LP Edition of 250
Tommy Jay and The General have been kicking around the Columbus scene (and various points on the map of that scene’s diaspora) since the days of the True Believers (the ur-group in the history of Columbus underground hubbub). And this newly recorded album shows them to be at the height of their own amazing arc. Florida Songs is only Tommy’s third proper LP under his own personal name and it’s a killer.
Recorded with help from a few old friends, including Nudge Squidfish, Florida Songs is a classic Raunchy Rock formulation by every known standard. Although the mood and tone shift mightily from song to song, the main thrust of the music here is brain-spattering ROCK of the pre-punk variety. Regardless of the fact these guys basically invented the template for several generations of punk>indie musicians, what they offer here is a survey of the roots of that music. You can hear shards of everything from the emotional bombast of Armand Schaubroeck Steals to Andy Zwerling’s folk-rock readymades to the laid-back fury of the Stalk-Forrest Group to spurts of Roky Erickson phrase-howling at its gnarliest and onward and upward. These guys even throw in little production touches worthy of Bob Ezrin’s work on Berlin. I shit you not.
As anyone who’s been lucky enough to catch Tommy’s band live recently can tell you, Mr. Jay and cohorts are firing on all cylinders. And if this album is not hailed as a chunk of modern form genius at the apex of high, then all is fucking lost.
– Byron Coley, 2018