After Omnivore Records reissued Game Theory's final album,
it looked like the world would never hear another note
from the late, great Scott Miller. But now there's Beyond
The Barrier Of Sound, a previously unreleased collection
of demos, outtakes, and live tracks from the final Game
Theory lineup. Read Joe Merklee's review here...
Jim reviews the latest from a host of New Jersey bands,
including Rockstar Racecar, THENEVERENDS, SVNSETCHILDREN,
The Weeklings, and The Warhawks. Also, hot takes
on the latest from Goodman, The Great American
Novel, this year's International Pop
Overthrow compilation, the Holy Smokes,
and Sam Sherwin; and a long overdue review
of Defecting Grey's terrific retro-pop
"Every song sounds epic, even the quiet ones."
That's how Paul describes the latest release from L.A.'s
Spanish Love Songs. Paul also reviews new
releases from The Frights, Clifffs, Maurice &
The Stiff Sisters, The Men, Personality Cult, Red Light
Rebels, The Saxophones,Demitasse, Envy, The Ghost Wolves,
Guerille Poubelle, the Huntingtons, and Piramid
Alexander Hacke and Danielle de Picciotto – who
perform as hackedepicciotto - have just released Current,
their fourth album of “cinematic drone” since
leaving their native Berlin and traveling the world as
nomads. Both rightfully claim the title of Living Legend
in underground music, with backgrounds in Love Parade,
Space Cowboy, and Einstürzende Neubauten. Phill Bruce
interviewed the enigmatic couple about their remarkable
careers and their new album here...
Rich Quinlan indulges his love of metal, hardcore, and
punk with reviews of Human Impulse, Mondo Generator,
and Talk Me Off, then checks
out the ukulele-rock of Travels With Brindle.
Rich checks out the the revolution rock of Motihari Brigade,
and then indulges in an international bouffet from the
UK's Innocence Mission, Sweden's Dead Kosmonaut,
Denmark's PV Knude, Poland's
Trupa Trupa, and the American psyche-synth
mashup of Mr. Elevator. He also reviews
great new releases from ...And The Black Feathers,
singer/songwriter Gabriel Birnbaum, and
the first band we've ever reviewed from Jakarta, Indonesia,
Grow Rich. Then there are reviews of
Even Eden, River Drivers, The Dreadnoughts,
classic punk from ageless veterans Tsunami Bomb,
and the power-pop jangle of It's Karma, It's Cool.
Damon Mazer went to see David Byrne's "American
Utopia" on Broadway. This ain't not Mudd Club, no
CBGB, but a unique theaterical experience. Read his review
Hoboken rocker, producer, songwriter, and visionary Max
Feinstein graced us with his "BetaMax" EP in
2019. Here is a lyric video for the powerful track "Drone."
Let Max explain it to you:
"Drone" began life originally as the beginning
of "Spratz" and was cut for time. I liked it
a lot and ended up writing a new song around it. I was
very influenced by Devin Townsend's "Deconstruction",
and the recording is very dense with layers of pulsating
guitars and ambiance. I wanted something that felt oppressive
and tense, something that lurked and simmered into a rolling
boil. Something uncomfortable. I'm not a comfortable person,
but this song is my attempt at making the first steps
towards being more comfortable. It's uncomfortable because
growth is uncomfortable. The song in a spiritual and lyrical
sense is my grand leveler as I currently understand it.
It is the sobering moment one jars themselves out of their
stupor and makes their first impossible move past their
ego. Mike Kuzan gave me an Eckhart Tolle book during the
recording, and within it was a description of self-pity
and depression I found myself deeply identifying with,
so you could say this song developed into a personal totem
of depression and anxiety. It became a safe place for
me to let the voices run wild within the grander scheme
of a grinding psychedellic doom background with an atypical
I guess a lot of it comes from dealing with my hemophilia
poorly and not having the ability to work with the help
offered me. I wasn't willing to admit things weren't okay.
It felt like it would be an admission of weakness and
I was already overwhelmed with the constant nature of
my disorder that I would shut down. To quote Ween "Most
people are not okay", and things probably haven't
been okay in Maxwell's house for a while, but we're getting
better all the time (can't get no worse.) I guess I had
to do it with "Maxwell" puns too. Mom, Dad,
and at least a baker's dozen of healthcare professionals
would be proud. Interestingly enough I'm finding the lyric
video's patterns change how I actually listen to the song
myself. It's nice when your own work changes with perspective!
James reviews the new release from seminal punk bands:
Wire, who are still making great music, and Youth Of Today,
who are not. He also pours through some recently releases
from the Extinction Burst label and finds
a few gems, including releases from Reclaim, Vacancy,
and Cel Damage Or you could just check
out the multi-band label sampler compilatioin Behind
This Wall, which wins kudos from Mr. Damion.
