ALBUM REVIEW: Brian Fallon, frontman for the Gaslight Anthem (GLA), always spoke in interviews of what to musically expect with each new upcoming GLA album. Ironically, every time he declared the band was taking their sound in a bold, new direction, they delivered yet another kick ass collection of familiar “punk-n-roll soul” with gritty, Ness meets Petty vocals.
This time around discussing Get Hurt, their fifth full length release, Fallon spoke about the wonder of some bands that drastically changed their sound and live to talk about it, a very risky move that often doesn’t end pretty for rock bands. Get Hurt is by no means Achtung Baby or Kid A but for GLA it is. Unlike their peers in the National and the Hold Steady, both recently releasing great but “safe” albums, in efforts to reach the next level of rockdom, it seems GLA courageously said “fuck that” and decided to shake things up a bit. The Garden State darlings finally kept their word, grew a pair and took the plunge, interestingly at a time when they too are eyeing that same rockdom and should play it safe. Audacious? Ballsy? Yup…I agree.
Quite simply, Get Hurt is far more rock and far less punk, more Petty and less Ness, full of ambitious, stadium size anthems with the band trying to live up to their very name. Sure you have the traditional punkish ferocity of “Rollin’ And Tumblin” that still packs a similar punch like “1930” does on their 2007 debut album Sink or Swim or “Orphans” on 2012’s American Slang, but is also the closest “typical” GLA song on the entire album and smack right in the middle of the playlist, reminding their fans that they didn’t forget where they come from and still punk as fuck. The intriguing title track sounds like a scrubbed up, leftover Horrible Crowes (Fallon’s side project, check out their excellent debut record, Elsie) number that is just begging for radio play. Other standout tracks include “1,000 Years,” “Helter Skeleton,” “Selected Poems” “Stay Vicious” and “Dark Places” (my favorite track thus far).
But yet again, perhaps both GLA and their fans should have seen it coming since it isn’t like the band didn’t flirt with different ground before . Mixing punk driven rock with 50’s sha la la’s and 60’s R&B groove has been constant in their music since 2008’s The 59 Sound (their second full length release). Or check out the Cure-ish “Old White Lincoln “on the same album. Then try listening to “Get Hurt” and “Here Comes My Man” from 2012’s Handwritten back to back. Pretty complimentary if you ask me. One could even argue that the band has already been mildly indulging in experimentation with 2008’s Senor and the Queen EP since the recording has a much different, almost disjointed feel to it despite decent songs (especially “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts.”).
Overall Get Hurt is a solid effort and, I will say it again, a ballsy move by a band whose engines have been noticeably sputtering a tad bit on their last 2 releases. If you are looking for the blue collar punk of the past you may be let down but I am kind of relieved GLA sound has pleasantly aged and matured from the first time I saw them at Asbury Park’s Stone Pony on their 59 Sound tour and from the New Brunswick basement scene where they hatched. Will GLA fans get hurt with this new release? If you grow a pair, dive in like the band did maybe you will suffer some scrapes or a bruise at most…and pleasantly so.
The strict state of rock is always trying to re-invent the storyline where the county lines have been defined for quite some time. To get your six string on and give it something new is as hard as making new octave chords out of the three that exist. The first three tracks on this record totally sound like the timber of Springsteen and music of some Southern Californian band holed up in the same apartment for a few years. The advantage for new bands is there are so many recent tenets who have come before in literature or Music who are the hometown mayors and pioneers as Bruce is to Asbury, as alliteration is to Tom Robbins and well punk is to the power chord. The good news is there are plenty of people to borrow from and bads news it just hard to be truly original. When you boil it down; the references are easy to hear if your record collection goes deep down to the marrow. Making the twists and turns your own from the scene around you is the trick and this is what they seem to do. The 59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem is transparent and derivative for somebody like me but brand new for the next generation of music lovers. For execution style and in the singing at audience dept they deliver on just about the same plain as classic rock of The Hold Steady and best that Jersey has to offer these days. Real stuff exists in these lyrics and only gets into trouble from my pov when they try to be too accessible and take the first exit off the turnpike. They don’t break too many rock rules too much; borrowing from pop-culture but hey who am I to complain. I keep playing the record and listening so they are doing their job right. I am not bored and enjoy catching the bits and pieces of other songs I like so all is good here fellers. Fallon’s band rocks. 3+ thumbs up. Check them out on Emusic | Download The Backseat | The ’59 Sound
Other great New Jersey Bands you should be aware of: Aviso’Hara – Sonic youth and flaming lips inspired – Last.fm | Emusic Boss Jim Gettys – Big rock alla Nirvana and Green Day but snazzier – Zoommoozik Eastern Anchors – Trail of dead with Hum peppered inside – Last.fm The Slow Wire – Pixies mixed with some GBV goes along way – Last.Fm
Into Another-their 2015 EP Omens, picks up where 1995’s Seemless left off (You can’t even count 1996’s unreleased album (??) Soul Control…diehard fans will understand). These post NYHC kings continue to perfect their undefined melodic, thumping metallic craft. Judging by the opener ”Crossed’, they could almost be criticized for being too good and just showing off but anyone wise would know better to say/think such silly things.
