The JCEX (Jon Cohen Experimental) perfectly encapsulates a Montreal ethic: where many of us might dip our toes in and decide a year or two later that the water is too cold, Cohen’s music persists. With this new record, a play on Pirsig’s classic novel ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, Cohen saw some major life changes, including the death of a family member and a completely new lineup. His new sound explores opposing forces that parallel the creative process: the lyrics capture a spiritual aspect that holds place and focus, while the rock band runs at high speeds, humming like a well-oiled machine.
Zen & Motorcycles is the band’s 5th release. Recorded by Dave Draves (Kathleen Edwards, Jim Bryson) at Little Bullhorn in Ottawa, mastered by Jett Galindo (Neil Young, Sam Roberts) at the Bakery in LA, and set for August 4th release on Pipe & Hat (Jess Reimer, Moulettes), the intriguing thing about this record is its propensity to defy genre. This is playful yet moody music,“Baby Life” is a high-energy intersection of Ween and The Strokes, while album closer “Go-Getters” bounces effortlessly from George Harrison to Lightfoot to Pavement in a single measure. “33rd Floor” channels Beatles, Blur and Jefferson Airplane. At times orchestral or grungy, the E.L.O vs. the 90’s vibe is raw and unapologetic.
In the end, JCEX’s earnest songs and dynamic high-energy live shows are what shine through – the band has vested emotional strength into this album and live performances. With a confident yet loose stage presence and unpredictably precise instrumentation, Cohen’s crooning vocals and unintimidating presence emanate from anything he does, reminding even the most wound-up of us to tap a toe, maybe even jump out onto the dancefloor.
Throw open the doors of perception, numb yourself to narcotic beats, dance around in circles, just don’t stop the sonic alchemy. With a new EP out in december (Passion Pilgrim) Jon Cohen’s epic sound takes you by the hand and inhales you into a hypnotic, cornucopia of beat-driven, genre-bending ethereal pop music.
Part indie-rocker, part experimentalist, part promoter and all adventurer, Jon has been at the service of the Montreal music scene for over a decade now. After a long stint as guitarist for the Dears, The Social Register, JF Robitaille, John Lennox and many more, Jon formed his own band in 2006 after some friends heard his demos and convinced him to make a record.
The result was a beautifully crafted self-titled debut album that although released independently, still created a buzz amongst indie cohorts. Jon and his band charted, and played small tours. The album was featured on radio shows like CBC’s Brave New Waves and The Signal and was nominated for best pop album in 2008 with GAMIQ (l’initiative indépendante de musique du Québec). In 2010, Cohen’s sophomore record Behold was released on Simmer Down Records. It was recorded by maverick producer Dave Draves (Julie Doiron, Jim Bryson, Kathleen Edwards) and featured a fantastic lineup of musical luminaries such as Angela Desveaux (Thrill Jockey), Evan Cranley (Stars, Broken Social Scene), Liam O’Neil (Stills) Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone, Black Angels) Murray Lightburn (The Dears, Mass Light).
Behold was heralded as a brilliant pop album by a chorus of media and garnered massive press attention in North America and the UK. It charted countrywide hitting top spots in key cities like Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. The band went on to play top music festivals like Pop Montreal and Austin’s SXSW and Toronto’s NXNE and CMW and the side stage at Glastonbury. Jon’s buzz band responded by hitting the road on several coast-to-coast tours across Canada USA, UK, Europe and Scandinavia for over 2 and a half years. Cohen’s high-energy live shows have garnered buzz from audiences and press alike. He supported acts like Mini Mansions (Queens of the Stone Age), Bloodshot Bill, The Dropkick Murphys, Brasstronaut, Khaira Arby, Waxmannequin and more, bringing his one-man show to a growing crowd. Cohen tours both with band and as a one man band, traveling via greyhound bus and playing over 100 cities worldwide in only one year. His tours are well documented in his wildly popular, daily tour blog at www.thejcex.com.
At home, Jon is also responsible for the highly acclaimed One Man Band Festival in Montreal. A unique 4-day concert event which showcases the talents and creativity of one man (woman) bands the world over. Already in its 4th year, the festival has played host to over 300 solo artists including names like Reggie Watts, Steve Hill, Rich Aucoin, Wax Mannequin, Bloodshot Bill, Thomas Truax, Molly Gene, Pearson Sound, and many more. The even has been the subject of 3 documentaries, including one for the cbc and one hosted by Tom Ravenscroft (son of legendary DJ Jon Peel) and aired on BBC Radio-4 to over 80 million listeners.
Today Jon Cohen Experimental is back with a new EP entitled ‘Passion Pilgrim’ (due Dec 14) produced by Dave Draves (Jim Bryson, Julie Doiron, Kathleen Edwards) and Roger Siebel (Pavement, Yo La Tengo).
The EP contains songs written on the road as as a solo artist, and the entire album is performed solo using only live loops. Passion Pilgrim creatively layers ethereal beat-driven pop music instrument after instrument from the ground up using loops without any pre-canned music. Cohen’s tightly-crafted, mood-provoking melodies offer a unique take on modern alternative music. Lyrically, Jon is able to strike a fine balance between the spiritual and the satirical.
Self-Titled LP (2006/Independent)
Behold LP (2010/Simmer Down)
Passion Pilgrim EP (2014-15/Cabbage & King)
Official JCEX website: www.thejcex.com
One Man Band Festival: www.onemanbandfest.com
Current Lineup: Jon Cohen, Jamie Rosen, Philipe Lachance, Daniel Kiely
Press and booking enquiries:
Lisa Baum (MGMT /Cabbage&King)