Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

When you’ve got riffs like these and a voice like hers, you’re pretty much golden. The riffs in question are the spindly, expansive, geometrically unusual building blocks of Forth Wanderers’ sound, arching guitar architecture that turns the band’s big Sub Pop spotlight moment into a monument. The voice belongs to Ava Trilling, who applies her deadpan soprano to lyrics like, “He says he likes my taste/ But I bite his tongue, you know, just in case.” Consider them Built To Spill built for 2018 indie rock, trading awestruck twee visions for frank ruminations on the politics of collegiate social life.

Forth Wanderers employ a tin-can-telephone style of composition which they use even when living in the same area code. Since first collaborating in 2013 as Montclair, New Jersey high schoolers, guitarist and songwriter Ben Guterl and vocalist Ava Trilling have passed songs back and forth like pen pals. Guterl will devise an instrumental skeleton before sending it to vocalist Ava Trilling who pens the lyrics based off the melody. The duo then gather alongside guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli to expand upon the demo. It’s a patient and practiced writing system that has carried the quintet through two EPs (2013’s Mahogany and 2016’s Slop) and one LP (2014’s Tough Love). Forth Wanderers, the group’s sophomore record and Sub Pop Records debut, is the group’s most comprehensive and assured statement yet.

Now living in Ohio and New York respectively, Guterl and Trilling have evolved their separate but collaborative writing process. “The only way I can really write is by myself in my room with a notebook, listening to the song over and over again,” Trilling says. “I’ve never sat down to write a story, I write the song as it unfolds.” Since her lyrics are often embedded with intimate truths from her life, the private writing experience often leads to intense self-reflection.

On Forth Wanderers these introspections include meditations on relationships, discovery, and finding oneself adrift. Despite the inherent heaviness of those themes, Forth Wanderers feels joyous, a rock record bursting with heart. Take “Not for Me,” a romping track about “the ambivalence of love.” Trilling’s confession of “I can’t feel the earth beneath my feet/Flowers bloom but not for me” resists feeling like a dreary, pitying complaint; instead, as her bandmates bolster her melancholy with interlocking harmonic intricacies, she soars with self-actualization. Opener “Nevermine,” is a surge of confidence inspired by an ex-lover who is still captivated by her image. “I don’t think I know who you are anymore/And I think I knew who I was before,” she jabs with relish. On “Ages Ago” Trilling paints the image of a constantly-shifting enigmatic lover. “I wasn’t sure who they were, they changed constantly (hence the metaphor describing the “grey coat” and cutting their hair just to “stay afloat”),” she says. “I wasn’t going to wait any longer to find out.”

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Recorded over five days by friend and audio engineer Cameron Konner at his Philadelphia home studio, Forth Wanderers amplifies the heartfelt sentiments of their earlier works into massive anthems. Guterl and Greene’s guitars have never sounded sharper, Schifrin and Lorelli’s terse rhythm section is restless, and Trilling sounds more self-assured than ever. These are exuberant, profound songs driven by tightly bound melodies and a loving attention to detail.

Released April 27th, 2018

screaming-females-all-at-once-1527604721

Formed in New Brunswick, NJ in 2005, Screaming Females are Marissa Paternoster (guitar, vox), Mike Abbate (bass), and Jarrett Dougherty (drums). Over six albums and more than a decade of music making, the band has remained deeply individual and steadfastly DIY. They have also grown into one of the most dynamic and devastating touring bands going today.

Marissa Paternoster’s voice is the relentless force and central instrument that drives Screaming Females’ All At Once. Her howling vibrato doesn’t necessarily outshine the fired-up shredding or evocative lyricism. Rather, it makes those elements feel that much grander. The expression “I’ll make you sorry” never sounded as sly and, frankly, believable as it does coming out of Paternoster’s mouth. A sense of restless intensity translates stylistically, too. All At Once is a feverish rock n’ roll album, pieced together with power-pop grooves, punk progressions, indie-rock melodies, and even a hint of ska. But as ever, Paternoster is the star. When she sings, “The sun destroys me,” on “Agnes Martin,” it doesn’t sound hyperbolic; it sounds as if she’s on the verge of melting.

