Thursday, March 20, 2014

Adios Mafia - Hot-Blooded American Awesome

Adios Mafia's "Hot-Blooded Amercan Awesome" is a straight up no holds barred Punk Rock N' Roll party album.  Everything about this cd comes off as a bit tongue in cheek, from the aliases the band members play under, to the  braggadocious one sheet that accompanied the cd and the hand written note that explains how the band gained street cred playing at local crack houses in the Bronx NY.

Moving on to the music, all jokes aside, this cd is pretty damn great. Every song is memorable and infectious with Nick Marvalous providing a voice and vocal delivery that fits the bands style and attitude perfectly.

There is something brewing in the Bronx waters recently...first we get the excellent Poor Lily and now Adios Mafia, as a matter of fact there are musical similarities that can be drawn between the two bands so if your a fan of Poor Lily then you need to give Adios Mafia a listen, and if you have no idea who either of these bands are then you need to put  both bands on regular rotation...Dave G.

Listen and Purchase a CD 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Living Laser - Find A Way

This is the third review I  have done for Living Laser here on UBRS. First I reviewed their demo tape and then a 7" and now their first full length Lp.  This debut  Lp is pretty much exactly what I expected to get from these Hudson Valley NY hardcore veterans. The music itself it mostly fast paced with some really great tempo changes dropped in to keep things interesting. I feel there is a pretty strong Leeway feel to the music, however Living Laser lean more to the new school hardcore way of things and a little further away from the metal leanings that were a big part of the Leeway sound.

Overall, Living Laser have delivered  an excellent album that should appeal to the readers of UBRS...grab a color vinyl copy quick before you wish you had...Dave G.

Living Laser

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hispanics Causing Panic In the Early NYHC Scene.

Earlier this month Freddy Alva put me on to his latest post to the Quixotic Dreams blog. 
In this recent post Freddy (Born in Peru) highlights the many contributions hispanics made to the early NYHC scene. Individuals from varied nations and family backgrounds who played a major part in building New York's rarely documented underground. Roger Miret of 
Agnostic Front (born Rogelio De Jesus in Havana, Cuba…passport shown above), 
The Cro-Mags, The Stimulators, Antidote, Heart Attack, Major Conflict, The Mob, 
Token Entry, Leeway, The Casualties and many more. Freddy has a unique gift for story telling and recalling interesting and personal pieces of his and our history. Go check out his blog and see for yourself. James Damion

Static is a City - S/T EP

After hearing rough mixes of the songs "The Hive" and "Recidivist Mantras" I was rather excited to hear the finished product on
Static is a City's debut EP. Hailing from Raleigh, a city
I came close to relocating to, the newly formed
Static is a City enter the fray with the most impressive debut these ears have heard since Red Hare's
"Nights of Midnight". The band, which features former members of Dahlia Seed (Chris Skelly) and Milemarker (Sean Husick) display a unique ability to allude specific genre trappings. Pairing post hardcore guitar intricacies with math rock precision and vocals that brought me back to so many of my favorite indie/emo bands from the 90's. As this small sampling of songs wash over me, the words "thoroughly impressed" fail to convey what I'm experiencing. Static is a City's debut inspires deeply emotive feelings. The actual record is currently held up in pressing, but will be available in a few weeks. In the meantime, it can be downloaded on iTunes.
For more information about the band, check out their page here. Reverbnation
James Damion

S.O.A. - First Demo 12/ 29/ 80

Imagine yourself as a thirteen or fourteen year old punk rock upstart in love with
Minor Threat and Black Flag.
One who inadvertently finds out that Henry Rollins
and Henry Garfield are one in the same. Linked by some cosmic spaceship between
Washington D.C.'s
State of Alert and L.A.'s
Black Flag. For this Punk
know it all, it was the biggest conspiracy since the
Kennedy assassination.
At the time, not much was known or revered about
State of Alert. Regardless,
the bands sole EP "No Policy" was for most, an unattainable piece of Dischord Records storied past. The only way most of us were able to get a taste of the EP was through the label's "Flex Your Head" compilation, so one could only imagine the shock I felt upon  seeing the bands first demo recordings being made available a good thirty something years later. It was all the excitement this aging punk rocker could manage.

