I can’t stop listening to Jake Minch’s EP

Every now and then I listen to a set of songs that have a tendency to stick in my head right before I fall asleep and they’re the first melody on my mind when I wake up. Some albums I can recall that have done this for me over the past year or so have been: Florence + the Machine’s Dance Fever, Noah Kahan’s Stick Season, Zach Brian’s self titled, Taylor Swift’s folklore, Olivia Barton’s This is a Good Sign

Last month that honour went to Eliza McLamb’s debut full-length Going Through It. This month it looks like it’s another debut; Jake Minch’s 2023 EP how many. A video of him singing one of his (unreleased) songs popped up (YouTube link for ease of access) during one of my endless Instagram scrolling sessions (I am not on tiktok!) and now I’ve had his EP on constant repeat for about a week. 

This batch of songs is a perfect mixture of its diy/indie/folk influences. Think of Modern Baseball / Slaughter Beach, Dog, and The Front Bottoms. Think of Pinegrove, Field Medic, and Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. Zach Brian or Noah Kahan or even some of Alex G’s folkier songs. Think of the my-bedroom-is-my-studio artists like cavetown and dodie and flatsound. Think of Lizzy McAlpine, Phoebe Bridgers and Adrianne Lenker / Big Thief. It’s a familiar sound which still retains Jake’s own voice and fits snugly among his predecessors and contemporaries.

Jake is still young and he writes about all the trials and tribulations of not being a kid anymore but not yet fully being an adult either and he does it in an incredibly sincere way. He writes of love and loss and heartbreak and moving away from home for the first time. He writes with the honesty of a diary entry, which is my favourite kind of writing.

Jake Minch – strip mall

I started getting into music when I was around twelve or so. I’ve listened to a lot of music since, but when you’re twelve there isn’t that much music out there for you to really relate to. All the artists you listen to are much older than you, and you want to appear more mature by learning to understand their experiences, but you’re still just a kid. This gap between my own feelings and experiences and those of my favourite musicians started to close down around my late teens. I’m 24 now, around the same age (or even older!) most of my favourite artists were when they wrote some of my favourite songs. 

What this EP does is bring me back to that in between time when you’re just learning how to be an adult— and I’m not saying that I already know, or will ever know how to be one, but I’ve come a long way since 18!—and how to be your own person. How to live on your own, the questions you have and the things you learn about yourself and others. If the music I used to listen to made me look forward to early adulthood and fill me with wonder about everything that I’ll experience, these few songs make me look back on that feeling with fondness. Oh, to be a teenager again!

I literally can’t stop listening to these songs. They’re like little flashes of what it’s like to be a teenager. It might feel weird to write this because I’m not really that old, but 18 feels so far away. And I haven’t found anything in my adult life that I haven’t heard before (meaning it’s not drenched in my own nostalgia) which would make me feel that way.

Obviously I could go back and listen to any of my throwback playlists, but it feels special to discover something new that has successfully captured this feeling of very particular nostalgia so well. I think in this case it can be owed up to the mixture of influences I mentioned earlier, through which Jake seems to have perfectly distilled the soundscape of my late teens. 

I think Jake Minch came out with a wonderful debut collection of songs that blend his influences, whether it’s the sounds, the melodies, the production or the writing. He has a wonderful ear for writing catchy melodies and chord progression, and is a sincere storyteller. Something about these songs is making them stick in my head and I believe that’s a great sign.

Sometimes I get angry when I discover a new artist who has only just released their first batch of music because that means this first batch is all I can listen to for the foreseeable future. But I can’t be too angry for too long when the material is good. I’m very excited to see what the future brings for Jake, but there’s one thing I’m certain of (based on previous experience) – I’ll see these songs on my 2024 wrapped/replay! 

The worst part of growing up is learning how young you are
Jake Minch – handgun