The Brooklyn-based trio, TheMad Doctors, are going to beat the hell out of your ear holes with their latest release, No Waves, Just Sharks. The 10-song release is soaked in fuzz, with the springs from their reverb getting stretched straight.
I asked Greg, the drummer, how he would describe his sound. He described it as “Dudes who hang out in caves and arcades on the boardwalk with Motorhead t-shirts”. I completely agree. The Doctors have the trashy surf riffs of Link Wray on a very bad day. However, to say that they are a surf-punk band wouldn’t do them justice. These tracks truly bring the meat! Their sound conjures up images of Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) and Lemmy (Motorhead) unleashing their own impressions of Dick Dale through alcohol-imbued glasses.
The Mad Doctors stick with the surf theme, much the way that Man or Astro-Man sticks with outer space. Some of the tunes start with kitschy vignettes. The songs may start with surfy riffs or snazzy chords. However, once the tunes get going, there’s blood on the beach. The tunes are blistering riff storms, with solid changes, great twists and turns. Top that off with a perfectly distorted, gritty vocal delivery. Everything fits very nicely.
While all the songs are great, my faves are:
The Ballad of Jort Dad: I love the intro. They give you fair warning right from the start of what you are getting into. The riffs and time changes are deliciously fierce. Shit Hawks At Blood Beach: Very cool groovy tune with the great Matt Witte on vox. A nice, surprising departure from Coach n Commando. Dial M (for Sultry): It’s as if the MC5 went sideways. I know that doesn’t make much sense. When you hear it, then you’ll know. Sooooo good!
The Mad Doctors
While the release is great, I can only imagine what they are like on stage. I envision a pummeling like no other. If you haven’t seen the Mad Doctors, you will get a chance very soon. They are playing RoughTrade in Brooklyn on September12th with A Giant Dog and Simon Doom.
Go to The Mad Doctors Bandcamp page and check it out!
Know thyself! When speaking with Doug Vizthum, the guitarist and lead singer of Mr. Payday, he described the band as power-pop with punk rock sensibilities. I have to say, I can offer no better description. The band’s latest release, Welcome to the Modern World, is a 10-song compendium in line with the best American power-pop acts from the 80’s. However, there are also wonderful streaks and strains from the punk bands you all know and love. It’s as if Rhino records had released a power-pop compilation where every song is a gem, but then threw in a couple Sugar/Husker Du, Devo, and even Mudhoney tunes for good measure!
One of the things that jumps out when listening to the release is that the mix is spot-on. The songs were lovingly recorded and mixed by Mike Moebius at Moonlight Mile in Hoboken, NJ. The vocals are solidly in key, the instruments all are in the right place. The feel of the mix is great! That may seem silly to mention, but without this, the songs would lose their power, charm, and luster. These are songs meant for a wider audience than just the jaded hipster. So, solid vocals and proper balance in the instrumentation is integral in making this release a success.
The other thing that really caught my attention was the flow of the release. There is a lot of job-sharing in this band. Everybody in the band sings lead. Tom DiEllo (bass) tackles Sun Shine Down, Nick D’Amore (drums) handles Set To Automatic, and Caroline Feinman (keys) sings Written in Stone and Welcome to the Modern World. Doug belts out the remaining six tunes. One would think that with all those voices, the songs could seem disjointed or foreign from each other. Far from it! There is a great consistency in the music and the variety of voices only widens the spectrum.
OK… so let’s get to the songs!
The first three: The band starts the CD by getting their ya ya’s out on Club Test. Full of energy, and a slight tip-o’-the-hat to Mony Mony. The song jumps in and then, in the blink of an eye, jumps right back out. Remember… punk rock sensibilities. Payday then dives in to two mid-tempo power-pop numbers: Now and Forever and Broken Wing. These two songs have the structure and sensibility one would expect from power-pop greats like the Beat, Plimsouls, or the Nerves. Broken Wing has a vocal quality that is reminiscent of Bob Mould a-la Sugar. Both songs are a blast, with strong choruses and a lot of drive.
The next four: At first blush, Set To Automatic seems to be an homage to Devo, with its Moog infusion and staccato riffs. That is, until the chorus kicks in. It’s as if Mudhoney showed up to kick Devo off the stage and take over for the chorus. Fantastic! Track five is the most “accessible” track, Written In Stone. I was struck by the vocals. They are vulnerable, but by no means weak. The guitar line has a little of a Latin vibe and is very tasty. Track six, Sun Shine Down, is classic rock-a-rolla with a slinky slide guitar and tasty chorus. The next track, End of the Day, swings us back in to power-pop territory with another mid-tempo winner. The chorus is really strong and is a lot of fun.
