Favorite ThisJimkata: Die Digital Review

Published: September 24, 2012
By Bethany Rees/Joseph Lamendola



Electro-rock act Jimkata just released its fourth studio album, Die Digital, earlier this week.  It’s been two years since the release of their last album, Ghost and Killers, and for the first time they opted to work with producer Jason “Jocko” Randall of More Sound Studios in Syracuse, NY.  Randall is most well known for his role as live sound engineer for reggae band John Brown’s Body, and more recently for his production work with Rubblebucket and Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.  Randall’s background, mixed with Jimkata’s conscious emphasis on tempo defines Die Digital, giving the listener space needed to fully appreciate the intricacies of their grooves.  With heavy bass lines alongside clear and crisp drums, the album masterfully showcases drummer Packy Lunn.  Throughout the entire album, Lunn keeps time with drum-machine-like precision while maintaining a freshness in his phrasing that keeps beats interesting.  Bassist David Rossi, the backbone of the band, dominates the bottom end of the sound spectrum in perfect unison with Lunn, demonstrating a powerful confidence in diverse playing styles.  Together the rhythmic duo provides an impeccable canvas for singer/guitarist Evan Friedell and guitarist/keyboardist Aaron Gorsch to fill with an assortment of guitar licks and synth textures.  However, as the electronic music genre continues to blossom, it is Jimkata’s dedication to vocals and lyricism that distinguishes the band from others in the genre, who in large part have de-emphasized this component.  It doesn’t take long in listening to Die Digital before you realize the great strides Jimkata has made in the quality of their vocals. From the introduction to the final track, Die Digital hosts a multitude of harmonies, performed with deftness unmatched in the band’s prior albums.   Although each member takes an opportunity to display his vocal abilities, it is Friedell’s vocal prowess that captivates listeners.  His lyrical composition and easing tone allows listeners to quickly form a personal connection with the band.  Lyrics in the album draw from themes that are both current and timeless, and over and over they are easy to relate to, bolstering the solid grooves with emotional substance.  When asked about the meaning of the album title, Die Digital, Friedell replied,

“It’s kind of a reflection of the time we are living in. We have all this technology, and the internet, and things to keep us up to speed with what’s going on in the world, but at the same time we’re almost further from ourselves and the present moment.  So I feel that a lot of what the album is about, is just enjoying the moment and living in the now.”

Similarly, the track “Chain Store” showcases Friedell’s lyrical abilities.  The song is two-fold, a weird version of a love song to somebody unique, overlaid by the band’s overall disapproval of the increasingly generic world we live in.  We asked Friedell if there was a specific store that this song referred to and he replied,

“No, we are just on the road all the time and, it’s funny, the more you see this country the more you think it kind of looks the same.  It’s a lot of box stores, and sometimes you just get this real generic feeling about the way everything is.  So it’s a commentary on that.”

Although a lot of Jimkata’s attention is paid to the vocal aspect of their sound, Die Digital presents listeners with the broad spectrum of sounds that the quartet is capable of performing. The guitars of Gorsch and Friedell, whether it is a shredding lead or a rhythmic chop, are tasteful and moving, each exhibiting the understanding of a seasoned musician.  Somewhat contrary to the album’s title, the band itself continues pushing forward, experimenting with new electronic elements.  Bass lines beefed up by synthesizers match an increased lead keyboard presence.  After listening to the synth lines in Die Digital, it is quite apparent that the band’s sound is a product of the 90’s.  They have a raw, unpolished quality at times, bringing back memories of neon tracksuits and high-top Reebok pumps.  The limitless possibilities offered by additional synths compliment Jimkata’s understanding of tension and release, giving the album a rollercoaster like progression.  The band skillfully transforms slow melodic tunes into high-energy rock and roll jams, making the listening experience pleasant from start to finish. 

The fan-funded album can be purchased at the band’s website (www.jimkata.com) as well as all major music distributors.  Jimkata has also already begun their national fall tour in support of Die Digital. Check them out in a city near you!

Weds. 9/19 - Philadelphia, PA - The Blockley
Thurs. 9/20 - Albany, NY - Red Square
Fri. 9/21 - Ithaca, NY - The Haunt
Sat. 9/22 - Rochester, NY - Lovapalooza @ Lovin Cup
Tues. 9/25 - Buffalo, NY - Tralf
Weds. 9/26 - Kalamazoo, MI - Papa Pete's
Thurs. 9/27 - Cincinnati, OH - The Mad Frog
Fri. 9/28 - Indianapolis, IN - The Mousetrap
Sat. 9/29 - Evansville, IN - Lamasco Bar
Thurs. 10/4 - Fort Collins, CO - Aggie Theatre
Fri. 10/5 - Winter Park, CO - Ullr's Tavern
Sat. 10/6 - Durango, CO - The Summit
Weds. 10/10 - Green Mountain Falls, CO - Silver Tongue Devil Saloon
Thurs. 10/11 - Boulder, CO - The Fox Theatre
Fri. 10/12 - Breckenridge, CO - Three20South
Sat. 10/13 - Denver, CO - Cervantes' Otherside
Weds. 10/17 - Minneapolis, MN - Cabooze
Thurs. 10/18 - Mankato, MN - Red Sky Lounge
Fri. 10/19 - Chicago, IL - Abbey Pub
Sat. 10/20 - Holland, MI - Groovewalk
Tues. 10/23 - Lexington, KY - Cosmic Charlie's
Weds. 10/24 - Louisville, KY - Gerstle's
Thurs. 10/25 - Columbus, OH - Woodlands Tavern
Fri. 10/26 - Jamestown, NY - MoJo's
Sat. 10/27 - Williamsport, PA - Bullfrog Brewery
Weds. 10/31 - Syracuse, NY - The Westcott Theater
Thurs. 11/1 - Burlington, VT - Nectar's
Fri. 11/2 - Northampton, MA - Iron Horse
Sat. 11/3 - New York, NY - Sullivan Hall
Tues. 11/6 - Roanoke, VA - Martin's
Weds. 11/7 - Raleigh, NC - Berkley Cafe
Thurs. 11/8 - Charlotte, NC - Visulite Theatre
Fri. 11/9 - Black Mountain, NC - Pisgah Brewing Company
Sat. 11/10 - Greensboro, NC - Blind Tiger
Weds. 11/14 - Charleston, SC - Pour House
Sat. 11/17 - Boone, NC - Murphy's Saloon

Tags: Livetronica