Luscious Jackson was a fantastically chill all-female band in the ’90s that blended “alternative” rock with smooth hip hop and a love for different genres. Founding members Jill Cunniff and Kate Schellenbach met when Kate was drumming for the Beastie Boys and Jill went to interview her for a zine (have I told my theory how zines were the original blogs?). Things clicked, a mutual appreciation grew, and Luscious Jackson was born. They named their nascent band after a basketball player from the Philly 76ers (like all the best bands do).
Their eclectic 1996 album Fever In, Fever Out (produced by Daniel Lanois) is a personal favorite of mine, and I saw them at the Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz on that tour. I remember it being a great show. Electric Honey (1999) was a bit more upbeat, but every bit as wonderful and varied. Therefore, I was sad when they broke up in 2000 but thanks to this article, I now know that there is a reunion in the works. Hooray!
Instead of underground NYC clubs and late-night jam sessions, the ladies of Luscious Jackson are hip mamas now, PTA members and carpool drivers. However, they have not denied their desire to rock, and like many fine parents they are driven to create some kid music that doesn’t suck. Hence, an album of kid-oriented music is their next release.
“It’s like Luscious Jackson with a kids’ angle,” Cunniff says. “It’s not goofy kids’ music â€” it’s dance-y and has Luscious Jackson beats, but the [lyrical] content is pretty silly. It’s been so much fun and so easy to do: That’s when you know things are going in the right direction.” The album is currently title-less (although Jill votes for “It’s All Goo”) and label-less, but the ladies are hoping for a 2007 release.
Jill is releasing a solo album in February on The Militia Group label, entitled City Beach. There are some sound samples on her MySpace and it is a very enjoyable return to sultry/hip form from this cool chanteuse.
Here are some Luscious Jackson songs for you to enjoy if you haven’t heard these gals in the past. Again, I recommend you pick up Fever In, Fever Out. And I would posit that Luscious Jackson has made kids’ music before — I know many 3-year-olds that would argue “Naked Eye” as their theme song: “Wearing nothing is divine, naked is a state of mind. I take things off to clear my head, to say those things I haven’t said . . .”
“Naked Eye” – Luscious Jackson
(from Fever In, Fever Out)