J*DaVeY “New Designer Drug”

By Carlos Lima-Lopez

Jack Davey and Brook D’Leau embody this type of cool that I have always liked. They wear the coolest clothing with a bohemian flair that doesn’t come off as contrived. I think it personally suits them; J*DaVeY seems like a laid-back duo and their fashion sense looks like a reflection of their musical tastes. I really like that style, and it is something I try to rock; I like to wear my clothes with those Nike SB Dunks and give off the impression that I listen to Jazz, Hip-Hop and Electronica.

Their music is definitely an extension of their cool and a reflection of their influences. I only started listening to them a while ago but I hear that J Dilla bounce, Michael Jackson’s pop sensibilities and Prince’s edgy rock soul. “Kill For Fun” starts off as this bouncy pop song, and then it transforms into something new. The moment Jack Davey starts singing “I’m gonna kill for fun”, this intensity comes in and it sounds like some punk rock music. Clearly, J*DaVeY are not your Mom and Dad’s experimental band.

photo from

photo from

J*DaVeY are currently one of the daring bands out right now, and I often find their music to be enthralling, romantic, smooth, harsh but a lot of the time, new and fresh. Take my word for it that they are no slouches, and they have a sizable discography and an extensive “who’s who” resume of artists that they have worked with. In this current era where major label pop stars are finally taking musical risks, J*DaVeY deserve to be known that they are one of many to be the first to do it.

New Designer Drug is one those albums with a story about its delivery. To get the meat of the story, J*Davey were once signed to Warner Bros. and they were the label who were going to distribute the record. Like many labels who claimed they had no idea how to promote the album, WB records tugged around J*DaVey into releasing more commercially appealing music, and even wanted to prep singer Jack Davey to release her own material before releasing NDD. J*DaVeY decided it was best to part ways with WB and release the album on their own imprint, iLLaV8er music.

j davey

From what it looks like, it was a very quiet release. They were selling the album for 2.99 with linear notes and everything. Surely, they deserved more than that but they continued to put out more stuff, a lot of which I found banging recently. Fast forward to now, where they gave the album a proper and wider release on itunes and let me say, the album delivered on their hard work.

J*DaVeY’s “New Designer Drug” is an incredibly nice and consistent mish mash of sounds that they love and they bring out their music with a bang. There’s a nice surge of energy running through, and there’s never a dull moment with “New Designer Drug”. “Rock That Ship” feels right at home in the 80’s new wave era and it grooves very nicely.

The duo dabbles with rock in “Turn the Lights Out” and I enjoy how Jack Davey sings her chorus and how the guitars compliment her. The slow break down in the middle sounds desperate and I can’t figure out why I like the way it sounds. J*Davey also proves to be an able spitter with an outro filled a J Dilla inspired beat.

The group also gets fun with a very keyboard and synth driven song “Little Tramps”. Brooks D’Leau raps his verses about dealing with little tramps, be it sleazy women or uptight jerk-off bosses. It’s the unlikeliest song I have ever heard but I dig it.

J*DaVeY – Little Tramp$ from ILLAV8R on Vimeo.

It cannot be ignored that Jack Davey is an amazing singer. She oozes of Erykha Badu but can really loud. She has this quiet, playful vibe and I really enjoy her wordplay. She’s clearly confident in being fun and showcasing her vulnerability. “Listen” is one of those songs, where she is longing to tell the object of her affections how she really feels, but not say it in just any regular fashion. There’s sincerity to her words, and when she sings “And I don’t wanna just say anything to you”, I could really feel that she wants her desired lover to feel the words she says. It’s definitely the anthem for those who want to tell someone they love them.

She sings with delight about the new excitement of new love with “Topsy Turvy”, and it has this nice hip-hop swagger bounce mixed with that Michael Jackson influence. Next to “Listen”, the winner is “Queen of Wonderland” with soon-to-be legendary bassist Thundercat. It’s psychedelic and reminds of swirls going ‘round and ‘round, as Jack Davey expresses her excitement about being with a lover that is no doubt off the wall, but makes it clear she is the object of his undivided attention.

As far as I know, J*DaVeY have been at it since the early 2000’s and have cultivated a loyal fan base. They are no doubt a taster’s choice band; only a select few will know of them and their importance. They take their independent credibility with much pride, even to this day.

A band like J*DaVeY needs to be known and spread throughout the masses. They aren’t unfriendly, and their music is filled with funky and experimental grooves. I hate being that guy, but pop these days, is stale. I mean, NOW, major label artists are taking bigger chances with their music and making it risky (I credit Death Grips for the current trend of dark and menacing drums and atmosphere).  It’s still not something I gravitate to, although my respect for what they do is there.

J*DaVeY is another league; they’re like the best type of bread out there, or some shit. They may be keeping it independent but make no mistake, everything that they do, and have done, is major.

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