The Needy Sons– take Mike Gent from the Figgs and Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom/Crown Victoria and you have “just another band from Eastern Massachusetts” that happen to kick ass. They have been releasing numerous singles in 2015 with promises of a full length LP in 2016. Yay!
Paper Streets– This Brooklyn via Jersey quartet released their addicting four song EP, Souvenirs, right smack in the beginning of 2015. Their sound is best defined on their Facebook page as somewhere between Emo and Big Star. I can’t stop listening to the opening song, “Murmur.”
Swirlies –Blonder Tongue Audio Baton (1993)-Shoe gaze, alt-tuning, art noise done right that makes you second guess Sonic Youth at times….expect for Kim….
Velocity Girl-Their 1993 Sub Pop debut, Copacetic still stands and survives the test of time. I was am also pleasantly reminded of my eternal indie boy crush on lead singer Sarah Shannon that never seems to dissipate.
ScottJanovitz– only a complete Buffalo Tom groupie like me would know that front man Bill Janovitz comes from a long line of musically obsessed siblings. His brother, Paul, fronted the incredible Cold Water Flat (RIP) back in the 90s. Then you have another brother, Tom with Sodafrog. You finally have yet another brother and musical sensation otherwise known as Scott who I first learned about though his first band, Dragstrip Courage. Then came the Great Bandini. Then he went on to create the oh so lovely melodic, blissful pop sounds of The Russians. His 2015 three song Fall In EP continues the latter’s infectious Elton Costello-ish 1960-70 rocks meets 1980 new wave. Check It.
Walter Schreifels – just when you thought he couldn’t pull any more bands together, Mr. Schreifels (of NYHC legends Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today to post NYHC hardcore legends Quicksand, Rival Schools, Walking Concert etc. etc. etc.) actually created two new bands in 2015. Except for the killer teaser track from the hardcore supergroup, Vanishing Life, (“People Running”), he seems more focused on his other project, Dead Heavens as of late, pumping out singles drenched in 70’s classic rock psychedelia. Me dig it….singles sprouting up like a ear hair but far more enjoyable. Album out soon.
Johnny Marr– Check out the 2015 live record release, Adrenalin Baby, that finely collects tracks off Marr’s two solo releases plus some killer Smith renditions that should have the Moz nervously shitting his briefs….Johnny fucking Marr baby!!
Travis – one of the most underrated Brit-pop band ever. Yes Josh “Soandso” Thomas, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Frightened Rabbit and the Twilight Sad are all worthy contemporary Glasgow/Scottish bands, but Coldplay wouldn’t suck like they do now and Oasis wouldn’t have anyone to sue if it wasn’t for this band that I recently re-discovered. I still remember singing “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” incessantly in subway tunnels to my now lovely wife, Alyssa, back when I use to visit her/NYC. The Man Who (1999), The Invisible Band (2001), 12 Memories (2003) and The Boy With No Name (2007) are all jam packed with great songs. Testament to front man Fran Healy’s beautiful singing voice can be best found on the track “When We Were Young off of Ode to J. Smith (2008). Keane who?
Matthew Ryan– hat tip to my buddy Rob Galgano at All Over the Place Internet Radio for turning me on to this alt-country PA native and ex- Strays Don’t Sleep. Had the recent pleasure of catching a Ryan acoustic set opening up, for the Gaslight Anthem/Horrible Crowes front man, Brian Fallon (also fan). Give 2014 Boxers a spin and if you don’t like it, then it simply sucks to be you. Good stuff in constant rotation in my life.
