REVIEWS FOR "LONG BEACH CALLING"
The Vinyl District - by Jude Warne
Long Beach Calling is the latest album release from SoCal Alt Country rocker Mike Jacoby; its title and that of its corresponding song—as well as its pink-and-green-lettered cover image—offer direct allusion to London Calling, the quintessential career-defining Clash album released in 1979.
London in the late seventies was riddled with cross-class strife, uneven economics, and dissatisfied plebeians. Long Beach, California in 2019—according to Jacoby’s song—is in a similar state, albeit of a mellower and narrower sort. The town, the area, has an element of Golden State beauty but mainly exists in varying states of decay—the truth of which Jacoby’s vocal snarl, and the simultaneous multiple guitar lines that drive the track—some aggressive, some playful—indicate.
“Long Beach Calling” sets the LP-length precedent for humorous songwriting and impressive instrumentals that the listener will experience over the course of eleven original tracks. From the record’s earliest notes, it becomes clear: this is very much a Guitar album. Songs like “Here & Now” and ‘Smile” possess the abundant energy of songs off the Clash’s London Calling album, but musically wear clothes in a style more akin to ’90s rock, in the vein of early Wilco and Monster-period R.E.M.
Hip-sounding vocal harmonies heavy on fourths and snark-laden lyrics, complete with comical commentary on aging that serve as an interesting foil to the music’s youthful energetic sound, provide for this effect. The musically memorable “Hangers (A Christmas Tale)” is perhaps the album’s most outright jokey song, depicting the familiar feeling of holiday gift disappointment. Its message about relationship dynamics goes a bit deeper, in that the singer-narrator’s girlfriend has given him plastic hangers to hang his clothes properly—suggesting an undercurrent of chronic dissatisfaction in everything he does. “Pine Box” undercuts human being’s inherent fear of dying by making light of the after-death reality, and showcases Jacoby’s talent for building complex country soundscapes, here with fiddle and harmonica.
While the title track is chock full of Long Beach, California references, Long Beach Calling’s final two tracks are homages to key players in rock ‘n’ roll history. “Play Like Richards,” a radio-friendly and catchy number, that winks at Maroon 5’s hit single “Moves Like Jagger,” and “Long Live the King,” which serves as a fact-laden ode to Elvis Presley and his remarkable legacy, point to Jacoby’s musical education and what the listener must assume he believes to be of importance to know.
The opening guitar segments of “Play Like Richards” offer a mirror of Keith Richards’s recognizable playing style. But its musical refrain of “you can move like Jagger / I’d rather play like Richards,” seems to offer an original musical creed and a personal artistic vow: that Mike Jacoby, in his musical journey, is more intent upon being a quality musician than merely looking cool. He places more value upon the quality of a song, an album, rather than the potentially superficial aesthetics of performance. He is first and foremost a writer and guitarist, and by authentically identifying as such, he has become more defiant. The kind of defiance that only experience can manifest.
TAKE EFFECT REVIEWS - 9/8/2019
And the winner for Best Cover Art Of The Year goes to Mike Jacoby, and, thankfully, the multi-instrumentalist can pen a tune you won’t forget anytime soon, too, as evidenced on this Americana influenced version of the classic album by The Clash.
The title track starts the listen with a raw energy not unlike Strummer and company, where swift strumming and melodic vocals flow with a timeless spirit, and “Here And Now” follows with a bouncy setting that just sounds like Southern California.
Near the middle, “Your Love Song” offers a country influenced, dance friendly affair, while “Know Right Away” has Jacoby channeling his inner Tom Petty with soulfulness and grace.
Deeper cuts gift us the more sparse “BBQ Pit”, and “Play Like Richards” puts a classic rock spin on the romper as raw guitar licks punctuate the mood. “Long Live The King” ends the formal record with a cautious exit before a bonus tune shows up 14 seconds after the album, a technique utilized by some of the legends that inspire Jacoby.
Previously a member in the long running outfit Haymaker, on this 3rd solo album Jacoby brings a varied, highly skilled and rugged rock’n’roll approach to his humble, sometimes humorous and always adventurous tunes that resonate long and far.
