PREMIERE: Jim and the French Vanilla Ain’t Too Sweet on “Afraid of the House”

The Blind Shake guitarist goes rogue.

Back in October, we premiered the video for “I Shot All the Birds,” a mean-as-hell post-punk track from Minneapolis’s The Blind Shake. We liked it so much that today we’re premiering Blind Shakes guitarist Jim Blaha’s third solo record under the name Jim and the French Vanilla.

While Blaha’s first two efforts without his band were all-acoustic affairs, Afraid of the House is a noisy and shambolic set of songs that pick up both the swampy influence of John Reis (with whom Blaha has worked in The Blind Shake) and a kind of angry polyglottism that is all his own. There is a variety of sound here that is united by the singularity of Blaha’s vision, a redlining, beehiving sense of propulsion and purpose that informs the heavy chug of “Grow Like Rabbits,” the new-wavish concrete rock of “Eye for an Eye,” and the tempo basher “I Have to Slow Down.” He channels Ty Segall on that latter track, and Zen Arcade–era Hüsker Dü on the breathy “Not Even War.” And it’s all powered by a dedication to the craft of songwriting that gives Afraid of the House a sturdiness that its own gale-force winds shake but never destroy.

Afraid of the House is out February 3 via Dirtnap. You can preorder a physical copy here, and you can stream the whole thing below.


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