Brian Fallon– While NJ darlings, The Gaslight Anthem, has proven to be a great band, many would agree that they were sputtering, especially after 2014 highly ambitious and worthy Get Hurt, and wisely took a long hiatus so members can focus on other projects . Fallon’s largely anticipated solo record, Painkillers, is due out in March 2016 and if the single teasers is a litmus test for what we can expect, we should be some really happy campers.
Bigg Butt– this New Brunswick trio produces and audacious dose of garage, grungy “moron boogie punk” (not sure what that is but sure sounds like some shit to be reckon with). They released a 4 song demo in April 2015 that is one part Nirvana bleachy and one part Mudhoney sludgy and deserves your attention. Find their self-titled demo on Bandcamp…..
Galanos – Vacation Cannons (2015) – who knew an upstate NY town like Kingston could give birth to “silver tongued devils?” Yup, neither did I. Fueled in his basement studio, Gregory Jaw, and the rest of the gang (including Joe Pugsley of The 65’s on the bass) simultaneously go for the jugular and balls, producing nine songs of intriguing dark, fuzzed out surf rock. For those fans of the Cramps, Lords of the New Church and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds take note, this is your cup of tea.
Overlake –Travelogue/Winter Why EP (2015) – another dose of toe-tapping, knee-bouncing, head-bopping piece of shoe gaze drenched perfection from these Jersey City gods, not missing a beat from their 2014 full LP release, Sighs. Check it!
C.R. Gennone– Going Vertical (2015) A primary founder of such Jersey bands as Tribal Days and Winnebago, C.R. Gennone released this 4 song EP back in December 2015 that has caught my attention in a major way. An eclectic collection of jangly indie pop that’s steering wheel tapping delicious and gas pedal throbbing. Check out one of my favorite tracks off the release also found on Bandcamp where you will find a plethora of EP releases in 2015.
Snapcase – the co-kings (Zero Tolerance is the other…RIP!) of the Buffalo hardcore scene broke up in 2005, but have periodically played anniversary shows in past and festival shows as of late, their 25th later this month on their home turf. A band that always sought to raise the bar on the genre, they never seem to disappoint.
The 65’s–New Fun Hell (2015) – This new 3 song EP from this Rutherford, NJ band picks up right where 2013’s “I Got You” EP left off and that is why it is in heavy rotation in my life. “Punk -n- Roll” at its finest, the 65’s have the guts and grit to continually make some kick butt music.
The High – Somewhere Soon (1990) – first heard this record back in the 1990s when my friends and I were eating, sleeping and wearing the “Madchester” scene to the hilt. They definitely had the scene sound down, It also doesn’t hurt to have a cool ass name and a guitarist that was an original member of the legendary Stone Roses. The tape went lost for years, then I stumbled upon a used copy in a 5th Ave, Brooklyn record shop a few years ago. Check out the opening track, “Box Set Go” below. 100% Britpop perfection.
Scott Weiland (RIP) – I’ve been semi-closeted Stone Temple Pilots fan for years (their killer third album, Tiny Gifts…Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop….”perfectly blends punk and glam” says the Pumpkin’s Corgan and I agree) and been exploring other Weiland fronted acts long before his [un]timely demise. Despite some unevenness, his Walkabouts boasts some decent tunes and I finally slowed down to actually listened to Velvet Revolver (been debating Axl vs. Scott ever since doing so). All good shit.
