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Alive After Five: Jerry Joseph and The Jackmormons, Aug. 17


With his slow-motion strut and quavering bluesy vocals, Jerry Joseph comes off as a subversive stump preacher. On "Istanbul," the first track on Jerry Joseph and The Jackmormons' 2015 release Istanbul | Fog of War (Cosmo Sex School Records), he reels out a slow jam disquisition on the story of Jesus, featuring a St. John the Baptist, Judas Iscariot and the archangels Gabriel and Raphael. It's a 22:35-minute ecclesiastical declamation that draws on the radical nature of early Christianity with allusions to contemporary unrest in the Mideast—the Arab Spring and Afghanistan War among them. (Lord Buckley's wild-eyed, scat-ified retelling of the Jesus story, "The Nazz," springs to mind as an allied effort.) Heady stuff, but Joseph's reggae pedigree gives the ecstatic sermon a rolling rhythm perfect for spaced out ruminations on the nature of divinity.