JJ are a mysterious Swedish pop band about which little other is known than the names of its two members, Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander. No-one would even have known they were a duo if it hadn't been confirmed by the Tough Alliance's Gothenburg based electro label Sincerely Yours earlier this year. With such little information, one can't help reading into the facts we do have, and i'm sure a band of conspiracy theorists somewhere are going to interpret their latest signing, to Secretly Canadian records (home of Yeasayer and The War on Drugs) , as some sort of subtle sign or clue from the so-called Swedes.
With such a mysterious air surrounding jj (always lower-case, for some reason or another, as are their song titles), it logically follows that, as with fellow Swedes The Knife/Fever Ray, the music should also possess a certain uncertain quality, and that to an extent is true of jj. They put a 90s ambient house/dance edge on to dream pop, leading to numerous accusations from Oakenfold and Pete Tong fans around the world of a heavy influence from the Ibiza movement of Balearic dance music which, driven by the pioneering duo, caught well on to the London club scene at the turn of the century. Whether they were influenced by Tong and friends or not, there is a lot of influence from contemporary ambient music on this cannabis leaf fronted collection of 3 minute pop songs.
The genre they involve themselves with most comes in the form of dream pop, which tends to go almost hand in hand with any kind of pop music with an ambient influence. What follows on is an ecletic and accented combination of fellow Gothenburgers such as Pacific!, The Tough Alliance and Air France into a reflective, dancefloor compilation of indie pop music, starting to verge upon ambient dance at times. Some parts of their discography would proudly take up their places on any 90s chillout dance compilation, but other parts, with their reggae influenced pop sensibility, expansive electro-string sound and twee pop vocals couldn't be further away in terms of style. Despite the features of this band which place them at opposite ends of the genre spectrum - the music is all ultimately drawn together by its ever-present sound pallete, which whilst creating some very different songs, creates only one distinctive and inspiring sound.
For a band with no identity and even less regularity, they've been extremely busy in the studio of late, and their first emergence on the popular world music scene came only in March 2009 with their release of jj n° 1 on Sincerely Yours, followed closely by their debut full length, the nine-track LP jj n° 2, on July 1, 2009. It was on December 24, 2009 that they announced the biggest news of their year, that their follow up album, the inspiringly titled jj n° 3, would be coming out in March of this year on the aforementioned Secretly Canadian label. If this wasn't news enough, they also revealed a full tour with British post-punk/rnb band The XX in March/April 2010.
jj n° 3 is out March 2010 on Secretly Canadian records.
jj n° 2 on Amazon MP3
03-22 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon*
03-24 Atlanta, GA - The Earl*
03-25 Carrboro, NC - Cats Cradle*
03-28 Washington, DC - Sixth & I Historic Synagogue*
03-29 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church Sanctuary*
04-05 Columbus, OH - Wexner Center*
04-06 Bloomington, IN - Buskirk-Chumley Theater*
*w/ The XX (currently also on tour with Hot Chip, Friendly Fires and Holly Miranda)
File Next To - The Tough Alliance, Pacific!, Air France
jj - things will never be the same again (MP3)
jj - baby (MP3)