Women That Rock and Illumin Records are teaming up to present LISTEN TO WOMXN FEST!, a digital music festival for women and gender non conforming artists. For artists, this is a paid performance opportunity amidst a time in which live performances (and their income stream) have come to a halt. The upcoming digital music festival will focus on bands from the North West like Maita, Amenta Abioto, Tres Leches and J. Graves. More info on Listen To Womxn: Pacific Northwest Takeover can be found here.
J. Graves is passionate dance-punk. Tense relationship rock, sanguine lyricism, guitar music, chord changes that sound like secret longing, a rhythm section that thuds, skitters and melts over the determined voice of Jessa Graves. The heat of the cataclysm gives off a vapor known to galvanize meatspace into writhing, dancing heaps, creating rabid, loyal fans.
Deathbed, which was recorded by Portland engineer and pop music auteur Elly Swope at Destination: Universe, will be released via Grave’s Illumin Records imprint on October 2nd. On Deathbed J. Graves levels up as a band. Leader Jessa Grave’s voice is stronger than ever, even as she examines the relationship failure that resulted in the songs on the EP. The first single “Lo The Morning” begins on a clockwork drumbeat with Graves giving up and announcing “I don’t know how old I am anymore,” before ramping up to the climactic conclusion that each new day will be lived with intention. It’s clear there will be no sophomore slump for J. Graves, the tempo is faster, the changes more frequent, the band is tighter and the approach even more aggressive. On the title track J. Graves gets to the heart of the matter immediately, singing the opening line “we’re both on this deathbed, only nobody’s dead yet, and I’m lyin’ next to you…and I don’t know what to do.”
For J. Graves, Deathbed also serves as an opportunity for leveraging technology, scene connections and the power of an entire community of womxn to bring music forth. Deathbed will be doled out in a series of singles and videos in “digital events” in the coming months through outlets like Women That Rock and new record label called Illumin. Deathbed was also recorded and mastered entirely by women. For Graves, this was a matter of principle in our times, but it’s also a matter of lifting community. That extends all the way back to her mother; musician and indie-label leader Annie Graves. Jessa’s mother began the label Illumin 26 years ago in an effort to support her own musical career. Now, in an effort to more clearly light the way for herself and other acts, Jessa will resurrect Illumin. If we’re lucky, we may even see a re-release of Annie Graves’ album on the label.
Recently J. Graves has been featured in NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest who said of their song “Eleven,” “Pairs well with: dancing away from your mistakes…”, Vortex Music Magazine celebrated J. Graves as an “Artist To Watch,” and the band released their celebrated first album Marathon later to cap a successful year at the vaunted Portland venue Mississippi Studios. Against all odds, J. Graves is back in 2020, with a crushing new EP Deathbed, and a record label Illumin, that seeks to leverage community and technology to advocate for womxn and gender non-comforming artists.
Outside the band Graves is partnering with Womxn That Rock, a queer and gnc inclusive music platform spotlighting women in music and resurrecting her mother’s record label Illumin. The mission is redefining the role of record labels for womxn and gnc led projects through education, transparency, empowerment and new deal structures leveraging tokenization and blockchain technology.
On top of all this (!) you should know, nothing can substitute the experience of a live J. Graves show. You must be in front of the liquid rhythm section and pounding chords of the band to feel the blast. In performance Graves eyes roll furiously and her jawline sets as she contacts the emotion that produced her songs. She contorts herself around a fender slimline telecaster, and in fits and starts, springs forth with contagious, inspiring performances.
J. Graves is efficiency personified, the body of rock ‘n’ roll. The living example of repurposing personal and emotional refuse for growth. Through chaotic, cathartic music, technology, advocacy and community J. Graves is defining the future of music, giving us all life, from their Deathbed.
J. GRAVES LINKS
ILLUMIN RECORDS LINKS