Jersey Beat Music Fanzine




by John Saavedra Jr.

Heroes of the Open End – This Is Right Now (

Heroes of the Open End “decide to pick a fight with the contemporary music scene” in their debut EP "This Is Right Now." The songs on this EP deal with ambition, stardom, corruption, and death. The EP is an attempt to capture what’s wrong with today’s music scene…and that is where I clash with Heroes.

If singer-songwriter Mike Baglivi’s goal is to attack the multi-billion dollar record industry and the scene’s bureaucracy, I totally understand what Baglivi feels. The band’s song “NY Afterparty” describes the feeling of being alive, which translates as the fear of losing yourself in the scene, losing the feel of the music. Many bands have failed once music has become a job and not a passion. Everyone likes the story: a couple of dudes with guitars who just happened to make it big.

But then Baglivi starts conveying something else entirely.

“NY Afterparty”: “We’ll be making art while there’s still a god.”

“The Inevitable Moment”: “I haven’t done one single drug that hasn’t been prescribed to me.”

It sounds to me like Heroes of the Open End are attacking the rock star, not the industry. That’s like Chuck Berry attacking John Lee Hooker. Today’s music scene was built upon the rock star. The sounds Heroes are making are the ever-evolving sound of rock stars past.

Baglivi sings, “I ain’t got no big ideas/because I don’t read philosophy.”

You show me one serious musician who didn’t aspire to be big and I’ll show you one starving musician. Sure, the drug thing is lame and I wish a lot of my favorite musicians would stop hotboxing their vans. I hope Baglivi continues on the path of righteousness, but there’s no need to shove it in our faces.

He’s kind of like a man with a picket sign at a Ryan Adams concert yelling, “What has he ever done for you?” Heroes of the Open End say they’re fighting for the people by bringing something new to the unoriginal music scene, but I can’t help but think their sound has been done before and by much better bands.

Concerning the sound itself, R.E.L.’s guitar riffs are fantastic. The opening to “NY Afterparty” asks me to sit down and listen to the melodies that are about to unfold through out the rest of the EP and I always oblige said riff. This band builds up the mood, which is ironically a bit nostalgic and hopeful. The music doesn’t sound like a complete condemnation. If Heroes focus on making a great sound, they will be big one day. Throw your punches once you’re on top, and even then, reconsider it. There’s a reason the world hates Kanye West.

The Poison Control Center – Stranger Ballet (Afternoon Records)

My only regret while listening to The Poison Control Center’s Stranger Ballet is that it’s so late in the summer. Stranger Ballet is one of the best summer rock albums I’ve heard in a while. This band is full of energy and guitar riffs that make you want to go for a jog or to the beach or on a road trip. The album has a feeling of fun in the sun.

“Torpedoes on Tuesday” and “Some Ordinary Vision” open up the album beautifully. Frontman Patrick Fleming sings in the latter, “Yes, I was a complete unknown!” Summer is the time for adventures, to make a name for yourself. These songs make me want to brave the world and that’s what the best songs do for listeners: inspire them.

When I wasn’t singing along to their doo-wop-like backing vocals, I was bopping around and playing air-guitar. When I finally reached the wind-down, I was even happier with this album. “Terminal” is about coming home and resting from your adventures. It’s a slow-ish ballad with a memorable melody. “Reoccurring Kind” is a closer with many twists and turns. Fleming sings, “I don’t want you to just be passing through” is a wonderful dedication to summer love and how it can end when the season ends. PCC wants to hold on to its love, make it “reoccurring.” Fleming’s screams are desperate through out the song, trying to justify his love.

The albums ends with the closing words “Don’t be passing through.” This might be the most meaningful lyric in the whole album. It’s by far the realest. I’m writing this at the final stages of summer. Pretty soon, we have to face the cold again. The warmth always seems to be passing through.

NO USE FOR HUMANS – Live at Retromedia (Nacht Records)

If I had to guess, I’d say No Use For Humans, the brainchild of Steven Honoshowsky, takes a lot of influence from 1980’s videogame culture, the 90’s Eurodance scene, and Vangelis’ amazing score for Blade Runner. Often times while listening to Live at Retromedia, where Honoshowsky & friends recorded the album in front of a live audience, I found myself staring at my ceiling in nostalgia.

Honoshowsky’s vast repertoire of synth, percussion, keyboard, reverb, echo, and wave manipulation makes for a very unique, albeit nostalgic, listening experience. The electronic orchestrations are by far the strong suit of this album. The 6-bit sound of the songs gives the album a feeling of simplicity. Honoshowsky is happy with the music he’s creating. In fact, by the way every song ends with the audience clapping and cheering, I’d say Honoshowsky is a bit self-indulgent about the whole ordeal and that’s okay.

