The Green Pajamas played their last live show in 2018, but the studio remains their kingdom. 2022 brings us Forever For A Little While, their second album in two years. Very much a follow-up to last year’s, Sunlight Might Weigh Even More, this album again features stunning song-craft steeped in classic Green Pajamas neo-psychedelic production sensibilities. Kicking off with the one-two punch of, “Theme for a World Neurotic,” sampled from a North Korean News broadcast(!) and “Six Minutes in Heaven,” it is immediately evident we are in the classic PJ’s territory of Strung Behind The Sun and All Clues Lead To Meagan’s Bed.
“The last album was influenced by Strung so I was thinking a bit about its follow-up, Meagan’s Bed, when putting this one together,” states Pajama main-man Jeff Kelly. “It’s a little more autumnal than Sunlight, which I kind of regard as a mostly sunny record.” Beyond, Meagan’s Bed as influence, Kelly cites, living life during the pandemic, the planets, Persian music, Erik Satie, Japanese films by Akira Kurosawa, and even singer/actress Meiko Kaji’s Female Prisoner, Scorpion, and Lady Snowblood movies. “‘Menthol Woman’ was a song I wrote when I was a teenager. I wanted to record it so I took the original nonsensical lyrics out and turned it into a kinda Meiko Kaji tribute!”
In 2021, after releasing two solo albums based on his travels in Portugal and Spain, Beneath The Stars Above The River and When The World Was Younger, Jeff thought it was about time for a new Green Pajamas album. The first new Green Pajamas release since, Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3 (2018), Sunlight Might Weigh Even More is a true return to the PJ’s psychedelic roots, Kelly’s template this time being 1997’s, Strung Behind the Sun, perhaps the band’s most popular release. “I wanted to go completely back to the whimsical sound of Strung for this one, so it’s quite different from the last one!” As was the case with Strung, Jeff wrote and recorded the majority of this album alone. That said, there are two new Eric Lichter songs as well as the first new Green Pajamas song penned by Joe Ross since 2011. Sunlight Might Weigh Even More is full of the PJ’s trademark psych-pop melodies, exotic instruments, harmonies and ringing electric guitars and is set to become a new essential album in the Green Pajamas discography.
The Green Pajamas formed in the spring of 1984 when Jeff Kelly and Joe Ross recorded and released their first album, Summer Of Lust, pioneering Seattle’s answer to the Los Angeles Paisley Underground scene. “The Pajamas somehow manage to sound like holding two kaleidoscopes side by side and using them as binoculars to see the future of rock’n’roll” wrote Phil McMullen in Bucketful Of Brains [July 1987].
The band rose to college radio fame in the mid 1980s with the 7″ record “Kim The Waitress,” and, over the last 30 years, has released twenty-two albums and numerous singles on many labels including Green Monkey, Bomp!, Camera Obscura and Get Hip.
2009’s Poison In The Russian Room was voted one of top 100 records of the year by The London Times.
Though its focus has always been on recording, the band has often performed in its home town and at the Terrastock festivals in San Francisco, London, Providence and Seattle, as well as in Austin, Boston, Vancouver and other cities.
