Saturday, December 18, 2010

We Get Mail: " Merry Diwali, bitches."

Look, we're not deluded here. We know Power Pop is, err, a specialized taste: I think that's partly why we have such a soft spot for underdogs like the adorable Jay Banerjee of Jay Banerjee and the Hearthrobs.



Jay is, of course, the brains behind the floating NYC powerpop concert series known as Hipster Demolition Night. He's got a great blend of pop sensibility and self-deprecating humor, and he's starting to get some attention for it.

I'm on his mailing list, and this arrived yesterday.
This is one of those special-announcement-that-comes-along-every-few-months-or-so-that-I-need-to-harass-everyone-in-my-address-book-about-but-why-am-I-using-so-many-hyphens?-type things.

For once, not using a stage name actually helped my "career":

Jay Banerjee Sings the Saddest Sweetest Songs You've Ever Heard

Yup, that's the website of MTV Desi, an MTV sister channel. I'm on their front page right now, too. I don't know about you, but that's enough to get me to call my cable or satellite provider.

("Desi"--pronounced "DAY-see"--means "of Indian Subcontinental extraction", cracker.)
........

Now, I know you're thinking, "Boy, Jay, you really must be desperate if you're playing up your South Asian heritage to get a write-up from MTV."

First of all, the name is SANJAY, thanks.

Second of all, that's not how it happened. I have no idea how it happened. They found me somehow. I didn't realize they knew I existed until I saw the write-up. It's not like I sent them a whole bunch of e-mails going, "Hi, I'm Jay Banerjee. I'm half-Bengali but look vaguely Italian. My least favorite song on Sgt. Pepper's is 'Within You, Without You'. Take a listen to my ultra-white rock'n'roll."

Well, I'll take it, even if they call the album Kissing Booth when it's actually called (oh, the irony) ("Ban-er-jee." Just Like It's Spelled.) You can buy it from Itunes, y'know, if you haven't gotten the vinyl or the CD already. You can also buy it again to support a young and hungry SOUTH ASIAN artist.

Dang right. Now that I know it works, I'm gonna beat that angle to death from here on in.


In the link itself, the bemused reviewer gives the finest reader-response definition of the genre I've seen in a long time.
There’s no way of describing Jay Banerjee and making it sound worth checking out because it’s so inherently uncool, but I assure you, you’ll either find it hilarious or heartfelt and engaging. The style is a little pop punk and a little garage accompanied by Jay’s endearing, boy-like voice going on and on like he’s reading pages from his diary. If you watch the video for “Long Way Home” and don’t want to give him a hug, then you’re not human. Go on, watch it. Test your humanity with Jay Banerjee.


Plug in the name of any power pop band you can name, and that actually kind of works. Uncool, but heartfelt. I can live with that.

Nice job, Jay! Err, I mean Sanjay!

3 comments:

The Phantom Creep said...

Dang right. Now that I know it works, I'm gonna beat that angle to death from here on in.

Swing baby, you're Platinum!!!
:-)

Peter said...

I like Jay's sense of humour a lot, but my favourite part of the post came via the helpfulness of YouTube...

If you watch Jay's video all the way to the end, it'll finish and then YouTube will present you with a playlist at the bottom of its screen. Jay's video (the one you just saw) is listed there, but next to it in the playlist (on the right) is a live version of "Long Way Home". If you watch that video (and I hope you do), you'll see Jay and his band in action. I loved this live version for one reason and one reason only: the lead guitarist. He's on the right of the screen, and I found him totally fascinating, utterly mesmerising, and thoroughly entertaining. The thing I loved about his "performance" was that he looked so nonchalant on stage that he didn't even appear to be a musician at all. He looked to me as if he's standing in line at a library waiting for his book to get stamped. And he looks like that throughout the entire song.

Thank you, Jay's lead guitarist, for making my day – and possibly my week.

Peter said...

I forgot to mention – here's that live video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmB3QcI5XhQ

Enjoy!