The last three: Tracks eight and nine infuse more of the aforementioned punk sensibilities. Tongue was placed firmly in cheek for Nazi Beer. Great lyrics, with appropriate country twang applied. A lot of saucy slide guitar as well. Track nine, Double Barrel, feels sooooo good. Anybody who has ever had the misfortune of driving the Garden State will know how these lyrics came to be. This song could have been sabotaged by keys, but they are mixed to add meat to the riff. Well done, Mike Moebius! The last track, Welcome to the Modern World is a nice coda to the release, a great song with an appropriately-timed political bend.
Mr. Payday set out to present a CD that shows their skills, strength, humor, and versatility. I would say they succeeded on all fronts. Do yourself a favor and go to their Bandcamp page and check it out. The release date is August 25th.
To celebrate the release, Mr. Payday is playing Pino’s in Highland Park, NJ on August26th. Helping them celebrate the release are the bands Dentist, AtomDriver, and Sux. Should be one hell of a show! The show is free and all ages as well. So…. No excuses.
It would be pretty hard to overstate the demise of the New Brunswick club scene over the last 5 to 10 years. Just about every venue that once offered a weekly rotation of local artists, peppered with the occasional touring national, has gone the way of the dodo. While the “basement” scene still holds firm in the Hub City, these venues and shows tend to be, at best, inconsistent. Shows are usually only available to bands the proprietor (rightfully so) likes and would want to have in their place. So, what’s a band to do?
Enter in Frank Bridges and his weekly radio show and podcast: OvernightSensations. Overnight Sensations has been a fixture on the FM dial for years. The show has passed through many hands. Frank Bridges, however, has reinvigorated the program as a conduit for new, local artists to present their wares. As the program has always done, he spins releases from local artists. What really makes the show special, though, is Frank has local bands come to the studio to do a live set almost religiously every Friday. Bands usually play seven songs; a good swath of material for the listener to enjoy at home. Frank, through his mastery of witty banter, makes the musicians at ease and gets artists talking. The resulting conversations alone are enough to make for a really enjoyable and entertaining listening experience.
If that weren’t enough, Frank records all the live shows and posts them to the Overnight Sensations podcast. So, if you miss a live broadcast (Friday’s from 10PM-midnight), you can always check it out there. I heard some amazing bands that I, honestly, would have missed completely if it weren’t for the podcasts: BlackClouds, AngularBrothers, AtomDriver (shameless self-promotion) and Overlake to name a few.
Here’s a link to the Black Clouds live performance:
This past weekend Atom Driver celebrated the release of their throttle punk EP Slackjaw on Powerbunny 4×4 Records at Pino’s in Highland Park, NJ. On the bill with them was Amy & Alex from Prosolar Mechanics as Bear Claw making their noise duo debut and as well as Couch and Commando cooking up some of their down home music before Atom Driver blasted everybody at Pino’s with songs from their release and a bunch of new tunes.
ATOM DRIVER AND FRIENDS COVERING “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene” By X
Towards, the end of their set Amy and Anthony from Bionic Rhoda made their way to the stage to help hammer home an ode to Chuck Berry with a cover by X from their 1980 album Los Angeles. This is a feel good rock song and proof positive that even though the performances was taking place on the other side of Raritan River, rock is very much alive in the Hub City.
SLACKJAW EP REVIEW – Powerbunny 4×4
Now, we highly recommend Atom Driver’s debut EP Slackjaw, and not just because we’ve known Mike from Buzzkill who plays drums, or Mark Segal from Boss Jim Gettys’s on Guitar and Vocals for more years than we care to admit but because this band has molded perfect parts big noise and melodic metalcore. All tracks will blow the windows out of those soon to come self-driving cars that millenials will be driving around aimlessly and getting lost when the GPS goes out. These rock songs are powerful maps to what fresh rock stank and what ear bleeding hooks should be like. Justin Ingstrup on bass is also my new favorite bass player now as he really holds-up the wall of sound in this band. Recorded and mastered by Jesse Cannon Found Soundation, Union City, NJ, and mixed by the bands long time friend and engineer Steve Evetts.
