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Iffy is made up of Kirk "KjustinJ" Johnson on vocals, Dave Pederson on guitar and keyboards, and Tom Merkl on bass. KjustinJ and Merkl first received national attention in the Twin Tone and SST band Run Westy Run, whose 1990 album, Green Cat Island, was produced by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck. An early live lineup included KjustinJ's brother, Kraig Johnson (also from Run Westy Run, the Jayhawks, and roots rock supergroup Golden Smog). 2001 saw the band release two CDs on Foodchain Records: the Can-O-Cope EP and the full-length Biota Bondo. Biota Bondo was produced by John Fields (Semisonic), and was recorded in the band's own Candyslippers studio. The album is an upbeat, neo-lounge pop album chock-full of chilled-out dance beats genetically designed for a hot summer. Biota Bondo is an album defined by the collision between digital recording technics and analog source samples. The song "Can-O-Cope" was co-produced and mixed by Tom Rothrock (Beck, Elliot Smith), who also re-mixed the leadoff single, "Double Dutch," for radio. Iffy also enlisted Freddy Fresh and Q Burns Abstract Message for the "Can-O-Cope" remix 12". One magazine described Iffy as cowboy reggae, while KCRW radio show host and famed DJ Jason Bentley chose the label "quirky indie pop."
Members of Iffy name other Minneapolis natives Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum, and the Replacements as influences. But clearly they were not untouched by Prince's ecclectic mix of funk, R&B, and pop. "Duble Dutch" was to summer 2001 what Will Smith's "Summertime" was to 1991. Generally, Iffy is similar, but more upbeat, than labelmates the Januaries. Iffy sounds like a combination of Hanson, Sugar Ray, and G Love and Special Sauce. ~ JT Griffith
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