Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

To some, Real Estate’s jangly, easy going sound is anachronistic in the current tightly wound world of popular music. To others though, their brand of indie-influenced surf rock is the perfect solution to the stress of everyday life. Their latest EP—the jammy and perpetually entertaining “Half a Human” distills their essence in an approachable bite-sized package. Quite simply, it’s fun, profound, and undoubtedly delightful.

Though it begins with the rather abstract and twinkly “Desire Path,” Half a Human quickly finds its feet, jumping headfirst into the title track, which is a well-paced journey filled to the brim with dreamy melodies and cascading patterns.

Whether it be the slippy, ride-driven verses of “Soon” or the beachy waves of “In the Garden,” the arrangements are all perfectly constructed and exceptionally atmospheric. “Ribbon,” the concluding act, is equally calm and controlled with simplistic yet catchy lyrics to boot (“This vessel sustains me/But it cannot contain me”). In particular, Julian Lynch’s dextrous lead lines soar alongside the band’s steady rhythm section, with Martin Courtney’s vocals slotting in excellently atop the finely layered mix. In an incredibly satisfying manner, nothing is more complex than it needs to be.

Some of the tracks may get a tad repetitive, but they are established solidly enough that it does not seem tedious or boring. Instead, the 24 minutes one spends listening to “Half a Human’s” six tracksjust fly by.

Once again, the lads from Ridgewood, New Jersey have nailed it, creating a concise, dreamy effort that beautifully captures the feeling of transitioning from winter to spring. Half a Human isn’t just well put together, it’s downright dazzling. (

Real Estate – “Half a Human” from ‘Half a Human EP,’ out now on Domino Record Co.

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Hit Like A Girl is a project by Nicolle Maroulis, A few weeks back we announced the new album from Hit Like A Girl“Heart Racer” was written following a life-altering panic attack that songwriter Nicolle Maroulis experienced in 2019. This album was a perfect fit for Refresh’s post hiatus spring. Heart Racer is Hit Like A Girl’s 3rd album and features a ton of awesome cameos and performances from artists like Bartees StrangeKiley Lotz from PetalJer Berkin from The Sonder Bombs, and Jacob Blizard from Lucy Dacus‘ band.

“Boardwalk” is the first single and is streaming everywhere now. Catch the animated music video by Jez Pennington, or play the mobile game inspired by the music video on HLAG’s website!

“Chiming and catchy, sunny guitars peeking through a cloudy exterior” – Stereogum

Official music video for “Boardwalk” by Hit Like A Girl from “Heart Racer”. Album out on April 2nd on Refresh Records.

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Members of the Gaslight Anthem, the Ratchets, and Let Me Run have linked up to form a new band, Forgivers, which dropped a debut single, “Some Future.”

The New Jersey-based rock outfit boasts the Gaslight Anthem’s Alex Rosamilia and Alex Levine on guitar and bass, respectively; the Ratchets’ Jed Winokur on guitar; and Trevor Reddell, a recording engineer and member of several bands including Let Me Run, on drums. All four members of Forgivers share vocal duties.

The band’s sound, per a release, is rooted primarily in British outfits like the Cure, Jesus and Mary Chain, the Clash, and Oasis. “Some Future” captures that mix of influences with its steady stomp and the gauzy jangle of the guitars, which ultimately give way to some blistering, stadium-sized solos.

Rosamilia and Levine decided to form Forgivers upon realizing how much they missed playing together after the Gaslight Anthem’s 2018 reunion shows celebrating the 10th anniversary of The ’59 Sound. It was longtime My Chemical Romance guitar tech and North End Recording owner Ed Auletta who suggested Winokur join the band. After Reddell was enlisted on drums, the band began socially distanced rehearsals in Reddell’s garage, which was dubbed “Forgivers Lodge.”

In a statement, Winokur said of the band’s aims: “We want this to be a little more thoughtful than what’s out there — sensible yet senseless. We’re just going to put things together that create tension, and see what comes of it. And if they come out sounding classic and happy and sad at the same time, then that’s kind of the goal.”

