Like an archaeologist sifting through ruins and rubble, James has been digging into some unearthed artifacts from the early days of hardcore with mixed results, but also enjoying the wonders of some of today's freshest new acts as well. He's got raves for Samiam, Snail Mail, and warnings about vintage hardcore from Bulldoze and retro rock from Ozma. He checks out two new bands, Money (thumbs down) and Italy's Golpe (big thumbs up,) plus the reissue of Fury, the ad hoc session that ensured when Swiz and Ignition had some free studio time together. Several reissues grab his attention too, one from NYC post-punk rockers Das Damen, and a discography of the little-known Detroit-area hardcore band Leons Down. James also reviews reissued material from South Carolina's Samuel SC and then checks out Italian power-pop from Chronics.
In his last new column for a bit, Paul reviews the latest from Howlin' Jaws, Shplang, Snackwolf and the Swingin' Utters, as well as a Paul gives thanks for new releases from Bad Idols, the Drowns, Let's Go, Sam Russo, Autogramm, Death Cassette, a Deecracks retrospective, the return of 90's shoegazers Drop 19s, and albums from Turn N Fire, Woolworthy, and 40 Reps.
Plus lots, lots more.
Read Paul's column here...
The Breeeders / Screaming Females - Kings Theatre - 9/23/23
Review and photo by Sean Coulter
So, it’s been 30 years, we’re all a little grayer around the edges and it’s time to stop throwing our “hands in the air” and pretending “we just don’t care,” because in reality, the kids' college bill is in the mail. Thanks to the Breeders, though, we can jump in the DeLorean and time machine back to ‘93 for a night to kick it with Dayton's cool kids, old school style. It was a blast from the past to see them perform their breakout LP Last Splash from start to finish for a 50-plus minute bliss-filled mass of musical mayhem.
Kim and Kelley traded off leads and vocals as the JJ’s - Jim Mac and Josephine Wiggs - laid down a brick-solid foundation that paved the way to the band’s best release. It was rougher around the edges than the record, but as you know, this 50-year old critic likes it rough 'n' tumble, so it worked well. Sometimes the shit got sloppy and fun and that’s the warts and soundscapes that we love about the Deal sisters. They’re unapologetic in their professional and personal successes and failures, and alluded all night to the history that haunts them as well as make them one of the best bands from the Indie Rock revolution.
I’ve always thought the band was best when playing instrumentals and S.O.S. didn’t disappoint. Kim and Killey seemed to hit their stride on “Driving on 9” as their vocals warmed into a sugary sweet serum and felt fully flexible from then on out. I would’ve loved if J Mascis was in attendance for his cover of “Divine Hammer” on the recent Last Splash remastered bonus cut “Devine Mascis,” but hey, can’t have it all, ya know. Like a '67 Chevelle, the Breeders banged into gear for tune after tune and finally started flying when they started playing Side 2 and Kelly stepped up to sing on “I Just Want to Get Along.” After blowing through the rest of side 2, they killed the reprise of “Roi,” then said good night.
Of course they came back and played a shit ton of more songs and two encores, pumping out their best tunes from the rest of their discography, and Kim performed an absolutely killer “Gigantic,” before finally bowing out just before closing time at the Theater. It was great to see the band joking and enjoying each other again, reliving their youth and playing like they did when I caught them open for Nirvana at the Coliseum 30 years back.
New Brunswick's fave sons and daughter Screaming Females scorched the opening slot as only they can, eliciting Kelley to proclaim, “How do we follow them?” Mixing up a few of their more melodic material with their totally thrashy early cuts, the band brought Brooklyn’s cool kids to their feet for a few and purged their inner Jersey Devils for 45 minutes.
As always, my mind wandered to the “What If ?” game and the inner old man in me was thinking about another Jersey trio from ‘90s, Sexpod, who would’ve crushed as openers for the Deal kiddies and crew given the chance, especially as I had my “foot on the gas on the Westside Highway" on the way back to the ‘burbs.