James also highly recommends the new HC supergroup Constant
Elevation's debut EP, but he's less impressed
by yet another sound-alike from NYC/HC vets Agnostic
NJ's Mint 400 Records likes to showcase its artists with
tribute compilations, and the latest, Don't Fade On
Me, plays homage to the music of Tom Petty. Most of
the covers hew fairly close to the originals but a few bands
imbue their own style on Petty's classic songwriting. Highlights
include The Extensions' smoky, sultry version of "Stop
Draggin' My Heart Around," Ruby Bones' spirited take
on "American Girl," Son Of The Velvet Rat's Tom
Waits-y interpretation of "Free Fallin'," and
the Limbos' psychedelic reworking of "Don't Come Around
Here No More." For more information, visit Mint400Records.com.
Here is the video of "You Got Lucky" by This Bliss.
Photo by Kevin Durkin
Bloomfield, NJ's Joy Cleaner has been one of the happiest
surprises of 2019, emerging (with their second album, You're
So Jaded) as one of the state's most promising punk
bands. Andrew Merclean caught up with the trio to talk about
the band, the new album, and the future. Read his interview
The Skullers are riding high with the release of their
new ep, "Freight Trains & Party Games."
Jersey Beat is honored to bring you the bonus track from
that release, a version of the EP's standout single "She
Denies Herself The Things She Loves" recorded live
in the famous phonobooth at Jack White's Third Man Records
in Nashville. "I couldn't go to Nashville without
stopping at the Third Man Records recording booth,"
Jack said. "To me, that booth is the ultimate expression
of individuality in music - one person, one guitar, one
microphone, one vinyl pressing. Plus, Neil Young made
an album in there. I was grinning a bit the whole time."
You'll be grinning too when you hear the track.
City Gardens may not be there anymore but the Trenton
area still has a rock scene, as we discovered when we
heard the debut full length from the young punk trio Gravity
Centered. We wanted to know about them, their scene, and
their music, and here's the results. You can check them
out at Montclair's Meatlocker on Monday, November 18.
With apologies to the Dean's Consumer Guide, here are
some capsule reviews with letter grades of a slew of releases
that were either overlooked, unreviewed, or never handed
in from our inbox, including Rebecca Turner, the
Successful Failures, James Dalton, Anamanaguchi, The Clydes,
Tall Days, Garcia Peoples, Amanda Rose Riley, Geowulf,
Amy O, Slow Buildings, and Tony Low.
Jersey Beat's newest staffer PHLIS chats with Ev Gold,
guitarist and vocalist of Brooklyn post-punk powerhouse
Cinema Cinema. They discuss the group's fifth album CCXMD
as well as delving into the intricacies of the band's
Montclair's Lily Vakili Band shares a chugging blues-rock
manifesto on their new video "She Wants What."
Calgary based writer Brett Klassen doesn't only fit
every Canadian stereotype, but delivers blunt and honest
takes on punk, rock, and hip hop and much more in this
Columnist Brett Klassen checks off new releases from Unhappy
Fly, Attaboy, Lone Wolf, and WIVES,
with results that range from the kick-ass to the disappointing.
Read Brett's reviews here...
Amy Rigby has long been one of our favorite singer-songwriters.
Now she's one of our favorite authors too, with the publication
of Girl To City: A Memoir, the story of her life
from a young girl worshipping Elton John on the radio
through the tumultuous NYC club scene of the 70's, to
the release of her debut solo album in the Nineties.
Rigby will read perform and read from her autobiography
Girl To City: A Memoir at Little City Books (100 Bloomfield
Street, Hoboken) on Thursday, October 17. Showtime is
7 p.m. Advance tickets are $20 from LittleCityBooks.com,
which include a signed copy of the book and a music download.
There's a riot (grrl) going on... on Long Island
The hottest band on Long Island happens to be the all female Sharp Violet, inspired by the #MeToo
movement and their own experiences in the male-dominated world of music. Jersey Beat's Rich Quinlan, a Long Island boy
himself, caught up with the band to talk politics, rock 'n' roll, and the future.
Jersey Beat proudly presents "Burn Baby Burn," the
first single and video from The Campbell Apartment's Curmudgeon,
coming soon on NJ's Mint 400 Records. Ari Vais,
the songwriter, guitarist, and lead vocalist of The Campbell
Apartment, has been an underrated and overlooked presence
on the West Coast indie-pop scene for a while, something
we're eager to help correct. On "Burn Baby Burn,"
Vais mixes Eighties jangle-pop with the trenchant wit
of Randy Newman and the ebullient catchiness of Fountains
of Wayne. Check it out!