Rosamilia added: “I’m trying to get back to what I could have been doing this entire time but was too blind to see it. Music is fun again. I feel like I’m getting to do this all over again with the knowledge that I have, and I want to make sure that I do it right.”

Forgivers are: Jed Winokur: Vocals/Guitar Alex Rosamilia: Guitar/Vocals Alex Levine: Bass/Vocals Trevor Reddell: Drums/Vocals All songs written by Forgivers

ManDancing didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. It’s a tale as old as time: singer/songwriter makes record in New Jersey basement, band forms, label signs them and then waits 3 years for a new piece of music.

They were once described as sounding like “if Death Cab for Cutie were having a mental breakdown.” Frontman, Stephen G Kelly, says the band name might as well be “For Fans of Manchester Orchestra” due to how often the comparison gets tossed about. The band, however, liken themselves to a modern day Journey, for reasons that aren’t so obvious or valid.

Their sophomore LP ‘The Good Sweat’ is a ride. We’re not talking your family friendly local farm hay-ride either. It is a rollercoaster. Upon entry, the dialed-in ambient drones give way to Kelly contemplating whether or not he should even strap in, and before he can come to a conclusion, the rest of the band pull you into the first descent of its cathartic depths immediately before soaring to thrilling heights.

Centered around Kelly’s fumbling acoustic guitar, each instrument has its unique voice that when laced together, make for a beautifully controlled chaos. Drums that push you to the edge of reason and back home to safety mesh perfectly with the playful yet business-like bass guitar. The electric guitars dance neatly at the ends of the rails, and provide a vast environment for Kelly’s vocals to swim within. Lyrically, Kelly struggles with the dark trenches of his psyche, while searching for reasons to keep moving forward with spirit.

It is at times overwhelming, yet the passenger is never made to feel like the floor has completely fallen out. Have you ever awoken from the panic of a nightmare, relieved to discover that you were only dreaming? Moments like this are strewn all over this steadfast amusement park dragon. That’s the feeling of ‘The Good Sweat.’ManDancing live for it. 


Written by ManDancing

Acoustic Guitar & Vocals – Stephen G Kelly
Guitar – Ben Petty
Drums – Thomas DeVinko 
Bass – Adrian Kabigting
Guitar – James Bauman
Percussion – Dragon Yup

Released November 20th, 2020

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Released from Creeptones, “Vacant Winds” is an expansive rocker with engrossing rhythmic drive, shimmering guitar/synth interplay, and hooky vocals. The New Jersey-based act, formed in 2010, release this track as a follow-up to last year’s album “Hell + Ice”. Relaxed vocals ride alongside a spacey backing synth to start, with a bouncy bass line exuding a brightly psychedelic feeling. “The “winds blow vacant,” hook succeeds with a soaring, infectious charm. The synth lines and prominent bass line remind fondly of The Helio Sequence. “Vacant Winds” soars with a likable charm throughout, marking another success for Creeptones.

In case you hear something familiar and nostalgic, it’s worth knowing that the track’s intro uses samples from SNES classics Earthbound and Sim City.

Creeptones elaborate more on the track’s creative process below:

“Our longtime collaborator and friend (also visual artist for the group) Nico Lucido sent me the lyrics for this song on a particularly rough day I was having. It seemed to be perfect timing. I was very thankful to have him as a friend. Went home that night and finished the track in one sitting. It helped me during a difficult time, and I hope it might help others in a small way, if not just for the reminder to keep things in perspective once in awhile. We used some classic SNES Earthbound and Sim City sounds to give the intro a bit of a VGM feel, but then the song opens up into a more familiar sound.

Here’s our lyric video for our new single, “Vacant Winds” also available everywhere you stream music! If you’d like to support Creeptones present and future releases, head over to our bandcamp and purchase the track in the highest quality lossless and wav formats!.  This song was made for the times when we need a reminder to stop and look around, and drift into present mind-Recording it was an enlightening experience, and we tried to up our game with a few more sonic wizbangs.
If you’ve heard about Creeptones, first time hearing, heard never listened, listened but didn’t realize cause it was on in the background somewhere- Thanks for listening and look forward to our next single in a few months.

“Vacant Winds” Available for Streaming everywhere February 5th.”

