Ascetic Junkies: A jacket for all seasons

Unlike many of their peers, Matt and Kali migrated to the West Coast on a whim. Hailing originally from Boston, “We were looking for some place to use as a base while we explored the area,” Kali explained. “We ended up loving Portland.”

They took off running and never looked back. Since their creation in 2008 the Aesthetic Junkies have been prolific to say the least. They boast a catalog that would make most bands blush, consisting of two full-length records and an EP and several tracks into a third LP. All of which have been recorded at houses in which Kali and Matt reside, engineered by the Junkies themselves. In the case of their latest release This Cage has no Bottom, this style of recording was a benefit, not a hinderance, as it allowed time to ever refine the tones and add various layers, which resulted in a super professional quality, interesting recording.

So what do they actually sound like? Pop songs that cross Folk, Blues, Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock and Americana. A part will get stuck in your head, bounce around a bit, then, at split second speed be replace by a part that is catchier than than last.

But do not be fooled, the Aesthetic Junkies are not your average, “fun-of-mill” indie band, with cute lyrics and even cuter songs. They are talented folk that take their art very seriously. They are constantly working to improve their sound and live performance.

The beginning of this year saw a bit of a line up change, which forced the Junkies to rethink many of their songs. Their banjo player and long time friend Graham moved to the South of Americas, so rather than replace him, they decided to change course entirely and make the leap to electric. Not only was the resulting sound extremely positive, but it became a vessel for the Aesthetic Junkies to showcase their versatility, as some of the previously established genre lines began to blur.

For the rest of this year in the life of the Aesthetic Junkies, the magic eight ball foresees several tours and a new record. Representing the gang, Matt and Kali will be visiting the far reaches of this country on a tour lasting most of this summer. They look forward to surviving on a steady diet of living room stages, sleeping on foreign floors and drinking to the hospitality of strangers. Although they will perform as a duo, not the full band, they have worked extremely hard to make the experience unique by adding more instruments and working with the song structures.

“We are really excited to be on the road, it will be a totally different show, rather than a stripped down version of our regular show,” explained Kali.

For those of us living down in collector town, the Junkies will be toting a limited number Tour EP, which consists of only material that was recorded live, and is only available while they are on tour. Really cool idea. They are currently writing a new record that Matt describes as “weirder and more jagged” than their previous work. Utilizing more non-traditional harmonies, turn on a dime time signatures and crazier strong structures, we will get a taste of their full potential.

When it comes right down to it, if the Aesthic Junkies were a jacket, they would be reversible, have detachable sleeves, tons of pockets, and be made of a pattern of state maps sewn together with diamond, multi-colored thread. In other words, they are exactly right for every situation and won’t wear out anytime soon.