Saturday, March 18, 2006


I had been fairly deflated since Jacobstone broke up, but lead singer Andrew Jonathan and keyboardist Tony Olla have coalesced a bevy of music-dudes to form Northern Room, a quintessentially Jacobstone-y sounding band that is by all means, quite pleasing. It does have the ambience of some of Jacobstone's earlier recordings (i.e., Glass Top Ships and Chambers and Volumes), though it's not as ethereal as Regions, Jacobstone's last LP.

Jacobstone had a song featured on Dawson's Creek a few years back and ascended to the "A" list on for one of the best songs of the last five years and also had two songs in the top twenty on

Northern Room recently won the "Have A Nice Gig" contest on a local Milwaukee radio station and opened for Bon Jovi at the Milwaukee Bradley Center. You gotta "start" somewhere, I 'spose. The Bon Jovi part of this equation would have been enough to infuse my wife with pubescent giddiness.

This past February, Northern Room released their EP, Last Embrace and I am giving it a listen-through after ordering it from Northern Room's promo site.

I was a fan of Jacobstone's ambient gleanings with 2001's Chambers and Volumes and with all lyrics written by Jonathan on the current project- with wistful and reflective longing- Jonathan pines away again.

At only twenty-eight minutes long, the tracks are smooth, carefully produced and crafty soundscapes that can be listened to again and again. The catchiest tune- "Dutch Radio," (the first on the EP)- seems to recollect a jilted lover's search for patience amidst a relationship with someone whose grand aspirations rose above those inherent in that relationship. It might seem wickedly ludicrous to assume a musician writing a song about his relationship with another musician with similar(?) ambitions is exactly what this song is simply about. Or is it? While most of the songs are umambigiously about relationships, conflict, patience, stardom, failure and just trying to make sense of it all, you are left with a longing for some liner notes detailing a bit more about the motivation for some of the lyrics. But it generates interest.

If you are into ambient rock a la the Verve, Radiohead and Violet Burning, then give these guys a try.