R.E.M.– It seemed like over the years, many R.E.M. fans just woke up one day simply “over” the band, including me. My own interest started waning around the release of New Adventures In Hi-Fi (1996). MTV favs, they just got too big and too commercial too fast. Kind of bizarre when they were once kings of the alt-music mountain that could do no wrong. I remember declaring to my high school peers who saw my cassette copies of Under A Blood Red Sky and Murmur mysteriously “stacked and glued” to my top locker shelf (most likely due to a Coke spill), that both U2 and R.E.M. will be the most famous bands in the universe one day (and voila). Personally, I think the combination of Stipe’s smug onstage political rants and the “Shiny Happy People” video (sans the cute B-52’s brunette dancing chick) commenced their downward slide. Fast forward to 2015, and I found myself rediscovering the band and realizing they are probably one of the best American bands ever. Sure they released a lot of easily overlooked material since Hi-Fi, but buried deep are a number of gems. Just check out 2008’s Accelerate. Next to”Begin the Begin” off one of my favorite releases, Life’s Rich Pageant (1986), the song “Living Well is the Best Revenge” is arguably one of the best songs they ever wrote and “Horse to Water” just knocks it out of the park for me like “Talk About the Passion”, “Seven Chinese Brothers” or even “Disturbance at the Heron House.” I gravitate towards 2009’s Live at the Olympia that compiles great songs old and new. I forgive you Michael ,just bite your tongue…xo
I always look forward to annual “best of” music list that begin popping up every year when the cold weather arrives. It is fascinating who thinks what is the hottest fucking music out there each year. Two thousand fourteen is no different.
And since I am kneeling in the musical confessional booth, I must fess up I am constantly stuck somewhere between 1982-1999 when it comes to my musical listening, but somehow, in some miraculous way I do manage to stumble across “new bands” worth listening to, though few and far between.
Some 2014 results make sense (the new Hold Steady and Tom Petty) while others don’t (am I the only one who doesn’t understand the big deal behind The War Against Drugs or Sun Kil Moon?). And some are just plain fucking bullshit (the new U2 #1 Rolling Stone? How much is the band paying you to make such a claim??). And don’t even get me started on the Foo Fighter’s, Sonic Highways…except that is basically a bunch of medicore, over-produced shit….see what you made me did now??
Anyways, fuck it…here it goes…my best of 2014 (in no particular order)….ta da!!
1. The Temples – Sun Structures : some of the best psych-pop out of the UK in years per Johnny Marr, Noel Gallagher and now me. If the opening tracks “Shelter Song” or “Sun Structures” doesn’t make your booty move then you are just lame. They are also, importantly, one of the coolest look bands on the planet.
2. Interpol – El Pintor: after 2010’s disastrously forgettable self-titled album, the NYC post-punk darlings are back in full form. While Kessler’s guitar playing gets a little tedious at times, El Pintor is still a great bunch of tunes that blend in well with earlier material. They too are one of the coolest looking (and best dressed bands) on the planet. Yes, I like cool looking bands.
3. Overlake – Sighs: said it all right heremonths back. Still in super heavy rotation in my life. The track “Our Sky” is one of the best songs ever written with a breakdown bridge starting at the 2:05 mark that will knock you on your ass.
4. The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt: Read this. Probably their weakest album, but that is what is what makes it so endearingly intriguing. The song “Dark Places” shatters my heart every time, especially after a couple of glasses of wine.
5. Life Eaters – Self Titled: Confession? I only heard this debut record from this Jersey City group for the first time mere days ago, but it has been kicking me in the nuts ever since. An extremely strong effort from start to finish. The track “Man Pain”, is just absolutely killer. If you don’t like it then guess what…yup, you lame.
6. The Hold Steady – Dream Teeth: A “typical” and “safe” Hold Steady album, but if you dip beneath the surface you will find a solid effort with all the stories, drugs, hardcore matinees and Jesus Christ references still intact. At first listen, I was disappointed but the tracks grew on me tremendously to the point of becoming one of the year’s best. I must admit I find the overall recording very weak (lacking ball crushing “umph” of 2008’s Stay Positive…so much guitar punch)but just listen beyond that….songs “Spinners” and “Big Cig” are two of many standout tracks.
I always enjoyed this short trailer for Dream Teeth , it captures the full essence of the album….
7. Miss Ohio – Whippoorwill Road:“delivering a perfect blend of power pop melody and guitar rock grit, with 5 songs that will no doubt make my personal best of 2014 release list” as I previously stated here and here and here! and guess what, it did! Besides they re-recorded my favorite song from them (“KGB”) so that is all that fucking matters…well unless they re-record “Picture Show…” (hint hint)….here is a funny video for another great gem off the record, “Bobby Fischer…”
8. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye: Tom and his heartbreaking team started a bar brawl, kicking everyone’s ass with this garage punk instant classic.
