My Jerusalem

My Jerusalem

Jeff Klein – Vocals, Guitar: Jon Merz – Guitar, Keyboards, Horns: Geena Spigarelli –
Bass: Grant Van Amburgh - Drums
“Nobody ever paid money to see Harry Houdini escape being buried alive” says My Jerusalem founder and singer Jeff Klein. “They wanted the small chance of seeing him killed by the weight of the earth on top of him.”
Behold the concept behind Preachers, the second full-length release from Austin's My Jerusalem. From the opening piano of the haunting title track, to the unexpected pummeling guitar and drums on closer “I Left My Conscience In You”, Preachers leads the listener on a cinematic journey through a reckless, jagged landscape of Raymond Carver-esque stories, fueled by Klein’s persuasive baritone, ominous guitars, dream-like keyboards and a deep rhythmic pulse.
Recorded in under three weeks by Spoon drummer Jim Eno (Heartless Bastards, Polica, Black Joe Lewis) at his Public Hi-Fi studio, Preachers is the first My Jerusalem album genuinely made by a band, not just performed by a group of musicians. Pushing aside hard drives and laptops to make way for analog tape machines and vintage keyboards, what Klein describes as the “Post-Modern Southern Gothic Soul” sounds of Preachers were born from organic, live performances Eno carefully captured and tweaked.
Preachers is the follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed debut, Gone For Good, an album that earned the band performances on BBC Radio 6 and Daytrotter, as well as notices from NPR's All Songs Considered, AOL/Spinner's Song of the Day, and the iTunes Weekly Rewind. Along with European festival appearances at the Frequency Festival, Musikfestwochen, and Rock Im Saal, the band toured and played shows with a eclectic set of bands including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Har Mar Superstar, Avett Brothers, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and White Arrows.
Buoyed by the success of Gone For Good, Preachers showcases a band headed into the studio with a renewed focus and confidence. Preachers contains equal parts swagger (the swampy gospel of title track “Preachers”, the strutting intensity of “Born In The Belly”) and groove (the spooky beauty of “Shatter Together”, the crescendoing, feral drive of “Devoe”, the infectious crooner “Mono”); as much primal (“Death Valley”) as it is humane ("Chameleon").
“It’s a darker record,” says Klein, who, before forming My Jerusalem in 2010, made 3 records under his own name. “So much had changed since Gone For Good. We’d all kind of been through hell and back again in different ways, and this was the natural artistic result of all of that. But I think it’s a beautiful, comforting darkness. It’s real, but not selfish.”
“We finally have a shared collective vibe,” adds guitarist/keyboardist Jon Merz, “I believe it’s more representative of what our live shows sound like. This time around, Jeff would bring us song ideas and we would add our own perspectives to it.”
The four-piece, which also features drummer Grant Van Amburgh, and bassist Geena Spigarelli, also had the opportunity to road-test much of the new material before recording, during their extensive touring behind Gone For Good. It was a luxury they didn’t have the first time around.
"Working out the kinks live before recording them makes a big difference," reflects Klein, “They get a chance to breathe and grow before committing them to the world permanently. Because of that process, some songs, like 'Death Valley,' sound nothing like their early version. We’re excited to take them on the road and see how they evolve even further.”
Equal parts sweet, morbid, strange, and sincere, Preachers is an experience that could convert the most steadfast of non-believers.

Elle King

Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Elle King may be just 22 years old, but she’s already got quite a story to tell. Born in rural Ohio, she moved to New York City at age 10—“there was definitely a big difference going from climbing trees barefoot to taking the subway by myself,” she says. After getting kicked out of school, she headed to California, then returned to New York, and then Philadelphia for art college. Since then, King’s home base went from Copenhagen back to LA, before finally settling down in New York, where she has recorded one of the most exciting and unique debut projects of recent years.

