Written by Ashley Paskill
Philly-based collective, Thelonious Jawn, released their debut album, NewEurope/BlastedCity, on October 23 earlier this year. The group consists of musicians and producers from Philadelphia, led by producer, TJ McGlinchey. It was mixed and mastered at Turtle Studios. The album is 40 minutes long and is geared towards “dance music for the humanist revolution,” according to a press release about the album.
While most of the songs are geared towards modern times, a few of the songs talk about history. This allows listeners to remember that current events did not just pop up out of nowhere, but they are a cultivation of other things that have happened in the history of the United States.
A few of the songs include protest chants. Not only is this representative of this year with the protests around racial justice, but may also represent the Women’s Marches and other protests throughout the past and even into modern history.
In terms of the sound of the album, even the chants are layered over a background of funk and jazz, with the group’s name making a hint towards Thelonious Monk, a famous jazz pianist and composer.
In many cases, the vocals get lost in the background instrumentals, but the chants come through loud and clear. The moments where the vocals are a bit fuzzy sound intentional as they fit in with the psychedelic feel of the songs. One song where this is evident is “We Gotta Work Together.” While this is true from modern times, the psychedelic feel and the message of unity resembles the feel of the 1960s.
The only songs that feel out of place are “Because I’m In Love” and “Green In Blue.” The instrumentals keep with the psychedelic sound of the rest of the album, but the lyrics do not speak on current issues. However, love is a human experience, and the album is geared towards the humanist revolution. Even so, it is a bit of a stretch to include these songs on an album that is otherwise focused on protesting the current administration.
Overall, this album is awesome. Having the protests and the current moment captured in music is so important and beautiful. This album will be so important in history for seeing all that took place over these past four years in the Trump administration as it really speaks to how so many have felt.