Editor Jim Testa picks ten songs from 2017 that summed
up the best of the
2017, including tracks from old favorites like the Feelies,
Ted Leo, Wyldlife,
the Front Bottoms, Peter Stampfel, and Antietam, and new
bands like Rips
and Downtown Boys.
See Jersey Beat's Top 10 Songs of the Year here...
Our editors and writers have been busy going through
all the music they've heard in 2017 and picking their
Where's Paul Silver? He's been busy finishing up his
lastt column of 2017 with over 30 reviews! Check out Paul's
comments about Acrylics, Attic Salt, Bee Bee Sea, City
Mouse, Dead Hero, Fuck! It's Pronounced Shit, the Harmonica
Lewinskies, the Holy Dark, Muskets, Pussycat & The
Dirty Johnsons, Promise of Redemption, The She's, Showoff,
Thor & Friends, Vista Blue, and lots, lots more.
Editor Jim Testa posts some very overdue reviews, including
catching up with the latest from downtown diva Shilpa
Ray, Canadian pop-punkers Potato Rocket, Kevin Devine's
acoustic reimagining of his Instigator album, entitled
We Are Who We've Always Been, and an anti-Trump punk-rock
rant from old friends Rats Of Unusual Size. Jim also reviews
the beautiful posthumous album from Jersey City singer/songwriter
Mary Beth D'Amico, and exciting new releases from The
Vice Rags and the Gingerlys.
A new book of hitherto unseen photographs of the Dead
Boys certainly sounds enticing, so we sent it to our critic/professional
photograher James Damion for review. Check out what he
thinks, along with reviews of New Brunswick rock stalwarts
Dinosaur Eyelids and EP's by Banana and Squitch.
Thrice bassist Ed Breckinridge chatted with Jersey Beat's
Deb Draisin for an informative and candid discussion of
the band's songwriting process, life on the road, and
the business of rock and roll. Read Deb's interview here...
Correspondent John Sannuci of JGS Photo caught the Pretty
Reckless at Starland Ballroom and came away mightily impressed.
Read his review and check out his photos here...
Reviews by Joe Wawrzyniak
Joe welcomes winter with reviews of new releases by Mike
Daly & The Planets, Tina & The Balance, Fallon Cush,
Dylan Hicks, and Stoney Spring. Joe also reviews the latest
from Savoy Brown, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Nick Nicely, Jean
Caffeine, Birdie Num Num & The Spirit Squad, and a live
concert DVD from ageless Jersey power-popsters The Gripweeds.
Thor Harris toured for years with the Swans
but has just releases his second album as Thor & Friends,
an enticing collection of experimental rock with exotic
instrumentation, some of it invented by Thor himself.
Rich also reviews greasy rock 'n' roll of Jeremy Porter
& The Tucos, an intimate DIY single from Jersey City's
Sean Kiely, the ferocious new album from Jersey City post-punk
gods Aminal and a long-overdue of the
excellent Tandi Mi Cadafi from Mint 400's Underlined
The churning industrial fury of New Age Healers and stunning
post-punk yowl of Crown Of Pity get the Quinlan treatment
in his latest column, which includes combustible new albums
from Downswing and Heretic's
Fork. And for more mainstream tastes, check out
Rich's take on the latest albums from The Front
Bottoms and The Harmonica Lewinskies.
Ted Leo's The Hanged Man is his first album in seven years.
Three of our critics sound off. Read their reviews here...
On his latest outing, Shaun Weeden, the primary songwriter
behind the Full Bliss moniker, finds serenity in the fulfillment
of finding that special someone. Although this central
motif will be familiar to most listeners, the lyrical
themes ring true and are well supported by the catchy
and exquisitely produced music (recorded and mixed by
contributing band member Ernest Intorrella). Taking a
less is more approach, Happy Weight, moves along nicely.
Clocking in at a succinct 32 minutes, the tastefully written
songs are never too long while the presentations vary
sonically to hold one's interest throughout. From the
moody sex-pop synth opener "The Rest of the Broken"
all the way through to the driving and emotive closer
"Young Ones," both old and new fans alike will
find themselves singing and grooving along to these 10
fresh jams. In the end, and especially when heard in the
context of these turbulent times, we can learn from Weeden
via The Beatles: love really might be all that we need.
