Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’

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From their humble beginnings in Lodi, New Jersey in 1977 as a garage band to selling out Madison Square Garden in 2019, the Misfits remain one of the most important bands in the history of punk. blending punk and other musical influences with horror film themes and imagery.
Founded in 1977 by vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist Glenn Danzig, and drummer Manny Martínez. He named the band after actress Marilyn Monroe’s final film, The Misfits Eventually Jerry Only joined on bass guitar and Danzig and Only were the only consistent members throughout the next six years, during which they released several EPs and singles, and with Only’s brother Doyle as guitarist, the albums “Walk Among Us” (1982) was released in March 1982 through Ruby and Slash Records. It was the first full-length Misfits album to be properly released, and the only album to be released while the early incarnation of the band was still active. “Earth A.D./Wolfs Blood” (1983), both considered touchstones of the early-1980s  punk movement.

Heavyweights such as Metallica, Green Day, and Rob Zombie site the Misfits as an influence. Even pop-punk acts such as My Chemical Romance, Alkaline Trio, or Blink 182 wouldn’t exist without the inspiration. Combining elements of hardcore, gothic imagery, and campy horror movie aesthetics, their sound is just as important. Even if you’ve never listened to a single track, odds are you’re familiar with the iconic “Crimson Skull” badge that adorns all their merchandise. It’s arguably just as recognizable as the Rolling Stones’ lips emblem.

Despite their influence and importance, the Misfits don’t have a large body of work.

Without counting the releases recorded after 1983 (the Jerry-fits are weak and the less said about the Michael Graves-lead variation of the Misfits, the better), they only released 2 full-length albums and a handful of singles/EPs. If you’ve never listened to the Misfits but want to know what the fuss is all about,

here are 10 songs that perfectly sums up the experience. 10 songs is a considerable amount of music for a band with under 40 songs! , If you like these songs, you’ll probably be interested in the plethora of music Glenn Danzig was responsible for post-Misfits.

10. “Death Comes Ripping” – Just like the intro to each of the modern reunion shows, “Death Comes Ripping” opens the show with rapid-fire drums, chaotic guitars, and faux-goth lyricism. I can’t think of a better introduction to the world of the Misfits.

9. “Attitude” – There’s an indescribable satisfaction hearing an up-beat pop-punk guitar riff behind lyrics of anger, frustration, and violence as the answer. If you’ve never sung this at the top of your lungs to release the tension of an unforgiving workday, you’re not me.

8. “Where Eagles Dare” – Continuing the theme of major chords and pent up aggression comes this charming little diddy about standing up to the oppression society inflicts on its people. In fact, it just might be the most punk of punk songs ever recorded!

7. “Cough/Cool” – Despite being such an important punk band, the Misfits utilized atmosphere far more than guitars. With keyboards and synthetic rhythms as it’s fuel, “Cough/Cool” is closer to the likes of early Ministry or Depeche Mode (who’d show up long after this song was recorded).

6. “London Dungeon” – Equal parts goth and surf, “London Dungeon” is a black-eyed love song recounting the infamous story of the band being arrested for accusations of grave robbing and thrown in jail while on tour in the UK. This description is textbook Danzig and I adore every second of it.

5. “Die, Die My Darling” – The kiddies will recognize this by the Metallica cover years. And while those dudes do a serviceable version of “Die, Die My Darling”, nothing compares to the atmosphere and raw emotion Glenn and the boys offer up here. As a kid, I always thought the keyboard or guitar riff  (whatever it is doing that beeping sound) was emulating a heart monitor, especially as it fades then abruptly stops at the end.

4. “Hybrid Moments” – As a strong contender for one of their most recognizable melodies, this song sounds just as powerful now as the very first time I heard . It’s not only one of my favorite Misfits tracks, its probably one of my favorite songs period.

3. “American Nightmare” – They don’t call Glenn Danzig the Evil Elvis for nothin’. There really isn’t much more I can say about this track. If you dig old school rock n’ roll seasoned with murderous imagery and gothic swagger, this should be your favorite song

2. “Last Caress” – No matter what anyone says, who compiles it, or who listens, there can’tbe a list of iconic Misfits songs without “Last Caress”. It’s ugly, offensive, and magical when singing along in public while getting all sorts of dirty looks from your peers.