Travels well with: Todd Snider- Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3; The Rolling Stones- Some Girls"
AMERICANA UK/Ewan Lury - 9/8/2019
"When you get given an album to review, the first thing you see is the album cover. An album cover can straightaway tell you what you can expect from the album. And when you see the album cover for Mike Jacoby’s Long Beach Calling, you instantly know that this album is going to be non-stop fun.
Mike Jacoby is a multi-talented musician who showcases some great song-writing ability in this album. The songs range from deep and thoughtful to the stupid and silly. He plays most of the instruments, most notably the guitar, in the album showing off this great musicianship. The guitar riffs are infectious and catchy, namely from the song ‘Smile’. The songs vary from two and a half minutes to the final seven and a half minute track, showcasing his varying song-writing ability.
The opening track, ‘Long Beach Calling’, is a homage to his hometown and the Clash. It tells us all about his town, the good and bad parts along with a chugging along style guitar track. The first line of ‘Long Beach Calling, welcome to our town’ is Jacoby’s ‘welcome’ to the album, encouraging us to join us on his wacky journey.
The next song ‘Here and Now’ has the potential to be a phenomenal rock song. The opening guitar riff sets it up to be a great piece of music, yet here is perhaps one place that Jacoby’s song-writing lets him down. The never-ending repetition of the phrases ‘Here and Now’, albeit the song title, make the song seem less impactful as it could be. The opening riff almost deserves a better song, but does yet again showcase his great music writing ability.
If anyone could release a Christmas song in the middle of August, it would be Mike Jacoby, and he does exactly that in the song ‘Hangers (A Christmas Song)’. The standout of the album, Hangers tells the tale of a man who receives plastic hangers as a Christmas present from his girlfriend, but instead of being disappointed, he loves them and how he can now hang his clothes properly. The song is filled with genius lyrics and some great rhyming lines: ‘I can’t wait for next year, I’ll open that box, maybe I’m gonna get me some socks.’
Overall, the album is incredibly fun and enjoyable to listen to. The album ends up covering a wide variety of themes, from perseverance and hope; fractured relationships; death; super-models; BBQ Pits and a concise and accurate history of the Rolling Stones. Someone might say that what it lacks is something a bit more serious, but when listening to this album you just need to have a laugh or get up and dance.
Mike Jacoby tells us he wants to ‘Play like Richards’ in this album, and while he does that, I’ll try my best to ‘Move Like Jagger’ to his songs.
An album that makes you want to laugh... but also dance"
Bob Leggett - LA Music Critic "Tuesday Treats - Get it or Forget It" - August 20, 2019:
"....We last heard from Mike Jacoby back in 2016 when he released northsoutheastwest, which also garnered him an LA Music Critic Award nomination. Just like that release, he produced, recorded and mixed this album as well, bringing back Grammy-winning mastering engineer Gavin Lurssen to sweeten the deal. However, unlike his previous release, which focused on acoustic guitar, this time around Jacoby unleashes his electric side to further establish himself as one of the best in the business. He belongs in that amazing group of Americana artists that includes Brian Whelan, Chris Shifflett and Rod Melancon. His music is exciting and relatable, and should keep him busy. We fully expect to see him on our next list of nominations for this masterpiece, which is definitely going on repeat.
Recommendation: This one needs to be on your short list of the best of 2019. Go grab yourself a copy."
Rock 'n' Roll Truth - August 20, 2019:
"Roots rocker Mike Jacoby's keen and often-wry observations combined with a multi-instrumentalist's top-tier talents are used to good effect across his newly-released third album Long Beach Calling. A multi-layered and winning tribute to life, love and his own musical heroes, Jacoby's style explores a diverse range of musical areas associated with roots and Americana music. Handling lead vocals as well as the majority of instruments heard on the 12-track disc. The driving tribute to his hometown is chronicled in the title cut; the countrified "Pine Box" takes an insightful look at how little life we have ahead once we reach middle age; the tender ballad "Know Right Away" is bolstered by a burgeoning arrangement with Jacoby's stellar lead guitar work. The playful "Hangers (A Christmas Tale)" is sure to bring a smile to the face to anyone with a sense of humor; before you catch the Rolling Stones on the band's current "No Filter" tour catch up with the band's 55-year sonic aesthetic courtesy of "Play Like Richards."
