Just Ask the Axis Showcase: A Sky Jet Black

On Saturday, OVRLD has the honor of co-sponsoring a party at Cheer Up Charlie’s with ultra8201 (one of our Austin blog buddies), Kindform (a San Antonio lifestyle webzine), Vesper Mag (Austin-based photomedia blog), and Axis Productions (an Austin-based booking and promotions group). The showcase will feature performances from many artists we’ve covered in the past, including The Sweet Nuthin, Tiger Waves, Magnificent Snails, and Waldo & the Naturals. All week we will be previewing artists who will be there who we have yet to cover. First up: A Sky Jet Black.

I vaguely remember seeing A Sky Jet Black about a year at the Beauty Bar. They were noteworthy enough to exchange information with, but I couldn’t tell you much about the show at this point. I pegged them as weird, 80’s influenced goth synth music and moved on. Well, since then, they’ve been quite busy, releasing two LPs’ worth of material, the most recent of which, Japanese Moon, came out last month. Thankfully they’re still a weird, 80’s influenced goth synth band. Now, though, they have their own distinctive sound and some killer songs to match.

A Sky Jet Black, led by Tim-0 and Kara Weinstein, sound like New Order covering Joy Division fronted by Lana Del Ray. They have New Order’s distinctive guitar tone from classics like “Age of Consent,” but retain the synthesized darkness of Depeche Mode’s best mid-career work. Even when covering the Stone Roses’ “I Wanna Be Adored,” as they do on Japanese Moon, they infuse it with a mechanical gloom reminiscent of the Cure. Yet, they manage to sound incredibly contemporary. In terms of local bands, ASJB sounds like a cross between Sleep ∞ Over and Knifight.

‘A Sky Jet Black’ - Sunday

In fact, it’s the ethereality of Sleep ∞ Over that ASJB uses to help distinguish themselves from other contemporary post-punk. Opening song “Be My,” for example, processes Weinstein’s vocals heavily and hides them back a bit in the mix to the point where her voice is more about inducing a certain atmosphere than about the poignant lyrics like, “Is this the real thing / Who cares anymore?” “Out to Sea” subsumes the 80s influences under sounds that more recall contemporary electro-rockers like Purity Ring. The poppy “Sunday” plays like a third-person, time-shifted version of the Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love.” Throughout Weinstein, despite the heavy modulation on her voice much of the time, proves herself a deft and original singer. The plodding “Kids” robs the second half of the record of some of its momentum, but the record ends on the likable “Honey,” only solidifying the talent of this group.

Japanese Moon manages to update its influences and craft a voice of its own. ASJB have developed greatly in the last year, and show tremendous potential for the future.

– Carter