Tag: Junaco Willow

Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays Junaco — Shahanna Jaffer and Joey LaRosa — derive their name for a term that they say generally means rolling with the pace of life and enjoying the present; living and working with intention, and not just running on autopilot. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that the band can trace its origins back to the duo having a mutual desire to make music for music’s sake and to write honest songs that meant something for them — and for listeners, as well. Interestingly enough, much like the term that inspired their name, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays have developed a rather deliberate creative approach, deciding to eschew the commonly-held attempts to placate the blogosphere’s short attention span with constant releases of varying quality.

2019’s Omar Yakar-produced EP Awry last year, an effort that featured the lovelorn “Willow,” and the 70s AM Rock meets Maazy Star-like “In Between.” Last year, the duo released a reworking of “In Between,” “In Between (Reprise) ” which was an even more ethereal and softer take on the original, while evoking the confusing sensations of change, uncertainty and progress. The duo’s latest single is their first single of 2021, “Blue Room,” continues a run of gorgeous hook driven indie rock, centered around shimmering guitars and Jaffer’s ethereal vocals. But unlike their previously released material, “Blue Room” is simultaneously a contented sigh and a sigh of frustration, evoked by the fact that home can be a place of safety, security and love, as much as it can be a place of stifling boredom.

“We were coming off a high of recording, playing, working, performing, running, running – running like the rest of the world,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “We knew we wanted our next project to be upbeat and fun and we didn’t yet sink into the reality of the shitiness quickly approaching. We were sitting on this large gray couch, overlooking the hills, beginning to write this song. The cool tones from the gloominess brought the blue into the room. Throughout all of this, a reflection – don’t forget the ground below your feet. A similar, universal feeling everyone was beginning to realize – that there are so many important things we miss when we are running. So many simple things. I think this whole record reflects on that; focusing on the beauty in the simplicity of life.”

Los Angeles-based duo Junaco — Shahanna Jaffer and Joey LaRosa — derive their name for a term that generally means rolling with the pace of life and enjoying the present; living and working with intention, and not just running on autopilot. The act can trace their origins to the duo having a mutual desire to make music for music’s sake, and to write honest songs that meant something for them — and that listeners may be able to have mean something to them, as well. Much like the term that inspired their name, the duo have developed a deliberate creative approach, eschewing the commonly-held attempts to placate the short attention spans of the blogosphere.

The Los Angeles-duo released their Omar Yakar-produced EP Awry last year, an effort that featured the lovelorn “Willow,” which to my ears brought Caveman, Eliza Shaddad and even Fleetwood Mac to mind — and “In Between,” which seemed equally indebted to 70s AM rock and Mazzy Star. Interestingly, Junaco’s latest single “In Between (Reprise)” is a reworking of the successful “In Between.” Collaborating with James McAllister, the reworked song is an ethereal and softer take on the song, evoking the confusing feelings of change, uncertainty and progress with a plaintive slow-burn.

“’In Between’ was one of the first songs we ever wrote, at a time when we both felt a lack of control in our own lives – unsure of how to get to where we wanted to be,” the duo explain in press notes. “Leaving town and writing felt like a step towards something – even though we didn’t know what that was. We didn’t intend to write stories, we just wanted to describe a feeling.” And with the reworked version the song, the band feels the song has come full circle from its original intent, now more than ever.

“There’s something about accepting the unknown that’s very comforting, almost feeling like a surrender. Each time we’ve played the song live, I’ve always felt a relief from just saying ‘i don’t know.’ Now, we’re experiencing a collective feeling of uncertainty – no matter who you are and what you believe. The reprise is a reminder.” 

The term ‘Junaco’ means rolling with the pace of life and enjoying the present; living and working with intention, not just running, which is what they seem to be doing with “In Between (Reprise).” With lyrics “I know this is the way I have to go, but I don’t know, I’ll be back and I will be what I show, when I go home,” Junaco expresses the conflicting feelings of change and progress through soft and lush vocal

With James McAlister as a collaborator, the expression of emotions in the song began to adapt and change: “Working with James McAlister in revisiting the song has given it a new color; he solidified our intention of creating a mood with our music.”

 

Comprised of Shahanna Jaffer and Joey LaRosa, the Los Angeles-based duo Junaco can trace their origins to a mutual desire to make music for music’s sake — and to write honest songs that meant something true for themselves, that someone else may be able to make something true for them, as well. Instead of rushing through songs, the duo have a rather deliberate creative approach hat has resulted in a sound that’s moody yet anthemic.

The duo’s forthcoming Omar Yakar-produced EP is slated for release sometime later this year, and the EP’s first single — and the band’s debut single, as well, is the stunning and and cinematic “Willow.” Centered around layers of shimmering and jangling guitar chords, Jaffer gorgeous and lilting vocals, jazz-like drumming and an expansive song structure that features a sweeping, widescreen coda, the song will likely bring comparisons to Caveman, Eliza Shaddad and even Fleetwood Mac — all while possessing a swooning and lovelorn quality.