Band to watch: J. Thoven

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Long gone are the days when your parents used to cringe at hearing your indie rock records playing from the hallway, a genre trapped in the realm of scratchy recordings made in dirty garages. The new indie is, in a word, multifaceted. The genre can cover anything from coffee shop tunes loved by acoustic nuts everywhere, to grungy post-rock instrumentals, to beautifully crafted electro-pop made so popular by bands like Foster the People. No band exemplifies the versatility of modern indie as does the up and coming band to watch, J. Thoven.

Photo by Esteban Alvarado

Photo by Esteban Alvarado

J. Thoven is the newest band to hit the indie radar in Southern California as one to look out for. Their sound has been compared to artists such as Fleet Foxes, A.A. Bondy, and Arcade Fire, but it’s clear from going to one of their live performances that they truly have a style of their own.

J.Thoven played a recent show in San Diego on December 1st, opening for Milo Greene at the Casbah, selling out before the day of. Before their local show, the band had just come back from a cross country tour, consistently building a loyal fan base prior to their upcoming full length album release (their EP “City Maze” is currently available on itunes).

Jake Pappas (vocals), Jared Slaybaugh (bass/vocals), and Jesse Dorman (percussion) were all previously in the folk rock band, Janu and the Whalesharks, which came to an end when the band members respectively decided to move away from Orange County to pursue their own music projects. When they were reunited again, they played a live show at UC San Diego, using the new material written by Jake Pappas and inspired by his year living in Tennessee. They knew after a sold out show that they had to make their collaboration a priority again. The band members picked a new name, based themselves in Orange County, and added two new members, Casey Lagos (guitar), and Matt Gillen (guitar). When asked to describe their band in one word, “Metaphors” was the word they chose.

As band member Jesse Dorman comments, “we would say that all of our songs tell a story or take you through metaphoric experiences. Whether it’s the music or the lyrics that pull feelings out of yourself, they relate to a situation you may have or deal with in your life.”

And that is what the new indie is: beautiful, articulate, and versatile.

J. Thoven will be playing a free show at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles on January 21st, 2013 at 8:30pm. 

A Wash Won’t Make It Clean from Samuel Nelson on Vimeo.


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