After forming at a Hollywood karaoke night, JJAMZ quickly cribbed its name from the first initials of each band member: Jason Boesel (Rilo Kiley and Conor Oberst), James Valentine (Maroon 5), Alex Greenwald (Phantom Planet), Michael Runion, and Z Berg (The Like). That night they recorded their first song, the aptly named "Square One," and from there were hooked.
While band members refer to this as a break from their main projects, their debut record, "Suicide Pact," does not feel like a second thought. The close connections of the bandmates allow them to create a small group of songs that range from not-quite-but-almost club music to rollicking and frolicking duets to sweet and poppy songs that showcase Z Berg's lovely voice. Though stylistically diverse, each song does share a captivating catchiness coupled with an unexpected intimacy. It's like stumbling into a conversation among close friends, totally honest but struck through with jokes, stories and laughter.