Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

SADLANDS - "Sadlands" EP (

Sadlands’ sonic stew throwbacks to those sick power-rock and pop female-fronted bands from the ‘80s/‘90s college-radio era. On this four-track debut, lead singer/guitarist Samantha Campagno and crew showcase a little Go-Go’s glitterpop on “McClennan,” pogo pop on “Flowers” and “After Tonight Things Will Be Different,” and then swing it right back around with some power pop on “With Friends” which reminds of early like Kay Hanley and Letter to Cleo. Throughout the four track effort, Campagno’s killer range rocks thru as she bares her soul before slapping her heart squarely on her shoulder. The fearsome foursome of Sam C, Jess Lane, Harley Cox, and Louis Rabeno (ex-members of Answering Machine, Ellen & The Degenerates and Choke Up), set the foundation for lyrical acrobatics that fly and flail throughout the debut.

Bunking down in Asbury Park with Bouncing Souls shredder and veteran producer Peter Steinkopf, who put a little punk polish into the mix, Sadlands oftentimes teeter towards pop with a little pugilist-style punk. While the lyrics lean into love lost and found and everything in between, the songs occasionally veer into the darker side of life, but then bounce back by final needle drop with a sunshiny stomp. If only I could get some vinyl on this one, but while there’s no black candy discs, the band is releasing the EP as a blue digital cassette, neat-o.

I’m definitely gonna date myself here, but this EP would be a great soundtrack to both a Tim Burton teen dramedy and a Josie & The Pussycats cartoon caper at the same time, making it the perfect sunny Summer (or shit, any season) soundtrack.

THE MAKE THREE - You, Me, & The Make Three (Mint 400;

Damn, I miss the early 90's, pop-rock kicks and frontside flips from the likes of The Figgs, Dino Jr., Superchunk and a tons of other indie rock lettermen. Those bands were all aptly aware that Seattle while was busy sulking and Oakland was punky pogo'ing in the musicverse, but fuck if they cared, instead they just punched out pop rock candy goodness, that snapped in your mouth, tarted your tongue and made you smile from ear to ear.

It's that same sonic sensibility that I'm catching from this debut release from The Make Three, who sling a little bit of rock soul and whole lot of pop sense on their Mint 400 debut LP, You, Me & The Make Three. Although I'm calling them kids, TMT are by no means newbies; they've been banging around Jerz and the City for decades making musical mayhem in the likes of Greyhouse, the Anderson Council and The Brixton Riot, among others.

Getting to the goodies, "Emily Strange" had me bouncing in the basement, thinking this has to be a cover, it's so f-ing catchy. Add nine more bits of snap, crackle and pop and you got a throwback to 30-years-ago indie-rock goodness. "Under My Skin" and "Local Scene" have a touch of psyche-pop, while "Sweet Carolina Blue" and the aforementioned "Emily Strange" will snap your synapses and knock your neurons numb. It's evident that songsmiths Jerry Lardieri, Peter Horvath and Chris Ryan were cooped for Covid like the rest of us, just crying to create, and with the world on pause, these three took matters into their own hands, flying caution to the wind and setting up in their home studio. For me, it's that the DIY scratches and seams and all-out grittiness that I like the most about this LP.

Some of my favorite albums are done straight up live, with Albini style minimal overdubs and that's how You & Me...feels, with its pummelling backbeat and growling guitars it's got a bit of polish, but also a really, really raw recklessness. Going back to the '80s, hearing "awww, fucked it up" at the end of "Hootenanny" made me a 'Mats fan for life, and thanks to Jimmy T. turning me on to these guys, The Make Three are now on repeat. I think I'm gonna record this one to an old TDK 60, toss it in the cassette deck, and just let er loop back and forth for the Summer.

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