Vulture Whale’s Jaco Takes Center Stage with “Blackboard”

Jaco is the nom de plume of Jake Waitzman, long time drummer for Alabama rockers, Vulture Whale. Forever stuck behind the kit, he’s finally realizing a life log dream of releasing his own record. You Know is releasing in July on Cornelius Chapel Records, the same label that released his Vulture Whale counterpart Terry Ohms record in January.

“Blackboard” is a catchy rocker that ought to bring back happy memories of Nada Surf. The video is anything but happy, however. We don’t know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. But it does look like it could be an outtake from Season Two of The Wire.

Featuring contributions on lead guitar and bass from Les Nuby (Verbena, Vulture Whale, Holiday Gunfire) and Greg Slamen (Through The Sparks, Cosmonaut On Vacation), the main thrust of the album’s songs are pure Jaco, taking the listener on a guided tour through stacked harmonies and memorable rock riffs with a psych-tinged underbelly, having helmed almost every aspect of the album as both co-producer and arranger, while simultaneously stepping to the forefront as lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist and drummer. 

Released as part of Cornelius Chapel Records’ growing roster of great Southern musical acts like Beitthemeans, Bohannons, Will Stewart, Caleb Caudle and the mighty Dexateens, You Know stands as a singular summation of an alternate ego finally ready to introduce itself to the world. From the opening Cars-inflected synth intro to “On The Ground,” to the ELO/Elephant 6 backbeat boogie of “Blackboard,” the subdued melancholy of “I Don’t Mind,” or the guitar-driven rock and roll of songs like “Lavabo,” “Say Goodbye,” and “All Your Love,” there’s a world of sound to be discovered on this unique debut from one of Birmingham’s best and brightest new acts.

Credit: John Demotte