We’re glad to announce that Bloomington-Normal, United States-based rock band Great Value Jesus have released a new single, entitled “Blush / Gen Z the Great Society.”
Great Value Jesus originated as a solo project by singer-songwriter Noah Renken-Kapatos, as an outlet to create and release every type of music he so chooses. Now, as a trio composed of bandleader Renken-Kapatos, bassist Doug Cook, and drummer Nick Saathoff, Great Value Jesus have been performing as a hot new college band in the central Illinois area.
Since releasing their Disassociation Nation EP (our review here) in January 2022, the trio have refined their sound and bonded as brothers, bringing listeners a refreshingly unique blend of indie, alternative, punk, blues, funk, and psychedelic rock. Great Value Jesus are planning to soon release their upcoming full length LP containing 13 songs in June 2022, which will be titled Is Propoganda Art?. The release questions whether propaganda can be used as an art form to control the population, and whether art itself is inherently propagandistic by making you feel certain emotions and thoughts. The trio explore these themes through vivid metaphorical lyrics, subtly provoking these complex thoughts with memorable and melodic hooks.
Is Propaganda Art? draws inspiration from a wide range of artists, such as Modest Mouse, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Blur, Queens of the Stone Age, Peach Pit, Alt-J, Radiohead, Tame Impala, Cage the Elephant, Mac Demarco, and R.E.M. to name a few. Great Value Jesus worked with a Grammy-nominated audio engineer to record drums and cello for the album; and frontman Noah Renken-Kapatos, an Illinois State University music production major, self-recorded, mixed, and mastered the album in his bedroom next to his cat, Eddie Vedder.
In a little less than a year, Great Value Jesus have been performing regularly around the Bloomington-Normal, IL area, have been featured in local news-outlets the Pantagraph and WGLT as well as having done some cool interviews, and have made some awesome friends and fans along the way. These amazing connections have led to the crowd-funding of Is Propaganda Art? and the momentum to leave a lasting impact. In the upcoming months, Great Value Jesus will be performing at Midwest Punk Fest (June 10-12) and Make Music Normal Festival (June 24), as well as playing a live radio session at WEFT (June 6) and filming music videos and playing gigs in support of Is Propaganda Art?.
“We have some ambitious plans for the upcoming months. We’re playing two music festivals in Central Illinois, booking our first tour for the end of July, releasing our first full band full LP in early June, and getting the opportunity to meet so many cool people along the way. This year we want to go all in on this project,” Noah Renken-Kapatos from Great Value Jesus says.
Describing the backstory behind these new songs, Renken-Kapatos tells us:
“On the surface Blush is a song about love, once dug a little deeper it is about novelty love. This song echoes the pressures of what our society dictates what the narrative of love is. Through melodic hooks and vivid metaphors, Blush tells the chaotic story of Hallmark love. I’d call it a reflection of the plastic love our society indulges in.
Gen Z the Great Society is about the zeitgeist that is generation z. Now that we are growing up, we see this disillusioned society that we are handed that we must save. This song was me trying to capture the moment that is generation z becoming adults. I am born on the precipice, the very beginning of what is generation z. I wanted to give us an anthem to channel our frustrations out on this world we now have to save. The name derives from president LBJ’s Great Society initiative that ultimately got discarded in favor to the war in Vietnam. The speech that starts the song is taken from his speech in late 1965. America never did become that great society he spoke about. Through garage rock and psychedelic licks, this song packs a punch.”
“Blush” begins with an echoing, low-toned electric guitar riff, immediately drawing the listener in with a catchy alternative/indie rock sound. Noah Renken-Kapatos’ vocals soon join in along with the driving rhythms of the bass and drums, harmonizing quite well with the guitar progression; while the song’s poetic and insightful lyrics explore the theme of love and the depths that society pressures us to go towards it, perfectly complementing the song’s introspective yet energetic atmosphere. The verses bridge nicely into equally memorable and powerful choruses, highlighted by a dynamic bass line and a distorted guitar tone—impressively captured by the song’s excellent production quality.
“Gen Z the Great Society” then begins with an inspiring sample from a 1965 speech by Lyndon B. Johnson, which is soon joined by an uplifting electric guitar chord progression. As the bass and drums set the track in a rocking groove, psychedelic effects-laden electric guitar leads sear and soar, later taking on a wonderfully synth-like quality as they continue to highlight the song’s dreamy garage-rock progression throughout its compelling verses and anthemic choruses. Renken-Kapatos’ metaphorical lyrics channel the war against truth between propaganda and ideals, capturing the disillusionment and frustration of Generation Z, while nicely juxtaposing with the song’s buoyant atmosphere.
“Blush / Gen Z the Great Society” is quite an enjoyable listen, showcasing Great Value Jesus’ brilliant songwriting and superb musicianship. I would highly recommend this single to fans of alternative-, indie-, psychedelic- and garage rock alike.
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