Jenny and The Threw Ups’ music, it’s easy and free. Just go to You Tube and search for Jenny Threwup. Each cut is less than two minutes long; some are half a minute. You can listen to the whole set in 15 minutes or so.

It’s fun, quirky, DIY music that delivers something that’s interesting but not overworked or overthought. (BTW, on Ryan Gosling’s recent album, he enforced a rule that if a song couldn’t be recorded by the third take, it got cut. Such Gosling lines as “my body’s a zombie for you” would fit right into a Threw Ups lyric.)

Jenny’s a resident of Germany. If you want to encourage her about her plans for an EP (and see some good art as well) check out her tumblr blog by searching for the user name above.

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