Starting out as The Jakes in 2004 in Irving, California consisting of Jacob Tilley, Addam Farmer, Kevin Massoudi, Ehson Hashemian, and Sameer Gadhia, the band’s name was an acronym of the members’ first names. After several personnel changes, the group’s lineup by 2008 consisted of Sameer Gadhia, Tilley, Hashemian, Eric Cannata, Francois Comtois, and Jason Burger. With such different schedules and some members in high school and a few in college it was a little difficult to coordinate the recording of their EP, Shake My Hand but was eventually released by their producer Ian Kirkpatrick. Afterwords all the members of the band had to decided whether to continue with school or focus on their music. Burger left the band to pursue an education at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and Comtois took over as the drummer. Shortly thereafter, longtime friend and collaborator, Payam Doostzadeh, joined as bassist. In 2009, the band played at South by Southwest which helped their buzz get bigger and the LA radio station KROQ played their single Cough Syrup. Shortly before signing to Roadrunner Records in August, keyboardist Ehson Hashemian departed the band. In December of that year their name officially changed from The Jakes to Young the Giant.
In 2010 while working on their first album they toured with many small bands. During the recording of this album the band took an old school approach to it recording everything live as they wanted the album to be able to be played live the same as on the album. Young the Giant was released in October of 2010 digitally and January 2011 physically after “My Body” “I Got” & “Strings” were leaked online. This album was ranked the third best rock album of 2010 by Amazon and a remix version of the album featuring Two Door Cinema Club, Tokyo Police Club and Ra Ra Riot among others was released later that year. In 2011 they played at the VMAs and then their last single Apartment from the album came out in 2012. They put out a series on Youtube that year called In the Open sessions where they performed songs from the album acoustically.
In 2013 the band went back into the studio to record their second album Mind Over Matter under their new record label Fueled by Ramen and producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen. Their two singles “It’s About Time” &”Crystallized” where put out later that year & their second album was put out in 2014. The next fall the band embarked on a North American Tour starting in South Burlington, Vt and ending Boulder, Co the band was opened by Wildling Band who Gadhia helped in their search for a drummer. Following the release of their second album, the group released another set of videos for their In the Open series on YouTube.
Just this past month Young the Giant the giant released their third studio album Home of the Strange which is an simply amazing album. They released a few singles before the release like “Amerika” “Something to Believe In” & “Titus Was Born.” The group also did their In the Open series for this album.
How I Got into Young the Giant:
They were played so much on alt-radio so when their singles “My Body” & “Cough Syrup” came out it was inescapable in 2011. While I was in AmeriCorps and we were riding around in the van we would listen to the radio and their songs would come on all the time. I loved their single My Body but was not too into Cough Syrup just yet. It wasn’t until I started watching the show Glee and I saw them perform the song on the show that it hooked me and I watched their music video for Cough Syrup and it moved me.
Once their second album came out I got even more into this band and even went back to their first album and checked out more songs like Apartment, Strings & Islands.
My favorite tracks from their second album are It’s About Time and Crystallized. This is when I started to think the lead singer Sameer Gadhia was really cute and when they became a member of my favorite record label Fueled By Ramen. Even though I thought this was a little bit of a weird transition from a more indie label to a label that did more pop-punk and experimental bands I thought it was cool the band was willing to take risks with their sound for the second album. With more industrial & electronic rock flavors to their indie mix it made for a very eclectic second release.
Young the Giant’s most recent album that came out last month is probable my favorite album of theirs and I will review this album for you all today.
This album is called Home of the Strange about finding your way in America while not forgetting your culture and where you come from. All of the members of the band are either immigrants themselves or come from immigrants. It’s a story of hope and drive.
Amerika & Something to Believe In- These where the first two singles from the album which were put on Spotify, Youtbe videos & were shopped around Rock radio. I love both of these songs and are some of my favorite songs off the album. Amerika is a song about America and what it means for a person coming from a different country. Something to Believe In is a song about talking to God and a facing a persons personal demons.
Elsewhere- This is a song about unrequited love. I love the way Sameer’s voice goes with the song and the way the beat is kind of funky and I love the piano part too. The lyrics are very relatable as well.
Mr. Know-It-All- This song reminds me of a late Beatles’s song with the sitar which makes sense since members of the band are from India. This song is about how people today think they know it all just because they have smart phones that you can look up everything on. Sameer talks about how everyone is always on their phones even in public yet they are so lonely in real life.
Jungle Youth- My favorite thing about this song is the chorus.
Titus Was Born- I love the instrumentation of this song with the opening strings. This song talks about this character Titus who Sameer basically narrates the characters childhood. With the help of François Comtois in the vocal department it’s a very beautiful song.
Repeat- I wasn’t really feeling this song too much but not a bad song.
Silvertongue- Silvertounge is Young the Giant’s party song with a catchy chorus in the same vain as Grouplove’s Tongue Tied. Sameer is talking about having a way with words.
Art Exhibit- This is such a beautiful song! Just Sameer with a ukulele and the rest of the band more acoustic until later in the song when it picks up a little which compliments his voice so well. The lyrics are so beautiful too even if talking about two past lovers who have lost that connection with one another.
Nothings Over- A catchy number.
Home of the Strange- This is another song about America from an immigrants point of view. This is the point between being an immigrant tied to your home country and then being part of this “American dream” as a member of this country.
Review of the Album:
Over all an amazing album & they have become one of my favorite bands.
Till Next Time…Rock On!