EP: Billy Joel Jr – Rubberhose

Billy Joel Jr., an indie rock and grunge band from the Chicago, IL area, released their first EP, Rubberhose, in April of 2024. Billy Joel Jr. is comprised of Ari Levin, Charlie Burke Dykstal, Nate Dorian, and Karl El Sohkn, and has been a powerful presence in the Chicago DIY scene since their formation in 2023.

Rubberhose starts off extremely strong with “She’s Always on my Mind”, a track that opens with an energetic guitar melody and then transitions into passionate vocals sandwiched between more gorgeous guitar and other instrumentals. When we get to the chorus, the passion and energy of the vocals becomes truly electric, the sound permeating one’s brain, heart, and lungs – “She’s Always on my Mind” is a song your heart could beat to. 

Next on the EP is “Oh, Nancy” – full of saxophone and a dreamy guitar sound, the backing instrumentals mesh perfectly with the strong, emotional lyrics and vocals that really tug on the listener’s heartstrings. The sounds of “Oh, Nancy” are a gorgeous mix of vintage sounds/motifs and more modern guitar melodies and backing structure that set the stage for the next track excellently.

The third song of Rubberhose is “Joanna”, which is my favorite song of the EP. It’s a bright-burning, powerful ballad full of hard-hitting lyrics and captivating, entrancing vocals. “Joanna” gets a lot of its emotional punch from the lyrics and vocals but also the structure and melodies of the backing instruments, filling in the gaps between verses and words, creating a soundscape in which it sounds like the guitar melody is singing along with the vocalist. And, when the vocal melody is joined by backup vocals and harmonies, and the percussion begins its buildup, the pure auditory essence of “Joanna” pours into the listener’s heart and head, gifting the listener with feelings reminiscent of raging fires and turbulent thunderstorms. “Joanna” is truly a gift from Billy Joel Jr. and Rubberhose would not hold the same energy without it.

The last three tracks are “Leo (God Help Me)”, “You’re So Tall”, and “Baseball Bat”, all unique and potent in their own way. All three are charged, energetic pieces that are perfect for dancing to and fun to sing along to. In “Baseball Bat”, we’re treated to heavy and hard-hitting percussion combined with a catchy, fiery guitar melody that gets stuck in your head, and in “You’re So Tall”, Billy Joel Jr. gives us an amazing vocal performance and incredible lyrics. All of Rubberhose is truly a delicious treat for the ears and the mind. Rubberhose is a must-listen-to for anyone, truly anyone, and there is something in this EP for everyone and every kind of listener. Billy Joel Jr. gave us a masterpiece with Rubberhose, almost as if the band members were some of Apollo’s own disciples, their musical talents and incredible, creative minds ensuring that the EP is destined not to be forgotten or fade from listener’s minds, but to become one of the best DIY releases of the season and to be remembered as a hit for many years to come.

Written by Valor