Already hailed by such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Glamour, Perez Hilton, and Vanity Fair - and featuring “Playing for Keeps,” which was chosen as the theme song for VH1’s Mob Wives Chicago series - the four-song Elle King EP reveals all of this experience with a sound and style that is distinct and mature beyond King’s young age. In the midst of her far-flung and hell-raising travels, King started playing the guitar at age 13 (“a friend of my stepdad’s taught me, and I learned stuff by, like, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Otis Redding”) and then later picked up a banjo, inspired by the Hank Williams and Earl Scruggs records her family listened to. 

King pinpoints the day her life changed to her ninth birthday, when her stepfather gave her the first album by hard-rocker girls the Donnas. “I put that on and that was it,” she says. “I wanted to play rock and roll and be a girl and do it. I started listening to the Runaways and Blondie—all the rad chicks.”

It was during her time in Philadelphia that her music took a different turn, toward her current country-blues-soul blend, and her songwriting got more serious. “I was living on my own, getting into way too much trouble, and really getting my heart broken for the first time,” she says. “I made friends with people who slept on park benches and wrote songs, and it made me start putting different words together. I’ve never been shy, but that’s when I started singing in parks and busking.”

A romantic disaster in Copenhagen led to the song that King considers her breakthrough, “Good To Be A Man” (featured on the EP), which has already garnered airplay on such influential radio stations as KCRW Santa Monica and XPN Philadelphia. “I thought it was catchy, and I saw that people liked to sing along to the mean songs,” she says.

Following her own set at an outdoor show, King stuck around to watch a young band - "just some cute boys who play banjos and guitars” - and discovered a new way to approach her instruments. “When I picked up the banjo, I would play country music, that went hand-in-hand,” she says. “But these guys played the banjo just as an instrument, not stylized in any kind of mold, and I got it - just play it because it’s beautiful. So I’m not twanging it anymore, and that totally opened up my songwriting. I had stopped writing on the banjo because I wanted a break from country songs, but now these weird songs just started coming out.”

In addition to “Playing for Keeps” and “Good to Be a Man,” the EP includes another King original, “No One Can Save You,” and a live cover of Khia’s gloriously lewd hip-hop hit “My Neck, My Back,” which the singer says she included “so everyone can see that I’m kind of a crazy wild card—the only problem is now I can’t send it to my grandma.”

While working on her full-length debut album, King has been touring with such acts as Train, Of Monsters and Men, and Dry the River, and her boisterous live show has been earning notice and acclaim everywhere she goes. The Austin Chronicle raved about her “shockingly sexy-sorrowful songsmithery” and her “sweetheart-with-a-knife voice that promises potentially dangerous intimacy on a grand, spooky scale.”
For Elle King, all the hard living and hard work has gotten her to the place she always wanted, where she and her music are being accepted on her own terms. “People made fun of me when I was little, and I was never confident,” she says. But one day I was like, ‘I like getting tattoos and dying my hair, I like singing loud—and people started listening. I was never begging for people to like it, and now everyone is like, ‘We love you for you, just be yourself.’ 

“All I want in life is for people to sing the words to my songs at my shows,” she concludes. “One of my dreams is coming true, and it’s coming true in a really great way.”

A recent transplant fom Atlanta, GA to Santa Monica, CA, Tyler Lyle has self-released five independent projects in the last four years. A self-described 'old soul', Tyler's lyrics carry the weight and understanding that go far beyond his twenty-five years. His latest album, The Golden Age & The Silver Girl, is a collection of songs written in and in the aftermath of a relationship. Recorded in one day, the day before Lyle boarded a plane for the superior California weather, the album is a singular statement; an over-exposed Polaroid of a point in time with affecting lyrics, carnival-esque folk production and an honest self-awareness that makes this an instantly relatable classic. The Golden Age & The Silver Girl was self-released on digital platforms on February 7th, 2012.

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My Jerusalem with Elle King, Tyler Lyle

Sunday, June 2 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Bootleg Bar

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