9. Big Ups – Eighteen Hours of Static: This Brooklyn-based band plays punk/noise rock that torpedoes Fucked Up right out of the tub. I hear me some Fugazi…Descendants? Maybe even some Slint….may I dare mention later Black Flag or even Flipper? Their sounds is something so familiar that I still can’t define it and that is why they fucking rock and can’t stop listening to this album. If you don’t like the 2 opening tracks (“Body Parts” and “Goes Black”) then you are….guess?
10. Johnny Marr – Playland : Because it’s Johnny FUCKING Marr, yo……duh.
11. Real Estate – Atlas: A hearty blend of hypnotic, mellow, reverby poppy rock from Brooklyn, Atlas picks up where 2011’s Days paused. A perfect background soundtrack for those long drives, house cleanings or annual best of writings.
12. Thurston Moore – The Best Day: Back to his true form from 2013’s quasi-metal project, Chelsea Light Moving, The Best Day is his 4th solo effort and 1st since his highly visible divorce from Kim Gordon. This album is very East Village, very “safe” (read: Sonic Youth) and very wonderful. Moore continues to rock out in his own alternately tuned, droning , cool cat, hipster, subdued Neil Young kind of way. “Forevermore” and album title track are just 2 of many treats found here. Besides, its Thurston fucking Moore…duh.
13. We Were Promised Jetpacks- Unravelling: These Scots quickly remind us why 2009’s These Four Walls and 2011’s In The Pit of the Stomach are constantly listened to over and over as they continue to carry the post punk meets indie pop torch with this latest release. Saw these cats live at NYC’s Webster Hall a few weeks back and they blew everyone away. Tracks “Safety in Numbers” and “Peaks and Troughs” are just two of many great songs.
14. Eastern Anchors-Dragging Your Axe Behind: I know I said a random list, but I also did save the best news for last. Set to be released later this month, if 2012’s Drunken Arts And Pure Science have you begging for more and if you thought the first single “Above Your Station” off their latest EP kicked ass, wait until you hear the other 6 songs. Oh boy……strap on in and wear a cup kiddies….
New Jersey is somewhat a musical paradox. Outsiders predictably only know about “The Boss” or Bon Jovi being from the Garden State, unless you grew up on Hardcore, then it the same two plus Turning Point, Vision, Bouncing Souls and Lifetime. Then the Gaslight Anthem eventually exploded onto the scene that even made this transplant proud of his new home state, where insiders never seem to talk about Real Estate, another NJ band that are both hugely popular and play everywhere else.
But after sniffing over the years, I have pleasantly discovered that New Jersey is chuck full of great bands with many indie labels supporting them. Pyrrhic Victory Recordings is one of those labels and the wonderful 65’s, GALANOS and Miss Ohio are some of those bands.
The 65’sI’ve Got You EP (2013) picks up right up where 2011’s kick ass Strike Hard! left off. A solid 4 song onslaught that starts with the punk ‘n’ roll steam roller “Have you Been Saved?”, continues with the darkly beautiful album title track and ending with is pretty acoustic twang of “Safety Net,” each song heavily complimented by the unique, husky Lucero-ish growl of front man/guitarist Joseph O. Pugsley. I Got You is never too far from my weekly listening pleasure, with the 3rd track,”Holes Dug Deep” being one of my personal favorites (“breathe in…breathe out…keep breathing she said“).
THE 65’s “I’ve Got You”
Next up is GALANOS‘ 2 song offering, La Loca, a dark and dreamy, surfy and heavy, beautifully droning offering of slowed down and fuzzed up songs of Velvet Underground-ish proportions. I could see either song (the title track or “Go Home Rose”) being on the soundtrack to the next Quentin Tarantino flick with a return of Uma Thurman dancing to either. Indeed a welcoming sight in my humble opinion! If this is just a the hors d’ourves of what GALANOS is offering, I am looking forward to a full meal and hopefully soon.
Miss Ohio’s latest EP, Whippoorwill Road, was officially released last week, delivering a perfect blend of power pop melody and guitar rock grit, with 5 songs that will no doubt make my personal best of 2014 release list. Oddly, the opening killer track of the same name always brings “Boys of Summer” (either Henley or the Atari’s cover will do) to mind, but in a good way. Tracks “Bobby Fischer” and “Lights” keep the momentum going (with the latter boasting interesting sounds from a vintage phaser pedal) while I find myself mentally humming the coquettish“Day Job” at least once a day while reconciling my own rock ambitions while working for the man. Finally I was one happy camper that they (re)recorded “KGB” one of my favorite tracks off of 2005’s underrated Another Wasted Summer. Homerun, boys.