Dischord has done an impressive job in reissuing some of it's classics in recents years. Long lost recordings from Faith, Void, Artificial Peace and many others have been personal highlights for me. Yet State of Alert's 1980 demo and the recent Rites of Spring demo stand out due to the fact that many of us are hearing these recordings for the very first time.
The demo, recorded 12/29/80 with Skip Groff at Inner Ear Studio serves as State of Alert's first ever recordings. Two of the songs ("Disease" and "Stepping Stone Party")
were originally released on the Flex Your Head sampler, while "Gonna Have to Fight"
was included on the band's "No Policy" EP. The songs "Public Defender", "Gangfight",
"Draw a Bank", "Warzone"and "Riot" are presented here for the very first time.

Since it's delivery last week, I've found myself returning to these songs countless times, and getting a taste of what Henry would soon bring to Black Flag. There's a raw power about these songs that made me return to the "No Policy" recordings and wondering why I never placed them higher on my scale of  "must listen" material. The only conclusion one can come to is that in comparison, these recordings are actually better than the No Policy tracks.. The 7' record is pressed on translucent red vinyl and comes with a digital download. File under "Essential."
James Damion

Dischord Records Get it Here

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Black N' Blue Bowl 2014 Details Announced

 Black N' Blue Bowl 2014 Lineup was announced earlier this week. 
Click the link below for more information.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wreaths s/t album - Killing Horse Records 2014

Re-post of my Wreaths review from 2013. The band had self released their s/t album digitally and made a handful of homemade cd's, but now have gotten an official cd release through the mighty Killing Horse Records...Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of this exceptional debut album from Wreaths and support them live. You will not be disappointed...Dave G


Wreaths have been my  favorite local band for a few years now. I've seen them numerous times all around NJ and I have had a few mix cd's etc that the band have given me over the years, and I pretty much loved everything I've heard.  The bands brand new self titled Lp is full of all the songs I have heard live and likely in different stages of development on those mix cd's, but I have to say hearing the songs as a proper collection is a bit mind blowing.

Musically Wreaths songs are an intricate interweaving of psychedelia  and 70's alt rock (Eno comes to mind) with a modern twist. I find the songs to be somehow soothing yet invigorating at the same time. Wreaths create one hell of a good vibe with this album and I am glad they brought me into their musical universe...An absolute top 5 album for 2013 in this listeners opinion..Dave G.

Purchase cd for only $5.00

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Street Sects - The Morning After The Night We Raped Death 7"

    Street Sects  is a two man electronic collaboration between Leo Ashline and Shaun Ringsmith who came together following Leo's long time battle with substance abuse, which he has thankfully overcome.  The one sheet explains that the bands musical focus is to use modern sampling  technology to challenge the limits of what HARDCORE music can be , and to my ears they have absolutely succeeded, by creating electronic music that is dark and frightening, but at the same time desperate and achingly sad in some way.   Personally, Street Sects has succeeded in creating a soundscape that somehow awakens my own inner sense of self destruction, and that  is a very powerful emotion to invoke through music.

If you dig emotional music regardless of genre, then I would highly recommend you give Street Sects a listen...Dave G

Additional details:
The Morning After The Night We Raped Death is the first of five  7" singles that will be released in 2014 and 2015 as part of a Serialized album titled "Gentrification". Each record in the series will be pressed in an edition of 200 black vinyl, and 300 color. The color vinyl will be reserved for a special edition box set, which will be released shortly after the release of the 5th record.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On the Heals of their Upcoming Tour. Stuyvesant Debuts New Single "Hell Bent for Heather"

Just days away from their coming tour. New Jersey Power Pop kings Stuyvesant have released a new single "Hell Bent for Heather". Go grab yourself a copy and get a taste of what's to come from your favorite purveyors of mirth. James Damion

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Getting to Know Essex County's Archie Alone

As much as Essex County's Archie Alone have quickly become a must see live act.
The band has also come to serve as torchbearers for a burgeoning New Jersey
Punk / Hardcore scene. Merging melodic Punk with metallic riffs and emotive vocals.
Archie Alone have quickly earned favorite status with this particular blogger. Since my initial experience with the quintet in May of 2013, I've had the pleasure of seeing the band numerous times at venues including ABC No Rio, The Court Tavern and their home base in Montclair, The Meatlocker. In that time, my curiosity, as well as my appreciation for the band have grown considerably for the band. After a recent show at Paterson's WPCS Radio. I decided to speed up the interview process and have the band fill in the blanks while answering some of my curiosities. Thanks to everyone in the band for participating. 
James Damion

James: My experience with and knowledge of the band only goes back as far as the
Spring of 2013. Can you tell me about how the band started and how long before
Archie Alone took shape?

