J. Graves is Portland's most passionate post-punk trio. For fans of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sleater-Kinney, and Joy Division, this highly charged, sweet and agonizing garage rock lures listeners towards angular guitar work, skittering disco beats, and thudding bass. Front woman Jessa Graves, who takes her cues from Karen O, Corin Tucker, and Kathleen Hanna, is joined by Aaron MacDonald on the drums and Kelly Clifton on the bass. Their debut LP, Marathon, is out in the world for all to hear as a new fall release fast approaches.
LP / CD
"J. Graves has got a voice like no other, and she belts out these verses like her life depends on it. Something tells me that, bells and whistles aside, she’s capable of delivering just as physical a performance on stage..."
"If this is what her sound is all about, then she’s in for a lot more attention as she prepares to release her debut album..."
John McCall, Too Much Love
"J. Graves has the kind of talent and heart you can’t help but root for."
"The song is full of the nuanced technical balance that can only result from great chemistry between the members. Together, they produce the sort of rock we want to see more of in the world."
Avril Carillo, The Deli Portland
"Hi J, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hiya Vents! Jessa Graves here from J. Graves. So excited to be answering some questions – thanks for having me!
There’s a ton going on right now in preparation for our next single release, upcoming performances, and a record release so I’ve been working on staying focused and productive and grateful."
Read the interview with Vents Magazine
"Pairs well with: Dancing away from your mistakes; Amping yourself up to sing "Maps" at karaoke
J. Graves says its song "Eleven" is about "reckoning with guilt, loss and acceptance"; it's a heavy topic, set against the band's appropriately thudding garage-rock sound and singer Jessa Graves' passionate and powerful voice. Filmed at Myna Bird Studios in Portland, Ore., the entry video shows off the band's tightly-coiled performance energy and the studio's great taste in houseplants." —Marissa Lorusso NPR All Songs Considered
“Wow! A tremendous debut from this Portland, Ore. trio. J. Graves plays a full slab of songs evocative of mid-‘90s Touch & Go/AmRep stuff, with heavy thud providing a foundation for singer/guitarist Jessa’s skittering guitar lines."
Everything here is fully formed and immediate, with occasionally harrowing lyrics and vocal delivery reminiscent of PJ Harvey’s Early stuff. It’s great to hear such a new band present such a compelling, unified statement of intent and vision. Thumbs way up.
—Michael T. Fournier, Razor Cake
"Marathon has that something, that mood built on guitar tone. It's dark, attractively deleterious, passionately delivered, and does not break for a ballad, bridge, or measure during its entire length. It’s a shocker of skittering cymbals and thudding bass, an ice bath of a punk album, a body seizing banger tinted with tones from late 70s Manchester (New Order), to early 80s London-goth (Siouxsie And The Banshees), to 80s nascent Portland DIY (LowTek, Ice9), and 90s post-punk.'"
"Which is to say I’m always waiting for the next Marathon. Albums like Marathon are important. Soft rock has never kicked me into gear. I don’t get lulled into action. From the opening notes of the single “New Favorite” I knew the album would be good"
Sean Jewell, American Standard Time
"Call it a garage band. Call it dance punk. Whatever you call it, artist J. Graves released their first full-length album September 13, 2019 and we cannot get enough of this raw female energy! "
"Wondering what’s so special about this record that will make you sit up and say, wow, that’s good? The trio uses pared down instrumentals to give listeners a chance to hone in on the sheer passion of the queer vocalists’ pipes and heartfelt lyrics. Within the span of a chorus, Graves’ vocals range from calm and collected notes to a fierce shout that will make you want to belt the words out with her."
Kelsey Radomski, Indie Band Guru
“As J. Graves, they create a fascinating listen that resides somewhere in the neighborhood of punk, garage, and dance rock that fans of Riot Grrrl bands, the early days of Sub Pop records, and diehard anglophiles should be paying close attention to."
"The Pacific Northwest has gifted us many incredible outfits over the years, including The Decemberists, Death Cab For Cutie and Sleater-Kinney. We can now add J. Graves to that growing list, as Marathon is nothing short of vital."
—Tom Hougen, Daily Vault
“[J. Graves] manages to take the New York garage rock of the early aughts and blend it with the post punk aesthetic of the late 70's. Think if Karen O fronted Interpol and dressed like Joy Division."
"Marathon is an wonderfully strong foundation on which to build from and is a much needed breath of fresh air. J. Graves are an example of what the world and future needs more of - badass, honest women who can play the shit out of a guitar."
—Chris Fitzgerald, Stage Dive Magazine
" J. Graves gushes with vocals reminiscent of Karen O and Corin Tucker, and fans of Riot Grrrl will appreciate the punk sparseness of the instrumentation..."
"Calling all Riot Grrrls: Hear propulsive new music from J. Graves now and then celebrate the release of her debut LP 'Marathon'"
Katey Trnka, Vortex Music Magazine
"[J. Graves] at their first meeting someone said “Rock and Roll has too many strings attached. All we need is drums, bass, guitar and a vocalist singing their lungs out.”
"Graves’ vocals and guitar star, but the bass and drums are never truly take a back seat."
C. FRANCIS O'LEARY, Oregon Music News
"Jessa Graves (lead vocalist) is incredible, ... her delivery is so passionate and resolute."
"The Pacific Northwest – the land that gave way to Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Soundgarden, the Decembrists, She & Him and even the Kingsmen, have a new boast: J. Graves."
Mindy McCall, Indie Pulse Music
"Her voice floats above the guitar and the garage-rock percussion like a tug boat keeping afloat during a hurricane. She’s gritty, yet so full of hope. Her passion is unmistakable..."
"Fans of Nirvana – this is a no brainer. This is a band to keep on your radar and Graves has the charisma to march in stride with Kurt Cobain. “Chapters” has that Pacific Northwest cloak hovering over the pain and joy. It has that dreary, dark garage tonal values. Fall for it – the trip is worth it."
John McCall, Skope Magazine
"Jessa Graves’ charismatic delivery and fronting this band is part of the “Chapters” success, in my opinion, but again, the musicianship and overall vibe of “Chapters” is precisely what makes indie bands so enjoyable to discover. In a crowded mess of YouTubers, Instagram stars and Spotify lists, J. Graves’ “Chapters” is the real deal."
"Their new single, “Chapters” delivers a resounding fist in the air for listener’s wanting killer music – or in their words “sweet and agonizing garage rock.”
Michael Rand, Mobangeles