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Out February 23rd, All At Once, is the trio’s most expansive and imaginative work to date — a double LP that swings between surreal miniatures and and solo-heavy sprawl. Concision takes a backseat to experimentation, with arrangements meant to evoke the energy and spontaneity of their live shows. It’s music built across a timeline that’s longer than our internet-enhanced moment typically tolerates and a testament to the band’s dedication and perseverance.

Springsteen 11/8/96

This memorable homecoming stop on the Tom Joad tour sees Springsteen return to Freehold and his parochial school, St. Rose of Lima  Gymnasium in his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey on November 8th, 1996.. Joined by special guests Patti Scialfa and Violinist Soozie Tyrell joined in on six songs including “The River” and “Racing in the Street.”  Patti Scialfa added backing vocals to three songs with Springsteen and Tyrell, including the second-ever performance of “When You’re Alone” from the Tunnel of Love album.  It has only been performed live 10 times since this concert.   Bruce reminisces and tears up the set list for nine tour debuts, including “The River,” “Two Hearts” “Racing in the Street,” and a rare “When You’re Alone” and the only tour performances of “Open All Night,” “Used Cars” and “My Hometown.” The concert was capped off by the premiere of a song Springsteen had written especially for the occasion: “Freehold.”  The nine-minute number has Bruce recollecting some of his experiences growing up in the town.  It has never had a studio version released and has only been performed infrequently since its debut at this show.

Springsteen offered reminisces about his time growing up in Freehold during the concert.  Most of the concert featured Bruce going through the core of his his normal setlist from the Joad tour, but there were some variations especially chosen for the night.  Out of the 25 songs performed, nine were making their tour premieres.

This concert came in the middle of Springsteen’s solo acoustic tour for the Ghost of Tom Joad album.  However, this performance was even more intimate than most on the tour.  With all proceeds benefitting the Latino community center at the St. Rose of Lima Church, the concert was held in the church’s gymnasium with all attendees sitting in bleacher or folding chairs.  Tickets were only available to Freehold residents.

All volumes of The Bruce Springsteen Archive Series, plus concerts from 2014, 2016 and 2017, are available at Springsteen’s official live store for download and physical purchase.

Forth Wanderers know how to open an album. The band’s latest album begins with vocalist Ava Trilling boldly declaring, “I am the one you think of when you’re with her”, on their previous album, 2014’s Tough Love, the first words she hums, over solemn guitar harmonics, are “I want to be known as the girl who’s stone cold.”

“I’m still not known as that—it’s still a desire,” she says along with band members Forth Wanderers guitarists Duke Greene and Ben Guterl, the latter of whom is the band’s primary instrumental songwriter. They headlined recently at famous venue Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn there shortly after releasing Slop via Father/Daughter Records, and they’ve opened there for their mutual high school idol, (Sandy) Alex G (later, when Trilling shows me a video of her eight-month-old German Shepherd , “Proud” is playing in the background). It was back in high school that shared musical passions and live music brought Forth Wanderers together; after high school, the band recorded Tough Love just before all its members except Trilling, the youngest, left for college.

One might have expected the physical separation that college can cause—not to mention the emotional maturing it usually brings—to take a toll on the band’s first full-length, written across this distance. Instead, it’s made them tighter. As Trilling tells it, the process of writing Forth Wanderers “was the exact same thing” as with all their previous releases. If anything, the separation only enhanced the band’s charms: Trilling’s featherlight, melancholy singing and radically open-hearted lyrics; Guterl’s gradually unfurling guitar lines, which notably focus more on piercing single notes than on chords; guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli’s magical ability to transform Guterl and Trilling’s foundation into mid-tempo rock songs equal parts muscular and downtrodden.

“We never had the relationship where we would sit down and make the song together,” Trilling says. Their songs have always been Internet-born; Forth Wanderers began when Guterl, as Trilling recalls it with a hearty laugh, “kinda slid into my DMs” with a guitar demo. Greene and Guterl laugh, too, suggesting this is a story they recount often. “I shot my shot,” Guterl adds to even more laughter. Trilling then recalls sending a vocal track back to him without his prompting. “I blew his mind,” she jokes, the whole group still cracking up.

It’s clear that, if anything, Forth Wanderers are a strong bunch of friends as bandmates. Trilling, Guterl, and Greene are elated to be, for once, in the same room (“We’re the only friends we have,” Guterl, certainly the most wry and excitable of the three, jokes). These days, their time together is limited: The band had to record Forth Wanderers in just five days, which they did in their close friend Cameron Konner’s Philadelphia home studio.

