Seattle band iji have roots here in Phoenix. Songwriter Zach Burba started the group in Tempe, and played frequently at The Trunk Space, honing his weird funk-pop.
I've always liked the Burba's sensibility (full disclosure: a band I used to play in a band that covered the iji tune "Meet Me in the Graveyard"), and I'm especially excited for the band's new album, Yerself. Inspired by a stack of thrift store cassettes from the likes of Squeeze, Laurie Anderson, Men At Work, New Edition, and Kate Bush, iji have launched a Kickstarter page to help fund the proper release of the album, with the band hoping to press 500 vinyl copies with full color artwork.
Songwriter Zach Burba spoke with Up on the Sun about "That Spooky Feeling," a song from the record.
"The title of this song is a reference to the song "The Good Feeling" from our last album Cool Dream. The lyrics to this one are a bit more abstract then the rest of the album, but there is a cool story about one part. Last summer iji was on tour and got to spend a couple of days in New Orleans. I was really excited to go there for the first time and wanted to see as much of it as I could. One afternoon we decided to go see some of the really old graveyards. One of the graveyards we visited was the burial site of New Orleans voodoo queen Marie Laveau. We didn't know much about her at the time, but her grave was covered in offerings and red X's.
Shortly after seeing where she lies, we were approached by a black cat with no collar. It seemed really strange to see a cat just roaming around a graveyard surrounded by huge walls and no houses, and we were startled by its appearance, but we weren't afraid and sat down and pet the friendly cat for a bit. After a few minutes the cat turned around and ran off. When we got to the house we stayed at that night we were looking up information about Marie Laveau online and read that often times near her grave she appears to to visitors as a black cat! We couldn't believe it! The web told us that if you turn your back on the cat you would be cursed for ever, but as far as we could remember none of us turned our backs on the cat once, and it seemed to really like us.
There are a lot of other references in the song. Some of the lyrics describe my feelings of fear as a little kid at night and others are about the extremely hard video game Ghosts and Goblin, which some friends were trying to beat when I wrote the song. The lyric "Vampire Bites" is a title of a song from one of the first iji albums from way back in 2005.
When you put it all together you get this funky song about getting freaked."
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.