Imaginary Johnny


by D.M. Edwards

22 February 2012

cover art

Imaginary Johnny


(Unfinished Side Productions)
US: 26 Jul 2011

I dig Imaginary Johnny for six reasons. First, the group previously released a good song about New Orleans without using a single clichéd musical quote or reference to local culture. Second, another track was a nice, oblique summation of the state of Texas. Third, at its best the band has a light, discreet, dreamy, and vaguely “psychedelic” charm for people who might want a downshift from the surreal romantic grandeur of Flaming Lips, the ethereal bombast of Mercury Rev, the wooden retro-authenticity of Fleet Foxes, or the anguished chiming sincerity of Iron and Wine. On this latest release, the full-on emotional piano and anguished singing of “Illumination” was an odd, unfashionable pleasure.

The fourth reason I dig Imaginary Johnny is that, although my attention wasn’t held for the entirety of Dig, as it had been with previous releases, a track popping up at random on the mobile digital device is often a refreshing change, and not to be skipped after 20 seconds. The cover art is the fifth reason, because it suggests test driver The Stig from Top Gear looking somewhat mournful with his back to a carousel. And the sixth and final reason to dig this band and album is the name Imaginary Johnny; it makes me think of some wild and free African singer who died young, possibly at the hands of a jealous husband.




We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.


//Mixed media

20 Questions: Nashville Singer-Songwriter Natalie Hemby

// Sound Affects

"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.

READ the article