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EP Review: MJ Lenderman - Knockin'


MJ Lenderman is the secret ingredient to many music review websites’ new favorite band, Wednesday, from Asheville, NC. His backing vocals on “Billboard” and “November” made them my favorite songs on their 2020 release, and helped make their latest release, Twin Plagues, one of the best albums of 2021.

Jake has just released Knockin’, titled after his lo-fi tribute to “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” that starts the EP. Knockin’ is filled with varying members of the local Asheville scene such as Colin Miller, Xandy Chelmis, Karly Hartzmann, and Jon Samuels. The release is imbued with the vulnerable Americana lyrics and tone of Dylan, The Band, David Berman, and more, but adds a wonderful, warm, lo-fi twist that begs me to play it every hour of every day.

The title track is the highlight. It’s a charming re-working of the original, becoming its own humorous love song. Make sure to stay for the rest, though. “Happiness” was written by Eytan Mirsky, but Jake fully embodies the lyrics and calls to mind the performance of Berman in Purple Mountains. The break between “Happiness, why do you have to stay/so far” is heart-breaking.

“TV Dinner” continues the topics of loneliness and love, but Xandy on lap steel dueling with Jon Samuel’s guitar is the song’s cherry on top. “TLC Cage Match” slows it down and returns to Jake’s childhood watching WWE, reminiscing about heroes, where they are now, and where all things go. To round off the EP is “Tastes Just Like It Costs”, a fuzzy song-story with punk vocal stylings and pounding drums, courtesy of Karly.

Stream the release on Bandcamp below. Feel free to check out the music video for “Knockin”. Portions of the EP's proceeds go to Asheville for Justice. Keep an eye out for Wednesday and Jake Lenderman, I have really high hopes for these artists, and their contributions to the music scene up in Asheville.

Listen to the Knockin' EP here, and check out Brandon's show No World Is As True As Mine 12pm-2pm on Tuesdays!

Brandon Jolley

Transition from Latin to composed music. Trying to get ahead of the curve. Some of the most important artists are inspired by contemporary composers, Miles Davis and Stockhausen, Bill Evans and Debussy, John Lennon and Beethoven, Pachelbel and everyone who has used his infamous chord progression, and countless more. So, I offer this time slot as a study for what composers of today are writing for myself in my own works, as well as aspiring or practicing musicians in the scene here for inspiration themselves.

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