Fuck you #Sandy the #frankenstorm. To hell with everybody who keeps ignoring global warming issues in politics and not trying to reduce your global footprint somehow. We’re all guilty of this in many ways. I hope we survive this natural disaster and it does not become some apocalyptic scene. Anyway here’s a playlist of a bunch of songs about inclement weather, rain, sleet, floods and snow to help you brave this situation.
Playlist for badweather:
01. Smells Like Rain MP3 by Unsane from Occupational Hazard (1998) When i think of storms and chaos sometimes i think of the walls of guitar gutter these guys create.
02. Raincoat’s Room MP3 by Swell Maps from Jane From Occupied Europe (1980) An instrumental jam that sets up mood. Amazing record all around of an indie guitar sound that has not changed much since.
03. Rain Test MP3 by Aviso’Hara from Our Lady of the Highway (2001) A slow jam with best line from a movie. “Give me the strength to die well” Name that movie!?
04. Date With The Rain MP3 by Frankie Gee from Groove Merchant Turns 20 compilation. This is a funky one. We’re not just noise blog here. We like the funk the boogie.
05. Seven Seas MP3 by Echo and The Bunnymen from Ocean Rain (1984) This originally came out while I was in freaking just in Highschool but it’s such a stand-up album all the way . Great live band too.
06. Thunderstorm MP3 by the original Buzzkill from their first full length CD release I feel like myself again This is dirgy punk. “This is a stormy Monday and everyday after that!” Good mosh-part at the end.
07. Rain MP3 by Bongwater from Double Bummer CD on Shimmy Disc (1988) Is this really a cover written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney? I just know this is one of my favorite NYC bands from the 1980s. Period.
08. Pouring Rain MP3 by Fishbone from Truth & Soul (1988) This is one of their slow soul jams that really shows how this band could groove. Also another amazing live band that I saw about 8x I think in their heyday. Still awesome now. So check them out. Nobody makes music like Angelo and his boys.
09. The Waves MP3 by The Draymin from their new one Should’ve Known Better (2012) This is particular tune is very alternative grunge. Nice acoustic song with great singing. Check them out.
10. Rain Bird MP3 by Love & Rockets from Earth * Sun * Moon (1987) There is used to be this dark band called Bauhaus. this is an off-shoot of that. The music was always ethereal, dark and inspired. File under #Goth
11. Behold The Hurricane MP3 by The Horrible Crowes from Elsie (2011) Would be almost impossible for this band not to sound like the Gaslight Anthem no matter what Brian Fallon does. Good songs on this record.
SHOW PREVIEW: Beware this is celebratory and shameless plug for a bunch bands that used to play The Court Tavern in New Brunswick, New Jersey a whole fuckin’ bunch. Before the Gaslight Anthem & Screaming Females there were these bands who played this juke joint more times than these bands can collectively count. The Court Tavern was our local version of CBGB’s situated in downtown New Brunswick. Forever, this was the venue of choice to see a band live where chromosomes and some DNA floated around freely. Wasn’t too big or too small but basically it was cruel and fair. The sound system was amazing and if you played there often enough the bartenders always bought you a drink or two even when you weren’t playing. That was respect. Anyway, on Saturday May 19th a bunch of the old guard will be playing a show together at The Brook Arts Center in Bound Brooke NJ up against that forsaken Bamboozle fest. So come-out if you live nearby or want to get away from the Assbury crowds. This will be well worth the 10 spot to catch DJ Ed Wong & Lisa Uber spinning songs with some local Art along with music by Aviso’Hara , The Wooden Soldiers, P.E.D, The Blisters, The Stuntcocks and Jigs and The Pigs. Facebook invite is here for directions and details. The doors open at 7:30 and show starts promptly at 8pm sharp.
