Who? Hailing from the unlikely hometown of Clinton, Mississippi, the boys in Jonezetta make music about as far removed from Southern-fried rock as could be. Instead, they specialize in electronically drenched dance-punk with clever, punchy lyricism; more bangers and mash than grits and gravy, but hey, who’s complaining? Robert Chisolm handles lead vocals and guitar, while Kyle Howe holds down lead guitar duty. Ty Garvey weighs in on bass and backing vocals while drummer Mick Parsons rounds out the rhythm section.
What’s the Deal? Popularity is a jumpy, synth-heavy exhortation to dance, nearly from beginning to end, with nods to Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys and allusions to the seminal post-punk dance of the Cure and New Order. Lead single “Get Ready (Hot Machete),” in addition to evoking a truly scary form of weaponry, distills the band’s sound perfectly, wedding a blown-out synth groove with guitar propulsion and desperate, processed vocals. Of course, rules are made to be broken, so “The City We Live In” takes things down a notch with a semi-acoustic nod to the Southern roots of the band. The title track is awash in cynicism for what becomes popular, and who decides what that will be, not to mention some sweet guitar licks. Hey, maybe these guys are heirs to Skynyrd after all.
Fun Fact: The bidding war for Jonezetta was furious and frenzied, with major labels and indie upstarts alike offering the band heaven on a platter. On the advice of a close friend, though, Chisolm and the boys politely told their corporate suitors to get bent and went with Seattle’s tiny Tooth and Nail, becoming one of the label’s highest profile acts before the album was even finished. J. GABRIEL BOYLAN
Now Hear This: Jonezetta – “Get Ready (Hot Machete)” (Download MP3)
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On the Web: jonezetta.com