After three years of playing garage rock, Miami’s Young Circles have shed their former exteriors to try on a more comfortable and adaptable skin. The band’s latest record, Jungle Habits, is difficult to confine to any cage, be it stylistically, lyrically, or thematically; Jungle Habits is a blurred haze of musical dynamism that relies on intuitive creation, is open to interpretation, and pulls inspiration from an impressive range of music, social, and historical influences.

Jungle Habits Full Album Stream

Jungle Habits Lyrics

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1. Triangles
2. Devil
3. Summer Noose
4. Love Hitch
5. Asthmatic
6. Dreams
7. 2012
8. Jangala
9. Jungle Habits
10. You. Me. Nothing.
11. Changing

Though most of the content on Jungle Habits may seem cryptic, every decision the band made towards the final product was in fact purposeful. Included in this is the album’s title, which, according to vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jordy Asher, was chosen to represent the band’s current sonic leanings and influences.

“I loved the folklore and stories of explorers who would end up observing early tribes in Africa, or South America or anywhere that was predominantly covered with large, sprawling jungles,” he reveals. “They would come back with stories of the sounds they heard, and the drums they would hear. In my opinion, grooves, and beats all came from the jungle, and stringed [and] brass instruments came from more civilized part of the world. The title hints at returning back to those roots, and getting in touch with that basic, fundamental side that everyone has deep down.”

Young Circles approached the creation of Jungle Habits with only one shared idea among tracks — that of percussion. The goal was to update age-old rhythms by blending them with “everything that’s happened since then.”

“It’s the future, whether we like it or not, and we are allowed to do whatever we feel like doing,” says Asher. “If we love djembes and octave pedals, what’s stopping us from using both on one song?”

It is this open-minded approach, which simultaneously places limits and welcomes inclusions, that has led Young Circles to create one of the more interesting releases of the year. In the Q&A and song-by-song lyrical analysis below, Asher helps REDEFINE explore the deep personal conflicts and the enlightened moments that are found on Jungle Habits.

Q&A

You guys originally started as a more garage-rock oriented band under a different moniker, and Jungle Habits takes an incredibly varied amount of forms. Why the change from that original idea?

We played garage rock and roll for three years, and while it was fun, it became less and less interesting to us. We’ve always been very influenced by vastly different sounds and music styles. We had all these little things that we would do on the side. I would write electronic music and produce beats for local hip-hop artists, or Jeff would make these more experimental shoegazey landscapes that were built off of only feedback and overtones. We had a lot of ideas in us that we weren’t getting to explore on the rock and roll albums we were putting out. It wasn’t that hard of a concept for us to jump ship on, because we can always inject a little rock and roll into everything we do.

There’s a definite shift in songwriting and tone from the opening track to the last, from the “I want to feel alive” on “Triangles” to the total neo-Elton John track, “Changing.” Was there a certain path you wanted the album to take from beginning to end?

There is a definite story that is told in this album. I have a few different stories for it in my head, but the idea is the first and last track act like a Prologue [and] Epilogue. “Triangles”‘ arrangement is the least “pop” and most unorthodox in that it doesn’t have a verse-chorus-middle eight-type layout. We wanted to develop the idea early in the album that everything you’re about to hear is different, and the song is begging everyone to sit back and go on the journey with us. From “Devil” all the way to the end of “Dreams,” [the album] is dealing with the loss of innocence and love and the subsequent wake-up call when you get to “2012” and everything afterward. The curiosity of growth, the growth of perception, and accepting the fact that no matter what, we’re still changing, and still growing. Whether we’re saying that literally or figuratively is up to the listener.

There seems to be a great amount of experimentation on the album – certainly not blind stabs at different genres, but undeniably perfect moods swings. When you were recording Jungle Habits, was that the goal? Even intra-track, like on “Love Hitch,” there are different movements. Was that purposeful, or did it stem from improvisation and indecisiveness in the writing?

