Reader, you know who sucks? THE MAN sucks. THE MAN likes to tell you what to do, because he thinks he knows better than you. Well, you know what we say to that? We say no way, Reader, not us. No. Way.
When THE MAN tells you to stop watching Groundhog Day because you’ve already seen it 217 times and you need to get some sleep so you don’t look like Droopy Dog in that client meeting tomorrow, you tell THE MAN “Eff off, you don’t rule my life—I’m gonna kill it in that meeting and I don’t live by your rules ANYMORE!” When THE MAN tells you you’re too old to be doing the crab dance late at night at weddings out of town because you might injure yourself, you tell THE MAN “Watch THIS bad-ass move, THE MAN, I bet you didn’t EVEN KNOW my arm bent that way did you‽” And when THE MAN tells you to go prep school so you can be a hotshot doctor when all you want to do is ACT, for god’s sake…you sneak down into his study in the middle of the night during this eerily calm slo-mo scene and shoot yourself in the head. …too far?
Thankfully, Jayson Kramer didn’t pull a Neil Perry, but he did give it to the man, as it were, jumping ship after taking his med school entrance exams—and, likely, after wowing his chums with his rendition of Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream—and starting a band. According to Kramer, “A weird thing happened when I finished my MCAT and all the studying stopped. I was completely honest with myself for the first time in my life and recognized that I had no desire to go on to medical school. This is when I took a more serious turn toward music, which is something I realized I should have been doing all along.”
Or he maybe he just really fucked up his MCAT. I don’t know. Regardless, he didn’t fuck up the music thing, which is good news for us. Instead, he returned to the keyboard (Kramer played classical piano from age 6 to 16, at which point I bet it became uncool) and moved back to Chicago, where he met drummer Joe O’Connor + bassist Dan Zima. The three started the band California Wives in 2009, rounding out the group in 2012 with guitarist Graham Masell and releasing their debut album, Art History, earlier this month.
The result seems to be a pretty fine pop-rock album, easy on the ears with just enough new wave influence, catchy beats, and melodic hooks to keep you coming back for more. The songs’ subject matter is familiar—loss of youth, love, reluctant yet undeniably healthy growth, Groundhog Day—and the sound is too, in the most reassuringly pleasant of ways.
See what we mean with this week’s Song, “Purple,” and a few other tracks (below) from their SoundCloud page.
You can purchase the digital formats of Art History on iTunes + Amazon and the more traditional hardcopy versions should be out in early October from Vagrant Records. If you’re in the south or out west, try to catch the band on tour with Stars + Diamond Rings—sure to be an awesome show.
And remember to sound your barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world, Reader.
Note: Music posted to this site is kept online for a limited period of time out of fairness to the artists and, you know, our server. So if this is now an older post, the links may well be dead.