LA PUNK HISTORY: This is a short Black Flag Documentary which largely focuses on the artwork side and how disruptive the band was before social media. This looks great and Henry Rollins really puts their impact in perspective. Includes interviews with Keith Morris, Chuck Ducowski, Henry Rollins, Raymond Pettibon (Buy an Original) and Flea. If you’re into flyer artwork get the excellent book ‘Fucked Up And Photocopied’ which has huge amounts of flyers from the time. This short film was Directed by Brian Ray Turcotte and Bo Bushnell.
Black Flag Art by Raymond Pettibon
Flea is in this documentary, because not only is he an amazing human being but also because he was in the punk scene way back in the 80’s before starting the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Anthony Keidis. He was in the los angeles band Fear for a while and in the film Suburbia directed by Penelope Spheeris who also directed Decline of Western Civilization. He’s been in a bunch of punk documentaries. Same for Duff McKagan. If you don’t know your music history he’s in quite a few others you’d be “wtf, why are they in this?” All those old punk bands and the various scenes around the country that they flowed through. Dave Grohl used to be quite the hardcore punk drummer too, long before joining Nirvana, as another example, he was in Scream I believe.
Today, I just wanted to share the best ever NSFW anti-trump rant by Angelo from Fishbone at their House of Independents(HOI) show last night. This newish club is now my favorite place to see “bigger” bands live in Asbury Park. I still dig the intimacy of places like APYC and the questionable sonic sound but when you have a 8-9 piece band with horns you seriously don’t want the experience to get lost in cacophony of noise and the sweet stench of cheap beers. Which reminds me I also dig that HOI serves local micro-brews up front and center from Dark City Brewing Company and Asbury Park Brewery and from I understand APB will be available in cans! I think in life fishbone shows have always been fun and life affirming, having seen them over a dozen times since 1987 or so. Only one oldschoolCity Gardens chump got ousted early on in their set by the bouncers until Angelo told them to chill and let people dance and have fun. There may have been a 10 year old kid body surfing and one of the other dad’s made a frowny tisk tisk emoji beard face.
I only got to shoot these two videos for the Review Stalker YouTubes on my iPhone, which the channel almost bizarrely has 500 subscribers for some reason which I think maybe it’s the DJ Red Alert video with over 100,000 listens! crazy contributing to that math.
Anyway, I really wanted to enjoy and dance my freakin’ ass/feet off a little bit- and that I did. I also managed to live stream a couple songs on my personal facebooks and instagram because I’m loco. I’m sure I’ll pay for the bandwidth usage later.
Fishbone is still one of the best bands in not only America but the whole wide World in my humblest of opinions. So go see them in this lifetime soon. Before the show Angelo being the gentleman and showman he is spent time with fans signing autographs and hanging out. Seriously their fuck racism tees are awesome and you can give people a little of your mind with their classic t-shirt online here.
This next one is so Bootsy Collins with Norwoods getting crazy ass bass sounds you couldn’t help but funk it up and shake your booty thing. Man I wish the sound was better but listen to that bass! I can do so much better magic with my NJ based video production company VLHfilms.com for live bands on a budget but alas I was really at House of Independents to get my groove on.
In case you care what I have been listening too lately (and I know you secretly lose sleep wondering)…here you go…since you insist….
Local Maplewood, NJ hometown indie rock A-Leaguers, Tri-State, continue their collective, at ease, upward momentum with their latest 5 track release , we did what we could do(2016) on the ultra-cool and equally Jersey label, Mint 400 Records . The killer riff on the opening track (and one of my personal favorites), “Summer Nun” kicks in the thruster a bit since their beautifully gliding, yet slightly subdued 2 song EP, New Minuits (2015). Again you find guitarists Julian Brash and Jeff Zelevansky trade off engrossing and seamless electric six-string conversations when not splitting vocal duties, while the complimenting percussionist union of Mason Rather (bass) and Brady McNamara (drums) keeps everything delightfully moving and grooving along. wdwwcd is simply a fun record from start to finish. It’s a perfect album on replay, tapping your foot on a sunny, sandy Miami beach while lounging lazily under palm trees, slightly concerned about falling coconuts, weird, unrecognizable birds and equally weird, unrecognizable insects (proven this past holiday weekend). Other stand out tracks include “Petty” (“boy, you got a lot to say….”), Siamese twin track “Suture”and “Automatic Man.”
