May 22, 2012


You Need to Know: JEFF the Brotherhood's Garage-Punk Perfection

Jo McCaughey
Jo McCaughey

Every Tuesday, You Need to Know spotlights a rising artist that we know will blow up big. Listen now. Thank us later. This week: JEFF the Brotherhood. 

I first caught JEFF the Brotherhood back in 2009 when the Nashville indie rock duo was playing an off-the-beaten-track Brooklyn venue: A parking lot above an auto parts store. I had shown up to see New Jersey punks Screaming Females, but I left completely enamored with JEFF the Brotherhood. 

Aside from being knocked out by the brain-rattling ruckus they created with just a guitarist and drummer, I was shocked by how fully formed their garage-punk-meets-stoner-metal sound was. Even before attaining any national exposure, Jake and Jamin Orrall (actual brothers, both of whom had stints in Be Your Own Pet) were churning out tightly crafted head-banging nuggets most indie buzz bands would give their VW tour van for. 

After a few more years, some increasingly positive write-ups and a collaboration with Jack White and Insane Clown Posse on that bizarre Mozart cover song, the band has finally made the move to a major label with their recent signing to Warner Bros. While some people kvetch about indie bands signing with the big bad majors, in this case, I think it's fantastic: Their reflexively melodic, psychedelic garage punk deserves a wider audience.  

The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach—that generous supporter of garage rock excellence—produced their major label debut EP, Hypnotic Knights, which includes "Sixpack," their Zeppelin-meets-Ramones ode to getting wasted in the summer.

This song is characteristically excellent, but if you want to dig deeper, you can't get better than their 2009 album, Heavy Days. One of the absolute best records of that year, Heavy Days is a start-to-finish cult classic. For proof, check out the no-budget video to the flawless garage-pop gem "Bone Jam" below.

I'm sort of giddy thinking what a band that's already this adept can accomplish with some money behind it. The only downside: I'll probably never be able to see them play a urine-stained parking lot again. But it's a small concession for the greater good.