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Pete Yorn was born in New Jersey. He has put out 8 records under his own name and some more albums with other people too. His most recent recording “Caretakers” came out in August of 2019. It features the singles “Calm Down” and “I Wanna Be The One”. Pete has toured all over the world with his band and also solo acoustic. He enjoys backgammon, Curb Your Enthusiasm and drawing Barney. 

Last night, Pete Yorn revealed that he’d uploaded a full album’s worth of covers to his Bandcamp page as an exclusive purchase on the site. Ten covers—ranging from a Roxy Music single to Audrey Hepburn’s “Moon River” comprise “Pete Yorn Sings the Classics”, a project seemingly instigated by Yorn’s love for the songs and the joy of recording with his friend Marc “Doc” Dauer (apparently Liz Phair also contributed vocals on a track). 


“As you know, I’ve never been shy about celebrating my musical influences,” Yorn wrote on the record’s Bandcamp page. “I honour them and appreciate the fact that they have helped to inspire the style of music I create as my own. I have chosen to interpret and record this particular collection of songs for various reasons. Whether it was The Pixies “Here Comes Your Man” or The Stone Roses “Ten Storey Love Song,” these songs all have one thing in common…they all stopped me in my tracks upon first discovery, simply because I loved the way they made me feel. They compelled me to listen repetitively…almost compulsively over and over again.”

“Here Comes Your Man”
Although the Pixies’ classic fits Yorn like a glove, he says it was mostly a spontaneous decision to take it on for the record: 

“I just started strumming one day. And that’s how it starts sometimes. Out of nowhere I’m singing a song and I think, ‘Maybe I can do this.’ That’s probably why that happened. I’m really happy with the way that one evolved and turned out. And I loved Liz (Phair) singing backing vocals on that, she does a little Kim Deal. I love the energy of it. It’s different from theirs. I try to pay respect to the originals but I try to make them my own.”

“Lay Lady Lay”
Yorn used some surprising horn arrangements, suggested by his co-producer and musical collaborator on the album Doc Dauer, to spruce up this Bob Dylan country smash: 

“The way that all of a sudden evolved into this mariachi horns production was a surprise to me. That came later when Doc had the idea. He said, ‘I got this guy who’s a horn player. Let me send it to him and see what he does with it.’ He put down this beautiful Herb Albert-style, mariachi, crazy composition on top of it. These songs, when I go into record them, they can go in a million different directions, depending on the day I hit the studio and how I’m feeling. It’s just whatever in the moment feels good. And we go for it.”

“Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)”
The Diana Ross original might seem far from Yorn’s style, but when he dug into it, he found something almost on the eerie side which inspired his recording:

“Although I was so familiar with those songs and loved them since my parents introduced me to them as a kid, that and ‘Moon River’ were ones I had to study, in terms of the composition and the chording of them. I had to really lean in and study how to find all the chords for those two. The theme from Mahogany version, to me, it’s spooky. I played drums and bass on it, and, to me, the drums have that kind of spooky Zeppelin feel to it. I’m trying to do some John Paul Jones sort of things on the bass.”

“They Don’t Know”
American audiences might know the version of this Kirsty MacColl track that was a sleeper 80s hit in the U.S. for Tracey Ullman, as Yorn got the chance to tackle the iconic “Baby” exclamation that leads off the final verse. (“I knew that I had to,” Yorn laughs. “I just said, ‘Let’s hit it!’”) He ended up getting some meaningful feedback:

“We were able to get Tracey a copy of the record, and she hit back and she said she loves the version so much and she said she thinks that Kirsty would have loved this version too. She said some other fun stuff. I really liked the feel of the song. When we put the record together and the sequence, that was my favourite for a while. It’s kind of this forgotten song that everyone loves.”

“More Than This”
When finding the feel for this Roxy Music number, Yorn took inspiration from an album he loved in his younger days:

“I remember after we finished it, I was driving in the desert and I cranked it, and it had all the pedal steel on it and the mountains are in the background and I just thought, wow, this is such a desert drive song. And it hit hard. I was really into a record called Teenage Symphonies To God by a band called Velvet Crush in the ’90s. They had all these beautiful songs. They had Greg Leisz, the great steel guitar player, all over that record. And I really wanted to get that kind of feeling on this song. That’s why there’s that long, ‘Layla’-like outro at the end with the pedal steel. I think that thing went on for 15 minutes, just going over and over again, staying in that emotional space. But we trimmed it down and had a nice fade-out. I appreciate a nice fade on a song like that.”

