The John-PaulsBon Mots
November 18, 2022
1. Bon Mots
2. Same Dweller, Different Cave
3. didn’t i??
4. Danny Green
6. Boxes Inside Boxes
7. Denver Rainbow
9. No Names
ABOUT THE RELEASE
The John-Pauls are a Texas band with a New York City Metro-Card. Lou Reed devouring Tamale House migas while posing for pictures with tourists in front of the Jeremiah the Frog mural. More Unrest than Pavement – less SRV than Roky. Indebted to the Stones with Can in their hearts, the J-Ps follow up their critically acclaimed debut full-length “Forget to Remember to Forget” with this year’s spellbinding “Bon Mots” (available from New Jersey’s Aagoo Records on 12” vinyl and digital). Their songwriting and sonic palette taken to a higher tier as evidenced by first single and video “Didn’t I.”
As The Austin Chronicle stated in their glowing review of “FTRTF,” “Repeatedly mesmeric, the local quintet’s guitar-driven warmth recalls Nineties slowcore icons Bedhead in mellowed aesthetic, and the Feelies and Yo La Tengo’s enduring indie rock romanticism.” The three guitarists interplay beautifully with the male and female vocalists. “Bon Mots” is the perfect soundtrack for your next backyard barbecue or stress induced anxiety attack.
Like a countrified 90s Sonic Youth, The J-Ps use three guitars, and no bass. The bottom is owned by the insistent kick of drummer Elizabeth John-Paul. Loping stone-skips of keyboards by Mikila John-Paul.
The singing is shared by Mikila, a chanteuse like Mo Tucker crossed with Patsy Cline, and the monotone but oddly emotive Phillip John-Paul. Mark and Matt interplay lead guitars like Ron Wood jamming with Lee Renaldo.
Guitarist Matthew John-Paul recorded the group in rented house. He captured the band well rehearsed and loose as if they are playing in a living room. Recordings range from rockers (“Danny Green” “Same Dweller, Different Cave“), to hypnotic sad-disco (“didn’t i??” “O.O.O.“) to Fall-damaged country-folk (“Denver Rainbow“, “Forgetness“), lo-fi drones (“Boxes inside of Boxes“), and jam-band-Kraut rock (“No Names“).
If pronounced correctly, in French “Bon Mots” means good words. The songs by Phillip John-Paul are filled with turns of phrase. This is a San Antonio kid who came of age listening to thrice-dubbed tapes of the Smiths. Lyrics bounce specific visual episodes (“swimming in a fountain in the rain“, “chugging milk in the back of a van“) with shards of cobbled wisdom and doomed self-awareness (“To others, we are what we do. What will me lead me to?“). He and Mikila sing of depression, grace, NBA basketball, the history of humanity, flaking out, love, Cardi B, swimming, philosophy, and more.
A bio of the John-Pauls
The John-Pauls are five lifers from the Austin underground rock scene. Their music is of their place: urbane, but Texas tinged, literate but ill-pronounced. Elizabeth (drums), Mikila (vocals, keyboards, drums), and Phillip John-Paul (guitar, vocals) have played together in various groups for 20 years in Austin and NYC. Mark John-Paul (guitar) and Phillip started the band after recon- necting at a Jonathon Toubin DJ night. Matthew John-Paul recorded all the groups records, finally joining the band as the third guitarist for the recording of Bon Mots.