Dikembe / The Jazz June - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Dikembe / The Jazz June

Split [7-inch] (2014)

Tiny Engines

Dikembe's one of those bands that are ruling the Gainseville scene right now. Broad Shoulders and Chicago Bowls keep killing it every time I play those records. I never get sick of them but for those who do, a split with The Jazz June is just what the doctor ordered because to hear one of the newer, younger emo bands side by side with one of the figureheads of the genre is...well, I'm fucking stoked. Better Off Without Air still has me up in arms to this very day and with bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, American Football, Mineral (allegedly) and now The June Jazz lingering on the road again, this split captivates me as the old guard meeting the new age. Pioneers and stalwarts meeting new kids on the block. And both don't disappoint.

Dikembe opens with a slower, more sincere jam. "Healer of the Pride" is a more Midwest '90s mid—tempo, flushed tune which fits well with what I last heard them associated with (a side project called Donor). A hazy opening accompanied by tight, concise and snappy drums brings the airy, indie—emo guitars to you even more to help craft a record that while it feels familiar, still bodes as musically fresh. Dikembe have that relaxing sound to them that allow the full experience to saturate. The guitar textures through simple melodic leads dancing with each other retain your attention in their usual honest, engaging and fairly mellow pace. Think of a more up—tempo American Football. Their strong—point has always been on the not—so—heavy as it paces their emo brand a bit more as authentic at a foot—tapping pace — so it's good to see them sticking to that gun. It's refreshing as it throws back to the smooth, beautiful tones of Broad Shoulders. The bassline driven finale and overall tight instrumentation of the song calm down alongside the lyrics "Everyone gets saved" — whispered repeatedly as the earnest, heartfelt vocals and clean lulling guitars ease off.

This sets up The Jazz June pretty well. They're upbeat and flex out with faster—paced riffs and swelling hooks. It's such a throwback to their '90s Kutztown, PA days where they mashed in indie and pop—punk so well while nipping it with bits of post—hardcore. They had such an amalgamated sound. "Over Underground" is evident of this but lingers on the more lighter end of the spectrum. You sense a low crunchy rhythm in between the pop—punk swirls, although I admit it's nothing as profound as their old work. Still, it's pretty damn good. They always were creative with their lyrics to add an extra fun dimension to their tunes and they mixed up the harsh, bleak and downside tracks nicely to smoother, gentler tunes that complemented the emo scene even more. They feel a bit more personal and relatable now. Aged and cured like fine wine. I guess maturity on both the listener and the band does that. 'How come I can't ever seem to get rid of you / Every time I open my mouth / You just cut me off / You just shut me off' closes proceedings nicely to remind us that we've found a time machine and for all the impressive indie—emo bands out now, the big—daddies are coming home to check up on things. The clash of eras has begun.