I was walking to the post office a few months ago when I saw 5 unkempt
figures heading my way. As they got closer, I recognized these guys. They had
played at our gallery last month, fogged the windows up good. Captivated the
crowd with their impossibly balanced creation of modern and classic, a blend of
Steely Dan cool and General Public pop, Squeezish hooks and Aztec Camera
guitar flair. It was like a crash course in 60s pop, 70s avant-garde, 80s new wave
and 90s popkid charm, with that unmistakable Puget Sound flavor. They were iji.
Iji's a band projecting their own brand of pop, nudging the genre into the
comfort zone of a punk community, embracing a desire for rack-a-chack, ethereal
and naivist sounds often unexplored by contemporaries.
Back on the sidewalk, I asked them what they were doing back in town.
Apparently after the Team Love show the band had decided to go night swimming.
Oblivious to the magical, secluded moonlit respite where the river bends wide or
the lake meets the shallow cliff, iji wound up breaking into the local community
pool, immediately getting arrested by the local community cops, and spending the
night in the local community clink. Now, rather than being out on tour in some
distant state or country spreading their transcendental party music, they had routed
themselves back up Hudson Valley way to appear in court and find that their
punishment was, essentially, all the cash in their merch box. A bummer; quickly
diverted by throwing together a few last minute shows and cruising on.
Shortly after this chance encounter Quarterbacks Dean came by the shop
and said he had heard the new iji album and did I want to give it a listen. I said
something like, fuck yeah, and that was that.
Zach Burba, the founder of iji, is what you might call a lifer. Iji is always
in a state of 'to be continued,' in the way that a journeyman is always and
perpetually transitioning into the master. They've put out numerous albums, singles,
cassettes, and splits over the past 10 years; toured coast to coast playing DIY
venues and houses where restrictions don't apply. This type of DIY pop is a
lifestyle; it's Kokopelli roaming the countryside sharing a song in exchange for a
roof and a bowl of soup.
On Whatever Will Happen, iji has whipped a notebook full of travel
poems into a full-length American Experimental Highway Pop Opus. The band's
eleventh or twelfth album is the first one recorded at Anacortes, Washington's The
Unknown Music Studio with a solid line-up, the Seattle underground music scene's
best players. Jake Jones and Curran Foster from Sick Sad World, Will Murdoch
from Pill Wonder, Evan Easthope from Neighbors, Erin Birgy of Mega Bog, plus a
handful of jazz horn players and inspired back-up singers. Whatever Will Happen
speeds past quiet beaches with soft-rock wind in the hair, through mountain passes
with windows-down-power-pop, into seedy cities with free-jazz flavor and shameless
The next time iji come to town, I'm going to take them up to the ridge and
show them a real swimming hole, something that's locals-only and worthy of their
greatness. And with that said, let's wrap this up by stating that Team Love is proud
to announce the release of Whatever Will Happen.
1. Cruisin USA
2. Cool Moves
3. All The Light
4. Hard 2 Wait
5. Parking Lot Palms
6. Something Else
7. Eastern Beach
8. Dark Session
9. Crumbs and Wires
10. Bound 2 Glory
11. They Play
12. Let Fire Come