Jersey Beat is proud to debut the new single from Glenn
Morrow's Cry For Help,
out now on Rhyme & Reason Records. The distinctive
cover art by artist Renee
LoBue conveys the dark confusion of the lyrics, which
question where society might
be headed. "Are you ready for the country, are you
ready to learn?" Morrow sings in
his trademark plaintive voice. "Do you want to think
it over, or do you just want to watch it burn?" Big
bold guitars and driving percussion recall Morrow's role
pioneering what came to be known as "The Hoboken
Sound" while still sounding
modern and relevant. Glenn Morrow's Cry For Help will
perform at Crossroads in Garwood, NJ on Friday, August
Jersey Beat's James Damion interviews Steven DiLodovico,
one of the partners in DiWulf Publishing, the startup
that brought us the oral history of City Gardens. Steve
talks about other projects in the hopper, how he became
a publisher and why he loves doing it, and shares some
personal information about his battle with Crohn's Disease.
"Sometimes I wake up and my heart is beating so
loudly that I swear it's trying to start a conversation.
While my newest single, 'No Sleep Tonight,' was originally
born out of insomnia, it later helped me realize an important
life motto: Don't take yourself too seriously." So
says NJ singer/songwriter Brett Altman, on the debut of
his first single, which will officially be released on
Saturday, August. Musician/producer Max Feinstein, who
recorded the track at Silver Horse Sound in Hoboken, comments,
"This is a special moment in which a songwriter is
leveling with himself and dropping the veil of artifice.
We captured this moment of unflinching honesty, and set
it to an appropriately breakneck pace. I enjoy moments
of truth and I prize efficient songwriting with well connected
parts. 'No Sleep Tonight' represents both of these."
Join Brett Altman at his No Sleep Tonight Single Release
Show" at Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 1) on Saturday,
August 3, at at 7:00pm.There is no cover and Brett will
be performing acoustic versions of his originals. Follow
him on Facebook.
Our friends at HIP Video turned us on to Kodiak, a young
Tom's River rock band that's turning heads by flaunting
its love of Eighties tropes, big riffs, and bigger hair.
Managed by legendary drummer Carmine Appice, Kodiak is
working on a debut album, but in the meantime, there's
this impressive video that shows off the band's chops
with a dazzling combination of animation and shots of
the Jersey shore.
The Dogmatics used to be one of our favorite Beantown bands back in the Eighties, and now the current lineup has announced it will be releasing its first new album in three decades on Rum Bar Records. Check out this teaser single, "Summertime."
Singer/songwriter Sam Davison says he's retired from show
biz (we'll see about
that,) but on his way out the door, he's us graced with
a compilation of his
delightfully offbeat recorded work entitled The Upper
West Side's #1 Singer-
Songwriter, available on his Bandcamp
page. Included are several tracks from
his never-released foray into glam-rock, recording with
Oliver Ignatius at
Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen, and we especially love this
track, "Adventures In New Mobility."
Mark Hughson's got the lowdown on the second solo album
from the incomparably Mikey Erg, a groundbreaking,
much talked about debut from queercore duo GRLWood,
and a fun pop-punk outing from the Lucky Eejits.
He also looks at four diverse releases: NYC Pop-Punk from
Weird Skin, noisy old-school rockers
Cherubs, female fronted indie from Summer
Cannibals, and ethereal Eighties vibes from Electric
Dromedary Records continues its series
of collectible singles with a new EP from the Sink Tapes.
"Drac/Witch" and "Dogbrain Dirt" float
somewhere between Eighties jangle-pop and Nineties slacker-rock,
recalling the poppier side of Yo La Tengo. Gabe Chiarello's
deadpan vocals and subtle but insistent melodies shine.
Be sure to download the digital bonus track "That's
Not Me," delightfully dreamy indie with a motorik
The EP will be available in a limited run as a handmade,
one-of-a-kind, lathe-cut picture disc in a clear plastic
sleeve, with free digital download in the format of your
choice. Dromedary's Al Crisafulli explains, "Lathe-cut
records are expert works of craftsmanship, individually
handmade in real time on antique equipment. They don't
sound like regular records; they're mastered
in mono and each record has individual pops and hisses
that usually disappear with repeated plays. Initial run
of just 40 records - when they're gone, they're gone."
