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Monday, Feb. 23, 2009

Garage-Pop the Jail Way

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"I would do it the same," says Vinnie Kircher of the latest recording session by his garage-pop band, Jail. "I guess when you're done, you think you could have experimented more, but at some point you've gone overboard and you've got to let some things go."

Kircher's belief of losing the bells and whistles that hundreds of musicians tie themselves to is refreshing. The singer/guitarist isn't shy about his stance on the matter, either.

"Wes [Coleman] of the Golden Boys said to me, 'I've been listening to your album and I'm really, really excited to see how you try and do it live," Kircher recalls, "and then we played live and he said, 'Oh, you're just a rock 'n' roll band.' But that's what we want to be. Our recordings are for posterity and our live shows should be sort of more involved, so I don't think that all those little sounds that are there on the recording have to necessarily be there live, because there's that visual stimulus. If you're entertaining in yourself, it's a great show."

Jail expects to put on another rock 'n' roll spectacle for the arrival of their newest release at the Y-Not III. There's No Sky (Oh My My) is pressed and ready to hit Milwaukee's ears, and Jail couldn't be more ready. Their sporadic local shows create amped-up energy in the moment, and they're excited to be kicking off a pretty hefty tour to give the new album some press.

"It really helps to have something that you are selling that you are really proud of," Kircher says. "We've been sending it to a few record labels, a few radio stations, a few bloggers for review, leaking it out slowly. So far, it's only on vinyl.

"I've actually been contacted by a few people who really liked our 7-inch, and said that they'd taken it home. I'm like, 'Hey, you're supposed to leave it at the station,'" he adds with a laugh.

It's no surprise that music geeks are prone to lifting the band's promos: Jail's combo of pop sensibilities, garage-y edges and smart lyrics is an enticement tough to resist. The added knowledge that the four-piece recorded everything on their own time and equipment adds even more sparkling credibility. Amid last spring's heavy rains, Jail took over a soggy, flooded-out practice space to record the foundation of their album. They finished the rest of the album-overdubs, harmonies and tambourines-at home.

"When we started recording, we just decided to have as much fun and be as relaxed as possible making it," Kircher says. "There's always that [feeling of], 'Well, what would happen if we'd go to a big studio and get all the whistles and bells on it?' But we can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars drinking beer in an expensive studio."

Since Jail couldn't take to the studio, they brought the "studio" to them, enlisting longtime friend and Smart Studios recording engineer Justin Perkins.

"The songs weren't worked out until we gave them to Justin and he worked his magic on them," Kircher says. "We had the chance to listen and re-listen to things; it's the first time we had an album professionally mastered, and I really didn't know how different the sound would be, but I have to admit, Justin brought this thing together-when he was done with it, it was a cohesive album, and it just moved up and down and sounded so great. We're happy."

Jail releasesThere's No Sky (Oh My My) at a 10 p.m. show at the Y-Not III on Friday, Feb. 27, with Call Me Lightning and The Trusty Knife.

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