Not that the band needs much time to perfect its music (in fact, they’d originally reserved two days with Konner). A Forth Wanderers song comes together in many rooms, with no pressures regarding time. On Forth Wanderers, a particularly impressive result of this freeform approach is Trilling’s increasingly confident melodies and lyrics, which she writes at home, alone. “Taste,” her favorite of the new songs, is exceptionally vulnerable. As she describes it, the “narcissistic and petty” viewpoint of “Nevermine” is riveting. And she’s so assertive on “Saunter” that it’s impossible not to root for her.

“After I write [lyrics], it’s therapeutic,” she says, “because I look back and I’m like, ‘Oh shit, that’s how I’m feeling. I had no idea.’” Even across state lines, Forth Wanderers is a space for all its members to relieve their stresses. “Our relationships are all stronger now, because we have this goal that’s really unique,” Guterl says. “We’re like a family in every sense of the word. We fight and work shit out. It’s the good and bad parts of being in a family.”

Band Members:

Ava Trilling (vocals), Ben Guterl (guitar), Zach Lorelli (drums), Duke Greene (guitar), Noah Schifrin (bass)

Forth Wanderers

Forth Wanderers employ a tin-can-telephone style of composition which they use even when living in the same area code. Since first collaborating in 2013 as Montclair, New Jersey high schoolers, guitarist and songwriter Ben Guterl and vocalist Ava Trilling have passed songs back and forth like pen pals. Guterl will devise an instrumental skeleton before sending it to vocalist Ava Trilling who pens the lyrics based off the melody. The duo then gather alongside guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli to expand upon their demo. It’s a patient and practiced writing system that has carried the quintet through two EPs (2013’s Mahogany and 2016’s Slop) and one LP (2014’s Tough Love). Forth Wanderers, the group’s sophomore record and Sub Pop Records debut, is the groups’ most comprehensive and assured statement yet. On Forth Wanderers these introspections include meditations on relationships, discovery, and finding oneself adrift. Despite the inherent heaviness of those themes, Forth Wanderers feels joyous, a rock record bursting with heart. Take Not for Me, a romping track about “the ambivalence of love. Opener Nevermine, is a surge of confidence inspired by an ex-lover who is still captivated by her image.

On Ages Ago Trilling paints the image of a constantly-shifting enigmatic lover. “I wasn’t sure who they were, they changed constantly (hence the metaphor describing the “grey coat” and cutting their hair just to “stay afloat”),” she says. “I wasn’t going to wait any longer to find out.” Recorded over five days by friend and audio engineer Cameron Konner at his Philadelphia home studio, Forth Wanderers amplifies the heartfelt sentiments of their earlier works into massive anthems. Guterl and Greene’s guitars have never sounded sharper, Schifrin and Lorelli’s terse rhythm section is restless, and Trilling sounds more self-assured than ever. These are exuberant, profound songs driven by tightly bound melodies and a loving attention to detail.

Forth Wanderers (Release Date: April 27, 2018) Sub Pop Records

On 1971’s There’s A Riot Goin On, Sly And The Family Stone filtered the creeping hangover of the ’60s into a murky, slurring monument of fugue-state funk. It was an album that reflected the twilight mood of its time: Woodstock optimism ossifying into Altamont dread, “free love” fading into porno reels inside 42nd St. grindhouses, stoned grooves edging into junkie paranoia (and dovetailing with Sly Stone’s own descent into addiction). In its muffled cries, There’s A Riot offered a bitter, brooding response to a world that seemed to be rapidly falling apart, one that recommended just barring the windows and getting good and numb.

In nicking the title for its newest record, released amid a similarly epochal American, Yo La Tengo posits its own There’s A Riot Going On as a similar Album For These Times. Though the long-running indie band has hesitated to say as much in interviews, the press materials refer to the free-floating “confusion and anxiety” in the air that inspired it, suggesting it’s an “expression of freedom and sanity” that similarly captures a nation teetering on the edge. But this isn’t a collection of protest anthems, nor is it even the kind of alarming, seismic stylistic shift Sly Stone pulled to announce his disillusionment with the soul-dream he’d started. It finds Yo La Tengo working in an especially hushed, candlelit mood, not too far off from the dusky lullabies of 2000’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out. The album is not a reflection of anger so much as a meditative retreat from it—less agitprop than aromatherapy session.