These sell out fast, usually within a couple of days,
so head over to Dromedary's Bandcamp
Frank Iero took his fans for a ride around Manhattan with
a Rocks Off cruise this Spring, providing fans with some
sweaty, exhilarating sounds to go along with the magnificent
views of the city. Deb Draisin was there, read her review
summer, Chris Butler - you know, the pop genius behind
the Waitresses and a slew of brilliant albums - gets a
nice big royalty check from
his old radio hits, and he sings about that experience
on this subversively dreamy track from his 2018 album
Got It Together! Sure, summer's nice, but in Ohio, it just means that another cold winter is on the way.
Jersey Beat's James Damion caught up with his onetime
Hoboken neighbor Paul Rosevear for an interview about
Paul's 20-year career in the New Jersey music scene, songwriting,
bands, and his new role as a father.
Fairmont ranks as one of New Jersey's few local bands
that's sustained a 20-year career with a steady succession
of quality releases and shows. Now founding member Neil
Sabatino turns back the clock, releasing a collection
of demos and out-of-print early EP's that chronicle the
band's earliest days. We talked to Neil about the release,
his band's long history, and the economics of sustaining
a band and a label in a career that spans the birth of
Napster to the rise of Spotify.
Check out "Anything You Wanna Be," the new
single from Asbury Park's Erik Mason. A lifelong resident
of Monmouth County, Erik is releasing "Anything"
as a teaser for his debut full-length album People
Like Us, coming this fall. The single is available
on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube. The piano-fronted
tune reminds us of a young Billy Joel with a little of
Peter Allen's old pizzazz, and a perfect driving song
for a breezy summer day.
Jersey Beat is proud to debut the latest video and single
from NJ rock duo The Components, the team of singer/guitarist
Ronnie Sena and drummer/vocalist Zoe Ekonomidis. "Space
Invader" follows the Components' debut album Continuum,
released earlier this year on Mint 400 Records. I
discovered the Components at a Battle of the Bands - which
they won by unanimous consent of the judges - and since
then, they've become one of the Garden State's most consistent
hard rocking acts, especially on stage where frontman
Ronnie Sena delivers a performance that's equal parts
Chuck Berry, Jack White, and Bruno Mars. Whether they're
playing a basement show or strutting across the stage
of White Eagle Hall, the Components warrant your attention.
Our pal Al Crisafulli recently pulled up stakes and left
New Jersey for Kingston, NY, but his influence will still
be felt with both his record label Dromedary Records and
his "Signal To Noise" radio show on WFDU.
Jersey Beat's James Damion talks with Al about
his past, present, and future here...
Reviews by Joe Wawrzyniak
Joe W. reviews new releases from Hoboken stalwart
Dave Schramm, Jersey popster Richard X.
Heyman, South Jersey "nihilist rockers"
Tuff Turf, L.A.'s country/synth hybridists
Wild Wing, and the interestingly named
Mike Adams At His Own Weight.
Deb Draising catches up with
Jersey guy and former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank
Iero on the release of his third solo album, Barriers,
and talks about his latest band, The Future Violents,
and what's been happening with life, love, and rock 'n'
Our intrepid record collecting fanatic James Damion braved
the crowds on Record Store Day 2019 and lived to tell the
tale. Read his report here...
James Damion interviews Tony Pence, a Baltimore punk
legend who's sung for the bands Deep Sleep, WarXGames,
and Glue Traps, and owns the record store Celebrated Summer.
James talks to Tony about punk, being a rabid collector,
their mutual love of Japan, and lots more. Read James'
Our newest contributor Rebecca Thompson trekked to the
bowels of Montclair's infamous all-ages venue the Meat
Locker to check out Bloomfield teen sensations Rockstar
Racecar. Read her review here...
James Damion caught up with Night Birds vocalist Brian
Gorsegner to talk about the band's success, touring, its
brilliant 2018 mini-album Roll Credits, and how four middle
aged guys with other responsibilities find the time to
rock our world.
Beth Porter and Ben Please perform as The Bookshop Band,
a fantastically literary avant-folk band from the U.K.
that writes songs about the books and authors who appear
at their home base, a book store in Bath called Mr. B's
Emporium of Reading Delights, which sounds like something
out of a Roald Dahl story but actually exists.
James Damion catches up with Cinema Cinema, the two man
demolition derby that's been rocking New Jersey - and
the world - with its throttling brand art-damaged noise-punk
since 2008. James and the band's guitarist/vocalist Ev
Gold discuss Cinema Cinema's origins, its motivations,
and its future.