Rich Quinlan has exciting new albums from Germany's Plattenbeau, glam punks Velvet Insane, deathmetal gods Cannibal Corpse, post-punk rockers Abolitionist, and upcoming Seoul's Dabda. He also reviews Colony Drop's exploration of all metal styles fused into an exciting new hybrid, as well as a harrowing and poignant project called The Darien Gap from well-traveled rocker Brian Moss. Rich also checks out Anti-God Hand, Johnny The Boy, The Oxys, the Mighty Bard, Bloodbound, Carnation, Necrofier, Tsjuder, Yakuza, Gatuplan, and 69 Eyes. Rich also continues his infatuation with the ukulele-playing Travels With Brindle, plus lots, lots more.
Jersey City's Tris McCall returned to the Sugar Factory when he and his band performed his 2003 album 'Shootout At The Sugar Factory' to commemorate its 20th anniversary at Jersey City's Art House Productions. Jim Testa talked to Tris about the album, his love of Jersey City, his longtime involvement with visual art, and how those interests will come together.
Read Jim's interview here...
Sean Coulter joins the Jersey Beat staff with reviews of new releases by Sadlands and Jersey dad-rock combo The Make Three.
Everything's biggest in Texas, including the heavy metal. Rich Quinlan interviews the Lonestar State's
groundbreaking rockers Necrofier.
Read Rich's interview here.... Mark "Bort" Hughson reviews a slew of singles from 1-94 Records, including releases by Ricky Rat, Danny Zaj & The Looks, Pat Todd & The Rank Outsiders, and more. Mark also reviews the new Bouncing Souls, the comeback album from The Van Pelt, and pop punk from The Brokedowns. Also check out his reviews of the latest from Screeching Weasel, a new literary-themed EP from Vista Blue, and lots more stuff including Maladukados, Long Drag, Buglite, and a bizarre compilation of songs from a prank call website. Also, reviews of Black Midi, School Of X, John Savage's Alternate History of Electronic Music, and another comp of video game music.
Read Mark's column here...
Editor Jim Testa reviews "The Gospel Of The Hold Steady, Or What A Resurrection Really Feels Like," an oral history of the band augmented
with tons of photos and testimonials by critics, insiders, and fans, as well as "Backstage & Beyond," Jim Sullivan's book of
essays (compiled from 45 years of concertgoing and interviews)on over 30 heroes of the classic rock era.
MCRACKINS - Wake the Fun Up (mcrackins.bandcamp.com)With every passing year and with every new Mcrackins release, I feel a lot less weird screaming to anyone who will listen that a bunch of Canadians who dress like eggs (and a dog) are making some of the best pop punk since the genre began. I think their discography and longevity have long since proven that point. Wake the Fun Up, their newest full-length since 2010's It Ain't Over Easy, is 11 tracks of pop-punk sugar with an emphasis on the pop. Hooks, harmonies and melodies continue to be the Mcrackins' stock in trade and I can't name one other band who does it better! With the addition of new member AC Mcrackin on back up guitar and vocals, the Mcrackins have only doubled down on the vocal and guitar pyrotechnics they've long been known for. Still, you can listen to Wake The Fun Up and then throw on 1995's What Came First? or 2006's Bat Out of Shell and if it wasn't for a brief mention of the pandemic lockdown on the new album, you'd think they'd all been recorded on the same day!? Normally I'd chastise a band for lack of growth, but when you nail the vision your first time out, well, why mess with perfection? With the Ramones and Cheap Trick as their lodestars, Mcrackins have easily put themselves in the same canon as their idols; bands whose every song would be a number one hit in an alternate just and perfect world. That's not the world we live in but we are lucky enough to live in a world with the music of the Mcrackins. And for that, I remain eternally grateful. - Oliver Lyons
Leslie reviews the new album from Pennsylvana ska-reggae group Elephants Dancing.
Four of Jersey Beat's staff - editor Jim Testa, Paul Silver, Rich Quinlan, and Mark Hughson - review the new album from NJ pop-punk heroes
Bouncing Souls. Read the reviews here...
Jersey Beat's James Damion interviews Darin Galgano, drummer of the NYHC band At All Costs, about the recent
release of the band's influential demos.