1. “Astro Zombies” – Early 60s chord progression, lyrics referring to a campy B movie, and the most satisfying “whooaaaahs” of any song ever recorded, “Astro Zombies” may not be the best song from the Misfits, but it definitely sums them up in just over 2 minutes. Every sensational second of this song properly represents everything I’ve loved about this band since the moment I was introduced to them all the way to the time I’ll be laid to rest.  Its the perfect combination of IDGAF attitude, ferocious energy, and unmistakable attitude. All presented with a certain self-aware wink as if they’re having just as much fun playing it as we are listening and singing along. If I had to pick a single track to introduce someone to the Misfits, it would be, without question, “Astro Zombies”.

If this playlist is your first introduction to the Misfits, I hope you have a good time as I did when I was first introduced to them.

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New Jersey band Pinegrove has announced that their new album “Marigold” will be released on January 17th, 2020, via Rough Trade Records. This announcement comes paired with the release of new song “Phase,” the second song released from the album following the album’s first single “Moment,” .

“Phase” has that now-signature urgent and emotional Pinegrove sound, packing a lot in it’s 2 1/2-minute runtime. Evan Stephens Hall wrote the song about those times you’re desperately trying to sleep but you can’t because your mind is racing with different ideas and anxieties.

The official music video captures this idea in a humorous fashion, which was directed by Colin Read. Find it posted below, along with the Marigold tracklist and some newly announced tour dates.

we’re also real psyched to report that we are working with Rough Trade Records! they’ve been terrific to work with so far & it’s an honor to be on their roster. may we also say! our tour is coming up—beginning, in fact, next week! we’ll be playing this song “moment” & perhaps some other new ones out there on the dusty trail.

28-Mar-20 Dublin, Ireland @ The Grand Social
30-Mar-20 Glasgow, UK @ SWG3 TV Studio
31-Mar-20 Manchester, UK @ Academy 2
01-Apr-20 Bristol, UK @ SWX
02-Apr-20 London, UK @ Electric Ballroom

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It’s probably too late now to assign a Song of the Summer 2019, but “Bummer” makes for the perfect anthem to a long-anticipated crack-up in the waning days of August. Weezer-y guitars quickly make way for a desperate, shouted chorus, screeching guitars, and a breakdown I have literally considered writing home about if my parents had any idea what in Henry Rollins’ name slam dancing is.

“Bummer” by Save Face from the Save Face / Graduating Life Split, available 12th September.

Long Beard (aka Leslie Bear) is releasing a new album, “Means to Me”, on September 13th via Double Double Whammy. Previously she shared its first single, “Sweetheart,” Now she has shared the album’s title track, “Means to Me.” 

Means to Me is Bear’s second Long Beard album, the follow-up to 2015’s Sleepwalker. The album was co-produced with Japanese Breakfast collaborator Craig Hendrix.

Throughout the record, Leslie explores what constitutes a home—how it extends beyond the physicality of a roof over your head to the comfort of another person. A sense of self, stability or security.

The last four years between records mark a particularly significant and transitional time for Bear. A career move led her back to her hometown in New Jersey long after her friends and peers moved away, resulting in feelings of stasis and nostalgia that shape the album. Reflections on the past are evident in tracks like album single “Sweetheart”, in which Bear considers a past love, where they are now, and her life in relation to theirs.

Bear’s second album shows a growth and maturation in sound from her debut. Co-produced with Craig Hendrix (Japanese Breakfast), the record occupies a dreamlike space that weaves between shoegaze-tinged guitars and upbeat, jangly pop. While still loyal to Leslie’s signature ethereal, melodic guitars and haunting whispered vocal delivery, the fully realized arrangements demonstrate a stunning clarity throughout the album.

The perfect amalgamation between Bear’s ambient-textured loops met with the pristine production and pop stylings of Hendrix’s playing can be heard in album standout “Snow Globe.” The combined reversal effects, seamless transitions, and heartbeat percussion are the language of Means To Me.

What Bear has created with Means To Me is not only a mirror for herself, but also a means for the listener to reflect on what home means to them. Whether Bear has defined a home for herself is left to wonder, as she leaves us with these final lines before the album crescendos into an explosive distorted instrumental and slowly fades: “driving down through our state lines while you dream, I’m thinking of a name to go by.”

