”Louis Landry‘s JJ vs. the Digital Whale is, in a word, ambitious. The album re-situates the story of Jonah from its roots in Christian, Jewish and Islamic culture and comments on the ’constant barrage of electronics, media, and technology which surround us all’ by interpreting all of that as the whale. (The press also mentions Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi and Pink Floyd’s Animals as RIYLs.) So right off the bat, there’s points for conceptual boldness from this corner. The album that results is a largely major-key indie-rock festival that incorporates an incredible amount of sounds and instruments.”
JJ vs the Digital Whale tells an modern version of the story of Jonah and the Whale. Jonah becomes “JJ,” while the whale—rendered through various electronic instruments, computer programs, and apps—is portrayed as the barrage of technology that surrounds us all. Seeking validation through technology, JJ runs away from both the truth inside himself and true connections with other people, until he’s swallowed whole by the shape-shifting Digital Whale. Through this lens the story transcends its ancient roots in Christian, Judaic, and Islamic culture. Landry’s fourth full-length album in his ten-year career as a professional musician, this is his first work with a narrative arc. He’s joined on the album by an array of collaborators including Curtis Eller, Katharine Whalen, Scott Solter, and his wife, Shea D. Broussard.
"The remarkable thing about JJ is that even though the album has wide-ranging interests, the album never goes awry. Landry is able to corral all the sounds into the sonic framework he’s developed. Now, it’s weird, but it’s a rock opera about a modern re-telling of an ancient tale as understood by our current electronic issues. This never had a small horizon. By the time “Sunbound” rolls around, a six-minute slow-building acoustic-based indie-rock tune with a backing choir, nothing seems out of place at all. If you’ve got an adventurous streak and appreciate musicians with big ideas, then Louis Landry’s JJ vs. the Digital Whale will be right up your alley." - Independent Clauses
Lyrics: Shea Broussard & LL
I know a guy with something to say
I know a guy who thinks in waves
I know a guy who spent his youth
Living & loving & learning the truth
A hesitant prophet for the digital age
By the name of JJ
I know a child, 5 years old
With his barefeet he runs for the road
I know a child who seems naive
But every cell is a galaxy
The world tried to teach him how to be a slave
So he shutdown due 2 digital dismayyy
I know a man who I don't wanna be
A lonely old man who's lost at sea
He set a course for the sun in the east
And ended up in the belly of the beast
Now he's just driftin' with nothin' to say
A washed up prophet by the name of JJ
LL: Experimental demos started around the end of 2012.
Drums, programming, keys, guitars, home recording throughout 2013-14.
Aaron Parker: Additional guitars recorded early 2014.
Scott Solter: Recorded LL vox spring 2014.
Shea Broussard: Additional vox recorded by LL mid 2014.
(c) 2014 LL Music. All rights reserved.
Hey "Louis Landry’s “You’ve got eWhale” starts with the sounds of a dialup modem, which quickly morph into a staccato prog-rock echo of those antiquated beeps and bloops. There’s a feel of pageantry and pomp, fitting the ambitious arc of the larger concept album, JJ vs. the Digital Whale. With the assistance of Durham anachronistic pop conjurer Curtis Eller, he releases and performs the LP in its entirety." (Jan 15, 2015 at Motorco in Durham NC) —Corbie Hill, Indy Week
Composed by LL. Demos started in early 2013. Drums, Piano & B3 recorded at Soundpure by Allen Palmer, spring 2014. Guitars, Bass and Vibraphone recorded by Scott Solter, fall 2014. William Dawson: Trombone, Shea Broussard: Goat Hooves. (c) 2014 LL Music. All rights reserved.