Having followed Yo La Tengo for awhile . Their new album “There’s a riot going on”. These are dark times, in our heads as much as in the streets. It’s easy to lose contact with the ground, flying through endless banks of storm clouds day after day. Confusion and anxiety intrude into daily life and cause you to lose your compass. There are times that call for anthems, something to lift you out of your slump and put fire in your feet. And then there are times when what is indicated is a balm, a sound that will wrap around you and work out the knots in your neck. While there’s a riot going on, Yo La Tengo will remind you what it’s like to dream. The sound burbles and washes and flows and billows. If records were dedicated to the cardinal elements, this one would be water. There are shimmery hazes, spectral rumbles, a flash of backward masking, ghostly flamingos calling “shoo-bop shoo-bop.” You are there. And even if your mind is not unclouded–shaken, misdirected, out of words and out of time – you can still float, ride the waves of an ocean deeper than your worries, above the sound and above the Sound. For Yo La Tengo this is a slow-motion action painting, and Georgia Hubley, Ira Kaplan, and James McNew did it all themselves, in their rehearsal studio, with no outside engineer (John McEntire later did the mix). They did not rehearse or jam together beforehand; they turned on the recorder and let things coalesce. Songs came together over long stretches, sometimes as much as a year going by between parts. You’d never guess this, since the layers are finessed with such a liquid brush. You’d imagine most of the songs had sprung forth whole, since they will enter your head that way. Within two listens you will be powerless to resist the magnetic draw of Shades of Blue, will involuntarily hear She May, She Might on your internal jukebox first thing in the morning and Let’s Do It Wrong late at night. While there’s a riot going on you will feel capable of bobbing through like a cork. In 1971, when the nation appeared to be on the brink of violently coming apart, Sly and the Family Stone released There’s a Riot Goin’ On, an album of dark, brooding energy. Now, under similar circumstances, Yo La Tengo have issued a record with the same name but with a different force, an album that proposes an alternative to anger and despair. Their first proper full-length since 2013’s Fade, There’s a Riot Goin’ On is an expression of freedom and sanity and emotional expansion, a declaration of common humanity as liberating as it is soft-spoken.

 

Which is good! A few storming guitar squalls from Painful and Electr-O-Puraaside, Yo La Tengo has never been particularly aggressive, and certainly no one expects the mild-mannered Ira Kaplan or Georgia Hubley to start murmuring calls to march in the streets. Besides, we could all use some nice, chill music to draw the blinds and escape into right now. That said, the title and attendant marketing have forced a context of historical importance onto Riot that it can’t quite live up to; anyone expecting a bold, era-defining statement here will ultimately be let down by its softly spoken rumination on fear, hurt, and uncertainty, which could be applied equally to dramas political or romantic. Still, as with its namesake, the unease is there, palpable in the smaller sonic spaces, sensed more than shouted. We could all use more nuance these days, too.

The album’s impressive layering can be attributed to the band piecing Riot together entirely in the studio, rather than composing and rehearsing songs beforehand—cobbling it together from scraps of leftover recordings and adding parts one at a time, sometimes months in between. It’s similar to how the group has worked on film music, Kaplan has said, and indeed, there’s a real “imaginary soundtrack” feel to much of Riot, with long stretches of pure tone interspersed between the pop songs. (In “Shortwave,” a beat-less, glassily pretty drone that sits somewhere between Julianna Barwick and Stars Of The Lid, it even yields arguably Yo La Tengo’s first purely ambient track.) There’s also plenty of evidence it was mostly written on a computer: Shambling, snapped-to-grid drum loops, watery fluctuations, choral swells, field sound samples, and other digital tricks abound. Songs don’t end so much as dissolve, lingering just a hair longer than expected, which gives the whole thing a slightly haunted feel. Still, it hangs together organically, united by its sustained, melancholically dreamy mood.

