Song of the Day: J GRGRY - Cave Birds

Upstream Music Fest + Summit, Local Music, Song of the Day
04/14/2017
Dusty Henry
photo by Mike Naglieri

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription . This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear.  Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is "Cave Birds" by Seattle synth-rock artist J GRGRY, from his 2017 self-released EP, Gold Teeth + Glass Eyes.J GRGRY - Cave Birds (MP3)It can be hard to tell where Joe Gregory ends and J GRGRY begins. Before he dropped the vowels, Gregory was fixture of the Seattle scene in the early '00s with the band Dolour. Still a teenager then, Gregory reveled in Dolour's successes and began navigating his way through a messy music industry. He moved to Sacramento and spent nearly a decade bouncing between labels and working with artist's like Korn's Jonathan Davis and producer Josh Abraham (Weezer, P!nk).

Due to label complications, none of the material ever saw a release. Dejected, Gregory took refuge in drugs and alcohol; eventually buying a one-way ticket to Italy to try and escape music all together. He eventually came back to Seattle after a death in the family, which led him to reconnecting with former collaborator Robert Cheek. The two were able to pick-up where they left off, holing themselves up in the studio and allowing Gregory to rebirth himself as J GRGRY. Those recordings eventually would become his debut EP, Gold Teeth + Glass Eyes.

The EP's lead single, "Cave Birds", feels like a mantra to encapsulate Gregory's turbulent past. Drums thump back-and-forth as synthesizers gurgle in the background throughout the verses while Gregory contemplates alternatives to the life he's living, coping with phrases like "there's other fish in the sea" and "there's other dreams to dream." Suddenly everything bursts triumphantly in the chorus. Arpeggiators and guitar riffs crash into the frame while Gregory belts, "It's gonna work out, I know it's gonna work out." Coming from anyone else, the words may ring trite. But given the trials he's faced and emerged from, it feels like an earned moment of self reflection and motivation.

J GRGRY's next performance will be at Ponder Seattle for 4/20 Block Party on, well, April 20th. You can also catch him at the Upstream Music Fest + Summit, performing on Friday, May 12. Tickets for Upstream are available now. You can find more information about J GRGRY on his website and Facebook page. For now, check out the music video for "Cave Birds" below.

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