By: Chris Pizzolo
I was recently turned on to a band named Jubilee Riots by our fellow writer Kyle. It turns out Jubilee Riots used to be called Enter The Haggis, but recently decided to change their name. So with that said, I managed to come to the conclusion that Jubilee Riots is a band that is fun to listen to. I didn’t go back into the archives to dig up the music of the old band so I can talk about what a departure it is, or stir up some sort of controversy. I just listened to their latest album, and enjoyed.
That album, “Penny Black”, starts off with an indie-americana anthem in “Trying Times”. The lyrics, “if we don’t come together, then we might fall apart” speak to the core message of what it means to be a human. Stick together, help one another. The message also manages to get it’s point across with a blazing harmonica solo that makes you want to take proactive measures to helping a neighbor in need or at the very least stomp on your floor while dancing along.
“Trying Times”, along with the rest of the songs on this album were inspired by years of touring, meeting people and sharing stories so much so that the band put out the call for fans around the world to submit their stories as inspiration for their upcoming album. Letters came from across the globe – from the band’s native Canada to places as far away as Japan and Australia – each carrying the weight of one fan’s emotional tale.
In their latest musical feast, “Penny Black” they’ve sampled various ingredients of creativity to cook up a sizzling fresh sound. Their music is dancy and their narratives are genuine which help paint the picture of life as demonstrated in “Cut the Lights.” It’s not often that a band is able to blur the lines of dark indie, with political undertones and a silly hook, however, Jubilee Riots does just that with “The President’s Shoes”.
Penny Black was recorded and produced by Jonathan Wyman in the comfort of a rustic studio in Portland, Maine. After a month at the studio, the band had recorded a set of ten new songs. Some drew specifically from the submitted stories: “Astray” was based on a letter about a Russian Jew who escaped the Death March and thought his family had been killed, only to find out 50 years later they had survived and lived full lives. Others drew on the common threads winding through the stories: meeting a significant other (“Cut the Lights”); challenging relationships (“Unsteady,” “Trying Times”); and the potential risk and reward of making bold life choices (“Two Bare Hands,” “Traveler”).This is a truly inspiring album to listen to, so be sure to check out the band and see them on tour!