“Nobody said it was easy,” moans a deep, distorted voice at the end of Grampall Jookabox’s debut album, Scientific Cricket. And you know what? It’s not. Indianapolis duo David Adamson and Aimee Brown have created twisted folk songs that take experimental to a new level, challenging the listener every step of the way. This Friday night at the Melody Inn, they’ll celebrate the release of the album with a music showcase that includes the final performance of Adamson’s band, BIGBIGcar.
“I had recorded a demo of a song on a little hand-held tape recorder,” Adamson explains of the origin of Grampall Jookabox. “We were in the car one day and Aimee was messing with the speed on the recorder. The song was so much better slowed down. I took it and added harmonies and percussion. We thought that was fun so we kept messing around. Whenever we had a little idea we would go record it.
“It was pretty automatic,” he adds, discussing their recording process. “We were just together having a good time. I think it comes through a lot in the recordings.”
Over the course of a year, random bursts of experimentation produced enough material to fill an album. The result was folk music meant for apocalyptic Western plains. Every note challenges the listener, but beneath all the weirdness — splices of crazed dialogue, chipmunk-esque vocals and cruel schoolyard chants — captivating melodies flow like an undercurrent, pulling the listener in while making the music accessible and enjoyable. While the odyssey isn’t easy, it’s definitely worth the time.
The journey has been so worth Adamson’s time that he has decided to devote his creative energies to Grampall Jookabox. Unfortunately, that means the end of BIGBIGcar and their finely crafted absurdist art-rock. “It was pretty natural,” he says of the decision. “Some of the guys aren’t into the idea of touring anymore. But I am. The sound has changed quite a bit too. It made sense to have a new name and focus all my energy in one place. Those guys are all my best friends. We’ve been playing music together since high school — since grade school for some of us. There is going to be a one-time-only live performance of a new BIGBIGcar song, ‘The Brosin’ Song.’ Kind of a farewell. Kind of a little ‘we’ll always be bros together.’ It’s kind of a joke,” he laughs.