It was definitely purposeful. the songs had to be laid out far in advance in my brain (even if they were just ideas) before we got into the studio. It wasn’t indecisiveness; it was the excitement of feeling free and unhinged. If you’re trying to make a statement saying, “We don’t want to fall into any kind of genre or category,” you have to make the songs reflect that. So it was exciting to think of how we could shape or morph songs. There was definitely some improvisation on the album, most notably [on] “Jangala.” We had a few mics set up in one room – [one for] the drums and another for the bass – and one in another part of the house… they were just jamming on that drum and bassline. I hit record at the end of what was probably a 15-minute jam, and that’s the song you hear on the album.

And going along with the different styles the album has, was there an artist, song, or time period that you guys draw inspiration from?

We’re inspired by everything. I can honestly say Kanye West’s album last year (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) blew my fucking mind, especially the beats. But we love music from all over, and we wanted to musically tie one thread through the album. Drums, grooves, dance beats, tribal beats, etc.

I always like to ask artists what they expect from an album, riffing on the old saying that, “You get out of life what you put into it.” So, what do you expect from the release of Jungle Habits?

It’s easy to judge a book by it’s cover. We have no expectations for anything to happen. It could do something, it could do nothing. We just want people to give it a chance.

Changing subjects a bit from the album’s sounds and ideas, how do you plan on promoting and developing groundswell for the releas?. I find modern music distribution completely fascinating, the importance of word of mouth and Twitter, along with platforms like Bandcamp, all create various avenues for getting your name out there. How do you guys approach selling the album outside of the normal CD and vinyl avenues, and how do you feel about “pay what you wish” models?

Well, we’re releasing it for free on the first day of its release through our website, youngcircles.com. We released our first EP for “pay what you want,” and it still is to this day. We’d like to get vinyls soon, but we have physical CDs. We’re just approaching everything in a very punk rock kind of way. We make our own merchandise and sell it for fair prices. If someone sees that and wants to be part of it, we welcome it.

Jungle Habits Lyrical Analysis

1. Triangles

Light up and let the feelin’ move ya
A sound that threatens to consume ya
You wanna feel alive
Match been put out the spark over
And now you dance a little slower
You wanna feel alive
Your heart don’t stop, you been put under
Try alchemy, try breathing thunder
You wanna feel alive
Don’t act so cryptic with your lovin’
While writing pop songs in the oven
You wanna feel alive

The imagery in this track seems particularly brutal. Are there visual images associated with this track? You mentioned that this track is a bit like an intro to “the love of loss and innocence.”

The theme of the first half of the album is loss and loss of love. From track one, you’re introduced to “the feeling” and becoming familiar with it. There’s some personal demons happening in this song as well as an overall statement on the music industry today (“Don’t act so cryptic with your lovin’ while writing pop songs in the oven”). Everything feels too prepared nowadays, and a song shouldn’t be like a turkey dinner that needs hours and hours of preparation before it just sits in the oven for four hours while you go watch TV and wait for the timer. It should be exciting, and it should be able to have a life of its own.

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2. Devil

Are you moving, or believing?
Slip off your shoes while you burn down the building
Can you hear me loud and clearly?
Sliced off my ears, cut my tongue out, your wounds dance

I’m the devil, you’re the devil
Curled up inside my finger

Are you listening? Do you see me?
You sleep in mangers while I sleep with strangers
Are we hiding? Just deceiving
Snake cheers your name, calls the shots and it turns you on

I’m the devil, you’re the devil
Curled up inside my finger
I’m burnin’ up cuz you’re on fire
Speaking to me, speaking through me

Try it, try it, you make no sense but…
Try it, try it, you make no sense could…
All my demons cast me out of you

I’m the devil, you’re the devil
Curled up inside my finger
I’m burnin’ up cuz you’re on fire
Speaking to me, speaking through me

The lyrics seem to hint at a hidden devil emerging. Is the loss of innocence something that happens covertly?

“Devil” is the fall. It’s the decline before ‘Summer Noose.” “You sleep in mangers while I sleep with strangers” just about sums it up.

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3. Summer Noose

The summer noose is waiting at the old folks home
So you leave her on the side of the road
Yeah, you leave her on the side of the road

The summer noose is waiting but she ain’t pulled tight
So you’re helping her by tying the knot
Yeah, you’re helping her by tying the knot

Honey let me out

Though this track is rather lyrically dark, it is sonically rather peaceful. Was there a reason for such a duality, and was there a particular moment or story that inspired this song?

