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South Texas Living

The Polished Edge: ‘JJAMZ’ — Z and the boys create unique sound

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Serenity Bogert
Yup, It's Me by Serenity
January 9, 2013 | 2,865 views | Post a comment

From a distance, Los Angeles-based super group (although they’re often defiant in accepting the label “super group”) “JJAMZ” (pronounced juh-jams) may resemble a form of pop group “No Doubt,” with gorgeous blonde lead vocalist Elizabeth Berg (everyone just calls her Z) fronting a group of gentlemen. But when you take a listen to “JJAMZ,” you’ll immediately notice Z and the boys produce a pop/rock sound that is very different from anyone else right now.

The group “JJAMZ” was formed as a means of both temporary musical and fellow-band-member escape from each of the members’ respective groups. After a night of karaoke, the long-time friends decided to go home that night and write their first song, “Square One,” and thus, “JJAMZ” was born. The band would come together at times when things seemed frantic for each member. The name “JJAMZ” is actually an acronym. Each letter is a first initial of each of the five main band members. “JJAMZ” consists of Jason Boesel (originally from “Bright Eyes” and “Rilo Kiley”), James Valentine (“Maroon 5”), Alex Greenwald (“Phantom Planet”), Michael Runion (solo), and Z Berg (all-girl band “The Like”).


“JJAMZ’s” retro debut album “Suicide Pact” was released in July 2012. Overall, the album sounds like an interesting treasure dug up from the ’60s or ’70s. Each track has its own alluring sound that makes it so appealing, whether it be an easy-and-fun-to-sing-along-to chorus, a captivating guitar solo, relatable lyrics, an enjoyable hook, or a combination of those. As in any good pop album, radio-ready singles “Heartbeat” and “Never Enough” tell stories of hopeless love and heartbreak. Dark and creepy lyrics never sounded so catchy until you’ve listened to the album title track, “Suicide Pact,” where Z sings about a broken promise. Addictive, poppy guitar hooks and solos flood the album, for example, in shared-vocals tunes “LAX” and “Cleverly Disguised,” where Greenwald joins Z.

Why I love this artist

Every song from “Suicide Pact” is unique, and the album is distinctive. “JJAMZ” recently opened for “Neon Trees” on its tour. Considering their experience and ability to write likable tunes, I strongly believe they have the potential to headline a tour. Bearing in mind their roots, a tour might be an option. Their “super group” title and non-contemporary sound emanate that “JJAMZ” is definitely a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to hear more from them in the future.

This is an occasional column by 15-year-old Serenity Bogert, daughter of Tracy Bogert of Somerset. She blogs at

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