“Surfer Girl”
Yorn found some separation from the well-known Beach Boys ballad by taking on the vocals without any harmonies:

“That song and ‘Don’t Worry Baby’ and ‘God Only Knows’ were like my ultimate Beach Boys song. I know that Brian Wilson spoke of it as he wanted to write a song like ‘When You Wish Upon A Star.’ I always heard it as this sad, more emotional song. I did a slightly darker version of it. I was really happy with the way it turned out. To me it has a bit of a dark undercurrent to it that I put into it. I didn’t want it to be flowery.”

“Ten Storey Love Song”
Yorn’s love of the Stone Roses lead to this track, which highlights the album’s versatility:

“That one I just had so much fun with. I said, ‘I’m just going to do my super-Stone Roses thing and just jam and play, let it rip.’ That’s what we did. It’s important that the record gets presented as a whole. It’s not just about one song. It’s a whole picture. A lot of people have messaged me when they see this song on there and the Roses fans are like, ‘Dude, ‘Ten Storey Love Song!’ The ones who know, know. I love that everyone is going to have a favourite and something they are most attached to. That’s the fun thing about it.”

“I Am A Rock”
Yorn identified loneliness of Paul Simon’s lyrics, helping him to capture this track’s desolate vibe:

“That’s the one on the record where I’ve been that guy. When I read the lyrics, it was like, ‘Holy shit, I’ve got to sing this song because I’ve been here.’ In adult life, in some ways, I’ve shaken it off. But for a while, from 30 to 35, I was in a very dark place. A lot of people go through this, but in hindsight, I think I was so scared to commit to something because I was afraid of pain. That song spoke to me in such a brilliant way, that I was like, ‘I just gotta sing this song.’ It’s one of the greatest songs written about fear and cutting yourself off. I’ve lived those emotions, so the song hit really hard for me.”

“New Age”
Doing a Velvet Underground track may not have been surprising, but Yorn went off the beaten path for this song, which once ended up bleeding into his original work:

“I was obsessed with Loaded for a while. I will reveal this now: If you go back to Nightcrawler and listen to ‘Broken Bottle,’ you will hear ‘New Age’ and you will hear how heavily that song influenced me. I don’t even hide it that well, to be honest. That song opened me up lyrically. Obviously, Lou Reed opened us all up into a way of talking about stuff in song and describing things that were very influential to a lot of artists. The song, if you follow it all the way through, it goes to this whole other triumphant place. It’s just a special song.”

“Moon River”
You won’t often hear this standard adorned with backwards guitar, but Yorn found a way to add specific touches like that while still tapping into the melancholy beauty of the original to close out the record: 

“The version of it that really got me, and still any time I hear it will bring tears to my eyes, is when Audrey Hepburn sings it on the fire escape with her little nylon-string guitar in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. I’ve always been a fan of that sparse French feeling, like a Claudine Longet-type of thing, which heavily influenced my song ‘The Party.’ That version of it just crushes me. My grandpa, who lived to 104, would say he loved a sad song, that you could hear in the singer a cry in their voice. I got that from him. It just resonates. There are certain types of songs that make you feel sad but in that good way. The healthy release of emotion or whatever. There are certain lines that are just like hyper-nostalgic lines, like ‘we’re after the same rainbow’s end’ or ‘my huckleberry friend.’ Just flash some family photos in front of me and I’ll be on the floor weeping. And I’m proud of that. It’s a hyper-slow version of it, but we really tried to pull out the feeling, put it in overdrive.”

Performed by Pete Yorn & Marc “Doc” Dauer.