Read James' interview here...
By Deb DraisinDeb Draisin interviews up 'n' coming singer/songwriter Julia Wolf, whose stagename Wolf has earned her worldwide exposure as one of Spotify's first Fresh Faces.
Read Deb's interview here.
Jersey Beat's staff list their favorite releases of the year. Read them all here or check out each list separately.
My Chemical Romance emerged from the fabled Jersey all-ages scene at the beginning of the 21st Century, becoming MTV fixtures and international superstars before flaming out and breaking up in 2013. Now they're back, and when their tour hit New Jersey, Jersey Beat's Deb Draisin wasn't going to miss it. Read her review and check out her photos here...
Haley & The Crushers play a vivacious brand of upbeat punk and pop with a bit of metal for crunch, and the big, bright, ebullient
personality of Haley Cain at its center. Jersey Beat's Deb Draisin sat down with Haley to dish about life, rock, and (sigh)drummers.
Read Deb's interview here...
Richard X. Heyman has been a force in the Greater New York music scene since helping to form the Doughboys back in the mid-60's. He's been a sideman to
superstars, a solo artist, and rocked with the reunited Doughboys since 2000. Now he's about to release a new album. Jersey Beat's Deb Draisin caught up with this indefatigable rock 'n' roll lifer. Read Deb's interview here...
15-year old Kjersti Long may not have a lot of experience in the dating world yet, but her catchy new single "Boys In Jersey" shows wisdom beyond her years, as well as a healthy sense of humor and a great ear for melody. Thanks to our friends at Hip Video for passing this along.
Deb Draisin interviews musician/songwriter/producer/sound engineer Paul Roessler, who was there at the beginning of the Los Angeles punk scene and continues to make important contributions to the world of indie rock.
Read Deb's interview here...
Jersey Beat's James Damion talks to Ralph Malanga about his new band Cathedral Ceilings, his other band Stuyvesant, his long association with Dromedary Records, and the ins and outs of being a staple of the Jersey rock scene for three decades.
Read James' interview here....
When Tim Sommer was a student at NYU, he hosted Noise: The Show, which turned a generation of listeners (including your editor)onto obscure early hardcore bands like Flux of Pink Indians and Even Worse. A few years later, Tim had an A&R job at Alantic Records and talked his boss into signing four South Carolina frat boys with the unlikely name Hootie & The Blowfish. Now, nearly 30 years later, Tim has written the definitive story of that band and its generation-defining album cracked rear view, along with an unsparing look at the record industry of that era.
Editor Jim Testa reviews new releases from cartoonist turned musician David Heatley, longtime fave Kevin Devine, NH's New Norde, NYC's Lovechild, South Jersey's the dt's, Montclair's Roy Orbitron, NYC's Super User Friendly, and the UK's Curse Of Lono. Read Jim's reviews here...
Jersey Beat's Rich Quinlan chats with Tracy Hightop, the veteran lead guitarist of Long Island blues powerhouse Jane Lee Hooker.
Read Rich's interview here....
James Damion speaks with Michele Cruz Gonzales, the outspoken author, activist, teacher, public speaker and onetime drummer of the groundbreaking East Band band Spitboy. They talk about her music career, feminism, and much more.
Jon D'Amore is a Jersey guy who headed to Hollywood to work in music as well as television and film, but he's also the author of six books. The latest, George & Me, combines scifi with American history in a unique way. Jon talks to editor Jim Testa about his books, his process, and offers some advice for aspiring writers.Read Jim's interview here...
James Damion interviews teacher and author Nancy Barile about her new memoir I’m Not Holding Your Coat: My Bruised-And-All Memoir of Punk Rock Rebellion. Nancy reminisces about coming of age in the punk and hardcore scene and how that influenced her as a person and a teacher.Read James' interview here...
It's that time of year again when Jersey Beat's staff shares their favorites albums, EP's, and singles. Check out the lists from Paul Silver, Rich Quinlan, Jim Testa, James Damion, and Mark Hughson.
