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Music Director Picks #22: Vintage Trouble, Stray Cats, JEMS

88.5 FM receives so much music on a daily basis... CDs, downloads, reissues, box sets, cassette tapes, vinyl records and more. Songs are generally chosen by committee at the station, but it's the job of the music director to go through the stacks and stacks with a fine tooth comb. This blog may include major label releases, independent artists, even random submissions for your listening pleasure. 

Music Director Picks #22


Los Angeles trio JEMS are a throwback. This group sings brilliantly together, putting together thoughtful lyrics with musical accompaniment that sounds perfect, seamless and timeless. We’ve heard the song “Take Me Back” before but this featured tune “Completely” equally represents their specific brand of Americana. It looks like the band had fun making the video as well. This trio could have easily fit into the mid 1960’s Laurel Canyon scene… all the while making a video with images of nostalgia from the 1990s.




Brian Setzer got the band back together! Along with Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom, Setzer and the band remain true to form. The Stray Cats have titled their new album 40, marking their first new album in 26 years via Surfdog Records, a boutique record label who also represents the catalogue music of artists like Eric Clapton and Sublime. According to Setzer, "You have to understand how unique the Stray Cats are. It’s me playing an old hollow body guitar, Slim Jim playing two or three drums and Lee Rocker slapping a stand-up acoustic bass. I get to write new songs and then play them with my buddies. Somehow we created a new and exciting sound with this simple idea. And you know what? A lot of people agree!"




One of the better live acts of our day, Vintage Trouble keeps touring, keeps recording and keeps rocking crowds all over the country. Vintage Trouble Chapter II, EP II just arrived in our hands the week 88.5 announced them on stage at Doheny Blues Fest. If you want to do a deep dive into the music of Vintage Trouble, you’ll hear rock, soul, blues and R&B… you may even come accross a video of some nifty crowd surfing as well. Don’t sleep on Vintage Trouble. This band preaches positivity and inclusiveness on and off the stage. They’re a class act.