My “Buffalo Bro” Daryl who I can “geek talk” music for days, weeks, even months on end (and have the never-ending text to prove it), have been digitally nudging (read: nagging) me to listen to the latest Touché Amore’ record, Stage 4 (2016) for months, but not as long as he has been nagging me to listen to Elliot Smith’sXO. I finally broke down, found time and listened…and listened…. WOW. I like it…. a lot! Based out of Los Angeles, this four-piece hardcore band found the perfect balance of familiarity and unique, of the definable and almost indefinable. They apply a unique spin on an otherwise played out genre, somehow making melodic shoe-gazey, indie rock riffs hardcore with minimum doses of extra crunchy distortion and beautifully bridging the hardcore and post-hardcore/emo sound, similar to Title Fight. Atypical singing patterns/rhythms and very deep, extremely personal thought provoking lyrics only add to their refreshing approach. The album title holds a double meaning, being the bands 4th record and also the very worse stage of cancer, a subject that rears its ugly head throughout the recording, apparently due to leader singer Jeremy Bolm losing his mom to the dreaded disease recently in 2014. The subject matter certainly sends my brain hurtling back 30 years ago when I lost my own mother in the same fashion, leaving me slightly envious that Bolm could scream about it for months on end touring and finding relief while I just buried those feelings deep down inside somewhere long ago where they mostly remain to this day. Ironically, after all this time, I can find some relief in Bolm’s circumstances and the bands music, knowing I am not the only one that ever went through such a soul-shredding event. Opening track, “Flowers and You,” “Displacement,” “Benediction,” and “Water Damage” are just some of the many great songs on this record. Check it.
The Menzingers is a Philly band I heard of a number of times but only started listening to their music because I saw they played a recent show at Garwood, NJ’s infamous Crossroads, this time nudged by the club’s Facebook page. Another 4 piece, the band plays an all too familiar sound, but they do it in a way that keeps my interest. Punk -n- Roll at its finest. The first song of theirs I got hooked on, “Remission,” off of 2014’s dour-ish Rented World, is nothing special when it comes to many other songs I subsequently discovered in their impressive catalog, but it only takes that little something to keep the tune and video on replay in my life (in this case, it’s that little “uh” leader singer Greg Barnett blurts (Accidently? Deliberately? Both?) after the first verse, or even the killer sing along chorus “Everyone needs a crutch…I need a wheel chair…I need a reason to reason with you…”). Their new record, After the Party (2017), was released just a few weeks ago and remains in heavy rotation in my life. A much cheerier release, they managed (and I slightly plagiarize from another review because I agree), to keep their street cred intact while making radio friendly songs. Check out song like “Lookers,” Mid-Western States,” “Your Wild Years,” “Black Mass” …oh, just listen to whole record, it’s great from start to finish!
Dinosaur Jr.’s latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016), is also filed under easy listening in my life. For die-hard fans, this is a typical, predictable record for the original band lineup, and that is just perfectly dandy for us. Interestingly, a little bird (i.e. drummer Murph) mentioned in an interview that GAGOWYN came to life because J. Mascis “freaked out” about not having any new songs and quickly threw some together. Many in the know would agree that the thought of J. losing his shit is hard to imagine, considering he never seems to have a pulse and really quiet during interviews. And when he does say something it is quite clear why he constantly accused of being a stoner (which he isn’t, at least according to him). Yes, the final results sound rushed when knowing this little back story, but the results are still rockingly impressive. Standouts include the opener “Going Down, “I Told Everyone” and “Tiny” but my favorites are “Lost All Day” right into “Knocked Around.”
The Cloud Nothings is another band I was slow on the draw about until I stumbled upon their latest release, Life Without Sound(2017). An incredibly solid listen from start to finish. It took me multiple listens on many runs final figure out what I love about this band/record: I can’t pigeonhole this band because they don’t sound like any other band that I heard of. I can’t honestly think of any other band that the Cloud Nothings sound like. Offering a completely refreshing, catchy indie sound. they mix the perfect blend of melody with umph…what’s not to like? Such tracks as the piano-tinged opener “Up to the Surface” and “Internal World” are pretty rocking tunes.
Hey all, just wanted to share some great info your life desperately needs for both your listening pleasure and mental health.
First, many NJ friends of mine have great internet radio shows you should check out.
My bro Jerry Lardieri of the excellent NJ band The Brixton Riot, spins an equally excellent indie rock show called Audible Effects every Friday morning @ 9AM at Stevenson University. You can find recordings of this show on Mixcloud.
Then my other bro, Paul Alirangues and team spins their own fantastic show every Sunday called, well, Sunday Ramble, playing and touching every music genre you can think of . Guest appearances and sets also add to listening pleasure. Recordings of the show can also be found on Mixcloud.
