Artist Spotlight: The quirky, energized sounds of Jukebox the Ghost

Ben Thornewill of New York City-based band Jukebox the Ghost performs at the Space Gallery in Portland, Maine on June 16, 2012. (Alex Bellink/Flickr)

Today’s artist spotlight is on the New York City-based band Jukebox the Ghost. They’ve been around for almost a decade and through each of their records have evolved as artists, performers and friends.

The trio has performed on Letterman and Conan, opened for Ben Folds, Jack’s Mannequin, Motion City Soundtrack and Guster and have been featured in Rolling Stone.

Their music is hyper, quirky and energized, infused with catchy melodies and poppy piano progressions. Their musicianship isn’t lost, though, even within their fine-tuned pop compositions. They have a unique take on positive pop rock, which, matched with their touring persistence, has made them a band to watch.

Jukebox the Ghost has released four studio LPs: “Let Live & Let Ghosts” (2008), “Everything Under the Sun” (2010), “Safe Travels” (2012) and “Jukebox the Ghost” (2015). All albums can be found on iTunes and Spotify.

The band consists of pianist and vocalist Ben Thornewill, guitarist and vocalist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin.

Jukebox the Ghost’s music is friendly and feels like a companion you’ve known all your life. You can hear relatable stories of heartbreak and connection juxtaposed from song to song that ultimately culminates into a cohesive record for their latest self-titled LP.

Fans of Ben Folds, Queen, Billy Joel and Fun. will especially enjoy Jukebox the Ghost’s music.

Jukebox the Ghost has managed to create danceable yet emotionally charged music. The heaviness of emotion sways in tides between each track, making it a dance record with moments of pure clarity and minimalism. It’s an album that straddles both worlds, for it can be played at parties or during a long drive on the highway. It’s introspective, yet positive and animated.
 
According to their website, Thornewill says the album is a “self-evaluation,” while Siegel describes it as a “reinvention.” The trio created around 50 demos over the course of 10 months to create the best songs they’ve ever written, according to their website. Thornewill said on their official site that, “After the work and care we put into the songs, in choosing them and arranging them, by the time it was finished, we all came around to feeling like this record is who we are.”

Speaking on the album in a sonic and instrumental sense, Thornewill said in an interview with online magazine PopMatters, “We weren’t married to anything. It was just ‘What is going to make this the best song possible?’ In some instances, that was no piano or no guitar. We were open to those sorts of conversations for the first time. So, it ended up being a really, in its own way, an experimental record from us.”

They’ve managed to successfully tour for over a decade, averaging around 150 shows a year, according to their website. In an interview with online music news site Consequence of Sound, Siegel said, “I’ve seen band T-shirts that list all their shows over 30 years. … We’re reaching those numbers after five years.”

It doesn’t get more grassroots.

Jukebox the Ghost is musicians and songwriters that have built a fan base through dedication towards the craft as well as maintaining inspiration.

This pop-rock trio has continually kept their sights on growing their audience while growing with them all the while.


Brett Steinberg is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brett.steinberg@uconn.edu. He tweets @officialbrett.