Released January 15th, 2021

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Formed in New Jersey by guitarists Tom Malach and Danny Arakaki, the band took a few years to find their flying shape, solidifying into a line up with Danny’s brother Cesar on drums and Derek Spaldo on bass by mid-2016. Ramping up their acceleration around the time of their 2018 Cosmic Cash debut on Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records, they’ve blasted through residencies and new songs and sessions and collaborations, relocating to New York, picking up two new members in keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Pat Gubler and bassist Andy Cush, and leaving a trail of live tapes in their wake. Hear Here Presents is a unique live music video series based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that focuses on high quality audio mixes and top notch filmmaking to create a multi-dimensional, intimate viewing experience for all music lovers, no matter their location.

The new one by Garcia Peoples is out on Beyond Beyond is Beyond, writing that “The band’s fifth full-length splices the kind of serpentine folk-blues licks you might expect from Richard Thompson into their fiery onslaughts.”

Make all the jam band jokes you would like to, but these guys are like no one else on the scene right now. Their playing is top-notch, like many out there, but their songs are also catchy as hell and memorable. It starts off strong, sounding like you’re about to listen to a heavier album with “Gliding Through” before it transforms into an upbeat poppy rock tune that has a great funky bassline and you might find yourself starting to bop around to it within seconds. “Wasted Time” is straight out of dreamy 60’s easy-going psychedelia, “Altered Place” wants to be an old Love tune (this is a good thing), “Painting a Vision That Carries” with its acoustic mastery still full-on rocking could have fit on Led Zeppelin III.

The entire second side is one long suite and it shows their chops on being able to move from one idea to the next seamlessly. “One at a Time” starts us off with some slinky bass lines and guitar riffs. With a striking guitar chord, we move into the first instrumental track “(Our Life Could Be Your Van)” that goes through three of its own distinct movements, all fast-paced and driving forward, until it drops into “Crown of Thoughts” where you feel like you’ve been transported under water with the abrupt but perfect change. “(Sound Controls Time)” is peak Syd Barret Pink Floyd weirdness that sets us up for another 180 with the acoustic opening of “A Reckoning”. The song stays mellow and feels like a chant before an all-out psychedelic feedback jam, “(Litmus)”, eventually drops us into the peaceful closer “Shadow” to end the suite and the record. It’s a hell of a listening experience from beginning to end.

Recorded January 17th 2020 at Hear Here Studios

“HEAR HERE JAM” – (0:0012:52) “ONE STEP BEHIND (TEASER)” (13:1621:53) *NO CUT* – “FEEL SO GREAT” (21:54-END)

Garcia Peoples have been a magnetic north for me since I first saw the name a few years ago, loved the suspected pun in there (I’m old enough to remember the wisecracks on the Beatles’ Christmas fan club singles), then heard the psychedelic mission and improvising nerve on the records, the circulating gig tapes and finally in the first-person high of live performance. But in a season of fear and profound loss with no clear way ahead, Garcia Peoples rolled up that night with an uncanny medicine that shook me forward and keeps this album within reach, in a high rotation of assuring message and serial discovery. First impressions count a lot when you find a new, favourite record. But the ones that stick around don’t give you everything at once. Nightcap at Wits’ End has a lot of what I need right now – then brings something new every time I play it.

It turns out there is a real-life Wit’s End, a tavern of the band’s acquaintance in rural New York, along the state line not far from Black Dirt Studios where Garcia Peoples made their 2018 album, Cosmic Cash, and the epic-title-track adventure, 2019’s One Step Behind. The duality here runs deep: almost 50 minutes of intricately arranged composition and kinetic guitar chorales christened in tribute to both a familiar place of refuge and that ragged state of mind beyond all common sense, when you keep on going even after you’ve run out of rope and road. The music itself is a double image: one album-length side of songs that advance the crisp momentum and tangled jangle of early-2019’s Natural Facts; and a second half that extends the medley action on Cosmic Cash with the long reach of One Step Behind in a suite of dynamic writing and bonded, instrumental charge, connected by live-to-tape jams – the band’s first time exercising that second-nature-on-stage in a studio.

