Instead, come August, the Utah singer/guitarist will blow out another candle in Michigan while on tour with his band, The Devil Whale. In late June, they’ll hit the road in support of their new EP, Young Wives, before going to Washington state to finish a follow-up to their 2008 debut, Like Paraders.
They’ll return to the capable hands of engineer Shawn Simmons, whose attention to detail offsets their instinctive rush for completion. Simmons’s space, Seattle-based Litho Studios, is an ideal environment for capturing big, immediate sounds, Jones says. “The place is large enough to let us all play together and try out different things live, which helps with the energy of the recording.”
Jones, along with longtime collaborator and bassist Jake Fish and drummer Cameron Runyan comprise The Devil Whale’s core. Two years ago, they worried about filling the void left by departing bassist Marcus Bently. Since then, members have come and gone, and with each absence the band grows less concerned with the fluctuating lineup.
Mostly, they’re more confident all around, committed to touring and a weekly practice schedule that has, not surprisingly, honed their chops tenfold. With increased musical prowess came newfound creative avenues The Devil Whale explore on Wives. The album has a nice, raw quality with added guitar and lyrics that trade some of Paraders’ romantic inclinations for healthy skepticism and paranoia. Where Paraders’ brought us sweet lines like “Your love is butter for burns,” Wives kicks off with “The End isn’t coming/It’s got buyer’s remorse,” shortly followed by another track comparing friends to barracudas. Wives also makes good on Jones’ recent heightened sense of melody.
“If you have a good melody, people will forgive recording quality, they’ll forgive vocal performance and lyrics,” he says.
But since fully recovering from the vocal polyp that plagued him two years ago, Jones needn’t distract from his singing, especially with Fish’s harmonies strengthening key moments. Relative newcomers in ace guitarist Jamie Timm (Band of Annuals) and keyboardist Josh McCafferty (Spiritmaster) further help The Devil Whale’s odds of never looking down the barrel of a 9-to-5 life.
Their future is so bright, in fact, that several community partners are going the extra mile to prove it. Kilby Records is releasing Young Wives, and local record store Slowtrain will deliver the currently untitled LP in conjunction with the launch of its namesake label, Slowtrain Records, which aims to involve fans in the development process. To help support the cost of pressing limited-edition colored vinyl (with CD included), Slowtrain will host an pre-release show July 18 in its Subterranean Lounge. Ticket holders will receive a copy of the record with artwork by Maht Paulos, who—judging by Sarah Martin’s killer Young Wives cover based on a diorama involving miniature nativity-scene figures and assorted sister wives—has plans to blow your mind.
Such generous contributions are just another reason Jones looks forward to his third decade—another year to play music in Utah and to be inspired at every show. “Seeing friends play on such a regular basis is awesome and motivating,” he says. “You aren’t trying to emulate them, but you’re encouraged by their creativity and them pushing boundaries. You want to feel the same way—you want to take pride in being a band that works hard.”