James Damion catches up with Jerry Lardieri, singer/guitarist
of NJ's long-lived Brixton Riot, to talk about their upcoming
record, the band's history (and future,) the changing
landscape of the Jersey club scene, and even a little
You might know New Jersey musician Adam Bird from Those
Mockingbirds, but his new persona as aBird chucks the
chunky guitars in favor of multi-dimensional synths. James
Damion chats with Adam about his new sound and his personal
struggles. Read James' interview
In the video for "Conspiracy Theory," Tris McCall
connects the dots behind the greatest mysteries of the
last one hundred years. Directed by George Pasles of Overlord,
the video will not only blow your mind but also have 'it's
all connected' running through your head for days!
John Lisa played an important role in the Staten Island
hardcore and punk scene of the late Eighties and early
Nineties. He talks about those days, his infatuation with
EDM, and his legacy in the hardcore scene with James Damion
Ask Peter Horvath to provide a list of all the bands he’s
played in and after he stops laughing, he'll rattle off
"just the main ones:" Etcetera, P.E.D., September
Violence, Seething Grey, Separate Peace, Halo Boots, Greyhouse,
and finally, The Anderson Council (1999- present) and
the Beatles tribute band Hey Bulldog (2004- present.)
There is simply no way to talk about the last 30+ years
of New Jersey music – punk, indie, underground,
call it what you will – without mentioning Peter
Horvath, and so we happily and proudly present James Damion's
the label that's given us first-class reissues of nearly-lost
albums from Game Theory, Alex Chilton, Jellyfish, and
dozens of others, steps up its game with the release of
Peter Holsapple's first new studio album
in 21 years, Game Day.
Holsapple hasn't lost his ear for melody and his soulful
yowl has aged like a fine wine; what's new here comes
from Peter's ability to look back over a long and well-lived
life and reflect on his successes, failures, joys, and
disappointments. This is a standout collection f adult
songwriting from one of the pioneers of power-pop.
If you were a fan of Garden Variety - or Retisonic, or
Blue Tip, or the Hasbros, or Red Hare - you know drummer
Joe Gorelick, one of the most underrated and overlooked
stickmen in the punk rock underground. James Damion caught
up with Joe for an extensive interview about his career,
his passions, and where he's going next. Read James' interview
Jersey Beat's newest staffer Jesse Gillett offers his
opinions on the new releases from two of Brooklyn's best
and brightest, post-punk art-rockers Big Ups
and singer/songwriter Eleanor Friedberger.
He also reviews records by Digital Criminals
and the Chris Gethard Show's house band, The LLC.
For a while there, it looked like the annual SXSW music
festival in Austin had lost its
soul to corporate branding and superstar headliners, but
this year's iteration turned
out to be a pleasant throwback to the days when it functioned
primarily as a show-
case for young or little-known bands struggling to reach
a wider audience. Read
Jim Testa's story here...
Our good friend Oliver Ignatius of Holy Fang Studios
(formerly Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen) is back with a new
single, a mind-bending funk exploration called "Citys
A Hell." Check it out!
Jersey Beat favorite Adam Bird (formerly of Those Mockingbirds
and Perfuma) has
rebranded himself as aBIRD and offers
this beguiling video (shot by another
longtime scene stalwart, Rob Fitzgerald) showcasing his
new sound. The track
combines an Eighties retro-vibe with a modern edgy sound,
and is well worth
Jersey Beat celebrated it's 35th anniversary with an
amazing show at Maxwell's Tavern on April 14. Jim Testa
wrote up a short history of the zine here...
Highlights from Jersey Beat's 35th Anniversary
Show at Maxwell's Tavern:
Jamie Frey interviews the legendary Mike Watt, currently
promoting the release of Ring Spiel '95, a live
album recorded on the Ball Hog?Or Tugboat tour
in 1995. Watt talks about how the album came out, the
remarkable Ring Spiel touring band (which included Eddie
Vedder, Dave Grohl, and Pat Smear,) and his role in punk
rock history. This is Jersey Beat's fifth interview with
the irascible, effusive, and totally original Mike Watt,
and we can't wait till the next one. Read Jamie's interview
read Rich Quinlan's review of Mike Watt's Ring Spiel '95
It's been eight years since the Ergs! disbanded and almost
ten since their last full-length album, so Mikey Erg's
first solo album Tentative Decisions arrives with with
a lot of expectations. Happily, Mikey delivers on all
fronts, with a more mature but still passionate rendering
of his trademark pop-punk, complete with crunchy sonic
guitars and punchy drums, melodic basslines and emphatic
vocals delivered in Mikey's trademark nasal yowl. Read
Jersey Beat's reviews here...
Jim Testa sits down with the godfather of punk rock to talk
about his folkie beginnings, New York City in the Fifties,
the joys of collaboration, and much, much more. Read our
is an independently published music fanzine
covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music,
focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past
30 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority
on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those
interested in rock and roll.