Geographer (Photo by Brittany O'Brien)

The music of Mike Deni — aka Geographer has always been more about emotional terrain than places on a map, but on his new EP “New Jersey,” the two are intertwined.

The new seven-song collection, Geographer’s fourth EP to go along with three full-lengths, is the first music Deni has released since relocating to Los Angeles, but it is not a West Coast album. Far from it. “New Jersey” is a meticulously layered and redolently orchestrated paean to the home state he left 12 years ago. In a way, it’s his origin story and as immersions in the past go, it’s quite possibly the least mawkish exercise in nostalgia ever.

Deni founded Geographer in 2007 in San Francisco, where he moved after the unexpected and tragic deaths of his sister, and then his father. The EP, written in a six-month span in 2018 during a bout of wanderlust, finds him opening the baggage he left in the Garden State. Old dreams, old disappointments, old crushes: All become iridescent anthems backed by Geographer’s characteristic blend of electronic and analog instrumentation.

“Summer of My Discontentment” imagines a brooding youngster, the ache unaffected by time. On “Hideout (Sparrow),” Deni shows he is a wordsmith as well as master arranger: “Listen to the ocean / tell you why it’s there / Turn it into words that / maybe can make them care.” And the closer is perhaps the songwriter’s version of “You Can’t Go Home Again” — a 3 1/2-minute blast of synth and falsetto that reaches M83 heights before receding into a bouquet of strings.

“New Jersey” is out on Friday.

Bruce Springsteen - July 25, 1992

Performing with his new band in front of eager hometown fans, Springsteen goes the extra mile in this spirited set showcasing songs from Human Touch and Lucky Town along with a few special treats. New Jersey 1992 delivers 13 songs from the two albums, from “Living Proof” and “Souls Of The Departed” to “Real Man” and “All Or Nothin’ At All.” It also features the tour’s only performance of the gospel gem “Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do)” showcasing the background singers, plus a unique solo-to-band arrangement of “Open All Night” that hilariously updates the turnpike tale.

The 11-night stand at the Meadowlands Arena to kick off the 1992 U.S. tour was a bold statement of intent. It’s surely intentional that it was one show more than the famed ten-show run at the same venue in 1984, the difference being that this time Bruce was coming home with new friends, not familiar ones. Touring for the first time without the E Street Band and playing in front of what are arguably his most diehard fans is a daunting proposition. But with opening night jitters out of the way, the second show on July 25th, 1992 offers a hungry, highly entertaining performance that plays to the new lineup’s gospel-meets-roots-rock strengths.

Right from the top, Bruce is wholly committed and in stellar voice, his rich timbre leading the strong show-opening trio of “Better Days,” “Local Hero” (complete with local landmark namechecks to show his Garden State cred remained intact), and “Lucky Town.”

Bruce’s new musical collaborators “wouldn’t have looked out of place on stage with [Bob] Dylan circa 1978-81,” and that particular Dylan-era frame of reference applies to the music, too, as the approach to both new and old material was to make it more soulful while still rock ’n’ roll. The playing of the core band (Shane Fontayne on guitar, Tommy Sims on bass, and Zack Alford on drums) with a full European tour already under their belts is punchy and tight, while the background singers add gospel gravitas to the proceedings–an appealing combination.

Even on familiar material, these off-E Street versions don’t sound quite as “different” 27 years on, in a good way. The opening set features a first-rate “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” an eloquent reading of “The River” with a long, heart-heavy harmonica outro, and an inspired tour debut for “Open All Night.”

Aimed squarely at this turnpike audience, “Open All Night” starts solo and builds to full band in a manner that may suggest what the unreleased “Electric Nebraska”version sounded like ten years prior. Better still, in the middle of the song, Bruce tells an updated version of the yarn he spun on the Born in the U.S.A. tour, noting the closure of his beloved Howard Johnson’s and a reunion with the waitress at Bob’s Big Boy who reminds him her restaurant is still “open all night.” Good fun.

