Thursdays With J.R. – Near Beer

Thursdays with J.R. is our new weekly column from lifelong musician and lifelong-er music fan J.R. McIntire, drummer of Arctic Char and multi-instrumentalist on more projects than we have bandwidth to list.

When you see the submission for the week is titled “Dead Drummers” you may not expect the first thing you hear to be drums.  Just like the beverage the group is named after, this tight yet poppy jam by Los Angeles’ NEAR BEER may not be what you expected.  Almost distorted drums come in hard and fast droning and driving the tune immediately.  We’re then hit with a memorable guitar line that sounds theme song worthy.  The bass crawls around the four and the six to lay a foundation that’s pleasing to the ear.  Really good use of effects here, doesn’t sound too washed out yet there is a lot going on.  The vocals are upbeat and sang with conviction.  They have a hope to them that leaves you saying “WE DID IT!” whether you did, or not.  The chorus washes in with great backup vocals, sounds like doubles from the lead singer, one of my favorite things when done correctly.  The open chords late in the song, remind me of older Americana artists in the best way.  The chorus comes back at the end to bring us home.  This song leaves you feeling hopeful and full of life.  Interesting how it is titled Dead Drummers because it woke this drummer right up and gave me life.

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