by Logan Deiner
Jason Mendelson’s music career began back in elementary school, where he played trombone in the school band. His interest would only grow from there, as he started getting into rock and roll, writing his own music, and playing instruments like guitar and piano. Some of Jason’s biggest influences include They Might Be Giants, Ben Folds FIve, Elvis Costello, and 70s prog rock bands like Yes, and Peter Gabriel era Genesis, and Rush. All that said, it is very difficult to pinpoint an exact sound, as Jason continues to experiment with a lot of different instrumentation and styles.
Now he is in the process of forming an all new band called Jason and the Revenuers. The name comes from his day job doing taxes for a private corporation. Aside from Jason Mendelson as lead singer and songwriter, the band members consist of Jonny Grave on lead guitar, Ben Rikhoff on bass, Maryjo Mattea on guitar and keyboard, and Marty Risemberg on synthesizer and drums. Jason refers to the project as a “DC all-star band” because “they are great musicians in their own rights, and I was just lucky enough to get them all in one room.”
Jason and the Revenuers have already performed a few shows, and are expected to release an EP together down the road. The EP will be called Scenes, and will contain six tracks. The first three tracks have already been released as singles and are available to listen to now, and the other three singles will be released later on throughout the summer. The first track that was released was Where They Make Rum. This is a pleasant song that it very heavy in Latin and Mexican Salsa influence. It paints a relaxing picture of paradise, and is purposely very simple and comedic in its tone. This is a song worth listening to for those who just want to clear their mind and have a good time.
The second song is Thief in The Night.The song is seemingly about a love that was lost, and compares it to a thief who steals from the ill prepared. It has a distinct late 90s and early 2000s soft rock and acoustic sound, which was popularized by bands like The Goo Goo Dolls and The Dave Matthews Band.
Finally, the most recent single thus far is Katie Never Did. This song is very similar to Thief In The Night, but rather than using metaphors to paint the picture, Jason decided to go the more direct route. Put simply, this is a song about a man who is reflecting on a failed relationship that he blamed himself for, but comes to find there was blame on both sides. The major standouts of these singles are the production, the instruments, the willingness to experiment with different sounds, and Jason’s very tight and neatly polished lyrical and vocal abilities. When he wants to be comedic, he can be comedic, and when he wants to be serious, he can be serious, but most noteworthy is his ability to paint a picture with words through his singing, songwriting, as well as the instruments that accompany him that help to put the listener into his mindset.
Jason’s ability to capture the spirit of a variety of styles and music and convey them through his own writing is arguably one of the most interesting things about his work. Jason is well known for writing about each Washington DC area metro station through his series of albums called Metro Songs. Then he reveals an entirely different side of himself with his ode video game icon Mega Man through his 2018 release, Blue Streak. Jason said, “I got the idea during the 2018 Super Bowl. I have little to no interest in sports, so I decided to get my guitar and write some tunes. Throughout my life, I have been a huge fan of Mega Man, and I thought it would be funny to try and write an album around the Mega Man elements and bosses. Over the course of the Super Bowl, I wrote about four songs, with the rest coming later.” The same thing that was said about Jason’s other work can be said with Blue Streak. It has solid production, unique instruments, and amazing vocals. The album, is purposely very simple and accessible, with the short runtime of about 26 minutes helping this. The album is not strictly about Mega Man per se, but rather inspired by and loosely centered around it. With feel good songs like the song inspired by Crash Man’s stage Ready For The Crash, to a song about fans (as in ceiling fans) which is just called Fans, the album is more meant to be an album to turn the listener’s brain off and just vibe with. There are other subtle nods to Mega Man scattered throughout the album, including the “leaf shield,” which is a power up from Wood Man’s stage, mentioned in the song Trees, but overall it stands on its own as a simple, well produced album, and it does not matter if the listener has played the Mega Man games or not in order to be enjoyed.
For fans of accessible feel good music with catchy hooks, a willingness to experiment, and an amazing singing voice, I cannot recommend Jason Mendelson highly enough. You can find his first three singles from his latest project, as well as his other work on Spotify and the rest of his singles and his EP are expected to come out later this summer. For more information, visit his website here: jasonmendelsonmusic.com. You can also follow him on Facebook for the latest updates, and listen to his music, both old and new, on Spotify.
Jason will be performing at The 5×5 on August 23rd at the Villain and Saint in Bethesda. Click here for tickets.
Logan Deiner is a writer and journalist who enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to music in his spare time. He enjoys most genres of music, and has a vinyl collection of over 500 records.