In mid-July, Joe Keery released “Roddy” as his debut single under the name “Djo”, seemingly out of nowhere. The project embodies a catchy bit of psych-pop that reminds listeners of Mild High Club, Pond, or Bane’s World, but still marks itself as distinctly different. Seemingly out of nowhere, “Steve Harrington” of Stranger Things is making waves in the music world, After already being put on notice for his acting work.
Joe Keery made his musical debut with Chicago-based psych rockers Post Animal before deciding to cut out and save the “is this band popular because of the Stranger Things guy” drama. So as it stands, this isn’t his first foré into music, as he plays guitar and sings on the Post Animal project. But as Djo, Keery is front and center playing a more melodic and poppy psychedelic style, standing in contrast to the proggier, edgy psych-rock style in Post Animal. For comparison, check out his vocals in Post Animal’s single “Ralphie” and hear the difference in tone/feel between it and any of the Djo releases.
With gliding, warbly guitars and a dreamy synth line, “Roddy” is a smooth and catchy cut of ‘60s inspired pop/psychedelia that shifts into funky electro-pop. Keery sings and blends into the mix with a soft dream-pop tone, showcasing his musical ability in full. A few weeks after the release of “Roddy,” Djo followed up with “Chateau (Feel Alright)”, an even more reserved and laid back offering colored with arpeggiated guitars and falsetto vox. Silencing any doubters who may have thought he was just in a talented band once, Keery is showing a real knack for creating his own catchy jams.
He capped his singles off with the synth-led “Mortal Projections”, further showcasing the level of versatility in his compositions. Displaying his most impressive vocal performance yet, Keery sings over descending guitar riffs that weave along with a Stranger Things-y synth, adding another great bit of music his discography. Following the release of these three singles, he announced his debut album “Twenty Twenty,” due September 13th, followed by a pair of shows at the Morrocan Lounge in LA the 27th/28th (both of which sold out immediately).
Hopefully, Today’s release will provide more insight into and understanding of the project; regardless, if he were to just release the album and take his time with the roll-out, there wouldn’t be much to complain about (well, the instant sold-out shows, but c’mon now). Though more show dates and a full-fledged tour have yet to be mentioned, the announcement shouldn’t be too far away, granted Keery isn’t busy with a full acting schedule. However, when someone as talented as he comes around, there never seems to be enough output to satisfy the evergrowing fanbase.