Archie Alone: Since originally forming in 2008 the band has had an ever changing lineup.
In Spring of 2012, that lineup consisted of Nicole Mesce (vocals), Tony Mastrolia (bass), and two former members. We took on guitarist Cindy Ward, whom we had met while playing with her previous band. Shortly after Cindy joined the band, Nicole suggested her friend,
Pete Lepore, as our second guitarist. Thus filling the vacancy. After playing throughout the Summer and Fall. Our drummer decided to leave. His position was soon after filled by
Pete Clark, a former band mate of Cindy's. Since our first show in January of 2013,
the lineup has remained the same.

James: You mentioned Cindy was in a band prior to coming over. What was the bands name? Are they still playing together?

Archie Alone: Cindy was in a Metal-core band called Fantazma. Our current drummer Pete Clark actually joined them towards the end of their run. Fantazma has since called it quits.

James: Cindy, a few months back I began hearing about a side project.
Can you tell me a little about the band and how it differs from Archie Alone?

Archie Alone: This actually ties in perfectly with your prior question. Cindy's side project ironically consists of members that were all at one point in Fantazma. The new project is called Sightings. Pete Clark plays drums for them as well. The best way to describe it is alternative metal/hardcore. The genre can be pretty ambiguous at times. It differs greatly from Archie Alone primarily because it is heavier music with female screaming vocals.
It does compare with Archie alone however, in that it's aggressive and dynamic.

James: The name makes me think of two things. Old Archie Comics and Archie basically taking things into his own hands. Does the name hold any meaning to you or was it just something you pulled out of your hat?

Archie Alone: The name of the band actually came from
Tony's brother who had suggested it in passing.
When the time came for us to record our first demos, the sound engineer we were working with needed a name to put on his schedule so we used Archie Alone as a fill in for the time being. Its stuck ever since. The name "Archie Alone" comes from an episode of Archie Bunkers Place, a
spin-off of All in the Family. In the episode Edith, Archie's wife, passes away.

James: Back in the Summer we spoke briefly about an album and
(my hopes of a vinyl release.) In recent months I've heard talk about you recording.
How far have you come? How long before we get our greedy hands on a copy.

Archie Alone: We started recording late fall of 2013 and hope to release the full length in late Spring of 2014. We are shooting for about 10 to 12 songs and will be pressing them on CD's as well as availability online (iTunes, Spotify, etc.) Vinyl would be a nice addition in the future but we have no current plans on it.

James: The first time I saw you live, I was there to see Nick Lee and Moon Tooth.
Since then you've toured with them and Polyphony. How did that come together?
What were some of the highlights? Lowlights and shameful moments?

Archie Alone: The first time we met Moon Tooth was at the show you mentioned at
Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ. We took a real liking to them musically and personally.
We collaborated with them and played a few shows here in jersey and Long Island.
As for Polyphony, we met them through practicing and playing at the Meatlocker in Montclair, NJ. They are also a great group of musicians. Through getting to know them we decided to do a mini weekend tour with both of them. A few memorable moments with
Moon Tooth were hanging out here in Jersey, making them breakfast after a show at the Meatlocker, and other "extra curricular" activities. A lowlight of the weekend tour with the three bands was when Polyphony got "shunned" to the upstairs part of the venue we played in Philly due to the fact they're not all 21+. Luckily they still got to play, but they were not allowed to watch any of the bands because there was a bar. We all laugh it off now but it was definitely a bummer when it happened.

James: Your sound is self described as Pop Punk, Melodic Punk and even Alternative, Personally, I hear a lot of Metallic riffs coming from Cindy's guitar. It kind of gives the band a sound those genres rarely deliver. Is that trait something that creeped it way into the bands sound over time? Or was it there from the very beginning?

Archie Alone: Yes, heavier, more metallic guitar parts. Elements that gradually made their way into the band. Especially since the additions of  Cindy and Pete. Their influencs by heavier genres of music definitely played a part. Pete's influences consist of Have Heart, Strung Out and Wilhelm Scream amongst others. Cindy, on the other hand, has experience playing heavier music in her previous band which, thus, carries into Archie Alone.

James: How are the song writing duties distributed? What about the lyrics?

