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...
Testa reviews the second novel from romance writer Mercy
Brown, the pseudonymous survivor of the Nineties New Brunswick
indie scene, who writes about a band called Stars On The
Floor. In her second novel in the series, Brown sends
SOFT on an East Coast tour, focusing on the up-and-down
romance of the band's damaged but hunky bassist and the
young girl who jumps in the van and tags along as road
manager. Every moment of their time on the road rings
true, from sleeping in squalor and crossing paths with
like-minded (but often insane) rockers to dreaming of
that big show at Maxwell's and a chance to play for the
A&R guy who might turn your dreams into a real job.
Be forewarned: Romance novels have a lot of sex, aimed
at a very identifiable demographic. (Of course, if you're
young enough, you might just pick up a few useful pointers.)
But the characters are engrossing and their adventures
(many based on the real-life experiences of the author)
remind us why there's nothing quite like being young,
in a band, and on the road. Read our review here...
Our San Diego Bureau Chief is back with a round up of
punk and indie albums to soundtrack your summer, including
new releases from A Cast Of Thousands, Chandeli'ers,
Direct Hit!, Faye, Japancakes, The Manx, Mystery Lights,
Radiohearts, Tender Defender, Top Shelf Licks, Trashcan
Sinatras, and Vista Blue. Paul
also reviews the latest from noisecore monoliths
Swans and a tribute compilation of songs by The
Rich reviews new releases from The Giraffes,
Not Blood Paint, and Savak, and then takes time to consider
the delights of NJ trans-generational popsters Speed The
Plough.Read Rich's column 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...
The Used turns 15 this year and to celebrate, the band
has been criss-crossing the country doing two nights stands,
performing its first two albums on consecutive nights.
Jersey Beat's Deb Draisin caught up with the band for
both a live review and an interview.
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...
by Joe Wawzyrniak
Joe W. is back and swinging from the heels on his first
column of the Spring, raking through new releases from Hoboken
singer/songwriter Ryne Meadow, classic
rockers Peter Wolf and Willie Nile,
indie buzz bands Deardarkhead and Adult
Books, as well as Holy Wave, Black Peaches,
Save Ends, the High Violets, and Brett Harris.
On Revol, NYC's Sons Of An Illustrious Father jump
from DIY orphans of the storm, buffeted by the vagaries
of Brooklyn's flavor-of-the-week class system, and make
a bid for national recognition with an album that's alternately
dark, blusey, heavy, and transportingly spiritual. Read
Sam Braverman's review here...
New Age Healers' new release 'Ghost' showed up in our inbox
with only a heavily redacted press release and an ethereal
video that we found both fascinating and slightly disquieting.
We share this with the proviso that you listen at your own
risk. For more information, visit New
Theory's sprawling double album Lolita Nation is the latest
album from this underrated band to be reissued by Omnivore
Records, and our Joe Merklee says it's well worth another
visit. " Hearing it all again after so many years was
a revelation," Joe writes. "Here was a band firing
on all cylinders. Anyone who was fortunate enough to have
heard this lineup live could vouch for the fact that they
were capable of rocking as hard as anyone while being skilled
enough to deliver on the more understated songs." Read
his review here...
The future voice of American theater?
Karimloo is a rising star in theater and films. David Boyle
profiles this exciting new actor here...
Back when I first started going to the open mic at Muchmore's
in Williamsburg, I met Samantha Roche and Trevor Rue, a
young folk-pop duo who sang together under the name Bitterheart.
I instantly became a big fan and now I'm proud to have Jersey
Beat introduce a brand new track from the pair called "Someone
Leslie Snyder reviews David Bowie's final album "Black
Star," a fascinating foray into jazz that proves that
Bowie, even when dying of cancer, continued to explore new
sonic territory fearlessly.
It's that time of year when we look back at the last 12
months and remember what we liked, what we loved, and what
we'll want to hear again in the future. Jim Testa and Paul
Silver present there Top o' 2015 lists here...
A year after Amy Wuelfing and Steve DiLodovico's oral history
comes Steve Tozzi's documentary Riot On The Dance Floor,
telling the story of Trenton's City Gardens and its promoter,
Randy "Now" Ellis. Read Jim Testa's review 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
"As Long As It Takes"
As our Joe Merklee notes, it's remarkable that the Chills
even exist in 2015, given the band's travails - their inability
to find a large audience, ongoing difficulties keeping a
stable lineup together, depression, substance abuse, and
serious health issues. So the band's new album Silver
Bullets comes as not only a pleasant surprise but
something close to a miracle. Silver Bullets is
a triumph that stands comfortably alongside their finest
work. Read Joe's review here...
Snyder reviews new releases from Brooklyn's Rio En Media,
cowpunk artists Jenny Don't & The Spurs, and Dallas,
Texas' The Disappearing Act.
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.
Eric travels around the world for his latest edition of
"More Metal," with informative and engaging coverage
of new releases from Abstruse, After Birth, Child
Bite, Cretin, Cuff, Dimesland, Einherjer, Ensiferum, Gale,
a split EP from Graveyard Ghoul/Cryptic Brood, Hate, Hateful
Abandon, Horncrowned, In The Company Of Serpents, Innsmouth,
Kauan, Obsessor, Poshum, Primordial, Shredhead,
and Triumvir Foul,
Read Eric's column 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.