By Nobo McManus
Extended Play, Joel Gion’s first solo endeavor, gives you the intimate feeling of a bedroom session with the sound quality you’d expect from Record Pressing vinyl. The album is very distinctive in its youthful sounding songs, but you can tell this isn’t his first rodeo. The jacket is especially memorable, donning a very unique style in reference to vinyl from earlier periods. From the vintage illustrations, the entire layout, even down to the font, looks like an old record that someone didn’t mean to give away.
Although Gion is more known for his percussion and tambourine skills in bands like the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, he plays guitar along with xylophone, cowbell, and a few other instruments on this album. His one-man band approach makes sure the tracks are exactly how he wants them, and how you want them, too. Catchy, lo-fi, and endearing, songs like “Modern History” have you in adolescent summer days, with lyrics like “The room stops when you walk in and you’ve got me smilin’ cause you’re my best friend.” While “Control” is a warm, vibrating, xylophone-laced echo, rounding out side A in a fuzzy splendor. The rawness of these songs makes them all seem very real and personal, like a rare 8-track recording, but the meticulous composition can be heard throughout the entire album. “Every Which Way” is a melodic, repetitive love song. A no frills, easygoing riff and a perfect way to wrap up the album. Overall Joel Gion puts on an eclectic show that proves how versatile a musician he truly is. I definitely recommend playing Extended Play – whichever way you play it, just don’t miss this one!
For an exclusive interview with Gion and his take on Extended Play, check it out through Rock Edition, here.