“We’re doing the best that we can!”: A Conversation with Jeanines (6/9 at JB’s w/ Swansea Sound)

“I wish it wasn’t more than two years between full-lengths…” Jeanines’ musical polymath Jed Smith glumly muses, before vocalist, songwriter, and namesake Alicia Jeanine chimes in, “I think it’s...

“I wish it wasn’t more than two years between full-lengths…” Jeanines’ musical polymath Jed Smith glumly muses, before vocalist, songwriter, and namesake Alicia Jeanine chimes in, “I think it’s fine to have an LP every three years!  We’re busy, we have jobs… We’re doing the best that we can!”  The rapport between the two members of the NYC indie pop group is charmingly playful, reminiscent of dialogue in a New Wave film.  Alicia, Jed, and bassist Maggie Gaster are currently on the road, touring behind Jeanines’ 2022 sophomore LP, Don’t Wait For A Sign, and 2023 follow-up 7”, Each Day.

Don’t Wait For A Sign and Each Day (in addition to Jeanines’ 2019 self-titled debut LP) were released courtesy of Slumberland Records, of which both Alicia and Jed admit they’re longtime fans.  “I really idolized a lot of those artists growing up, like The Aislers Set.  And Mike Schulman — the owner of the label, who really just runs it by himself, and was in Black Tambourine – is a really great guy and he does everything himself,” says Alicia, before Jed adds, “The Aislers Set is one of my favorite bands, but I knew Mike from bands I was friends with, and I remember being like, ‘Why can’t we be on Slumberland?  That’s like the A+ Ultra guitar pop label!’”  They also tell me they’re big fans and good friends of Lightheaded and Neutrals.

Jeanines just kicked off a run of dates supporting Swansea Sound, featuring Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey (Fletcher’s husband), best known as members of twee legends Heavenly, who Alicia and Jed got to know last summer.  “They’re the best!  We met them last year when we were in the UK.  Amelia actually sold our merch for us at Glas-Goes Pop,” Alicia tells me.  In addition to the band’s performance at the Glas-Goes Pop festival, the UK jaunt also had Jeanines playing a number of headlining shows with English indie-pop trio Mt. Misery, who Alicia quickly became a fan of: “Mt. Misery are the sweetest twentysomething boys, who drove us around, lent us gear, and they also make really good music!”

This coming Sunday, June 9th, Jeanines and Swansea Sound will be playing Johnny Brenda’s, with our phriend The Natvral (aka Kip Berman, former frontperson of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart), who will be opening the show.  Although it’s been a while since we’ve heard new music from Jeanines, Alicia tells me that they are working on their next full-length, which they’re hoping to have out next year, and that fans may be able to expect a preview during Sunday night’s show.  “We’re adding a couple songs from our back catalogue that we haven’t done in a while and at least one brand-new song that no one’s ever heard before,” she says, before Jed quickly chimes in, “Have we ever done that before, played a song that wasn’t recorded?”

“Yeah…  When we started…”

“This is all news to me!  I thought we were just gonna do Deep Purple tracks the whole time…”

During our chat, I find out the last time Jeanines were in town, they actually played our mini-metal Mecca, Century Bar, a seemingly odd space for any Slumberland Records act, which prompts a discussion of venues in general.  Jed tells me that, growing up in Brooklyn and Queens, he loved the fact that the main venues were DIY spots like Death By Audio and Shea Stadium, but admits that he prefers even smaller spaces: “I would rather play a house show than anything else, and second is a DIY venue.”  However, Alicia reminds him that he isn’t always the best in exceptionally DIY spaces: “Except you get upset when it’s really hot, or like when the drum thing was falling over…  But they can be fun…”

“For me, a dark rock club is my least favorite thing to do, by far.”

“Yeah, those are awful…  For me, any size venues are fine.  If there are monitors and I can hear myself singing, that’s great.”

“My concern is more the vibes of the space.”

“We’ll you’re not the lead singer…”

“I care more about the vibe, as long as I’m not dying of heat…”

“You actually complain a lot…”

*Get your tickets here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.