Jake Waitzman has spent many years developing an extensive history with various bands in Birmingham, Alabama. The multi-instrumentalist has found a welcome home in local bands such as Vulture Whale, The Wes McDonald Plan and Ham Bagby, usually providing a compelling percussive framework upon which those bands ply their respective musical wares. But over the past few years, his interests have shifted a bit, focusing more on his own rhythmic voice, even as he still offers his considerable services to friends and fellow musicians cavorting around The Magic City.
Adopting the moniker of Jaco, he has fashioned an identity which allows him to explore the intersection of various indie rock, classic rock and power pop histories. His affection for these different sounds is obvious and often dizzying, creating a swirling rhythmic landscape where inspiration and influence loop around one another in an unending cycle of creation and adaptation. Initially the result of a home recording project where Waitzman submerged himself in an ocean of material which had been occupying his thoughts for well over a decade, Jaco is the avenue through which he embraces buzzing guitars, arena-sized hooks and cross-genre eruptions.
Jaco’s upcoming debut record, “You Know,” is set to be released on July 19 via Cornelius Chapel Records and features contributions from guitarists Les Nuby (Verbena, Vulture Whale, Holiday Gunfire) and Greg Slamen (Through The Sparks, Cosmonaut On Vacation). Alongside these guests, Waitzman handles duties as lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer. Packed with psych-influenced soundscapes, singer-songwriter introspection and twisting pop narratives, the record is the culmination of both his personal experiences and the complex professional relationships that he’s developed over many years.
You can hear this feeling of interconnected moments on new single, “Again,” a track that mixes electronic squiggles, barreling percussion, crunchy guitars and a bassline that feels directly influenced by Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” into a unique and cohesive expression of musical ingenuity. Leaning more into the rockier side of his past work, the song combines ‘70s CCR-esque classicism with a dense pop-rock aesthetic that wouldn’t have felt out of place on an early ‘90s Merge Records release. And it’s this study in contrasting lineages which makes the music so arresting and Jaco’s ability to interpret these sounds so remarkable.