EVERYTHING’S GONE GREEN
Part II: The Green Pajamas by Dennis White – An extensive history. EVERYTHING’S GONE GREENPart II: The Green Pajamas – Jive Time Records
Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3
“Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3 is, in many ways, a prototypical Green Pajamas album — full of gently acidic melodies, soulfully plainspoken singing and lyrics haunted by ghosts real and imagined. But, as with all “Northern Gothic” branded releases, there’s something special at work here. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what it is — more lyrical focus? Stronger melodies? More precise instrumental work? Whatever the reason, the band is on fire here. “Lisa Lou” and “The Rosebergs” continue the PJs’ tradition of sharp pop songs, while “The Shepard Well” and “Red Bird” does the same for folk rock. “Ana (All the Way Down),” “Monica Talks to Angels” and “Amy’s Gonna Take You Down” feature some of the group’s toughest rock songs ever, with catchy tunes enhanced by steely guitar fills. The Green Pajamas rarely miss anyway, but Phantom Lake: Northern Gothic 3 is undeniably a new set of PJs classics.” – MICHAEL TOLAND, Blurt, July 26, 2018
To the End of the Sea
10 Stars! “IfTo The End of the Sea seems like an echo of another age, it’s also a welcome return to a time when adventure and experimentation went well beyond the mindless gimmickry and superfluous trappings found in today’s more pretentious pop. This is ambition of another kind, the supple effect of a more mesmerizing kind of music.” – Lee Zimmerman, Glide Magazine, Nov. 23, 2016
“A new Green Pajamas album is always cause for celebration, and “To The End Of The Sea” may well be their best for a decade. “ – Nathan Ford , The Active Listener, 2016
“Collecting various 45s, released over the years the prolific Pajamas, deliver a cracking new cohesive record, which could well be their finest to date and if you don’t have any of their previous records this one would make a good place to start.” – Andrew Young, Terrascope, Nov. 2017
If You Knew What I Dreamed…..
I know everyone is always using the phrase “most underrated band” but in this instance I believe it to be true. These guys should have been superstars. In my world, they are. Frank Gutch
I don’t want to say I saved the best for last, but The Pajamas are one of my all-time favorite bands of all-time. Yes, I meant to write all-time twice. They deserve it. One thing I have always liked about the band is that their members really care about their fans. Really. They have gone out of their way the past few years to make their older albums available (even the exceptional All Clues Lead to Meagan’s Bed which I had tried to find for so long) and even went out of their way to make sure vinyl would be available for the latest release (or should I say re-release), If You Knew What I Dreamed. The new album is a chopped down version and remixed version of the 2007 album and is worth it for the upgraded sound courtesy of Green Monkey prexy Tom Dyer. The original release had sixteen tracks but the powers that be decided on eleven for whatever reason. Doesn’t really matter. You can still download all sixteen tracks here. And here is the link for the new release. Hell, if’n I was you, I would download them both if for nothing else but comparisons sake. For more information, I suggest following this link. I know everyone is always using the phrase “most underrated band” but in this instance I believe it to be true. These guys should have been superstars. In my world, they are. From Segarini: Don’t Believe a Word I Say
Why Do Bands Stay Together? Seven Veteran Seattle Groups Share the Secrets of Their Longevity
“If anyone in town knows how to foster longevity, it’s Jeff Kelly. His melodious psych-rock band the Green Pajamas have existed since 1984. “Joe [Ross] and I started this thing when we were young, and we still enjoy each other’s company,” Kelly says. “We argue about shit often, but it’s a bit like brothers and we end up still together in the end. In fact, the whole Pajamas live band is a bit like family—albeit a polyamorous relationship or an open marriage. Allowing each other musical freedom may be key. We all have our various projects.” Another good point is to limit live gigs. “I am of the opinion that we should only go out and play shows if it sounds like a lot of fun,” Kelly says. “I want to play just when there is a reason to celebrate.”
“Partner Joe Ross chimes in with a couple of tunes of his own; his wavery pitch and more straightforward emotional thrust make “Last Days of Autumn” and especially “All I Want to Do” (“is sit in my room and try and write songs for you”) particularly affecting. . . But those are just a few of the rough gems found in a mine that veteran PJs fans will greatly enjoy excavating.” Michael Toland – Blurt
Jan 05, 2015
Happy Halloween! named Best Reissue of 2014! – Power Pop News
Americana UK says Yes to Happy Halloween!