Yes, that duality was purposeful. If the music matched the lyrics, people really would want to hang themselves afterward. The moment that inspired this was when I got divorced days after turning 24.

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4. Love Hitch

Highway in the sky, so dangerous
Kiss me on the eye, so dangerous
Mama would you let me, mama would you let me out?

Fire inbetween the tank and bus
Spinning where we fly, so dangerous
Mama would you let me, mama would you let me out?

But even if you loved me, how long would you stay?
Singing that familiar song

Love is moving on, hitching on the side of the road

Moving where you stand, stop blaming us
Powder on your clothes, explain the dust
Honey would you let me, honey would you let me out?

But even if you love me, how long would you stay?

Love is moving on, hitching on the side of the road

Ivy doesn’t stop complaining, Sasha’s always going too crazy
I’m so glad you met me, I’m so glad you let me out
But even though you love me, I’ll probably never stay
Watch the road now
Love is moving on, hitching on the side of the road

“Love Hitch” and “Summer Noose” flow into one another and definitely seem connected. Does the concept of “roads” allude to a journey or is it something more abstract than that?

“Love Hitch” was the logical next step. Understanding what you do about “Summer Noose” now will make this one make instant sense, I hope.

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5. Asthmatic
Hospital beds, uncharted
Hostile eclipse is startin’
But we wont get old, and we won’t go home

Hospital peace desired
Hoping your nurse retired
But we wont get old, and we won’t go home

Dreaming of you…

Morning you stay inspired
God’s dam is setting fire
But we wont get old, and we won’t go home

Dreaming of you…

Sweet ones that get distracted
Statements that get retracted
But we wont get old, and we won’t go home

Dreaming of you…

Sleepless embedded pity
Asthmatic dusted city
But we wont get old, and we won’t go home

Dreaming of you…

What influenced this track?

This was a dream that I had. I was in a hospital, dying. It was written on the same day that “Dreams” was written, in the order they appear on the album. They shouldn’t be taken apart, and belong together. That’s all I’d like to say about it.

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6. Dreams

No one is dying to meet you
Spending and buying will eat you
Oh, cuz Jenny never wants to spend on her dream
Oh, you’re patriotic when you’re pickin’ your teams
Know what I mean?

Dreaming…
You’re still dreaming of a front porch, and I’m just wishing we could do things over
Instead I’m haunted by your dream…

I don’t hear you crying, you’re see-through
No one is dying to meet you
Oh, you watch me vanish cuz I’m sinking too deep
Oh, but you are only the company you keep

Dreaming…
You’re still dreaming of a front porch, and I’m just wishing we could do things over
Instead I’m haunted by your dream…

Love endlessly like a child
Send a wild glance to your regime
Callous blisters, did you miss her?
Wear me on your sleeve
Take a number, silent thunder lives inside of me
All our demons cast you out of me

“Dreams” precedes “2012.” Is this track saying a symbolic goodbye to the world as we know it before “2012”? Is there anything in particular that will be missed most?

It’s a symbolic goodbye to something. To yourself, to another person, to an idea. It’s bittersweet. The entire album up until here has been mentioning the devil or demon inside of me. (In Devil, “All MY demons cast ME out of you”). The resolve here is accepting that the demon is always going to be there, and instead of getting rid of that demon, I’m getting rid of “you” (“All my demons cast you out of me” is the last lyric of the song). The rest of the song prior is just melancholy reflection.

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7. 2012

Get yourself in the conversation
Get yourself to the masquerade
It’s the way you flow
It’s the way you grin
It ain’t where you go
It ain’t where we been

Get yourself into circulation
Power the tower, the decade fades
Its the way you grow
Its the way you sin
It ain’t where we go
It ain’t where we been

Twelve-twenty-twelve twenty-twe-e-elve

Tearing the sutures, another transition
Culture ecstatic to send shockwaves
Its the way we are
Its the way we spin
Its where you go
It ain’t where you been

Sending the future another transmisson
Just fear the devil and her good legs

Its where you go
It ain’t where you been
Its where we go
It ain’t where we been

Twelve-twenty-twelve twenty-twe-e-elve

What do you think will happen in 2012? It seems to me that you are hinting towards a kind of psychic or mental shift of some sort?

