JEFF the Brotherhood, "We Are the Champions" (Infinity Cat)
JEFF the Brotherhood had a buzz-worthy gig at Bonnaroo, but unfortunately it overlapped with the set by headliners Arcade Fire, meaning most of the 80,000 fans at the festival missed the ruckus.
No matter. They'll soon be playing on a set of headphones near you regardless: Real brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall are Nashville's hottest noncountry export at the moment. The former Be Your Own Pet members and sons of songwriter Robert Ellis Orrall, who produced Taylor Swift's self-titled debut, lay down a righteous slab of sludge mixed with poppy-punk moments sure to resonate this summer.
The 25-year-old Jake, who sings and plays the three bottom strings on his guitar, and his 23-year-old drummer brother mine the most melodic moments of tar-dripping bands like TAD and Dinosaur Jr., cut it with the psychedelia of the Butthole Surfers and Meat Puppets, and the pure freedom you find in sledgehammer 4/4 punk on their way to a second album that not only supplies a few mind-blowing moments but marks JTB as a band to watch for years to come.
"Champions" opens with an epic sludgefest on "Hey Friend" that might be the album's best moment. From there the boys head into full-tilt boogie mode, whipping off pop-punk blazers like "Cool Out" and "Shredder," get reflective on "Diamond Way," lay down a heavy jam on "Ripper" before launching into a section that Josh Homme might be proud of.
"Endless Fire" mimics blue album-era Weezer on codeine-laced cough syrup. Then things get really trippy when they break out what sounds like a sitar on "Health and Strength."
While the influences come fast and furious, this is no tribute album. The Orralls have taken these bits and pieces from their record collection and made something wholly new.
Check this out: "Hey Friend" is a marvel for both its crunchy beginning and the unexpected turn it takes midway through, as the thunder suddenly cuts out and Jake Orrall sings this lilting line: "I've been thinking about your mom/you can't tell me it's really wrong." The song is both epic and tender, prog-rock and punk, fast and slow and totally refreshing.