The songs can be broken up into three categories: game score, pseudo-dance song, and film score.

“Star Death, “D4,” “The Effigy,” “Broken Hope,” and “8 Tongues” are instrumentals suitable for old Nintendo boss fights. They feel like your finishing a game of Mega Man or adventuring through a dungeon with Link. These songs make up the better, more nostalgic part of the album.

“Bear Tooth” is one of two dance songs with vocals (the better one). It is an homage to strobe lights. You cannot help but subconsciously tap your foot along with the percussion. “Tom’s River” is Honoshowsky’s attempt at something deeper than fun with a NES controller. With lyrics such as “‘Cause when you’re from Toms River, man/No, there is no hope” the song is more of an attempt to give Toms River some street cred as opposed to the performer’s battling with inner demons. The song is full of drugs, high school drop outs, abortions, rapes and…convertibles with lyrics that are as captivating as an infomercial: “I got some chick pregnant/And then there was no more fun/I had to save up my allowance then/To pay for an abortion.” The song has been added to my list of top ten songs…I want to punch in the face, along with the entire Ke$ha discography. Closing out the dance portion of the album, “Impetigo” is a song leaning more towards hip-hop than crazy Euro girls on ecstacy.

“New Perspective” is a direct page from Vangelis’ music catalog. The synthesizers take you back to the skyscrapers of a dystopian Los Angeles, where huge Coca-Cola billboards enhance the sepia color of the night sky.
“Anorgasm” replicates the rock n’ roll sounds of movie car chases and awesome videogame power-ups. It brings the album to an adequate close.

No Use For Humans is at its best when it’s laying out fun, nostalgic orchestrations. Games are fun and Honoshowsky would do well to continue to capture that feeling. So, thank you, sir. It was nice to go back to my childhood days of arcade games and terrible graphics.

GOLDEN BLOOM – March to the Drums (The Sleepy West)

March to the Drums is everything its name promises. Shawn Fogel, under the alias Golden Bloom, is the multi-instrumentalist conductor of this fine march, which is made up of reflective, feel good lyrics and the sounds of summer.
Fogel opens his latest EP with “In the Beginning” and its companion “Rhyme the Reason.” These songs are riddled with the beginnings of summer. Fogel sprinkles soft string arrangements, percussion (drums, xylophones, and bells), and keyboards. The songs cordially introduce us to the soft-spoken indie pop sound he will unravel for us through out the march.

In “You Go On (& On)” Fogel discusses loneliness, complemented by the sharp sound of violins. The song reminds us of our need for companionship: “Tell yourself you’re not alone/as you spend every night on the telephone.” Summer seems to me the best time to build connections with people and nature – especially nature, as night tells whoever will listen to forget the past.

“Passing” and “We Have Grown” are both the most guitar-driven songs on the EP and this is where Fogel’s march hits home. Here, we are taken into the meat of summertime. The part of doing: the adventures, partying, mistakes, lovemaking, and countless long nights that never end. Fogel asks himself whether it was worth it. He answers, “Though I don’t know what this year might bring/I would not change a thing.”

The march concludes with “Still Beat the Same” a small synthesized version of “In the Beginning,” that brings us full-circle. It reminds us that whether we’ve had a glorious summer or a wasted one, there will always be another.

GRAHAM REPLUSKI – Into An Animal Together (Shorter Recordings)

Into An Animal Together, Graham Repulski’s fifth full-length album, is the band’s love letter to all rimmed glasses-wearing, plaid-sporting hipsters that love the lo-fi indie rock scene. The lesser-known Graham Repulski has built a huge 24 track (many songs under a minute) album full of noise, distortion, loops, absurd riffs, off-key vocals, naïve lyrics, and garage shows- staples of the lo-fi scene. Graham Repulski deserves to stand on the same stage as lo-fi greats such as Woods, Wavves, and the much-missed Black Tambourine. The opening track, “Burnt Bootleg Antiquity,” is the thesis statement for the rest of the album: “When I looked out on the alleyway/The centuries on fire were painted gold/I wanna know I’m the only one.” Lo-fi rock isn’t here for the listener and Graham Repulski follows the formula: they know what they’re trying to say, but they are more interested in what’s lost in translation due to the distortion. In the end, listeners have to trust that whatever Graham Repulski is saying, it’s worthwhile: “Looking back on loaded lines/Do you cry/Do you crawl/Or do you reach for the sky?”


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