Here’s a couple by what we consider the band known as The Blisters. This is punk rock version that Nirvana once invited to open for them in Ohio. There’s a bunch of bands with the same name but these guys are the originals. Used to be bands could call each other out on having put out a release first to claim the name. I suppose we have alternate realities. If you dig the replacements and pop-punk then should be right in the neighborhood of your like meter. Most make-up wearing bands are not worth the recycled beer can their music is made of. This is pure New Jersey rock-n-roll. I’m gonna take b/w Leaving you MP3s by The Blisters
Next up is P.E.D (post ejaculation depression). Cute acronym right? This is a infamous New Brunswick band that was fronted by Samuel Shiffman from Complex Records who personally turned me onto the Chicago band The Poster Children. He’s also notorious and infamous for the running of the mouth or the lack there of living among us but not seen. He’s a lurker and somehow he’s coming out (not ghey) hole to make some noise with the rest of the rock geezer.
I can say with pure unadulterated glee what a motherfucking miserable sod I was for so long. I can’t say that I was really look back with anything but horror… actually I have to say that I really don’t look back at all…” – Sam 2010
Here’s a whole diatribe from Sam where the quote above was ripped from on Jim Testa’s Jersey Beat.com.
Johnny & J.J. Stuntcock Melody w/ Chris Pierce on Drums!
Also sharing the stage will be The Stuntcocks which have had as many rotating members as any of the above bands.
Johnny Stuntcock has been the steady anchor all this while. The Stuntcocks are New Brunswick institution all their own.
The first band and real reason to get there early is seeing Greg Di Gesu’s band The Wooden Soldiers. His music has gone by different names but has been the corner stone of roots rock meets Nick Lowe on the pot run you just made up from the Everglades. He’s street poet who stories weave in and out of the groovy grooves. Enjoy! Commercial Ave MP3 by The Wooden Soldiers from hippies, punks and rubber men (1987) A Thousand Miles Away MP3 from Lazy Man’s Load (1989)
Here’s a video by Jigs & The Pigs who are headlining the event. They were a real early band that played the Court. Sort The Who meets, New Wave meets Iggy Pop. You decide. It’s going to be an amazing night.
Some sounds like these sounds: Can’t Hardly Wait(live) MP3 by The Replacements from Shit, Shower & Shave It’s A Long Way Back To Germany B-side MP3 by The Ramones from Rocket To Russia Dynamite Chair MP3 by Poster Children from Tool Of The Man The Diamond Church Street Choir MP3 by The Gaslight Anthem from American Slang Embrace The Sound MP3 by Drag The River from Closed Birthday Boy (Ween cover) MP3 by Chris Harford from Band of Changes. This is one of my favorite songs in the world. The first time I heard this covered was at the court tavern around 1996 and it was a version like this by Chris. Cool eh?
Bobby Albert - Serving Hub City Rock from 1981-2012
Nobody knows the answer Why Bobby Albert Jr would one day wake-up on a cold January and decide The Court Tavern(124 Church St) would close it’s doors forever. Maybe he got an offer he could not refuse — but I doubt it. Maybe the burden of a looming $60 thousand dollar bar license was just too huge an amount of hard swet and pride he was not willing to cough up one more time. The hole was just to big so he folded his hand.
Once, after a infamous patron argument Bobby once put up a sign behind the stage and painted over a mural by E-Gun(RIP) that said “Cruel but Fair” that would yet stamp the attitude of his bar. Years later the mural was uncovered again to reveal all the past “floating chromosomes” on the wall. Even though the sign was ugly it was a statement that had been a part of the folklore and lure of the Court Tavern crowd – always in chaos but always intriqueing. This was one of many incidents you’d hear about from the dixie cup chain of hooligans and curmudgeons who congregated here to celebrate rock-n-roll and get the occasional cocktail. For the most part the bands were understood and respected as Artists, well at least most of the time. The point is that this was punk rock bar that embraced most of us –no matter how weird or misunderstood.
