Jared Mees And The Grown Children: 'Bees'

Jared Mees 300

hide captionPrior to Caffeine, Alcohol, Sunshine Money, Jared Mees had released music as a solo artist.

Tim Gunther

Until recently, Portland, Oregon-based musician Jared Mees had no band to call his own. Although his 2007 pop debut, If You Wanna Swim With the Sharks, featured guest artists, it was still primarily a solo effort and was released as such. But for his follow-up album, Caffeine, Alcohol, Sunshine Money, Mees gathered more than a dozen musicians to formally back him. Known as The Grown Children, the group includes Mees' wife, Brianne, with whom he helps run the record label Tender Loving Empire.

The album starts off with the song "Bees," which immediately puts Mees' warbling voice on display. It's a vocal style reminiscent of Cursive and The Good Life lead singer Tim Kasher, but the songs backing Mees' voice are far less grim than much of Kasher's output. As it turns out, the Grown Children moniker is a fitting one, with each song on Caffeine, Alcohol, Sunshine Money exuding a tone of child-like optimism. A chorus of voices sings along playfully throughout the album, accompanied by musical pairings as odd as a tambourine with soaring viola behind it.

In addition to being a record label, Tender Loving Empire is also a comic book imprint, custom screen-printer and a self-described "general purveyor of things artistic." Mees' efforts in the organization suggest an eclectic personal taste, and the songs on Caffeine, Alcohol, Sunshine Money certainly reflects that, whether it's the rocking track "Slabtown (Friday Night)" or the country twang of "Wettin' Down the Dirt."

Caffeine, Alcohol, Sunshine Money is set to be released on Oct. 7. That same week, Jared Mees and The Grown Children will embark on a fall U.S. tour that will include two performances at CMJ in New York.

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