Elevate Difference

Reviews of Asthmatic Kitty

Dead Zone Boys

Critics like to explain that because Jookabox’s David Adamson is from the east side of Indianapolis, he understands poverty, racism, and its symbolism in society. Check cashing joints and vacant strip malls feature prominently on the list of his influences. Perhaps this is why Jookabox appeals to me so greatly. In addition to my own near-Indianapolis roots, I find meaning and take solace in failing capitalist structures: dilapidated mini-golf courses, repurposed gyro drive-thrus that now house wristwatch wholesalers, theaters that seem to double as half venue, half asylum.

Enjoy Your Rabbit

Sufjan Stevens, god of the indie concept album, is the sort of fellow my evangelical Christian minister grandparents can enjoy. This is not an insult. My maternal grandfather, born in Michigan eighty-some years ago, has never admitted that he enjoys the Stevens album Michigan. I nevertheless suspect that my sometimes secular, former music minister grandpa samples some Sufjan when he thinks no one is around.

Royal City

Whenever I’m having an existential crisis sort of day—yes, it can come in daily doses—listening to songs like Iggy Pop’s “Success” soothes my insecurities and favors my sardonic humor that is both a coping mechanism and a genetic condition. How fortuitous then, among the early tracks from Canadian band Royal City, is a humorously lo-fi cover of Mr. Pop’s infectious tune.

Heavy Ghost

DM Stith makes weird music. Heavy Ghost is a weird album. Among his contemporaries, David Stith has been hailed as a genius for his spooky, otherworldly tracks and production.

Part I: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made

Fol Chen could be one of those bands in which every member writes his or her own tracks and then, sheet music assembled in a stack, the group comes together to record without any concern for cohesion. This can result in an annoyingly disjointed album, or an inspiring mix of treasures. For this debut release, it’s a bit of both.


Grampall Jookabox, nee David Adamson, is as strange as his stage name would suggest. Adamson is from Indianapolis, Indiana, which is also my childhood stomping ground, give or take thirty minutes (in those parts, we count in minutes to be traveled, not miles). With an affinity for home that grows the longer I stay away, Ropechain fills a need in my life, a record that sounds clumsy and aimless when it is anything but.