His father Bobby Albert Senior first ok’d live music in the bar then in came the local rock bands like The Smithereens, Crossfire Choir and Opium Vala. There was also bands like A.O.D., The Blisters, PEDs and Bad Karma. Ok so you maybe you never heard of any except for one of these bands but the point is local bands used to draw just as much as any indie touring band. Matter fact the local bands these days are all pretty well known so sort of perplexing with so many high profile punk shows that the situation got to be too much. This was a place where turning up the volume was par for the course and sometimes the band just played for flies and that was part of the risk of bringing in outside bands or having locals who just forgot to tell their friends. Sure the club/bar has had it’s fair share of early performance by the likes of Flaming Lips, Buthole Surfers and Superchunk. The list of who’s who goes on and on so here we’ll post some of these lesser known bands. (so second post is coming) The truth is this past week I’ve been bumming pretty hard as are a few of my other friends. Literally stayed away from facebook to take a step back after I heard the news. Just in December the Mayor of New Brunswick celebrated the clubs 30th Anniversary in the local press. In my humble opinion culture has pretty much been erased out of New Brunswick in the past 20 years since it began rebuilding the city so its always been a sideways battle. Homogenized from the day J&J decided to move-in and every bit of cheap real-estate bought up by UMDNJ under eminent domain in some cases we lost other amazing clubs there like The Roxy and The Melody Bar where Matt Pinfield used to spin (even when he was famous). Like roaches the music will survive somehow but it won’t have a place to hang it’s hat or hoodie like the Court. Well at least until somebody sees an opportunity as the court is now officially for sale.
My friend and rat bastard Cliff mentioned on one of the Facebook threads that we were done with this culture. Which is true maybe it’s time for the next generation to make their own fucking thing but for me it’s like loosing a bridge to my youth. Which was maybe ill spent at times but damn was it fun burning through those brain cells and hearing for that matter. This we can all agree on. Maybe even selfishly at times booking my bands with bands I wanted to see and hear; trying to help build up a scene and knowing full well the mystique was a commodity that paid-off in spades or could fail miserably. But at the end of night we’d always hear these words last works.
“You Don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here”
Well at least until the next time. Lets hope somebody else picks up the torch for next generation of Sonic Youths and pulpit pues.
Now on to the music.
Download: The Diamond Church Street Choir MP3 by The Gaslight Anthem from American Slang. This is super poetic tribute song that Brian Fallon wrote which is about my comrade Andy Diamond who I guess up until a few days ago booked bands there. He had some serious shoes to fill with the likes of Tom Crowe, Eric Gundry (the Artist behind the murals RIP), Adam and Sluggo who’s tastes were broad giving a lot of bands a place to practice and show-off their craft.
15 minutes Prior to this photo Corey Parks from Nashville Pussy lit Eric on fire. Photo by me
About those fuckin’ bands
There were so many to mention that I’ve either seen there, played with or wish I’d seen. Here’s my List of memorable shows: Nudeswirl(2x), Buzzkill(12x), Monster Magnet, BarkMarket, Transilvia, Boss Jim gettys'(10x), Mule, Don Caballero, Nashville Pussy, 9lb Hammer, Bionic Rhoada(6x), Mad Daddies(3x), The Raging Lamos, Whirling Dervishes, Tiny Lights, Chris Harford and the band of Changes, Deadguy, Duochrome, Ween(5x), MoistBoyz(2x), False Fron(3x).. jesus this list will never end but it was a lot of rock and I’ll never forget mostly thanks to the intertubes. I will say the songs I’m post barely make a dent so we’ll have to do a follow-up post.
Happy Banjo MP3 by Dark Mean. On the face this song sounds like the title and builds in off-shoot homage to The Gaslight Anthem. With a modern take on old 70’s americana it is pretty authentic heart on your sleeve. This is the new american. Although the flag, suspenders and the beard are gone it’s got feel and on this track a banjo and horns for most of the first half. This music is recorded with care. Check them out.
Annie MP3 by New West from a coming release. I’m not sure how you start off as a Mars La Volta basement cover band then end-up making a pretty song like this one. Here’s Chris Zurich and his band which is more roots rock influenced than anything West Philly could ever offer. Band site.
Seventeen Once MP3 by Slothbear 7″ – This is the A side and it’s good in a undercooked New Order kind of way . It’s got jangly reverb and a arty atitude feedback solo suited for your late night drive with your teenage honey. The “B” side is a whole 46 seconds. Not sure what the point of that is since it’s not even speedcore or what you could accomplish in that kind of time (ok maybe I do…) except for the basic idea which we get “Oxus Armlets” and some chuckling at the end. Ok you’ve got my attention. Now what? Drop this track in your mix for sure.