Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Josephine Street Yacht Club

 “Everything that you had to say was in your quiet way”

Life is such, that along the way we lose the ones we love. The cruelest loss of all is when those blessed with creative vision are taken from us. Jim Phillips was such. The guiding force behind popular Duke City alternative rockers, Lousy Robot, Phillips passed away on May 12th, 2015 at his Albuquerque home, which he referred to as, the Josephine St. Yacht Club (named after a song by I Love Math) Jim was born in Golden, Co. raised in Memphis, Tn. and moved to New Mexico after college. Phillips was also an accomplished writer (Weekly Alibi, Local IQ, New Mexico Compass) and an aspiring urban farmer who successfully cultivated backyard crops in the heart of Old Town.

Behind every successful band (regardless of genre) is an exceptional person (or two) of exceptional talent willing them on. For Lousy Robot Jim filled that role. Jim's perpetually muted vocals brought life to the band's calculated beats and poetically cynical lyrics. Laid out in a series of three minute primers on love and life for those living in a permanent state of quiet desperation. Wry anthems that dwelled on finding liberation in being nothing special. 

Rolling Stone magazine described them as, “post-punk power pop” though I like to think of them as “pop-punk nerdcore” No matter... Lousy Robot defied being pigeonholed into any one genre. On 'Burque podcast, Ten Drink Minimum, Phillips described Lousy Robot as “me and Dandee Fleming with revolving keyboard players (primarily Jack Moffitt and Ben Wood) and five thousand drummers. (the actual count is six with Joey Gonzalez being the latest)

Moffitt, the band's longest tenured keyboardist is perhaps best known as a software developer, who co-authored streaming media server Icecast. Jack is or has been involved with various high profile projects that I won't even pretend to understand. (XMPP, Erlang, Mozilla, Ogg Vorbis) He left Lousy Robot prior to the recording sessions for Hail the Conquering Fool, Lousy Robot's last album.

Formed in 2003, Lousy Robot garnered national and international recognition with snippets of their songs appearing on several cable network programs (HGTV's My First Place, Travel Channel's Extreme Restaurants, Man v. Food) and one porn video that according to Jim led to a rush of compact disc orders from around the world.

The band recorded three exemplary albums “The Strange and True Story of Your Life” (2005, Traveling in Place Records) “Smile Like You Are Somewhere Else” (2006, Socyermom Records) and Hail The Conquering Fool (2011, Hit Records) all were recorded in Dallas, Tx. or Knoxville, Tn. With John Dufilho producing. Dufilho having been convinced to work with the band after a series of e-mails from Dandee Fleming (Lousy Robot opened for Dufilho's band Deathray Davies at the Launchpad.)