Don’t Neglect the Indie Scene
by: Ryan Waldis Follow Ryan on Twitter by clicking here
After stepping into the realm of video game reviews, your favorite music reviewer is back at it again. With summer slowly but surely coming to a close, artists from all genres have made the season an entertaining one. Between catchy EP’s, highly anticipated full-length albums, and intriguing singles, music lovers have had a lot of content to delve into over the past few months. Of course, the release cycle doesn’t come to a close when the summer ends; there’s always new music releases to look forward to. Here are three local bands with upcoming releases that should be on your radar now.
photo courtesy of Elephant Jake's Facebook page
Song to listen to: Andy FINALLY Lost the War With the Disco Beat
Release Date: August 9th, 2018
Quick story: I was one of the producers for a charity concert (known as Rock N’ Raise) at my college over the spring, and we were able to bring four bands in to perform a 20-ish minute set. Elephant Jake was one of these bands and as soon as I heard them I was instantly hooked. Hailing from Orange County, New York, Elephant Jake has four members: Colin Harrison (guitar/vocals), Sal Fratto (guitar/vocals), Kyle Mabee (bass), and Andrew Demarest (drums). They’ve toured up and down the East Coast this summer and even played above the border in Canada.
“Andy” is the first single off the group’s upcoming album Hey Dude, Thanks for Coming. According to the band, “This single focuses on Sal’s fear of missing out.” It’s a fast track with a catchy melody that’s more on the side of pop/rock than punk. Demarest’s impressive work on the drums is evident immediately, and Fratto’s distinctive vocals give the song the unique sound that the band is known for. The trio of Harrison, Fratto, and Mabee also produce exceptional riffs that easily get stuck in your head. I personally got a Motion City Soundtrack vibe from this track so if you’re a fan of that group you’d probably like “Andy” as well.
In addition to the above link, you can find the song on Spotify and other major streaming services. As an added bonus, you can also listen to an unplugged version of the song that they performed at the aforementioned charity concert at my college by clicking *here* (redirect to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDV7e8clr18&t=22s) (spoiler alert: the song sounds great live, too). They currently have two shows lined up between now and the end of October; the band will be hitting up Philamoca in Philadelphia on September 14th before performing at The Switch Inn in Middletown, New York on October 27th. If you’re close to any of those areas, I’d definitely recommend checking the group out.
photo courtesy of Pocholo Itona
Song to listen to: Iceland
Release Date: August 18th, 2017
Based out of North Jersey, Shark Club is a four-piece band featuring Jake Britton (guitar/vocals), Russell Cerminaro (guitar/vocals), Eric Ciparis (bass), and David Juro (drums). They first hit the scene in early 2016 with the release of Kru, You Idiot, a full-length album. Since then, they’ve produced another full-length album (Michigan) and several EP’s while touring all throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.
“Iceland” was the lead-off track to the band’s 2017 EP National Dog Day, which was produced, mixed, and mastered by Modern Baseball’s Jacob Ewald. Shark Club considers bands like MoBo and The Front Bottoms to be influences and you can definitely hear that in “Iceland,” which was written by Britton. It starts off really mellow with a calming guitar strum before Britton begins to sing the first verse. The drums kick in during the second verse, with the song truly beginning to pick up steam after Britton says, “Everything will work out in the end.” As with the rest of Shark Club’s music, “Iceland” not only sounds phenomenal but authentic as well due to the personalities of the band members. Authenticity is a trait that is surprisingly lacking in a lot of bands, but that’s not the case with Shark Club.
“Iceland” can be found on Spotify, iTunes and the rest of the major streaming services. You can see the group perform the song live by clicking *here.* (redirect to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUJyas1cG74 ) While there’s no set date yet for the band to release their latest work, they were in the studio earlier this month to record new material. You can also catch them live at the Asbury Park Brewery on September 28th. They always find time to engage with the audience prior to performing so they’re definitely a performance worth checking out.
photo courtesy of Connor Meany
Song to listen to: Pretty Enough
Release Date: December 30th, 2017
Zach Henry (lead vocals/guitar), Charlie Throckmorton (guitar), Tim Wuestneck (bass/vocals), and George Saives (drums) combine to form Halogens, a band out of Wall Township in New Jersey. The group operated independently for a number of years before linking up with Adam Chichocki (Timber Studios) to release a self-titled EP in early 2016. They recorded a split with fellow local band Staten later that year before releasing “Pretty Enough” eight months ago. They’ve been touring for over six years, hitting up colleges, basements, and venues from Rhode Island to Florida and almost everywhere in between.
“Pretty Enough” is a punkish-emo track that showcases intense guitar riffs, a resonant drum beat and outstanding vocal work by Henry. The song starts off a little slow but quickly gains momentum, especially when Henry sings “And the pit in my stomach grows every time I think too much about how I don’t feel pretty enough.” The song peaks at the end, starting with the lyrics “Though I am hard sometimes, I’m just happy you’re alive.” Especially if you see the band perform “Pretty Enough” live, this is the point in the song where you can hear the raw emotion and anguish from the band truly come alive. You can hear a Front Bottoms influence in some of their work but I personally got a Wonder Years vibe from this song.
You can see Henry and Throckmorton perform an acoustic version of “Pretty Enough” by clicking *here.* (redirect to this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsqGsvqPuew) It’s a really nice change-of-pace from the original track. As with the other two bands above, there’s not currently a set date for Halogens to release new content, but they did tease a *new album release* (redirect to this link: https://twitter.com/HalogensNJ/status/983545230476611584) on their Twitter account back in April. Halogens are currently set to appear at several gigs in the near future; they’ll be at The Temple in Newark, Delaware on September 7th, The Farm in Allston, Massachusetts on September 8th, Marcia Brady’s Junk Palace in the Bronx on September 28th, and The Hook in Philadelphia on October 25th. They’re an incredible live band so you owe it to yourself to check them out when they’re in your area.