Music review

Not your grandma’s music box

RIP Tom and Jagweed bring energy to a modern sound with a twist


A hot mix of punk, jazz, folk and ragtime, “What’s Spinning” reaches into the new and the old with RIP Tom and Jagweed. The bands both bring energy, focus and dedication to a modern sound, as well as a new take on classic hits.



Blitzing out of the gate with a rockabilly guitar riff, RIP Tom begins its debut album with a chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that would scare even the hardest punkers from the ‘80s. The band’s title track grabs its audience by the shirt collar and says, “We’re not your average punk rock band.”

With energy like The Distillers and the rock and roll aesthetic of The Runaways, RIP Tom’s introduction to the music world is pointed in the right direction for the band’s second release. Listeners can grasp exactly where this band is going, how fast surely that it will get there. The guitar intros and solos on the album resonate well in front of the pounding bass, steady drums and angsty vocals coming through the wall of sound. Should RIP Tom decide to tour about, the Chicago, Illinois-based band might even find itself in front of crowds who are seeking an alternative to relative bands that merely pretend to bring the energy of rock and roll.

“Don’t Want A Lot” is a pleasant way of looking at the anger and passion behind everyone’s teenage punk phase. However, RIP Tom crafts its lyrics in a way that brings back the independent thought of the straight edge scene long before these punkers learned a chord. The song echoes the wants of a generation sick of the media, government and substances ruling the world of pop culture.

“Riot Grrrl,” despite being the name of a more female-dominated offshoot of the underground, charges at the listener with an open challenge to what it means to be a woman in today’s world. The song reassures the “boys” that women are not objects and instead can be just as dangerous, strong and powerful as anyone. The song puts the subject of makeup on the table and states, “If I don’t wear makeup, I’m a slob. If I do, I’m trying too hard,” but then brings in the attitude by saying, “Who cares?”

RIP Tom brings back the power of women in punk rock and hopefully will encourage others out there to pick up a guitar, get angry and tell the world that no one owns women’s bodies. Don’t tell this band’s members how to act, dress, think or live life because one day, they might be rolling through your town and singing “RIP Tom” to your local scene.

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Sing for Yr Supper


You’ve heard the band’s songs, you know them – and you definitely have snapped your fingers or tapped your toes to them at least once – but Jagweed brings a few old classics to a new realm of music unlike anything currently hitting your street corners. Jazz standards and classic folks songs, often only known by musicians, are integral to the foundations of nearly every song hitting radio waves and some musicians feel a calling to this almost ancient form of music.

Beginning in the 1930s, Jagweed brings the listener his blend of classic, while adding a new doom sound to “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” – the Jay Gorney tune. The song starts out with a gentle chugging, like that out of a railroad movie from the early days of film and quickly transitions to a ragtime masterpiece of old.

Bringing the jams on with “Sixteen Tons,” the old Merle Travis song about being in debt to the Company Store, Jagweed turns a modern twist by adding a bit of reverb and some gain to the mix. The effects on this classic tune bring it up to date by adding a scratchy tone to the song, which was an unfortunate reality for many Americans of the time.

As an original in the mix, “A Quick Decay” surfaces that old-timey feeling, complete with banjo, singing saw and a knee-slapping melody that brings even the most modern aficionado to the time where ragtime was king. The song cleverly shows the artist’s influence on current musical arrangements and lyrics while holding a classic feeling of nostalgia for Southern, Appalachian and folk music.

“Dark Eyes,” where Jagweed adds its own elements to the classic number, alongside “Oh Death” are excellent chapters of American history captured through music. Jagweed, alongside bands like Thistle! and many others, are doing wonders to bring modern Americans back to the roots of popular music and music in general. Musicians, along with historians, reporters and visual artists, will be remembered for their contributions to society for many years. Because of the work of a select group of current musicians, the memories of the past will live on longer and these songs could be remembered by an entirely new generation of musicians working in today’s world.

While some of the tunes on the album might have some folks scratching their head, the majority of sounds on “Sing For YR Supper” will have anyone up out of their seat.

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