Opener “You Are Here” begins with nearly six minutes of languorous, EBowed guitar hums over a motorik chug of sleigh bells, as immersive as slipping into a bubble bath. It fades into the breezy, ’60s-pop bounce of “Shades Of Blue,” where Hubley sings with peppy resilience about “painting my room to reflect my moods,” before Kaplan responds with “She May, She Might,” a melancholy sigh outside her window delivered over a psychedelic swirl of gently strummed guitars and back-masked flutters. On “For You Too,” Kaplan takes his shy-kid act a bolder step forward while backed by an insistent fuzz drone, shrugging that he’s “just some guy / With too much pride,” but suggesting he could still rise to the occasion: “Whenever there’s hurt and / When things are uncertain / Maybe I could be that guy / I’d like to try.” The theme of taking comfort in each other in times of doubt is one that Riot returns to frequently: In “Above The Sound,” a jumble of jazz bass and distant, off-kilter drum fills are washed over by hazes of slowly shifting feedback tones, while Kaplan and Hubley huskily harmonize, “What if we bear it with a grin / To take it on the chin.” Later, the ghostly “shoo-wop shoo-wop” refrain and odd liquid squelches of “Forever” create a similarly unnerving backdrop for Kaplan to croon, “Laugh away the bad times / Lie about what’s to come / The less said, the better / Let’s drink until we’re dumb.” And closer “Here You Are” concludes, “Most days, we circumvent / Tune out the world / Except our friends.” These songs project a defeatist, November 9 kind of sentiment that makes the whole Sly Stone nod a bit more plausible—and there’s also “Out Of The Pool,” whose blurry, refracted funk guitars and compressed feedback squalls beneath Kaplan’s surrealist, spoken-word mutters definitely feel like a distant spiritual cousin.

Admittedly, all that muted resignation gets a bit enervating at times. Kaplan and Hubley’s kitschy lounge-pop duet on “Let’s Do It Wrong”; the game-show bossa nova of “Esportes Casual”; and even the catchy, yet featherweight “Shades Of Blue” all toe the line between comfort music and elevator Muzak, their innocuousness only amplified by the conceit that this album is supposedly saying something. And it slouches into banality with a listless cover of Greenwich folkie Michael Hurley on “Polynesia #1,” which here resembles the island-vacation daydream of some tranquilized ’50s housewife—a fantasy of slipping away to paradise “at my leisure” that reads as less “expression of freedom” than self-indulgence. It’s in these moments that even the album’s quasi-political ambitions seem far-fetched; there’s a difference between offering bliss and blissful ignorance, after all.

But those are minor quibbles, ultimately. For the most part, There’s A Riot Going On succeeds in finding strength in the stillness. Two of its best tracks are also its quietest, with both “Ashes” and the stunning “What Chance Have I Got” surrounding Hubley with little more than minimal drum patterns and sparse atmospheres, her tender voice a calming, reassuring guide—in 2018, or another 30 years from now. As always, Yo La Tengo puts its faith in the power of music to pull us out of whatever hell we might be going through, here by warmly pulling us in.

Take or leave my opinion. If being a fan means the demonstration of passion and the willingness to forgive mistakes or mere competence, then I’m not one. But I love these songs.

  • Ira Kaplan – lead vocals, guitar, keyboard (1984–present)
  • Georgia Hubley – drums, lead and backing vocals, percussion, keyboard (1984–present)
  • James McNew – bass, guitar, percussion, keyboard, lead and backing vocals (1992–present)

Screaming Females is a three piece rock band from New Brunswick, New Jersey. Who have been writing, recording, and touring with one another for 13 years. AV club puts out a lot of fun covers and these two are no exception. Sure Marissa Paternoster struggles a bit singing ‘If it makes you happy’, but who doesn’t. And a Taylor Swift song is still a Taylor Swift song no matter how much Screamales awesomeness is poured on top of it. But both tracks are very enjoyable! Taylor Swift fans who came here on accident, be prepared to have your brains melted

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We’ve mentioned the Forth Wanderers before for the bands next move ever since their debut album last year  Today the Montclair, New Jersey band have announced that they have signed to Sub Pop, who will release the bands sophomore album (which is self-titled) on April 27th .

The band also shared the first single “Not For Me,” a track that expands on their previous rock palate and offering even more fuzz and production that only gives their sound an even bigger feeling than ever before. These guys are making the sorta of rock songs that resemble some of the best stuff released in the 90s. While there’s an immediacy to their sound, there’s also something about their songs that benefit from a few extra listens to let it all sink in and truly appreciate.