Andy Thorley of Maximum Volume Music - July 29, 2019
"I was at a festival recently, and there was a bloke who walked past me wearing a t-shirt that said: “Sometimes I wonder what sort of world our children will leave for Keith Richards.” And that makes flesh a big truth: Keith Richards is just cool.
Now, before we start, I am a teetotal, single bloke who might as well be a monk and living like Keef even for a day would kill me, let’s be real. That said, in many ways, he’s living the rock star life I think I deserve.
Mike Jacoby agrees. There’s a song on “Long Beach Calling” that utters the chorus: “You can move like Jagger, I’d rather play like Richards……” (it’s helpfully called “Play Like Richards” just in case you were confused) and you just know that Jacoby loved this homage. It seeps through the speakers, almost.
What it also does, is prove that Jacoby knows his musical history. The album cover isn’t just a Clash love in. Rather it frames the record, “Long Beach Calling” (the song) is like a Stray Cats cover of Strummer and the boys, and there are myriad other knowing winks to the greats throughout the 11 songs here.
“Here And Now” is a gleeful ode to the aging process – infused by Chuck Berry’s DNA too, it seems to suggest that we aren’t getting old if rock n roll exists. “Pine Box” confronts death head on, with a cheery country blues thing (even here he reasons: “I’ll take it to my grave that Zeppelin’s great”) and even on the “dumping” song “Your Love Song” the Grand Ole Opry classic sounds manage to take it, not just in its stride, but be positively pleased.
There are so many different sounds here that it’s almost as if Jacoby has rifled through his own record collection to come up with a fresh slant. “Just In Case” is summerlike and airy, the lap steel on “Know Right Away” hides its trepidation, and there’s just a hint of the wonderful Jason Ringenberg about “Smile.”
Jacoby plays most of the instruments here and his skill shines through. “Hangers (A Christmas Tale)” in other hands would be a throwaway thing, but here, in fairness, you root for the fella who had the shit present.
“BBQ Pit” is slower, more deliberate, southern rock but like anything and everything else here it is done with tongue in cheek and an interesting angle. That, actually, is a sentence that could apply to the rest of the album.
The record – kinda – ends with “Long Live The King”, a brooding ballad about the enduring power of Elvis, set to a narrative story that goes to many other places. Except there’s a hidden track. Of the type that used to be on plenty of albums back in the day. “Yes, But” is not only a power pop thing of rare quality, but apparently that had a Clash relevance too. “Train In Vain” was a bonus song on “London Calling” thus “Long Beach Calling” got one too. There’s also a long Beatles explanation too.
That doesn’t really matter though, because I like to think that Mike Jacoby does all these things for one reason only: that he loves rock n roll. Or perhaps, more accurately, that he knows its only rock n roll, but he likes it?
NeuFutur/John B.Moore - August 5, 2019
"Although Mike Jacoby offers hints of Americana and even rockabilly throughout his third solo offering, the record is still firmly planted in the world of rootsy rock and roll.
Jacoby cites folk troubadour Todd Snider as an inspiration for Long Beach Calling, but it’s just as easy to pick out influences from folks like John Fogerty and The BoDeans here. The opening song, the rollicking title track with its Johnny Cash-like rumbling train guitar sound sets a high bar for the rest of the songs that follow. And while that one is easily the album’s high mark, there are still plenty of other great songs spread throughout the record, like the lyrically savvy “Pine Box” and the superb “Just In Case,” sounding like a long lost Kinks rarity.
The album gets weighed down a bit toward the end with a handful of less-inspired tracks (like the mediocre “BBQ Pit” or the unnecessary “Play Like Richards,” an answer to Maroon 5’s long-since forgotten “Moves Like Jagger”); But not so much that it takes away from the highlights that dominate the rest of the record."
