photo courtesy of the artist
The pop project persona of Chicago-born Joseph Farago, Joey Nebulous, was never meant to be something serious. After spending years writing songs privately, Farago’s close-knit queer community in college encouraged him to perform his irreverent and pop culture-inspired tunes in public. Years later, Joey Nebulous has flourished in the midwest DIY scene, influenced heavily by local twee pop and indie rock bands. With help from keyboardist/singer Margaret McCarthy (Moontype), drummer Logan Novak, and singer/bassist Wilson Brehmer (Patter, The Knees), the quartet has become a solid troupe that combines a comic performance style with playful harmonies and effervescent synths.
After recording 2019’s Give Yourself a Kiss For Me with dear friend and bandmate Nick Levine (Jodi), the world was thrust into pandemic mode that paused Joey Nebulous’s output. Now, almost four years later, the band is ready to release two new songs showcasing their sonic evolution while maintaining their tried and true lyrical material, including Sex and the City references, famous directors, and unrequited gay fantasies.
When Farago joined TikTok during the early part of quarantine, he had no idea that becoming mutuals with one of his musical idols would lead to future collaboration. Written hastily in 2022, Joey Nebulous’s newest single, “Break,” was initially missing a harmonic element only one artist could provide. Its minute-long runtime reminded Farago of Frankie Cosmos’ Greta Kline, a songwriter known for her prolific hooks and journalistic writing style. To the band’s excitement, Kline agreed to offer her vocals after a few direct messages, giving “Break” a necessary, whimsical boost that compliments its themes of longing and interaction.
Joey Nebulous’s first live-action music video accompanies “Break,” designed and directed by Chris Tuttle. Surrounded by a surrealist world of puppets and humanettes, the song’s simplistic lyrics unfold through a fantastical realm of butterflies, vibrant pinks, and abnormally sized flower petals. Drag Race winner Willow Pill is featured counter to Farago, singing the ebullient harmonies while dancing atop an emerald grand piano. Though only a minute in length, the video is instantly replayable, providing an otherworldly narrative essential to understanding Joey Nebulous’s playful world.
The B side “Jennifer Aniston” follows familiar territory for Joey Nebulous. First listing well-known celebrities, the tune progresses into more serious subject matters, depicting the struggles of confidence and success’s unpredictability. Seth Engel (Options) lends his drumming and tambourine prowess to the track, adding an indie rock layer to the band’s usual pop aesthetic.
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