After “Dreams,” we need to wake up. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves, and we need to mentally advance. We need to grow, we need to learn. We need to recognize where we came from, we need to see where we’re going, and we need to embrace it. Wake up. If you’re not awake by the end of the song, start it over.

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8. Jangala

La-la-la my rhythm’s groovin’
La-la-la I got you movin’

Jangala

There seems to be resurgent interest in music that compels the soul by way of rhythm, spontaneous unplanned creation. Rhythm, in general, appeals to a very primal sense that makes people more in tune with “feeling.” Does “Jangala” have anything to do with this?

All of this was on the spot, as were the vocals [and] lyrics. I just started singing the first thing that came to mind. I have no idea why it was these two lines.

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9. Jungle Habits

One for a million, my feet gettin’ stuck when you cast out my demons and nobody ever looks back
American dream, American teen, watch how this American screams
Tumbling, fumbling, till the beat comes rumbling

Roll up my windows it smells like a graveyard outside
But the rhythms you move to don’t ever subside
Overboard, oh my lord, check my pulse I’m just that bored
Overdrive, we’re alive. Heading down to 305

Chill out we’re still walkin’ straight
I got hooked when I took the bait
Kickin’ up my feet, heart skippin’ to beats
I might never make it past heaven’s gate
Whats the matter with you anyway?
Still here, but we’re trying to play
Toe to toe when its time to go
And knocked em out just like Cashius Clay.

HEY!

Don’t stop the movement we never got out of the mud
Jungle Habits the rabbits are all out of blood
Charming snakes, up the stakes, belly up the floors don’t shake

Come home soon, hum my tune. Hope we make it past the moon
Hold up you just feel so proud
Chill out you might make it now
Eastside party, glad I’m not the host
The white-faced-prom-queen-holy-ghost
Calling out past every shore
You wanted volume? Well I got some more
Triple 5, tracklist destroyed
Bring back the noise

HEY!
Movin’ out, just move it down

There seems to be a lot of fascination with the deterioration of the America as a world superpower. Do you think this will happen, and what do you feel are the potential repercussions?

Impossible to say. It might not seem like it, but we’re at the start of the positive half of 20 year cycles. If the early 2000’s mirrored the ’80s, ‘we’re entering the 90s. That probably makes no sense.

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10. You. Me. Nothing.

Tiptoe while we climb through your skull
Shoot, shooter, shoot to grow, say its cuz she told you so

Push past with a handful of grain
Scrub the dirt from your cheeks, check for teeth in the drain

Jump down from your house in the clouds
Tried to make the time go by, when your cloud was number nine

Sit out for the next couple rounds
Picked you up to knock you down, never floats you when you drown

Bold moves wearing two left shoes
You’ll be a young man saved only swear by the groove

Dance to yourself for too damn long
Drop it like an atom bomb when you sing your favorite song

You, me… You mean nothing, nothing to me

Move slow on a road to your soul
Shake, rattle, stop and go cuz she never told you so

Time spent, but you won’t find out
Still-rooted willow tree, don’t you feel as old as me?

You, me… You mean nothing, nothing to me
You and me. You mean something, nothing to me

When this track says, “You mean nothing… nothing to me,” what is the “you” it is referring to?
Drop it like an atom bomb.

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11. Changing

Tell me all your secrets till I blister
Singing like McCartney when I kiss ya

We are still changing

Taking time explaining why I miss ya
Elementary Penguin, Hare Krishna

We are still changing

I saw you in the light
I love you cuz you’re mine
We are still changing
Sweety let your hair down
You and me are skipping town
Sweety let your hair down
Going till we hit the ground

We are still changing

What a romantic track. It feels like a jazzy love song to the self or the universe. Are there personal or spiritual events which led you guys to approach this album with such a thematic narrative?
Yes. This one is about learning to view love in a different way than we usually do. It is self-empowering, and it is my love letter to everything I see love in. The Highline Bridge in NYC, or trees that look like they’re stretching their arms out and hugging the ground, rain storms when you have nothing to hide underneath, the way her legs look covered in sand from the beach. I love those because they’re mine. I see love in those, and no one can take that away from me. It’s very much the mindset I’m in now, which is why it’s the last track.

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