Baby Sue website - August 1, 2019
The third full-length solo album from Long Beach, California's Mike Jacoby. The humorously-titled Long Beach Calling is an album that takes a few spins to fully sink in. Prior to going solo, Jacoby was a member of the alt-country band Haymaker. What impresses us most about Calling is how varied the material is. Yes, these tracks easily fit into the genre of pop/rock. But instead of going for one general sound, Mike seems to let each track take him off in a different direction. Yet considering the wide variety of material, the album holds together seamlessly as a whole. This talented fellow has a definite sense of humor, yet he's by no means a mere comic. Listeners may very well get a few chuckles from Mike's focused sense of humor, but they'll also get some substantial jolts of reality. Surprisingly, his songs have a great deal of commercial appeal. Yet they're a far cry from the commercial pop that the masses are all-too-happy to gobble up from subhuman superstars in 2019. If you're looking for pure entertainment without all the unnecessary frills and images, Jacoby might just be your favorite new singer/songwriter. The guy's got a great voice and each and every one of his songs hits the target dead center. Because all of these songs are successes, it's hard to pick favorites. But for us initial standout cuts include "Here and Now," "Just In Case," "Know Right Away," "BBQ Pit," and "Long Live the King." Cool credible music with staying power.
Planet Country - from Italy - August 3, 2019
'Already from the cover and from the title the references and inspirations of this album are clear, seasoned with a good dose of irony but also by a deep passion that emerges clearly in the course of these songs. Mike Jacoby is a musician with a good experience in rock'n'roll and country music, he has led for years a band that has traveled all over California bringing his vision of alternative country and for some time he has focused on solo productions in which it has the widest freedom of action. Production, composition and instruments are all yours here and the singer / guitarist / author of Long Beach condenses his love for certain English rock (Clash and their iconic "London Calling", of course, but also Rolling Stones and in my opinion also certain things of KInks) and that for American music between country and rock inevitably seasoned with Westcoast sensibility for the use of vocal harmonies and for a clear melodic research typical of those areas. "Long Beach Calling" is therefore an extremely enjoyable album, clearly not revolutionary but often with important flashes that make it a product to keep in mind. The themes are the most varied and the stories of personal relationships that break, melancholy and hopes, absolutely bizarre characters, death and great humor are inserted in a fresh sound and guitar son of the innumerable influences received by Mike Jacoby. The title-track "Long Beach Calling" opens between rockabilly and punk instincts naturally smoothed by the warm Californian sun and continues in an alternation of references and "hooks" that pass from "Play Like Richards" (whose title is inspired by "Move Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 !!!) to "Here And Now" that goes over the alt-country lesson of Long Ryders and Green On Red, from the somewhat naive country music of "Pine Box" to "Your Love Song ”another moment linked to country music with a beautiful 'twang' guitar to open the dances. Still songs like "Know Right Away", a fine rock ballad that owes much to the bands mentioned above, "Smile" and the final "Long Live The King" add an extra touch to a very funny record. (Remo Ricaldone)"
Twangville - June 19, 2019:
"What came first, the chicken or the egg. Did Mike Jacoby write songs honoring The Clash and Elvis before he knew about the album artwork connection? Or, did he pen one of the songs after discovering the London Calling and Elvis Presley sleeves? Either way, his latest collection of originals, Long Beach Calling, puts an countrified spin on some of the classic rock sounds that everyone knows.
The title track really is an Americana homage to London Calling, but referencing the LBC, from the container ships in the bay to sitting on Signal Hill. Long Live The King switches between early acoustic to electric roots rock and back again in its tale of Elvis impersonators. Play Like Richards is an unabashed rip-off of the classic Stones sound, with the rhetorical question, would you rather “move like Jagger, or play like Richards?” From the song title, you can guess Jacoby’s answer.
On the twangier side of things, Pine Box is an old-timey banjo and fiddle piece about one of life’s certainties. Your Love Song is a country rock social commentary on divorce. The record actually finishes with a hidden track, Yes But, an alt-country, new wave punk gem of a number. It starts 14 seconds after Long Live The King. Why 14 seconds? That’s the gap between The End and Her Majesty, the famous Beatles hidden track on Abbey Road.
Long Beach Calling cuts a broad swath across much of America’s roots music. The songs are catchy and just about everybody is bound to find a couple of them they like. But if you’re a recorded music geek, you must pick up the CD. Or maybe even better, vinyl, if Jacoby decides to press a few of those."