“Another welcome reissue from Seattle psych popsters . . . if you dig the likes of Syd Barrett, The West Coast Experimental Pop Band, Robyn Hitchcock, Young Marble Giants or The Bevis Frond then you might be well advised to check this out.” Paul Kerr, Americana UK
“Green Pajamas fans need this right now, and for those who are yet to discover this long running, and consistently great institution, now’s the time” Nathan Ford – The Active Listener
Green Monkey Records’ excavation of the Green Pajamas’ back catalogue has been an impressive undertaking which I’m sad to see the end of, but they go out with a bang here! The original “Happy Halloween”s eight tracks were recorded and released in October 1984, recorded directly onto cassette, only released on cassette, and distributed amongst friends, so this is its first public release, bolstered by 14 bonus tracks from around the same time, many of which are better than the original “Happy Halloween” tracks. So, what to make of “Happy Halloween”? It’s predictably lo-fi of course, as is only to be expected for music sourced from tapes, but considering its vintage it sounds pretty great, and remember, these are the guys who had just released “Summer of Lust” – they knew how to get a good sound quickly and cheaply. And “Summer of Lust” is a good touchstone for what to expect here, with classic pop songcraft still very much a priority, with winsome melodies, huge choruses, and engaging harmonies. There’s also an effort to widen the scope of their arrangements, with Jeff Kelly acquiring a cheap cello that makes it way onto many of the tracks here, played surprisingly adeptly as Jeff had never played a bowed instrument before. “Stephanie Barber” sounds like Macca and George Martin have been at it, and is a startling example of how quickly Jeff adapted and evolved, given any opportunity. Elsewhere a new Casiotone keyboard makes its presence felt in a mostly successful fashion, with only a confusing early version of “Murder of Crows” failing to gel. Some nice baroque, Greensleevesy moments too. And there are some corker songs here, a few of which were later revisited and given proper release, but most of which weren’t. “I’ve Got a Crush On You” is one of the best, sounding effortlessly off the cuff, but insidiously memorable in its graceful melancholy. And “This Winter’s Night” is a great, spontaneous “Hey Jude” of an anthem with an extremely Beatlesque repeated refrain of “Why can’t this Christmas go on forever?” that goes on (almost) forever, but not quite long enough. Green Pajamas fans need this right now, and for those who are yet to discover this long running, and consistently great institution, now’s the time and while this may not be the best starting point (perhaps “The Complete Book Of Hours”?), it’s certainly got the requisite hooks to snag a few newbies.
Halloween! Review in This Is Book’s Music!
John Book, This is Book’s Music: Halloween 2014 is behind us now but this album by the Green Pajamas was released before October 31st and in truth, it’s music that is non-seasonal, which is good. The music on Happy Halloween! (Green Monkey) was recorded in 1984 but remained unreleased until thirty years later. Why it was held back is unknown but this is an album that should’ve came out way back then. If you are someone who has been a fan of this Seattle band over the years, you will find this to be great, as if a holy grail of sorts has been unleashed and you’ve been patiently waiting for something (anything) unreleased until now. A group like that, at least for me, were always on the verge of becoming something huge but because of the fact that Seattle was not the “hip place” it would become seven years later, a lot of great artists were held back from superstardom. For those who have called Green Pajamas personal favorites, songs like “In The Sky”, “I’ll Want To Run For You” and “Johnna Johnna” will become the classics it deserves to be.
Sweet Halloween Review in Terrascope!
“a fascinating microscopic peek into the nuts and bolts of where they began and how, even thirty years ago in their basements and bedrooms, they were laying the groundwork for one of the most impressive careers in rock and roll.” Jeff Penczak, Terrascope
Summer of Lust
Rigby: Why the Germanic Drummers on Pajamas’ Summer of Lust?
I have seen many reviews of Summer of Lust over the years. This, a first. Paul Rigby, The Audiophile Man notes: “Only the part-time drummers, Karl Wilhelm and Joe Bauer, keep shtumn. Be nice to know why this band’s drummers tend to have Germanic names, though. Must update the Blog on that point.” And the Answer is?
