Welcome ladies and gentlemen, to the first edition of In Bed With Jason. This column shines the spotlight on musicians and recording artists who implement their talents of production in a way that compliments their musicianship, usually from the comfort of their own bedrooms. So put on your PJs, drink your warm milk, brush your teeth, and let’s get to bed.
Today’s feature goes to a young recording artist of exponentially increasing notoriety, and resident of my hometown of Philadelphia, PA: Alex G. When I listen to Alex Giannascoli’s music, I cannot do anything but feel. The music itself is sensual enough to take me into a trance, and I’m able to become one with the steady, but laid back rhythm. The individual instrumentations are intricate and elaborately subtle enough to almost miss how genius the orchestration is when these parts come together.
Alex G’s songwriting can fit under the genre of lo-fi indie rock, with lyrics that lean toward the emotional side. The most notable of his influences seem to be Modest Mouse, The Knife, Built to Spill, and the late-great Elliott Smith, whom Alex is consistently compared to.
The way Alex G records his music is just as integral to the finished product as his songwriting. In a way, he utilizes his production techniques as he would another instrument. He works his magic with a digital audio workstation called Garageband that comes free with a Mac. He sits, he writes, and he records. And records. And records. And oh my goodness, he records so many songs that he’s already released seven albums at the age of 21. This includes his most recent L.P. called Beach Music, which he put out under Domino Recording Company: a label he shares with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Animal Collective, and Franz Ferdinand. You can stream all of Alex’s albums or buy them way-cheap at sandy.bandcamp.com. His music is also all over the You-Tubes. Here, you can find many of his tracks that he did not put on albums, such as the folksy and melodic “Sarah.”
I took the opportunity to see Alex G play at OK Fest in Philadelphia, this past August in the basement of an old First Unitarian church. This performance is what convinced me that this young and extremely bright emo-rocker is going places. He and his band outstandingly executed eleven tracks, spanning from his oldest recordings to some of his Beach Music songs. I got to speak with him for a few minutes after the show, and I’m happy to acknowledge that he’s a delightful human being, and not too much of a rock star to be unappreciative of his fans. We slapped hands, and he thanked me for my many compliments I had about his set. He has a good and level head on him, as most Philadelphians do. It must be in the water or something.
Part of the reason I wanted to feature Mr. G in the first edition of In Bed With Jason is because; all joking aside, Alex has a certain intimate quality about his music. The best way to explain myself here is to present his (secret) acoustic performance in a Brooklyn basement: In this set, you can see the delicate, stripped down side of his songwriting, and get a sense of what happens behind the production. My favorite part comes at 21:57 when he plays his heartbreaker “Memory,” while the crowd laments along with him.
Alex G and his band are currently on the road, kicking up sand in the Midwest, and will be making their way south to Texas, and back to Philadelphia. Sadly, there are no upcoming Seattle shows on his schedule, but I’ll keep you all updated in our pillow talk.
Alex G has the freedom of experimentation that I believe represents the turning point musicians are looking for in their industry. The secret is the bedroom.
JASON McCUE | Capitol Chill | KXSU Reporter