The juxtaposition affirms what I wrote in the opening line when I reviewed Natural Facts for Rolling Stone: “Expect the unexpected.” And expect it right away. The great crash of guitars at the end of “Gliding Through” suddenly turns into “Wasted Time,” a dream state of rippled-water singing that escalates into its own incandescent guitar argument. Halfway into “Painting a Vision That Carries,” the music hovers in a suspense of acoustic strum and fuzz-buster chords – “Way out there on the brink,” as the lyric goes – before the charging, instrumental climax. Over in the suite, “One at a Time” is slippery bass and swimming guitars; one improvisation sounds like treble prayer winging through a Marin County mist; and there is a minute-and-change of wah-wah brutality before the striking finish of “Shadow,” a quiet hymn for rising through wreckage.


Nightcap at Wits’ End was a long time coming: more than nine months in Philadelphia with Jeff Zeigler, who recorded Natural Facts – from the first work in August, 2019 to the final mix, only a few weeks before I heard it in that eerie midnight. But this album has arrived as if absolutely destined for right now. I am tempted to say it is the band’s best record, except Garcia Peoples are too restless to settle for plateaus. Just do as the title says. Raise a glass at your wit’s end, and let the music blow away the night.

Released October 9th, 2020

Jack Antonoff and Bruce Springsteen

Bleachers have returned with fellow New Jerseyan Bruce Springsteen for the new single “Chinatown.” and another new songs called “45.” listen to both songs and find the video for “Chinatown,” directed by Carlotta Kohl. In a press release, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff gave the following statement on his new tracks: 

“Chinatown” starts in NYC and travels to New Jersey. that pull back to the place i am from mixed with terror of falling in love again. having to show your cards to someone and the shock when you see them for yourself. thinking you know yourself and where you are from…. having to see yourself through somebody who you want to stay… I started to write this song with these ideas ringing in my head. to further understand who you are pushes you to further understand where you are from and what that looks and sounds like. there are pieces in that that are worth carrying forever and pieces worth letting die. “Chinatown” and “45” are both the story of this—“Chinatown” through someone else, “45” through the mirror. as for Bruce, it’s the honour of a lifetime to be joined by him. he is the artist who showed me that the sound of the place Ii am from has value and that there is a spirit here that needs to be taken all over the world.

Jack Antonoff’s second album as Bleachers album, “Gone Now”, was released in 2017. He’s kept busy in the years since, producing music for a huge range of artists, including Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, FKA twigs, and the Chicks. Last year, he launched a project called Red Hearse with Sam Dew and producer Sounwave. According to the press release, the next Bleachers album is due out in 2021.

These songs are about mental health and queer struggles. Stand by your friends that are hurting. Harm reduction is the key to safety. Often pinned as a band that has a lot going on,” Teenage Halloween has crafted a sound rooted in abundance. Luke Henderik’s rare and universal lyrics, and the precise ear of engineer Evan Bernard, this newest collection of songs is full of surprises that humbly aims to redefine the modern DIY punk scene.  A joyous vibe of Replacements/Springsteen/The Hold Steady, but young, beautiful and a little punk. It’s short in that good way where you think ‘aaaww, already?’ when it’s over and silence takes over.

Predominantly a gay identifying band, the songs reflect this experience holistically with lyrics that grapple with vulnerability, community, extreme existentialism, mental illness, and gender euphoria. Accompanied by the band’s explosive energy, each song functions as a politically charged anthem. The album maintains constant energy, and that energy also celebrates the bravery of being a queer band. Further, the songs speak in narratives, making sure people are held accountable for their actions and in the same vein, given the opportunity to communicate that self-reflection.


The self-titled debut album Teenage Halloween was recorded by Bernard in Big Mama’s Recording Studio and will be released by Don Giovanni Records in September. Liberated and alive. You can really tell that they’ve developed their chemistry through hard work in the course of playing hundreds of live shows. I guess it’s just a matter of time now before Teenage Halloween are traveling the globe playing their inspiring songs to the appreciative weirdos, outcasts, and societal rejects of the free-thinking underworld. Exciting, hopeful music for challenging times.

The Band:

Luke Henderiks – guitar / vocals / lyrics / composition
Eli Frank – lead guitar / composition / production
Tricia Marshall- bass / vocals / keys
Brandon Hakim – saxophone
Peter Gargano- drums
Jane Lai – piano
Evan Bernard- tambourine / guitar

Released September 18th, 2020 Don Giovanni Records 2020