October 26, 2009

Mod-A-Day: Love Jones

During the big lounge scare of the mid-90s two bands led the cocktail nation to new heights, both largely by being discovered by a Hollywood director. Quentin Tarantino's eye was caught by the swanky, exotic sounds of Combustible Edison, while at the same time John Favreau's attention was riveted on the cool, swingin', rat packish Love Jones.

Love Jones started out in the early 90s as a pop act in Kentucky and quickly realized their horizon was a bit limited there. So, like the Clampetts before them, they up and moved to Beverly. Along the way they perfected the retro lounge sound, modernizing a type of of music that prior to that point in time had only been popular in the 1950s and 1960s. They embraced all of the lounge elements from exotica, to easy listening, to a swingin' and soulful space age pop. Just as Nirvana was flailing its way to the top of the charts, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers was funkin up metal something serious, and Pearl Jam was embarking on a grunge driven charge to world domination, here came a band that was literally the antithesis to any such sounds. They eschewed the then typical nihilism and disdain for the past, instead embracing the pop sounds of previous eras, and idolizing the establishment cool of the 1950s, 1960s such as the Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, and Bobby Darin -- and all with complete knowledge and acceptance of the irony they were touting.

Their breakthrough -- such as it was -- and by far best release was 1993's Here's To The Losers. The album was mostly a finely crafted piece of pop, heavily influenced by everything from soul to bossa nova to jazz to martinis. The album has a number of great songs like the easy listening, laid back "Custom Van" with it's swanky casino bar vocals and sultry surf-like steel guitar. And then there's the soulful "L'il Black Book" with its swirling, grooving organ and ringing guitar riffs. By far this release was the band's highwater mark. They followed it up with a more sophisticated, 70s R&B styled pop album, Power Pain Reliever that listening to actually required a lot of power pain relelivers. So, when you're Jonesing for some Vegas styled lounge music, pick up Love Jones' Here's To The Losers.

Love Jones -- Paid For Lovin'

Love Jones on Good Day LA