‘Love, Loss and Other Useless Things’ is the second album by TJ Roberts and is filled with their signature ‘indie-cana,’ a combination of Americana and Indie Rock. It is comprised of nine tracks and it treats the listener to just over forty minutes of rock-n-roll riff, heavenly harmony and mood-bursting melody. It is released on the newly founded label - Rose Parade Recording Company.
Passed out on a Hollywood star is the first sizzling single released from the album. It feels like it was created to get your knees bending and feet twisting while doing the cooking. It opens with a classic rock-and-roll riff and boasts a harmonious Beatles-esque interlude that takes me back to baking cakes with my grandmother, while my grandfather played guitar. The first single leaves you excited for rest of the album – ‘Boy, it’s gonna be a hot one!’
Released in November 2020, Boy without a Band, is another rock-and-roll earworm with harmonising guitars, pedalling keys and illustrative lyrics. While the main character does not fit into our ‘programmed’ lives, he is likable and manages to charm cigarettes ‘right out of your hand.’ He is ‘fast talking with a mouth full of second-hand gold’ which implies that his brilliant ideas, that have always already been done and he can’t catch the break he is longing for. The repeating lyrics at the end echo the monotony musicians experience trying to get their work supported. ‘Big suits calling, never reforming – acting out to save face.’
Their latest single, Somebody’s Someone is laid-back in melody, but serious in message. The looming atmosphere is created by the thick bass and reverbing guitars. TJ Roberts reflect on history and the ‘acts that were far past the line’. We are reminded that while it is easy to dream for ourselves, we need to learn from our history to better our future. The drawn out ‘exhalation’ at the end of the chorus signifies the despair felt when we ‘recognise’ our unconscious biases, learn about systemic prejudice and battle to understand the complexities of socioeconomical imbalances.
The Redundancy Song is surprisingly energising and upbeat. It opens with sprightly synth and is filled with warm distorted guitars. However, it speaks of the frustrations that musicians and creatives feel prior to, but definitely during this remarkable pandemic period.
The frontman expresses his desire to be seen as a human being and ‘not a job’ or ‘not in demand’. The band sing of ‘looking for the guide to peaceful living,’ at a moment where people are taking pleasure from the simple things and living at a slower pace. TJ Roberts celebrate it perfectly in this captivating album track.
Despite how redundant the music industry has been treated by the government during the global pandemic, TJ Roberts have not stopped creating their own demand; their strong local following is now building nationally.
Songwriter Tom Roberts says he is inspired by the melodies of Big Star, the beautiful drawl of the late, great David Berman and the mid-western charm of Twin Peaks and Wilco. His bandmates are Heather, Gavin and Jasper and together they aim to push their music to its limits. If that wasn’t enough of a challenge, amidst the global pandemic they’ve founded a their very own independent record label! It’s called Rose Parade Recording Company and uniquely is established as a Community Interest Company, which means it is setup to benefit the community around it.