New Sounds: Virginia ‘gaze combo You’re Jovian return with the uneasy ‘Downstream’
You’re Jovian’s new tune “Downstream” evokes beauty and danger like a mysterious new romance and, indeed, unless you’ve had your ear pressed firmly up against the shoegaze underground for the past half-dozen years or so, the Virginia Beach-based band is likely new to you.
The combo centers around mastermind Elliot Malvas, a sometimes Swirlies-sideman with an ear for a hook and a devotion to blissed-out noise. He wields both to establish an appealing tension in You’re Jovian’s music, and particularly here on “Downstream.” Malvas makes a conscious effort to have a “push and pull” between melody and dissonance.
“Dissonance is just always fun,” he says, “but [it] never quite translates well on record. Live it’s fun being loud and noisy.”
The song’s cacaphonous opening and verses evidence Malvas’ professed adoration of Sonic Youth, and its layers of guitar subside just enough to accommodate languid, cool vocals. Melody and dissonance vie for preeminence throughout the song, with the struggle only ever tilting toward resolution during a tantalizingly brief, snare-spangled suggestion of a chorus at the song’s midpoint.
You’re Jovian’s lineup is often in flux around Malvas, and he says his current collaborators brought so much life to the song live that he had to put it at the front of their new record. “We usually open [shows] with it, and slam right into [the song] ‘Pieces,'” Malvas explains. “They flowed well together and that’s how ‘Downstream’ found its opening spot on the record.”
The song leads off You’re Jovian’s long-anticipated sophomore collection They Were Selected And Divided, the act’s first official long-player in five years. Malvas and co. work relatively slowly, so unsurprisingly “Downstream” has been kicking around a while: The first appeared in demo form within the ephemeral — and now deleted — Bandcamp collection R.I.P. 2014-2015.
Meanwhile, They Were Selected And Divided will be released on limited edition cassette April 7 by the Harrisonburg, Virginia-based indie Funny/Not Funny Records; pre-orders are available now. You’re Jovian’s debut collection Stereochronic was initially released via Funny/Not Funny in 2012; a second edition is currently available from Punkadelia. Malvas is in the early stages of plotting a summer tour that may see the band return to Boston, following up a local show at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston last June.
Featured You’re Jovian photo by Jose Martinez.