“Not For Me” the official video which features animation done by the band’s very own Benjamin Guterl.

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“SLEEPWALKERS” sees Brian Fallon once again pushing timeless rock ‘n’ roll into the modern era, recasting British Invasion rock, first generation UK punk and American pop and soul into a near irresistible sound he’s dubbed “Heavy R&B.” Recorded earlier this year at New Orleans’ Parlor Recording Studio with producer Ted Hutt – the man behind the board for The Gaslight Anthem’s breakthrough, THE ’59 SOUND – the album is perhaps the strongest example yet of Fallon’s always adventurous artistry, with songs like “Forget Me Not” and the brass-blasting title track fit to burst with spirit and light, an intangible magic that draws listeners to the dance floor while also striking chords within their hearts.

“I haven’t had this feeling since THE ’59 SOUND,” Fallon says. “When I wrote that record, I was pure. I had no pre-conceived notions. I was following this thing and when it was done I knew it could stand against anyone.”

Known far and wide as singer/guitarist of The Gaslight Anthem, as well as The Horrible Crowes, Fallon made his long-anticipated solo debut with 2015’s masterful PAINKILLERS. The album – which includes the hit singles, “A Wonderful Life” and “Painkillers” – drew widespread critical applause upon its release, with Rolling Stone noting, “For a guy whose songs have always traded in the pains and pleasures of nostalgia, the Fallon of PAINKILLERS seems to have arrived at a newfound, forward-looking clarity.”

Fallon toured the world in support of PAINKILLERS, during which time the New Jersey-based tunesmith began considering what might come next. Once again, Fallon had a sound buzzing in his ear, a modern marriage of rock and soul with the hard edge of punk, ribboned with the “cool and kind of creepy” tones of the one and only Vox Continental, the distinctive organ used by some of his favorite artists spanning The Animals and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to The Specials and Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

“Believe it or not, I started taking piano lessons,” he says. “As a professional musician, you think, well, taking lessons seems weird, but then you remember there’s still a world of things you don’t know. I was okay with the idea that I didn’t know anything about playing piano so I was able to really learn. And that opened up whole new worlds for me.”

Despite his new skill set, Fallon was still somewhat stuck, unable to access the part of himself necessary to truly go deep in his songcraft.

“It seemed like I had all the music in the world, but couldn’t find the melody,” he says. “The brakes were on. The muse had left the building. I was really struggling to get songs because I was still searching for something. I finally had to let go, I had to stop trying to control it so much and just tell the truth. Once I did that, once I let go of any preconceived notion of what it should be, that’s when it all came out.”

Fallon knew he had the musicians needed to back his hard R&B in The Howling Weather – guitarist Ian Perkins, bassist Nick Salisbury, and drummer Dave Hidalgo – but the right studio partner was key to truly nailing his sound and vision. He decided to reach out to an old friend in Ted Hutt (Old Crow Medicine Show, Dropkick Murphys), with whom he previously collaborated on The Gaslight Anthem’s landmark THE ’59 SOUND and AMERICAN SLANG LPs as well as The Horrible Crowes’ ELSIE.

“I thought, who’s going to understand what I’m trying to do,” says Fallon, “and not try to correct it. I thought, there’s nobody who loves what I love, the British rock, the R&B and soul music, there’s nobody who understands this music better than Ted. And no one draws the best out me like Ted. He pushed me hard on these songs, it was like, you’ve got to dig for this. He knew what I needed to do and how I needed to get there. It was great to be pushed liked that by someone you know cares for you.”

Fallon began writing about his real life, his immediate family and closest friends, baring himself to the bone freely and unguarded. The celebratory sound of songs like the opening “If Your Prayers Don’t Get You To Heaven” belies the heart of darkness that beats within Fallon’s always frank songwriting, the fist-pumping choruses and body-rocking rhythms casting light against richly complex lyrics born of a recent “conversation with mortality.”

“I’m not the same kid that wrote THE ’59 SOUND,” Fallon says. “Things are very different now and I think I sort of lost my place, like what do I write about now? I don’t want to write songs about taxes. You have to find your center and just write about where you’re at now. I decided to just write about me and my friends and my family, I’m going to write about the things that I know right now.”

