One of indie rock's unsung eccentrics-in-pop-clothing, Mike James has always led a schizoid double life. Relentlessly prolific, James sketches new songs at an alarming rate of about one verse/chorus per day in a never-ending back and forth between grand, exquisitely realized production values and the disheveled glamour of the 4-track cassette demos he keeps in shoeboxes at the bottom of his closet. Truth be told, you won't hear a trace of James's rough DIYB ('B' being 'bedroom') edge in the ten irresistibly sweet pop confections on the eponymous debut album of his latest alter-ego Mikey Jukebox, but that doesn't mean the other side of his sonic split-personality isn't hiding there in the fine-grain textures of the music. Befitting the many personas and bands James has brought to life since before and after his tenure in Longwave (which he joined in 2001 at the behest of bandleader and childhood friend Steve Schiltz and departed in 2004), James literally absorbed hundreds of production styles as a teenager -- and has been recording songs entirely on his own, starting with the drums and building from there, since the age of 12. After years of trying to translate this self-sufficient approach to band situations, James has come full-circle with this new album, which he plays entirely by himself (other than a backing vocal or two here and there). The references are too numerous to list, but suffice it to say that James is so skilled at synthesizing disparate that the listener will be taken on a virtual tour of production values ranging from 1955 to today. And James is clear: he wants the kids to hit the dancefloor. Dynasty-era Kiss, for example, rubs crotch with David Bowie's Let's Dance. Devo flirts with Tommy Bolin. Michael Jackson circa Off The Wall feels the body heat of a bleary-eyed Martin Gore -- all to a soundtrack of handclaps on, "Song for Chuck Berry", straight out of an Elvis Costello rev-up. But even the most inattentive listener will note that, above even the songwriting talents of those influences, James is most inspired by production. Just to put it in perspective, a much younger James once illegally acquired the phone number of producer Bob Clearmountain and called him up. 'How'd you get my number?' came the inevitable reply, but according to James, Clearmountain was actually impressed at his nerve. Call it nerve or call it naivete, but James actually thought he had a chance in hell of working with the guy. But by the time Longwave recorded with Dave Fridmann on the 2002 album, The Strangest Things, James was ready to take his production savvy to the next level and treated the experience as a veritable internship in recording. Fast-forward to October 2007, when James began recording and mixing with Bill Racine (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Sparklehorse, Phantom Planet, Mates Of State, etc), scrapped the project and started from scratch with John Hampton of Ardent Studios in Memphis, and then scrapped it and started over again (for the last time) at GFI in James' hometown with Sam Polizzi, finally to be mixed in London by Jon Gray (Kooks, Coral, Editors). Such fastidiousness is typical of James, who has been known to accumulate 90 different tracks for one song and then start madly stripping everything down, and who will often tweak and re-tweak until the cows come home. At the same time, in his mind, the Siamese twin-muses of Sgt. Pepper's and Slanted And Enchanted are forever conjoined at the hip. So, for his next album (already begun, no surprise), James plans on building an entirely different sonic template for a totally different feel. We don't know what to expect yet, but we can expect it'll be different. Not radically different -- James' music will always be centered around songwriting. So no worries that we'll find him holed up in a studio for months directing some poor session musician, Scott Walker-style, in the finer points of how he wants a slab of meat punched. But, much as James sings 'I'm gonna haunt you, I'm the ghost of rock and roll' on "Ghost of Rock 'N' Roll" the spirit of James' aging Tascam 424 haunts Mikey Jukebox. No, it isn't intended as fare for hip twentysomethings to wet their skinny jeans, but James has been there and done that. And as he heads into his thirties shrouded by impending personal doubts about aging, his utter disregard for even trying to find his place in the tides of youth not only makes for a blissful aural experience, but is also precisely the thing that enables James to hit bullseye after bullseye with ten songs in a row that could all be singles.