With a sense of chaos and exciting showmanship, Media Jeweler have become the darlings of Orange County and Los Angeles indie music circles over the past two years. The Santa Ana/Anaheim-based group have stayed on the grind this year, spreading their frenetic post-rock music throughout the U.S. and finalizing their debut album, $99 R/T Hawaii (due out Sept. 18).
JT Schweitzer, Sam Farzin, Colin Knight and James Aranda met while attending shows organized by Farzin's onetime DIY music collective Acrobatics Everyday. Schweitzer, Farzin and Aranda went on to form Moon Pearl, but after that group's dissolution, they formed Media Jeweler with Knight. Moon Pearl's sound and energy led to Media Jeweler's style, with loud clashes of brass, drums, discordant vocals and a lo-fi recording style.
Schweitzer and Knight both have backgrounds in punk bands, thus they form the more aggressive parts of the songs and are able to hold down the rhythm and melody with bass and drums. Farzin and Aranda grew up on experimental music and fill in on guitar and trumpet, respectively.
Aranda has also been known to play two trumpets at the same time. "I was just messing around at practice and had two trumpets, and I was like, 'I wonder if I could play these two trumpets at the same time,'" Aranda recalls. Though the two-trumpet part is just two notes long, it has become something of a trademark for the band.
Yet all the chaos belies Media Jeweler's underlying control over their song structure and musical concepts. "[Our music] is aggressive, but in a deliberately surgical way, rather than just letting it all hang out and going crazy," says Schweitzer.
"There's an anxiety and release of tension [in the music], but without a sense of hopelessness to it," adds Farzin.
The cover for Media Jeweler's seven-track album $99 R/T Hawaii depicts a plain billboard sign for a round-trip ticket to Hawaii sitting among a beautiful southern California landscape, and the music reflects the ploy of cheap getaway trips and their promises of escape, as well as the inherent futility of such false promises. Songs such as "No Exit," "Autopilot" and "Passport Invalid" feature a bouncey, multigenre sound that takes from math rock, post rock, even jazz. But the band eschew such descriptions. "It's purposefully hard to describe," Farzin says, "because what's the point of describing it in esoteric terms to color [people's] understanding of what you're doing?"
Now that Media Jeweler are poised for more exposure, they're ready to color the audience's world, whether they consider their sound a diamond in the rough or a lump of coal. "I feel like no one would walk away from watching us and not have an opinion," Farzin says. "If someone hates it, that's fine, but no one could watch us and say it was boring."
Media Jeweler perform at Beatnik Bandito Music Emporium, 417 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 835-3313; www.beatnikbandito.com. Thurs., Sept. 3, 7 p.m. $5. All ages.