Gainesville, Florida trio, J2K, has been steadily rising through the jamband scene's ranks since its inception in August 2010. Although in the budding stages of its career, the exuberant, wisecracking three-piece has earned slots at respected, groove and patchouli-heavy festivals like Blackwater, Aura, Rootwire, and Big and Hearty.
Consisting of guitarist and keyboardist Jason Shooster, drummer Josh Hoffenberg, (the two Js), and bassist Keith Ladd (and the one K) J2K has found a kind ear amongst improvisational rock followers with its synthesis of electro rhythms over roots rock sensitivities. Fans call this blending of contradictory styles "jamtronica," and J2K is falling in line with popular jamtronic bands such as fusion masters the Disco Biscuits, and Sound Tribe Sector 9.
"The fusing of samples and electronic music with organic musicianship is very much the trend nowadays. Some guys pull it off fantastically, while others not so much. If it were up to us, we'd go back to the hot music of the '30s," said Jason Shooster when we caught up with him and his band-mates as they made their way down to the South Florida wing of their East Coast tour.
Shooster tells us that J2K is really not Bisco listeners, but readily admits that comparisons to that Philadelphia sonically diverse troupe -- as well as other jam-roots-electro-groove units -- are made frequently.
Shooster feels that his group's debut full-length record, Like Your Face (self-released on February 25) sets it apart from other contemporary jam bands. "The record was our attempt at making a complete work, like older albums, which were supposed to be played all the way through."
Shooster explains that the album transitions seamlessly from song to song. "I think it is fair to say that we wanted to make an album that would make people feel good and smile because there isn't enough of that anymore." Shooster does admit that listeners will encounter some "raging riffs," as to be expected with any respectable improv-rock album, but his band's trademark goofiness "shines right through from beginning to end."
Given J2K's prankster reputation, we thought Shooster was joshing with us about wanting to recreate the sound of the '30s, but after listening to its track "Spaghetti and Meatballs," and its vaudevillian Eastern European flair, we are convinced he was not yanking our chain.
"Spaghetti and Meatballs," just so happens to be the first video off Like Your Face. It's three and a half minutes of oddball, tongue-in-cheek absurdity in which drummer Josh Hoffenberg plays a meatball kingpin. For those who have never heard of J2K, this video is an excellent precursor to what's bound to be a zany show at the Funky Buddha, check this shizz out.
The band will have hard copies of Like Your Face, which the band touts as being "appropriate for kids and geezers alike." Arpetrio, a Knoxville Tennessee band which leans a little more toward the electric side of the jamtronic, will be opening up the night. J2K with Arpetrio at the Funky Buddha.2621 North Federal Highway Boca Raton, FL. Thursday April 5. 9 pm. Cover $5. Call 561-368-4643.