Wild Tones debut album by Junk Parlor. “Wild” is the right word. by Patrick O’Heffernan


Wild Tones debut album by Junk Parlor.  “Wild” is the right word.

Review by Patrick O’Heffernan, host, Music FridayLive!

Junk Parlor’s debut album Wild Tones is like taking a drug – a big rush, continuing high, then addiction, often accompanied by dancing.

Gypsy junk rock and roll.  Sounds dangerous, but it’s actually really fun. Whether you are dancing or head-bobbing in your chair at a club, or bopping with your ear buds in, the music of Junk Parlor is like taking a drug – a big rush, continuing high, then addiction, often accompanied by dancing.   Founder Jason Vanderford has incorporated his ramblings, both physical and mental, into a unique music form that I just can’t get out of my head without the help of a psychiatrist.  And who would want to anyway?

Seriously, whether he is singing in a shuffle beat about “how we became you and me” in a kind of not-quite-love song, or trying breathlessly to keep up with a frantic guitar riff while he extols escape from suburbia by becoming a vampire,  there is nothing Jason Vanderford and his band of incredibly talented can’t do, or won’t do. They are truly music geniuses and so, so much fun to listen to.


Their debut album, Wild Tones,  produced by Jonathan Burnside at Faultline Studios in San Francisco, is a rich mixture of  gypsy, Cajun, funk, pop, jazz and rock with stories and themes that are deliciously evil and  music that is just plain delicious.  The nine songs on the album start with the hooky, funky tale of woe, ”Strange Man”, and end with a rollicking banjo-led instrumental, the Croatian tune, “Cojek Majstore”.

The title song , “Wild Tones” wails about sex and anguish with fast-paced acoustic groves. We “Vampires Never Die”,  a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the chance to escape from Suburbia by becoming a vampire – just pure fun while you rock out on the dance floor, jumping to the “hut!”, “hut!” “hut!”  in the middle of the song.  “My Kind of Pain” tells  a pop-grove infused story of a smitten boy used by a female friend for sex.


Oh how I know how convenient I must be/To wash away your pain with my love

I kiss you and I hold you and I wipe away the tears/How long will it be, before you feel…

My… love… for You….


Oh, the delicious pain.

“Pocketful of Dreams” is about sex, plain and simple.  Vanderford told me on my radio show that the song started with a woman asking him to write a song about sex and another older woman telling him the first draft was not sexy enough.  You decide…while you grin and tap your fingers.


The remainder of the album explores sex and love from various angles with various arrangements reflecting the gypsy rock roots of Junk Parlor with Vanderford’s growl/howl of a voice coursing throughout  except on the two  banjo-led instrumentals.

Junk Parlor is led by founder Jason Vanderford, who also appears in two other bands – or “projects”- he has formed, the Americano Social Club and The Little Charlie Caravan. A former punk rocker,  Vanderford sings, writes songs, plays banjo and rhythm guitar.   Rt. Goodrich, formerly of Besso Negro,  masters the complex, layered drumming required by Vanderford’s songs.  Jimmy Grant, a former student of Romani gypsy jazz guitarist Angelo Debarre, puts that experience to work on electric guitar. Tim Bush backs on the fretless bass.  The album also features Jeff Mehl on keyboards and Justin Loyal  Tarbet on clarinet.


Junk Parlor’s debut album Wild Tones is like taking a drug – a big rush, continuing high, then addiction, often accompanied by dancing.

Patrick O’Heffernan

Host, Music Friday Live!

Wild Tones by Junk Parlor

Independently produced

Available at www.junkparlor.com, itunes, Amazon.com



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