Jaks

Hollywood Blood Capsules

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Ann Arbor's Jaks, along with Morsel and Tiger 100, created a punk-edged math rock scene that rivaled anywhere else in the country. While they certainly had the right chops, running bass and screeching guitar that cut with angular precision against the maelstrom of drum beats, the true brilliance of Jaks was in their persona and performance. Like the resident band of a haunted house, they explored the macabre in a cartoonish style. Singer Katrina (no last names given) opened shows by bursting fake blood packets strapped underneath her tuxedo shirt. Rumor had it that drummer Shawn was studying to be a mortician. Jaks only album, Hollywood Blood Capsules, held up to their live shows. Lyrics like "I slither and sedate and royal in the mire" capture the black magic in abstract poetics while the riffs on "Cock of the Walk" stumble like the undead slowly lurching out of the graveyard. But the true terror comes on the albums highlight "Fidge Cake and Pismire," with its "hellhounds running at your heels" drum assault. Though never achieving the notoriety of their Chicago contemporaries Trenchmouth or Baltimore's Candy Machine, a Jaks CD in your collection is the ultimate proof of cool for those who were there.

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