– Review by Mark Weinberg
Stinson was a lot more than the crazy kid bassist in the
Replacements and a hired gun for Guns N Roses. In the
Nineties, he fronted Bash & Pop, a Hollywood club
band whose debut LP has just been reissued - complete
with a bonus disc of outtakes and B sides - by Omnivore.
Joe finds a lot to like in Stinson's project, with its
obvious Replacements influence and yet a style distinctly
his own. Joe also reviews Bar/None's reissue of The Spinto
Band's Nice & Nicely Done, which now includes
a bonus disc of outtakes and rarities. Jo also comments
on the latest Omnivore reissue from Game Theory, Two
Steps From The Middle Ages. Joe writes, "While
it’s a joy to see this overlooked gem of an album
get the loving Omnivore Records reissue treatment, it
also hits you that this will be the final installment
of the series and serves to remind us that we’ll
never get new music again from Scott Miller, who passed
away in 2013."
Jersey Beat's James Damion raves that Tru "mixes
elements of shoegaze and dream pop with indie-rock proficiency."
We are proud to present Tru's new video "Take A Peek"
from the band's debut self-titled 7-inch EP.
Damfino blends catchy pop with heartbreaking lyrics and
adult insight. Recorded at Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen,
One False Move And I'm Yours will be released
on September 22. The first single and video from the album,
"Visit To A Women's Planet, mixes a delightful childlike
animation with Joe Merklee's plaintive vocals." Catch
Damfino at Issyra Gallery in Hoboken on Monday, Sept.
Vince Lombardi High School was the nickname of a beloved
SoCal DIY space that recently had to close. Paul Silver
was at the final show, dubbed the VLHS Graduation. See
his report and photos here...
Jersey Beat is proud to premiere the video for “Eating
Club,” the first single from Eating Club’s
new self-titled album. Eating Club is the alter ego of
Alex Bortnichak, also of Sparta Philharmonic. Bortnichak
plays most of the instruments and provides the vocals
for most of the tracks on the new LP, and is joined on
others by a host of talented musicians. This lead single
is dreamy, yet dark and gritty, and the video has visuals
that communicate the same feeling. Rosa Bonilla provides
additional vocals. Eating Club will be released
on July 14th. - Paul Silver
For your summer reading, editor Jim Testa recommends the
humorous yet scary mobsters-meet-zombies novel Deadfellas,
and David Weigel's informative and entertaining The
Show That Never Ends: The Rise & Fall Of Prog Rock.
We've been a big fan of Ari Vais, who records under the
name The Campbell Apartment, for a long time, so it's
an honor to present his latest track, "V.P. Of Snails,"
a crunchy bit of indie-pop with a grungy kick. Ari will
be releasing a song a month over the next several months
so watch out for more at The
Campbell Apartment's Soundcloud Page.
Paul Silver powers through Spring and into the first
batch of hot summer releases with reviews of The
Darts, The Dirty Nil, Emperor X, Jim Jones & The Righteous
Mind, Mark Lanegan, Pig, The Rocketboys, and
Face To Face, Bad Cop/Bad Cop - Live at the Casbah,
Our San Diego Bureau Chief Paul Silver overcame an aching
back and SoCal
traffic to catch two of our favorite Fat Wreck Chords
bands at San Diego's Casbah.
Read his review here...
Dave Hause with his band the Mermaid and Frank Iero with
his band the Patience shared a bill at the Music Hall
of Williamsburg recently. Deb Draisin reviews the show
Amanda Palmer always seems to have a new trick up her
sleeve. This time she's collaborated with Edward Ka-Spel
of the Legendary Pink Dots for an exciting new album.
Deborah Draisin chats with her about this project with
both Amanda and Edward here...
Coming back from a tragic traffic accident that almost
claimed the lives of several bandmates, Frank Iero continues
his post-My Chemical Romance solo career with a variety
of new projects. Deborah Draisin catches up with him here...
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:
Teenage Bottlerocket, the Mr. T Experience, and the Nobodys
rocked the Soda Bar on April 8 and our San Diego Bureau
Chief Paul Silver was there. You can read his review and
see his photos here...
THE FEELIES - "Gone Gone
From the new album "In Between" on Bar/None
Deborah Draisin chats with Amanda Rose Riley, a Jersey
girl whose acoustic roots
have led to a promising career in the rock arena. Read
Deb's interview here...
