This week it is my pleasure to platform one of the most incredible new musical acts in the area, a stellar and melodic indie rock band called The Jennifer Shop. Helmed by introspective singer and instrumentalist Jack Manley along with a cast of cohorts, the group really blew me away recently when I saw them share a bill with Globelamp. The songs just swirled with life and enthusiasm, reminding listeners of heartfelt moments or the excitement of tackling new frontiers.
This up-and-coming band is appearing at BSP on 1/24 alongside popular act JK Vanderbilt (no relation to JK Rowling or the actual Vanderbilts). The show is $6 and doors are at 7:30. It’s very much worth seeing.
How are you today? I know the band only started recently. Is your line up official yet or was the first line-up I saw you with kind of hired guns/bros? Who is in the band?
Jack Manley: Pretty good, still adjusting to life Upstate again, but Kingston is a new town now so I try to remember that whenever I feel strange about being “home.” I don’t know, I never thought I would be back here, but it just felt so right.
Yeah, there are memories but also it is evolving constantly here now. There is a strange mix of old and new. Are you writing new songs?
I’m writing all the time, and have a bunch of new songs to flesh out with the guys, which I’m really looking forward to. The band is the fucking band, man! I’m so lucky, I scored the best dudes/players in all the land: Steve Markota on drums, Jake Kolbinski on lead, and Cameron Crosby on bass. They are so pro, and inspire me to work harder every time I play with them. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up!
Many Kingston residents will get the name reference of your new band. What made you pick The Jennifer Shop as a name? I mean, it is great free advertising around town to see the huge old mural near the courthouse. I think that mural spells it “Jenifer” with only one letter n, but I could be mistaken. Was there any other reason you didn’t just call it “Jack Bon Jovi” or just “Manley”? “Manly” would have been a cool name, but the songs have a sensitive side. Haha. You’d need like burlier hipster beards. I guess Steve has one, kinda.
I always wanted to name a band The Jennifer Shop since I was a kid. Something about the name just brings so many visuals and possible interpretations to mind. The billboard is an added plus, but I like the connection to femininity. It evokes that special power. I feel very inspired by that.
What can you tell me about how it feels to be performing again? I have always felt like you are a best-kept secret (not totally secret but deserving of more) area songwriter.
Aww, thank you, that’s very kind. It’s great, thrilling and scary. I made a lot of mistakes with my past project. I just feel grateful to be inspired and back in the game after a long self-imposed exile.
These things happen, my friend. You just have to try and learn and stay positive, grow and move forward. What are your earliest memories of the music scene around here? Didn’t you recently have Josh from Coheed in the studio on a song “Technicolor”? Was that for this project or something else? JM: Oh, wow, the music scene. I remember seeing you crush the chance with your old band Divest sharing the stage with Coheed. Three blowing my mind through the various incarnations of their sound. Anadevine/Jerk Magnet. It was all so exciting, but I was a little more into indie shit and although I loved those bands, definitely felt out of place with my musical sensibility.
Being near that Coheed rocket ship was super-intense. I got exposed to a lot at a young age and really lived the rock-and-roll lifestyle courtesy of Josh’s hard work. Happy I survived. With “Technicolor” I had written a bunch of songs, and Josh really helped give me the confidence to get back to it after making some mistakes. I owe him and Sean Paul Pillsworth (who’s produced, engineered that tune and three more for our debut ep) for getting me back on the horse, so to speak.