Julian Calendar
Crimson Static #1 ep

Julian Calendar are a favourite of mine, an art house band from Charlotte, North Carolina, begun by multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Fisher a few years back and co-fronted by novelist/playwright/lyricist Jeff Jackson and Hannah Hundley.  The other members of the band, including Fisher, play about a billion instruments each, but they are Nelly Anderson (Synth, Sounds, Vocal Manipulations, Backing Vocals, Handclaps), Lee Herrera (Drums, Guitar, Handclaps), and Scott Thompson  (Synth, Percussion, Bass, Cello, Bells, Handclaps).

Their début album, Parallel Collage, released in August 2017, was one I played a lot the rest of that year and into 2018.  I still play it periodically.  Crimson Static #1 is the first of a promised 4-part ep release this year, and, this one coming out last month, and I, for one, am stoked with new music from Julian Calendar.

The ep starts off heavier than their previous work, as ‘It Sounds Like Murder,’ begins in a squall of guitar and feedback before the bass and drums step in, and Hundley and Jackson take the mic, frantic, chased, and haunted, singing of poison rains and murder.  They share the vocals, trading lines.  Jackson, in particular, sounds unhinged here, as the song chugs along under them, as Hundley coos love and Jackson declares that it ‘ it sounds like, sounds like, sounds like murder.’

‘White Rose Codex’ is a more off-kilter track, with a wonky guitar riff over stuttering drums, and Jackson and Hundley trade off vocals once more, with this track sounding like what would’ve happened if REM and the B-52s collided on an Athens, GA, stage or studio in 1982.  The plunking I-dont-know-what-instrument underneath it all adds this wonderful madcap feeling to the track.

‘Blue Boys’ starts with an 80s post-punk bass and the high hat, the bass almost, but never quite, breaking out the funk, before the drums kick in and Hundley chants ‘cha-cha-cha’ and a very 80s synth creeps about.  The song lingers, it creeps, it is almost a sultry 80s-era song on the Mississippi, Jackson almost whispering his lead vocals.  There is this wicked little guitar riff in the bridge of the song, partly skittering, partly feedback over this Peter Hook bass, I just can’t get enough of this.

The ep ends with ‘Visitation #2,’ which sees Herrera’s drums pounded and Jackson singing ‘Who could replace my laughing child’ and then Hundley joining in ‘Come again, come again, come again.’  Jackson’s child varies from verse to verse, but the backing is entirely the tom-tom and various percussive noises that make it sound like they kidnapped Tom Waits.

At only four songs, Crimson Static #1 makes me even more excited for Parts 2-4.