The first set wraps with four key tracks from the new albums, wrapped around a deeply personal “My Hometown,” introduced with an earnest story about parenting and dedicated from one relatively new dad to all the “moms and pops.” A dynamic performance of “Living Proof” again shows the song to be Bruce’s most powerful from the era. “Leap of Faith” is endearing and infectious thanks in large part to the singers, while the Sam and Dave-style vocal duet with Bobby King on “Man’s Job” raises it from catchy ditty to heartfelt homage. A feature-length “Roll of the Dice” wraps a spirited and undeniably entertaining first act.

After the break, the rarely performed “All or Nothin’ at All” proves a fine set opener and gets the energy of the show right back on track. It’s the one song from Human Touch that sounds like it could be a Born in the U.S.A. outtake, a spiritual cousin to the likes of “I’m Goin’ Down.” The crowd enjoys it too, singing along in full voice when tasked to do so. Having been played in concert fewer than a dozen times, its inclusion here is a welcome opportunity for fresh appreciation.

What follows is another rarity and one of the highlights of the tour, “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do),” inexplicably performed only this night (and at a private tour warm-up in June, suggesting it may have been considered for a regular feature in the set at that point). The gospel tune has been covered by everyone from Wilson Pickett to Creedence Clearwater Revival, but Springsteen’s version casts him as a humorous preacher questioning the commitment of men in relationships, while King, Carolyn Dennis, Angel Rogers and the rest of the background vocalists sing like they’re wearing choir robes. The result is amusing, cleverly arranged, and another lost gem rediscovered by the download series.

On the whole, the 7/25/92 performance has aged well, but there are a couple of exceptions. “Real Man” is another rarity, performed on 7/25 for the very last time in concert. Bruce himself admits, “This next song I almost threw off the album because I thought it was too corny, but what can say? It’s how I feel.” Corny we accept, especially from a man in love. More difficult to ignore is the synthesizer that could not sound more dated, though in the end, “Real Man” is interesting if only for the sheer novelty factor of it in the overall canon.

Three recent classics return us to regularly scheduled programming: a spot-on “Cover Me” with fine fretwork from Fontayne, and two Patti Scialfa features, “Brilliant Disguise” and “Tougher Than the Rest,” the latter derailed slightly by those pesky period synths, though Bruce sings all three superbly.

The show’s denouement comes with the pairing of “Souls of the Departed” into “Born in the U.S.A.” “Souls” begins in desert darkness, with news reports of bombs over Baghdad riding desolate guitar strains a la U2’s “Bullet the Blue Sky.” It is a sharp-edged, commanding performance that moves through flourishes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” a la Hendrix into “Born in the U.S.A.” to slam home the point Bruce made so clearly on last month’s release: “War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.”

The show wraps with a run of crowd pleasers–”Light of Day,” “Glory Days,” “Working on the Highway,” “Bobby Jean,” “Hungry Heart”–and the tour’s gorgeous, stripped-down “Thunder Road,” before “Born to Run” and Bruce’s best-ever coda,“My Beautiful Reward,” send us out on a high, hopeful note.

Because of the new band, 1992-93 always carries an asterisk in Bruce’s live history, like a strike-shortened baseball season. But as was the case in the major leagues, they still played the games and the games still counted, especially to Springsteen himself. One can feel his commitment in this performance, joyfully trying to win over the Jersey crowd and largely succeeding.

Words by Erik Flanagan.

There is a warm haziness in the musical landscape of the song. Melchor’s vocals wax emotion while the backing vocals punctuate and echo the sweet sentiments. Though the time difference from the East Coast to the West Coast coast may seem like a mere three hours, many of us know just how much of a difference those few hours can make. We’ll be looking to hear more from this precocious new artist!.



“I Don’t Wanna See You Cryin’ Anymore” is a simple folk sound with a brilliantly played acoustic guitar lines that pulls from elements of jazz, blues, and folk music. The slow picking, sets a perfect tone for Adam Melchor’s gorgeous voice to float on top.  In reality the song is an apology type song. Adam is singing to a close friend that he has let down, and he is owning up to the mess that he had made with this beautiful song. He comes across as being a caring and genuine person through the emotional and heartfelt delivery of the vocals. The acoustic nature of the song gives more room for the lyrics to really be heard and digested, and hopefully that means Adam Melchor’s apology has been accepted. Adam Melchor is a singer-songwriter from New Jersey who is currently based in Los Angeles, CA. “I Don’t Wanna See You Cryin’ Anymore” is the closing song on his 2019 EP titled “Plan on You.” 

