Friday, January 16, 2009

Listening Post

Very few bands have the kind of reverse correlation between how long they lasted and how lasting their impact has been than pop gods Jellyfish.

Those familiar with the band are probably nodding excitedly right now simply because Jellyfish tend to inspire a special kind of devotion among their fans -- and their fans encompass just about anyone who's ever heard them.

Formed in the early 90s out of San Francisco's colorful neo-hippie scene and L.A.'s famed Paisley Underground, Jellyfish only recorded two full-length albums and a live EP, but their unabashedly bubble-gum-psychedelic sound -- part Beatles, part Cheap Trick, part Beach Boys, part Partridge Family, a lot of XTC -- influenced guys like Ben Folds and Beck, and bands like Fountains of Wayne, Panic at the Disco, and the Decemberists.

I remember I picked up Jellyfish's debut album, Bellybutton, on my first trip to L.A. back in 1991; it remains one of only two albums in my life that I've bought on sight and without hearing so much as a note of music contained on it, strictly because I liked the album cover,* which in the case of the Jellyfish record featured a shot of, what else, a woman's bellybutton. (I have a thing for the female bellybutton; don't ask.) I got about half-way through the first song on the CD before realizing that I'd lucked out and accidentally stumbled onto something great. To this day, Bellybutton is one of my favorite albums -- with it's follow-up, Spilt Milk right behind it.

Here now, four from Jellyfish.

First up, from Bellybutton -- it's That Is Why.

Next, from Spilt Milk, a really cool low-tech recording of the band doing Joining a Fan Club during a live in-store performance back in 1993.

From Bellybutton, here's The King is Half-Undressed.

Finally, from Spilt Milk, it's New Mistake.

*The other album was Def Leppard's Pyromania, which I suppose proves that, in addition to women's bellybuttons, I like fire.


stephanie said...



Cpt Clown said...

"Spilt Milk" is one of my favorite albums, in the same way that Queen's "Night At The Opera" is phenomenal...

Great unplugged version in video #2, I hadn't seen it.

drater said...

Hadn't heard of them before, good stuff. I was listening to Crowded House right before I played the videos, they're really similar.