SXSW Spotlight: Jenny Owen Youngs, Tomboy With Guitar

I admit, I initially wrote off “Voice On Tape” by Jenny Owen Youngs as another pleasant indie-pop song by a cute, guitar-playing girl. Don’t get me wrong — I liked it. There just didn’t seem to be anything warranting another look. I was also a little annoyed by the answering machine intro. Random speaking voices have that special ability ruin songs for me (I’m looking at you, “Graveyard Girl” by M83). But then the chorus hit, and I thought, “Ohh, sexy.” Listen for yourself.

Voices continued to invade the verses, but I didn’t mind — as long as those choruses kept coming. After a quick google, the song got more interesting: That voice on tape at the very beginning — yes, the one that initially irritated me — was none other than Regina Spektor‘s! Why this excites me is baffling, but it does. It lends a little legitimacy to those interrupting voices and, if nothing else, reaffirms that Regina Spektor’s words are poignant even in answering machine messages.

Jenny Owen Youngs latest album is Transmitter Failure, and she’ll be playing four separate shows at this year’s SXSW. Check out her SXSW dates and her full tour schedule on MySpace. Read about her lesbian following, which you are welcome to join, at PrideSource.

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Jess G.

Jess is a writer/producer with a knack for audio and online production. She grew up in California and now lives in Washington, DC, where she recently graduated from Georgetown University. Jess' jacket collection is obscenely large, and so is her music library. In her spare time, Jess enjoys riding her bike in the city, blogging, writing songs, and eating good food.

Jess has written 44 articles for us.


  1. I’m actually seeing her this week! Have you heard her cover of “Hot in Here AMAZING.

    • Her cover is amazing and I love the video. Also, when she plays it live the band usually morphs into Wonderwall for a little bit. Good stuff.

      • Thanks for that suggestion. I checked out the “Hot In Here” cover. Loved the video, and her version is growing on me… not hooked yet.

  2. J.O.Y. has been one of my fav musicians since she put out Batten The Hatchets herself in 2005 (Nettwerk put it out in 2007). She puts on a good show. Fuck Was I is one of my favorite songs EVAR! She and all her musician friends (Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers, Allie Moss, Andrew Futral, Regina Spektor, Dan Romer, Gregory and the Hawk, Jukebox the Ghost, etc etc etc.) are all worth listening to. The have their own playlist on my iTunes.

  3. My first taste of Jenny Owen Youngs was her Fuck Was I song dubbed into a clip of someone getting it in the butt for the first time. (don’t judge me!)

    Needless to say, I was hooked

  4. I’ve watched J.O.Y. perform once. It was the NYC stop of the Hotel Cafe Tour 2 years ago. She only did one song though. I think she was a special guest of some sort on that gig even if she’s included in the tour’s lineup. Now, I tend to gravitate towards female musicians, well, especially gay female musicians. When I watched her, all I could mutter to myself was, “Dammit, can she please be gay?” Couldn’t stop smiling when I see her name popping up in random LGBT-oriented websites/blogs.

    I remember one of Weeds’ opening scene had Fuck Was I playing. I think it was the season 2 premier, or something. Anyway, her song pretty much summed up Nancy’s situation. Hah.

    And fuckyeah, that’s Regina Spektor! I won’t go into it that much, because if I attempt to explain how amazing she is, it will merit an entire thesis.

  5. JOY is on tour with some of her friends, Bess Rogers and Allison Weiss. I’ve seen them all and they’re all pretty awesome. Y’all should check them out.

  6. Oh and J.O.Y., Bess and Andrew have a podcast called Once More With Feeling (yes, it’s after their fav episode of Buffy!) it is hysterical and probably the best episode is number 3 with Ingrid. Gotta love episode 5 when they talk about how awesome Cheerios and Regina are!

    J.O.Y. opened for Regina in London at the Apollo last Nov and I got talking to her after. She says they’ve recorded another episode but it all depends on how long Andrew takes to edit it, which we both agreed could be years.

    She’s fun and super cute with her glasses on btw. (Thank you UK border officer who took her contacts from her at security!)

    Stay after her shows for chat time and hugs!

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