I Don’t Wanna See You Crying’ Anymore – Adam Melchor

Given the winter the East Coast has just survived, it’s appropriate to emerge from the bleakness with a record that eases out of its own icy shell. ManDancing’s “Everyone Else” emerged in winter 2016, prior to political shifts at home and abroad, but carries no less weight than it did when quietly released online. In fact, this record from five New Jersey residents seems more potent than ever with its 2018 reissue. It’s at once intimate and ferocious, a windswept combination of hushed pronouncements and gasped confessions.

On their upcoming EP Hands On 3, ManDancing’s emotional compass magnetizes to vocalist and rhythm guitarist Stephen G Kelly, whose voice wavers between confidence and catharsis. The spectral nature of his delivery is a genre in itself. It waxes elegiac on the alt-country sway as percussion spikes and splinters behind it, before breaking free into a desperate wail. It’s this upward curve that carries the arrangements forward, a force that could explode any moment into something unpredictable, warped, yet altogether fitting of such visceral songwriting.


Above all, ManDancing promises a narrative that finds its characters trying to define their own independence. Is it more isolating than liberating? Amidst the haze of young adulthood, the beer cans, and the skipped house shows, ManDancing navigates what it’s like to feel positively undone and unlimited at the same time. It’s hard and it’s an impossible thing, but it’s always part of growing older.

Hands On 3 is out July 13th via Take This To Heart Records.

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Over the span of their first five albums, the Roadside Graves were quintessential, New Jersey roots-rock storytellers, with songs full of empathetic third-person narratives. On their fifth album, and first for the esteemed Don Giovanni label, they are ready to tell their own. At its best, Acne/Ears unassumingly places itself within reach of New Jersey’s A-list of confessional indie rockers.


It’s as unflattering as you’d expect from a song called “Acne/Ears”, two facial features that seem to exist for the sole purpose of causing adolescent embarrassment. “Some boys are filled with piss and vinegar/ Some boys are filled with just pus and blood,” John Gleason sings, recalling the days when his breakouts were so profuse, he didn’t even bother going to school. It’s similar to Strand of Oaks’ breakthrough single “Goshen ’97”, in which a sullen teen finds relief by singing terribly in the mirror even when he could hardly bear to look at himself.

John Gleason’s creaking vocals about a lonesome kid holed up in his bedroom. There is a larger scope here, as if that kid finds a suburbia full of other holed-up kids, but it’s when they get together, when they are just “boys in basements making noise” that the song erupts into rollicking, full-band joy. We see much of the louder joy and frustration of this record rise out of solitary quiet. On string-laden “Endangered”, Gleason calls for help because he’s in danger “just like the fish in the sea.” On Acne/Ears, trouble isn’t really a change in the program but more like the same come down. Sometimes, on the heartbreaking loss of “The Whole Night”, it’s too much to bear. Other times, on “Gospel Radio” for instance, it’s the music that makes it all bearable, that can turn pain and closed bedroom doors into wide open spaces of sound, into release. Like the suburbs these songs sound born from, Acne/Ears sprawls outward, in a few small moments almost too far, but in the end the record keeps its shape while offering surprising turns throughout. For Roadside Graves, it’s not about escaping the pain, it’s about making something bigger than it.

Forth Wanderers

Pen pals are going out of fashion. In the age of social media, WhatsApp and the like, the thought of crafting a long thoughtful message – one that only your closest confidant will read – sounds archaic, really. But not for Forth Wanderers. The making of the New Jersey band’s second album, their first on cult indie label Sub Pop Records, was crafted via meticulous communications between lead singer Ava Trilling and guitarist Ben Guterl – who actually lived in the same zip code at the time. The pair would send melodies and lyrics back and forth, each adding their piece before the song was in decent-enough shape to demo with the rest of the band. Sure, they probably used the internet, but the result is like listening to the secret correspondence between close friends.

This formula is repeated again and again, but never gets boring. In fact, these might be some of the most well-crafted rock songs you’ll hear all year long.

Forth Wanderers (Release Date: April 27, 2018