I have this Friday tradition. Early evening, as each week draws to a close, I often find myself reaching for a single record to kick off the weekend – Jookabox’s Dead Zone Boys. The A-side of this 2009 Asthmatic Kitty release is as strong as any material of the last few years. Replete with floor-rattling bass lines, propulsive, jangly guitars and a whitewash of of synth, Dead Zone Boys is an energetic romp of a record.
Unfortunately, Jookabox was calling it quits right around the time that this blog was gaining its footing. Their farewell show at the now defunct Earth House Collective remains one of my all-time favorite Indianapolis music moments. At the time, Jookabox served as the unspoken leader of our local underground music scene. Since the band’s break-up, no single outfit has taken the reins in the same fashion. I’m not even sure exactly what I mean by that. All I know is that our city’s sound has felt more fractured since their departure.
Jookabox alumni can still be heard on a regular basis, in some capacity, in and around Indy. Frontman David “Moose” Adamson’s solo project DMA has grown to encompass a full rhythm section that includes former bandmate Patrick Okerson on drums. Former keyboardist Lisa Berlin has offered up memorable moments with her new performance art project Hen as well, but I’ll be damned if I don’t dearly miss the original article. Below, you’ll find a video for the Jookabox single “Don’t Go Phantom.”
Written by Rob Peoni
The first time I saw David “Moose” Adamson perform under his new moniker DMA was at a release party for his Drem Beb cassette at Earth House last summer. I remember feeling pissed off. The mix was rough, the vocals inaudible and the beats were not developed – at least for a live setting. DMA came off as pretentious. The performance felt like a big “fuck you” to everyone in attendance. As if he was saying, “This is what I’m up to now, and I don’t give a shit whether you like it.”
Neither then nor now, would I qualify as an expert on electronic music, by any stretch of the imagination. However, I have seen and heard enough to know that this was an artist still figuring out his sound.
Earlier that year, I stood in the same location and watched DMA and his former band JOOKABOX tear the roof off of Earth House during their farewell show. It was a bittersweet party. The feeling was something like watching an athlete retire in their prime. Though JOOKABOX’s members likely had legitimate and worthwhile reasons to part ways, that performance left anyone within earshot certain that they could still rock a room with the best of Indy’s musicians.
Fast forward to last week, when DMA dropped his sophomore solo release The Boardwalk. The six-track EP finds Adamson still tinkering with the same experimental electronic medium – a genre he has dubbed “crust funk.” However, this time around the material is less abrasive. The vocals, though sparse, resonate as more stream of consciousness than lyrical, but they are coherent and interesting. The title track builds on a beat that appears inspired by the consistent beep of an electrocardiogram, with vocals entering two-thirds of the way through.
“I’m standing in the Holy Spirit parking lot, next to Amy’s old blue car which I have borrowed from her. A black woman comes up to me and tells me I need to have the battery(?) replaced. She is a car psychic. I say okay, but give some reason not to do it right now. I have somehow come to this parking lot after leaving a confusing vacation resort with clear blue pools of water and nice families that are afraid of me. When I came at the resort, people were gathering to rage. But I was cruising through the darkened areas of The Boardwalk.”
This is not a release I would pass off to any lighthearted listener. The Boardwalk is built for adventurous ears with an appetite for experimentation. Nevertheless, the production has improved and the sound is more accessible. I am particularly taken with the closing track “It’s Funny.” Here, the melody is built around looping vocals of “Oohs”, a lighthearted whistle and a sporadic bass drum. The track fades out, sending the listener off in the same dreamlike state that the release maintains throughout. The Boardwalk is a definite mind fuck, but an enjoyable one. Now I want to see if DMA can pull it off live. Listen to the title track below.
Written by Rob Peoni
Indianapolis musicians David Moose Adamson (DMA) and emcee Oreo Jones dropped a video for their new track “The John Wayne” over the weekend. DMA’s focus has centered around electronic music since the disbanding of his previous project JOOKABOX last year. The video was put together in collaboration with the Heavy Gun and the Rad Summer crews, and can be found below. The beat is dope and Oreo never disappoints on his delivery. Catch the duo live and in the flesh at one of the tour dates listed below:
3/9 – Indianapolis, IN – The Group Home
3/10 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar
3/11 – Nashville, TN – Dino’s
3/12 – Little Rock, AR – Rad Rad Rad House
3/15 – Houston, TX – Belvedere
3/16 – Austin, TX – TBA
3/17 – Austin, TX – TBA
3/18 – Austin, TX – TBA
Written by Rob Peoni