Jersey Beat's Grady Trexler talks with Jarrett Dougherty of New Jersey's Screaming Females about the interactive tour archive he's compiled, as well as the how the trio survived the pandemic and the Screamales' approach to keeping their band DIY and independent.
Jersey Beat's newest reporter Grady Trexler catches up with Rob Romano to chat about his new project Chico Romano, his longstanding band Professor Caveman, and the state of the New Brunswick music scene.
Tris McCall presents another video culled from his ongoing project "McCall's Alamanac," which features songs, stories, and tour guides inspired by cities in our fifty states. Today, Jersey Beat premieres the video for "On Indian Schools," representing Phoenix, Arizona. For more, visit McCall's Almanac.com.
Ricky Rochelle is a drummer, singer, songwriter, and now a newlywed and solo artist. We caught up with the veteran pop-punker to talk about his new release "Unleash The Demos," Ramonescore, and post-covid life on his native Long Island
You may recognize Michael Kelly’s name from the album credits on releases from Ash Williams or Matt Caskitt & The Breaks. But Kelly has a solo project too, under the name Buckley’s Angel. Begun around 2015 as a solo acoustic folk-pop-punk effort, Buckley’s Angel has evolved over time, with Kelly recruiting some friends to record full-band songs. Now Buckley’s Angel are announcing their upcoming debut EP, “Pinnacle Room,” due out in August via Paper Street Cuts. Jersey Beat is proud to present the premiere of the first video single from the EP, “Exit Culture.” - Paul Silver
Deb Draisin interviews Lizzie Edwards, the scintillating frontperson of NYC's Lizzie & The Makers.
Legendary folk-rock guru Peter Stampfel illustrates the
history of pop music in the 20th Century the only way
he knows how - by picking and playing a favorite tune
from each of the century's 100 years. The project is called
Peter Stampfel's 20th Century In 100 Songs, available
now in a CD box set, digital download, or stream. Editor
Jiim Testa caught up with Peter in COVID lockdown to talk
about this magnum opus and the other many projects this
busy octagenarian has in the works.
James Damion talks with Pete Tabbot of Vision about his
life in the NJ hardcore scene, his career as an educator
and health officer, and his work on the City Gardens documentary,
Riot On The Dance Floor.
The first thing Jersey Beat's James Damion did when he
moved to Seattle several years ago was find all the good
record stores. One of his favorites is Singles Going Steady,
manned by Byron Wilson. In this interview, Byron talks
about the store, his experiences growing up near Gilman
Street, his love of cooking, and his band The Expendables.
James Damion talks to Pete Martinez, owner and proprietor
of New Jersey's only drum shop, The Drum Den in Hoboken.
Pete talks about following his passion, playing in bands,
and what you'll find at his unique store.
The Happy Fits - Calvin, Ross, and Luke - started playing
together for fun in the summer before they started college,
back in their hometown of Pittstown, New Jersey. Five
years later, these up-and-coming, tour-seasoned, full-time
musicians will be releasing their much-anticipated sophore
album, What Could Be Better, at the end of August.
Jim Testa talked to the exciting young trio about their
music, their passionate singalong fan base, their early
DIY touring, and how to be a band in 2020.
Joe Darone first grabbed Jersey Beat's attention as the
teenaged drummer of The Fiendz, but these days he's best
known for the experimentalist Suit of Lights. With a new
album on the horizon, Joe chatted with Jersey Beat's James
Damion about his long career in both music and graphic
arts, his approach to music, and what might come next.
New Jersey lost one of its finest bands when The Everymen
disbanded in 2017 and frontman Michael VM relocated to
North Carolina with his family. Jersey Beat's James Damion
catches up with Mike to talk about living in the South,
remembering the Everymen, and looking at what comes next
in his career.
Jersey Beat's Rich Quinlan was so moved by the latest
EP from Gdansk, Poland's Trupa Trupa that he contacted
the band and interviewed lead singer/guitarist Grzegorz
Kwiatkowski. Here, Kwiatkowski talks about his band's
process, his denunciation of Holocaust deniers, and the
realities of being a rock band in Poland.
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
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.
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.
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...
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.