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Band of the Hour: The JeanMarie

Members of The JeanMarie, and their polar bear.
Members of The JeanMarie, and their polar bear.

It’s almost as if these guys don’t belong in Miami, and funnily enough, that’s a big part of how they want to be perceived — so much so that they’ve adopted a polar bear as their mascot. A little strange in a city where heat and humidity eliminate any chance of of as much as a frost. Somehow, The JeanMarie survive in this city, and their success is almost ironic.

The band has opened for such national acts as Bloc Party, The Noisettes, HelloGoodbye and Tokyo Police Club. Their name is an oxymoron, inspired by a tough, big guy who is the definition of cool with a sweet sounding name, JeanMarie. The uneven balance between this character’s moniker and his persona runs parallel to the unbalanced way the group’s sound fits into the Miami music scene.

Playing Miami haunts for 3 years, The JeanMarie offers an interesting combination of garage, rock and soul. Not such a strange amalgamation when one considers the band’s heroes:  Talking Heads, Prince, Al Green, Steve Reich, TV on the Radio, Paul Simon and even local influences like Awesome New Republic, Airship Rocketship, Down Home Southernaires and Rachel Goodrich.

Their first and second albums, 2006’s What’s a Revolution Without Backup Dancers? and 2007’s Self-Titled helped solidify their following. Currently in the studio recording their yet to be named third album, The JeanMarie are working on creating music that listeners can get lost in. “It’s really important to us that we play music that is fresh and new,” says guitarist Curtis Nystrom. “With all the amazing music out in the world these days it’s redundant to put something out there that just falls right in line with something you have already heard.”

Along with his band members — Jordan Davidson (vocals and guitar), Jeff Schechinger (bass) and Jason Haft (drums) — Nystrom agrees that writing music is a true collaboration. “Jordan might come in with a quickly recorded idea for a song and we will play with it for a half hour. Then we’ll take it home and someone else will come back the next day… adding new ideas to the last one.”

Their live show features a wide set list with songs off of their two albums and includes cover songs by the likes of Prince, Otis Redding, Jamie Lidell and Johnny Cash. A display of style, unpretentious rock and unexpected leg kicks, their show will have you hooked.

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Published: 9/08

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