Then you have my other bro, Chris Morpeth and company have another kick ass radio show every Tuesday evening at The Mike & The Morph Show.
Finally, Psychologist and bro Michael Friedman writes a fabulously fascinating weekly article for Psychology Today, interviewing musicians of all shapes and sizes (some legendary) about a host of psychological issues. Check out his latest article with legendary Bad Brains front man H.R. discussing the awesome power of P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude)!
Read the articles. Listen to the shows. Like/follow them on social media. Because I said so, yo. xo
Just some of the stuff, old and new, I have been listening to a lot in 2016…. hey, 8 months late is better than never….
Not sure what the deal is what my bros of Snapcase and the now mostly defunct San Diego post-hardcore outfit, Drive Like Jehu, but both ex-guitarist Scott Dressler and singer Daryl Taberski continually ramble on about how god-like their 1994 release Yank Crime is. I actually had to go back and listen to the album to remind myself that I know it very well and indeed godlike! Hence, it is now on heavy rotation in my life. Glad to see they are touring again.
Rivers Cuomo and the boys from Weezer finally stopped taking their silliness way too seriously with their most recent release, (delightfully entitled, due to the album cover, “The White Album.”), taking yet step towards returning to true “blue” form. While I lean towards 2002’s Maladroit, one can make a strong case that when a color-themed Weezer record shows up it is bound to be decent. “California Kids,” “LA Girlz” and “King of the World” are just some of the few Beach Boys-metal-tinged a la fuzz pop that makes you yearn for the palm trees and lovely strangeness of Venice Beach.
Ann Arbor, MIs Pity Sex has recently caught my attention. Their name alone kicks ass and then they got all silly and made some kick ass music to go along with it. Lo-fi, surfy, shoe gaze done wonderfully.
The latest Violent Femmes album, We Can Do Anything, is a predictable and sometimes silly, but still fun release. It doesn’t even dare touch their 1983 S/T release or even 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing? but it still brings a familiar smile to your face. The Femmes are like the movie, American Beauty….both made sense when we were younger, but all fell into perfect place when we listened/watched when we hit mid-aged….
Not sure why I didn’t listen to another bro, Adriaan Klaassen, about this band back in the day when we worked together at ING. But I am happily ashamed to admit that 14 years later, I finally discovered the genius of NYC’s Longwave’s (RIP) 2003 release, “The Strangest Things.” Interpol meets Sink Tapes (were the latter even born back then?…ha! Sorry…couldn’t resist) is always a good combo! My favorite track that I listened to on repeat while on a two hour shopping spree at Jersey Gardens, “I know It’s coming Soon,” can be found below.
NYC’s Dead Star’s 2016 release, Bright Colors, starts right where 2014’s Slumber stopped. Fuzzed out indie pop where a heavy does of 90’s Dinosaur Jr. and early Weezer collide.
Finally, ex-Husker Du/Sugar God and front man Bob Mould has a brand spanking new album out called Patch the Sky. I agree with the hailing critics that it is a great experience but disagree that Bob is tapping back into his Du days. I would argue that like 2012’s Silver Age and 2014 Beauty & Ruin, Bob is flirting back to 1989’s Workbook or even 1990’s Black Sheets of Rain. Or better yet, his other project Sugar. So there, mofos!
Rest in peace Prince we now know when doves cry and every once in awhile we get crazy for covers and nostalgia of some amazing sexy song writing, so we felt it appropriate for us to add to the Prince Covers bin and share some we’ve collected or have been contributed from RS blog music fans and our special muse(s). Great music like his is something special that connects people through auditory pleasure like the sound of a baby laughing or the tone of a voice that makes you happy except with a beat you can dance or get funky to. That feeling you get when people applaud something great you have all witnessed or shared my dearly beloved music fans. That happiness is what great music does when you experience it either in your car, at home, a concert or at the gym when you work-out. Wherever or when ever. Music like his has the universal power to join us through the sound we hear and interpret in our own way. Thus always great to hear a rendering of art by somebody else which reminds us how great it is; as it transcends life and the afterlife. Music is basically magical like his and many other greats.
If you are a good musician it’s pretty damn hard to fuck-up a Prince song unless you can’t sing; as his songs are perfect canvas for other artists to put their own spin on things, so here is a variety of indie artists doing their thing. Enjoy and live life without any regrets because you never know when your time will be done.