LAST PREDICTABLE SUMMER

DROPPED JULY 12 2023

“A powerful message wrapped up in an irresistibly catchy tune.” ~Melodic Magazine

VIRUS VACCINE

DROPPED SEPTEMBER 8 2023

“It’s as intellectually stimulating as it is emotionally resonant, offering a mirror to our collective struggle with self-understanding.” ~Vents Magazine

TOKYO

DROPPED AUGUST 4 2023

“A rousing call to make the journey to a magical place that two people create together” ~Independent Artist Buzz

CHIEF INSPECTOR

DROPPED JUNE 30 2023

“A testament to Jaymes’ artistic prowess and his ability to craft music that resonates deeply within the listener’s soul.” ~Divine Magazine

“If folk-punk poetry had a name it would be Stephen Jaymes,” declared Kill the Music last summer after Stephen dropped his third single in as many months, “Virus Vaccine,” which offered “a mirror to our collective struggle with self-understanding” (Vents Magazine). After that, Stephen, ever the elusive enigma, vanished from the digital landscape, retreating into the depths of his creative sanctum to birth his inaugural full-length opus, King Jaymes, slated for release this autumn.

That process led to the creation of “Last Predictable Summer,” Stephen’s newest provocative single. “Toward the end of writing and recording the new songs, I realized I had been very motivated by the feeling that time is short. That releasing an album, along with a lot of other ordinary things, wouldn’t feel normal anymore very soon.” From that feeling, “Last Predictable Summer” was born. With a swagger reminiscent of a drunken sailor on the eve of Armageddon, Stephen croons of missing angels and disillusioned youth, painting a vivid tableau of a world careening towards oblivion.

While the song cheerfully toe-taps to the inescapability of fire and brimstone, Stephen is serious about the topic. “This summer will be the last one where we can all deny the obvious truth: doom is in the air because doom is on the horizon.” From the omnipresence of microplastics in human biology to unprecedented heatwaves, he reminds us that the time for denial has ended, and the reckoning is upon us. A veritable Earl of the End, Stephen confronts this shared fate with an ironically infectious rhythm and singalong chorus.

Through the lens of regular stock photography, the video for “Last Predictable Summer” paints a vivid portrait of the zeitgeist, where sun-drenched scenes of frolicking beachgoers and carefree road trips collide violently with the grim specter of apocalypse. It’s a cinematic manifesto, a punk-folk opera that thrusts the viewer into a kaleidoscope of cognitive dissonance. Stephen has constructed a phantasmagoria where joyous revelers frolic in a world headed for its twilight hour.

As that dissonance defines the year, Stephen stands as our folk-punk poet laureate, his fingers dancing upon the pulse of our collective demise as he beckons us to join him in a macabre mosh pit of existential reckoning. “Last Predictable Summer” is more than a song—it’s a manifesto for the disillusioned, a rallying cry for those ready to face the (dance) music of our uncertain future.

Singer-songwriter Stephen Jaymes might be best described as Charles Bukowski ditching whiskey for psychedelic mushrooms while feverishly ingesting Rumi poetry and Phil Ochs records. “My songs are searching for truth and authenticity, but not always both at the same time,” he says. “I try to refuse all invitations to tell the big lies, and then I see what’s left.” A gifted multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, and producer, Stephen is a self-contained artist. His music exudes the stylish playfulness of Prince with clever turns of phrases and occasional funk flashes, but it also conjures the stateliness and mystique of Leonard Cohen.

Stephen writes with a strutting, folk-punk songwriting sensibility. In his songs, he brings to life shadowy characters and dark alternate realities in order to highlight the brightness underneath with literate and lacerating lyrics. His mixture of highbrow thematic writing and down and dirty rock n’ roll living makes Stephen the ultimate unfamed celebrity—a rebel-hearted poet soaking up the dark magic of Hollywood and prompting bystanders to snap their fingers as they try to remember his name.

Stephen’s voice draws comparisons to Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Ian McCulloch, and Gordon Lightfoot. His musical style has been compared to Elvis Costello, Beck, and T Rex. His lyrical style is highly reminiscent of Nilsson, Newman, Phil Ochs, and Leonard Cohen.

Stephen was born north of Detroit, growing up in a house of varied musical tastes. His father played 1960s and 1970s folk while his older brother blasted new wave and punk acts like Ramones and Elvis Costello. At eight, his school bus driver salvaged an acoustic guitar and taught him how to play the songs he was listening to.

Stephen stoked his passion for songwriting while attending Harvard University by performing sharp-witted They Might Be Giants-esque songs about topics like relativity theory. Privately, however, Stephen was writing sincere songs influenced by Phil Ochs and Bob Dylan.

After graduating, Stephen moved to Prague and busked in the streets with other expat songwriters. He taught himself to fingerpick the early Leonard Cohen catalog in a rented room, living a life very much like the one reflected in those songs. He then moved to LA where, for a few years, he performed regularly at cafes, picking up a loyal following before going on a self-imposed hiatus from public performance.

Last summer Stephen solidified his reputation as a gifted singer/songwriter successfully blending the folk and punk traditions by releasing a trio of breakout singles and captivating videos. That work deftly carved out his niche as “a punk poet and a post-apocalyptic hippie” (Modern Mystery).

The first single, “Chief Inspector,” was a “psychedelic noir thriller” (Divine Magazine) that saw Stephen running from his own Jungian shadow. Then “Tokyo” unleashed “something different and unique” (Folk Rock Alchemist) and became “the folk rock hit we needed!” (Modern Mystery). It’s infectious riff delivered a “rousing call to make the journey to a magical place that two people create together” (Independent Artist Buzz).

Then, finally, “Virus Vaccine,” a Newmanesque ballad that wasn’t about Covid at all, but rather about a man misapplying the idea that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It delivered a message “as intellectually stimulating as it is emotionally resonant, offering a mirror to our collective struggle with self-understanding” (Vents Magazine) and a video that saw him embracing exposure therapy to questionable effect.

Prior to last summer’s impressive showing, Stephen released a brace of singles and EPs, including the Sweet Violin EP. Stephen’s creative continuum has propelled him from a lo-fi folk troubadour à la Palace to a refined songwriter with more polish but no less edge.

Stephen had embraced the first wave of digital home recording early, after landing in LA. Pretty quickly, however, he felt his songwriting was losing to engineering rabbit holes, and he turned his back on digital home recording as well as announced public performances. He has volumes of song notes that are mostly on cassette.

In 2008, Stephen got a first generation iPhone and jailbroke it to download a four-track recording app. Enchanted by the paradox of digital recording sounding like hiss-filled cassette four-track demos, he commenced producing and recording his library of music.

Beginning with last year’s singles and leading to this autumn’s King Jaymes LP, Stephen has finally achieved his sonic ideals. “I’m collaborating with a Serbian mixing engineer who is a true kindred spirit and an absolute master of of the art,” he shares. “He really gets my music, and together we’ve achieved the sound I’ve always heard in my head.”

“Last Predictable Summer” and its accompanying video drop July 12. King Jaymes drops this autumn.