“Proof of Life” and “See You On The Other Side” provide potent bookends to SLEEPWALKERS, offering a glimpse of Fallon’s trepidation and desire to confront his own naked truth. “Forget Me Not,” the album’s first single, is an impassioned rush of ‘60s pop, all urgent guitars and giddy handclaps, though Fallon admits the glorious energy disguises a badly broken heart.

“I was thinking how every song doesn’t have to be so serious,” Fallon says. “It can just be fun. It can just be a song that I would want to play live. ‘Forgot Me Not’ came out in just a couple of minutes and actually ended up being pretty serious – it seems my subconscious had other plans.”

Recording SLEEPWALKERS in New Orleans marked the culmination of a longtime dream of Fallon’s, getting to spend real time in the Big Easy and truly absorb the culture. Indeed, the special musical energy of the Crescent City infused the album with an even greater connection to the swinging garage R&B he and the Howling Weather were cooking up in Parlor Recording. “Etta James” is both heartfelt paean to the legendary singer and a universal celebration of pure artistic passion in the face of great personal difficulty while the title track conjures the soulful spirit of Sam Cooke with big brass from the one and only Preservation Hall Jazz Band – remarkably, the first time Fallon has incorporated a horn section into his polyglot approach.

“At first I was very against it,” Fallon says, “ but I said, you know what? I’m just going to go for it. Full on. So I had known Ben Jaffe – the Preservation Hall creative director – and the guys a little bit, we did a song together once in Asbury Park, and they invited me down to hang out and play some music. They were so cool, I said, hey, we’re recording right down the street, you’d be great on this one song I’ve got. They came down and they just started going full throttle, they just went for it. It was done in about a half hour but that half hour was mindblowing. Just this incredible experience of hearing your own music be birthed and come to life. It was insane.”

As emotionally powerful as it is musically exultant, SLEEPWALKERS is Brian Fallon at the very top of his game, now as ever pushing and kicking the rock ‘n’ soul sounds he grew up on into the future.

“I think my job, in one sentence, is to carry on the tradition,” says Fallon. “That’s all I’m doing. All I’m trying to do is take what I’ve learned, give it my own spin, and keep it living. Keeping the pulse going.”Brianfallon sleepwalkers cover final 2

New single “Forget Me Not” Available Now: Album Sleepwalkers Available February. 9th, 2018!!!

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Effortlessly mixing vibrant indie-rock with the story telling of Americana, Hodera is prepared to be a band that never leaves listeners heads. Spearheaded by Matthew Smith, Hodera has persisted in forming a unique sound amidst the vast depths of successful New Jersey acts. The group’s first release, 2014’s Reset To Default, was only a glimpse at the songwriting talent possessed by Smith. With 2015’s United By Birdcalls the name Hodera name was put on the map, touring extensively both in the United States and the United Kingdom. From landing showcases at SXSW and set times at The Fest, the honest nature of the songs found the band at the top of Spotify Viral Charts. Hodera have now released “First Things First” via Take This To Heart Records .

First Things First is an explorative album, diving into difficult subjects such as depression, suicide, loss and love. Hodera have weaved a web of progress through their constant work ethic, bettering their songwriting and pushing the boundaries of their delicate dynamics. First Things First is candid with its emotions, unraveling a soundscape that provides listeners with an album full of memory and warmth.

“I like to keep the storyline in each song raw, so it’s not just a general pop song, or anyone else’s memory. It’s my story that I’m telling and letting people connect with,” Smith comments about First Things First. Being transparent is more than an act for Hodera, it’s embedded into the very soul of the music, and that’s what makes their music feel personal.

Through First Things First’s dynamic ten tracks, we are brought on a journey with Hodera, as Matthew poetically narrates each story. We join them in the confusion and frustration of growing up and trying to find where we belong; the grief of losing friends, family and potential loves; the dark corners depression can lead to, and the measures someone will go to just for a glimpse at happiness’ light again. Ultimately though, it leads us to the realization that no one is alone in the human experience and we can all strive to get better. So, first things first, go give this album a listen.

First Things First is out now

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The lyricism is beautifully sad and makes me feel like I have fallen for the same drifting souls that inspired the tracks. I want to be one of those souls.