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
Deb Draisin is back on the beat with reviews of Frank
Iero & The Patience's new album, and live reviews
of Bad Religion and The Descendents. Read her reviews
Our intrepid San Diego Bureau Chief Paul Silver traveled
to Oakland and environs for the third annual THIS IS MY
FEST, a DIY punk festival where Paul reports he enjoyed
every single act. Read his report and check out his photos
John Sanucci of JGSPhoto captured these images
of Shirley Manson and Garbage at NJ's Starland Ballroom
on July 27, 2016. See his photos here...
Our intrepid San Diego Bureau Chief Paul Silver tracks
down the Mystery Lights, childhood friends whose long-awaited
debut album is turning heads in the punk world. Read his
Jamie Frey speaks to singer/violinist Petra Haden to
help celebrate the Bar/None reissues of her two mostly
a cappella solo albums, Imaginaryland and
Petra Haden Sings The Who Sell Out. Read his
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...
David Boyle visited one of New Jersey's hottest new acts,
Pat Llewellyn & The Parade,
in their rehearsal space and watched the magic as a new
song came to life. Read his
impressions on these intriguing musicians here...
Don't think of them as a teen band - even though San
Diego's Big Bad Buffalo can't legally order a beer yet
- just think of them as one of the best up 'n' coming
groups in the fertile San Diego punk scene. Jersey Beat's
Paul Silver keeps the lowdown on these phenoms here...
Our world was recently shattered by the loss of Dan McLane.
Dan was original member of the Harmonica Lewinskies and more
recently his own group, the Dan McLane Family Band. He was
a musician, singer, songwriter, but more importantly, one
of the brightest spirits I've ever know. Oliver Ignatius,
the guru of Mama Coco's Funky Kitchen, said it best: "It
is our most crushing loss, and it is our deepest defeat to
confirm the untimely passing of our beloved soul brother number
one Dan McLane, pillar of our community, life-giving lover
of the universe, the warmest, gentlest and most kind human
we have known."
In remembrance, I'm reposting this interview I did with
Dan and the Harmonica Lewinskies in 2012, when Octopus
Wallstreet was released. Dan was one of the first friends
I made when I discovered the Mama Coco's collective and all
it took was about a second; one big smile and one of Dan's
gregarious bear hugs and he made me feel like we'd already
been friends for years. Dan had that effect on everybody.
All we can do to honor his memory is to try and follow his
example: Be a little kinder, a little more generous, a little
more loving, and a little more life-affirming every day we
remember him. And we will remember him always. - Jim Testa
Dan McLane will be remembered at the Mama Coco's Funky
Kitchen "Space Jam" on Friday, May 20, at 8 p.m.
Admission is a requested donation of $10. MCFK is located
at 23 Meadow Street, Brooklyn, across the street from the
DIY venue Shea Stadium.
Read my 2012 Harmonica Lewinskies interview here...
The future voice of American theater?
Karimloo is a rising star in theater and films. David Boyle
profiles this exciting new actor here...
It's only taken 40 years but finally there's a sequel to
Have Moicy!, the groundbreaking freaky folkie compilation
that critic Robert Christgau proclaimed "the greatest
folk album of the rock era." Peter Stampfel is back
but this time there's a new cast, including his daughter
Zoey, Jeffrey Lewis, Baby Gramps, Robin Remaily, and Brooklyn's
Down Hill Strugglers contribute songs, fiddles, banjos,
jew's harp, harmonica, and vocals. Read Jim Testa's review
The Hold Steady's Craig Finn is Jim Testa's guest on the
latest episode of the Jersey Beat Podcast. Craig talks about
his new solo album Faith In The Future, about living in
Brooklyn and going out to see bands, and even offers some
advice for young musicians. Check it out here...
A college student and two of his best friends started a
band back in the Eighties, and wound up riding the thrills
of making loud weird music well into their forties (with
a serious hiatus in the middle) as Bitch Magnet. Jon Fine
tells that story here, which captures the zeitgeist of a
generation of bands that toured in vans, slept on floors,
and rarely made a dime, yet helped lay the way for the indie-rock
of today. Did that revolution fail? Fine seems to think
so, but you'd never notice from his insightful and well-documented
tour stories, including quotes from a small army of like-minded
contemporaries. If you liked Our Band Could Be Your Life,
you're gonna love this.
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.