Based in Little Rock, Kansas alt-pop duo joan — Alan Benjamin Thomas and Steven Rutherford — create giddy and vibrantly rhythmed tracks. Their latest single “nervous” bends and bounces elastically against a melody punctuated by guitars and the band’s earnest pop hooks. It’s the newest release from joan’s upcoming debut album superglue, following previously shared songs like “don’t wanna be your friend” and “flowers.” The duo has also announced a tour with a stop at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles on Jun. 7.
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With the “nervous,” the duo dives into an anxious stream of consciousness about wrestling with nerves brought on by your feelings for another person. “You make me nervous and now I’m slurring my words,” they sing. “Feel like I’m in high school, tripping over my shoes.” Backed by the song’s buoyant tones and textures, even though the track is about such an all-consuming and discomforting feeling, it’s still an attempt to convey one’s love. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed you’re my singular focus,” they whisper suavely.
Though as the song makes explicit — “try not to throw up my breakfast” — doing exactly that isn’t the easiest task in the world. Or the least frightening. Like their last single “don’t wanna be your friend,” joan on “nervous” find themselves caught between all the emotional and internal red tape involved in trying to tell someone how you feel about them.
The music video for “nervous” (directed by Brandon Waddell, Joel Nix, and Matt Miller) opens with the duo staring at an old television set transmitting back to them a scene from the music video itself. Against a backdrop of neon-vivid lights and zooming around under fish-eye distortions, which give the effect of being caught in a kaleidoscope, the film is a synthesis of the exuberant energy that makes joan’s music itself so infectious.
“We wrote this song with the lovely Emily Falvey of Nashville and Jonathan Capeci from Nightly, and the second we all walked into the room together there was immediate chemistry between us,” joan explained. “We wanted to get as close to the emotion of a sort of school-like love story, where you constantly want to be around them but you also literally feel like you’re going to throw up because you’re so… nervous (wink), and you don’t want to say the wrong thing around them. it’s such a cool and distinct feeling, we hope this song takes you back to that place.”
superglue the new album from joan is out on Apr. 19 via Photo Finish Records.
See them perform at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles on Jun. 7 and the Constellation Room in Santa Ana on Jun. 6. View the complete list of tour dates below!
Visit joan on their Instagram and Twitter to stay updated on new releases and tour announcements.
May 13 – The Masquerade (Hell Stage): Atlanta, GA
May 14 – The Basement East: Nashville, TN
May 16 – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
May 17: The Lounge @ World Cafe: Philadelphia, PA
May 19 – The Black Cat: Washington DC
May 20 – The Sinclair: Boston, MA
May 23 – The Velvet Underground, Toronto, ON
May 25 – Subterranean: Chicago, IL
May 31 – Parish: Austin, TX
June 1 – Club Dada: Dallas, TX
June 3 – Valley Bar: Phoenix, AZ
June 4 – Voodoo Room @ HOB: San Diego, CA
June 6 – Constellation Room: Santa Ana, CA
June 7 – Teragram Ballroom: Los Angeles, CA
June 8 – Popscene @ Rickshaw Shop: San Francisco, CA
June 10 – Polaris Hall: Portland, OR
June 11 – Barboza: Seattle, WA
June 13 – Soundwell: Salt Lake City, UT
June 14 – Larimer Lounge: Denver, CO
June 16 – Little Rock Music Hall: Little Rock, AR
Words by Steven Ward
Watch the music video for “nervous” the new single from joan below!