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: The Green Pajamas are a Northwest Institution
Here’s a nice write up the Pajamas got in The Stranger recently for a show for KEXP. The show was great by the way. (Sunset) My girl DJ Sharlese over at KEXP digs deeper than the much-celebrated Northwest-’90s era, and instead has a keen ear for Seattle-area bands from the previous decade. I first heard the Green Pajamas on her Audioasis show and have been kinda fascinated with them ever since. In 1984, the Green Pajamas brought the paisley underground to Seattle by way of mellow, guitar-driven psychedelic pop and have made um, 32 albums since. It’s probably “Kim the Waitress” you know them by—a moony little number of earnest, unrequited lust. Though I just haven’t had the days or weeks (months?) to listen to their entire discography, playing G-PJs-songs roulette has included: Xanax-coated power pop, fuzzed-out indie, sleepy love songs, and a valiant cover of the most boring Christmas song, “O Holy Night.” With Tango Alpha Tango and Campfire OK. – Emily Nokes
Review in All Music Guide
“November is a document of a very specific moment in time for the Green Pajamas; it finds them young, wiry, and enthusiastic, and if this isn’t the live album some fans might have dreamed of, it captures them, warts and all, on one of the better nights of their lives together.” Mark Deming. All Music
Death By Misadventure
‘Death By Misadventure’ is a wacky exercise in psychedelia. A beautiful, crazy concept album about the life cycle of a bee colony (kind of). Quirky? Yep. Dark and tormented. Indeed. Oh, and it’s the 30th album by Seattle stalwarts and psychedelic enthusiasts The Green Pajamas. It’s starting to make sense now… Well, it makes sense to a point – if you’re in a certain mindset or mood when you take the album in. Even the songs about sunshine and summer have sinister undertones. It’s all very disconcerting, but you get the distinct impression that The Green Pajamas had every intention of it being this way. Part One is ‘The Fall of the Queen Bee’, set in a land called Colony. Here, the Queen suffers ‘death by decadent misadventure’, described in gloriously graphic detail in ‘The Queen Bee’s Last Tango’. “She strips off her girdle, slips off her swastika ring/While 17 boys dressed up as dolls and toys blow the king/In the opium fog, the prince and his dog start to sing/And there’s no sense of the sorrow to befall them all tomorrow” … yep, it sounds like quite a party. In the aftermath, the Queen was fried in batter and eaten by her subjects, which she preferred to a good hanging. You have to cut through some killer tunes to get to the storyline, but this is certainly no chore! The second half of the album is ‘Cruel Dreams, Cruel Things’. This is the half that has a stronger pop sensibility. That’s not to say it reverts to more traditional subject matter – Jeff Kelly’s lyrics are still full of supernatural references – tales of faerey, witching hours, myths, legend, romance and some good old sleaze. But again, the killer tracks will have you tapping your feet and the tunes will worm their way into your head. But really, you’re best off not thinking about things too much. Just accept that the moon is made of cheese and give Death By Misadventure a good listen, it’s well worth it. markwhitfield Americana UK
PJs Listening Party at Green Room
Green Pajamas (Showbox at the Market Green Room) Why are Green Pajamas playing a CD-release party in the minuscule Green Room 26 years into their career? This just seems wrong. Perhaps Seattle’s most overlooked psych-pop group (despite penning one of the most beautiful songs ever, “Kim the Waitress”), Green Pajamas tonight celebrate the reissue of their 1987 album, Book of Hours (retitled for the expanded version The Complete Book of Hours by Green Monkey Records). It’s yet another collection of literate, acutely crafted, achingly wistful songs that quickly embed themselves in your pleasure centers. Even their last album, 2009’s Poison in the Russian Room, shows none of the usual signs of rock-band aging. And yet… the Green Room. Huh. DAVE SEGAL
GM1090 Green Pajamas – FOREVER FOR A LITTLE WHILE -1_Sheet
GM1083 Green Pajamas – Sunlight Might Weigh -1_Sheet
GM1045 Green Pajamas Phantom Lake -1_Sheet
Green Pajamas – If You Knew What I Dreamed 1-sheet
GM1025 Happy Halloween -1-Sheet
GM1013 PJ_Lust-1_Sheet final
GM1009 PJ Country-1 Sheet
GM1006 Green Pajamas Red Red Rose 1 sheet