Archie Alone: Pete Lepore, our guitarist, comes to practice with a piece of music and we will all jam on it until we reach a common ground. The song gradually develops over time while going through trial and error with parts that work and do not. With each practice, we bring in new ideas that further develop and give the song more character. As far as lyrics go, they are all written by Nicole, either premeditated or as we write the song.

James: Nicole is one of the most powerful vocalists I've seen in my days. It seems she pours every ounce of energy, sweat and emotion into every performance.
Where is a lot of that coming from? Does it ever take it's toll?

Nicole: First of all thank you, that means a lot. The earlier lyrics that I wrote were based on the past and how I felt at the time. As Archie Alone progressed so did the feelings and emotions that I wanted to discuss. For me personally it's been a realization of my past events and how they do not define me; It has been more of a discovery of who I am as an individual. My main goal is to have people relate not to the specific situation in the song but to the specific emotion in the song. I want it to be personal and relate-able for the listener and the things he or she goes through. Mostly, it helps me theoretically, perhaps because I grew up listening to bands like "Saves the Day" and and even "Title Fight" who have influenced me to write with my emotions.

James: Montclair's Meatlocker seems to be a home away from home for the band. What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of playing a place so often?
Does the crowd change much depending on who you're playing with or does it stay relatively the same?

Archie Alone: The Meatlocker is absolutely our home away from home. We're always there whether we're practicing, playing a show or attending a show. Cindy also books a lot of shows there for touring bands as well. We benefit from playing there because we have met so many great people and bands who we have established friendships with. The shows are always a blast and low-stress.
The drawback may be that sometimes it's the same crowd that is seeing us. While the crowd does change depending on the type of show, there is still a built-in crowd that is typically there every weekend.

James: I couldn't help but notice a rather large SUA button on Pete's guitar strap. I've been a fan of the band since they were called Jellybean. Actually saw them play with Nick Lee's old band Exemption. How do you know them? Have you had a chance to play out with them?

Archie Alone: Pete Lepore knows SUA through his friend Leigh who he met while attending IAR. We have played with them once at a house show in New Brunswick.

James: You've got a big show coming up with Dingbatz with Such Gold. Tell me about that.

Cindy: Yes we do! We are really stoked about this one not only because we all are big fans of Such Gold but it's a show that we finally feel like we fit well on. It is an honor for us to share the stage with a band that we take influence from. Shout out to
Anthony from ACI for making this one happen. We are currently working on a tight set which includes a new song that we just finished. We are really excited to show everyone the new song because we feel like it defines us most as a band.
We hope to continue in that direction. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the show!

Important Links to Archie Alone:
Sound Cloud
Reverb Nation

Darryl Norrell Talks Science with Tomasz Garnek

North Jersey quintet Science have steadily developed into one of the most entertaining live bands in their area, delivering intricacy and a diverse menu of sounds with post-hardcore vigor. After dancing our asses off at a memorable Clash Bar set late in 2013, we made it a point to track them down. Guitarist/keyboardist/noisemaker Tomasz Garnek took some time to tell us about their impending debut album, their development as a band, and more.
Their single "Any Waking Moment" awaits you on their Bandcamp HERE. They'll appear live at Backroom Studios on March 1st for a Lamplighter-hosted show with The Sound Is Fine and Impossible Voyage, and with Reese Van Riper on March 9th at the Cake Shop.

Darryl: Science's sound seems to have blossomed since we first saw you play at the Meat Locker in summer of 2012. What's contributing to your development as a band?

Tomasz: Oh man, that was a great show, and definitely a turning point for us establishing ourselves in the local scene at that point. This was not long after our original guitarist left and we were trying to reconfigure our band as a 4 piece with Evan taking on lead guitar. Adam Bird of Those Mockingbirds was kind enough to get us in on that show, which was a Tiny Giant Showcase, and we were very lucky to have our sound heard and to network with a lot of great musicians that we are still very close with to this day. I think that show in particular, and the great reaction we got, gave us the confidence we needed to really push our band forward.

Darryl: What influences are at work in your new music? Is there a direction towards which you feel you're steering your sound on the full-length?

Tomasz: Well, I think one of the biggest influences in our new music and just the overall development of our band has been the acquisition of our current bassist, Andy Longo.
When we started Science in 2011, we were a 5 piece but with Alex doing bass duties.
In early 2012, one of our original guitarists left and we were forced to restructure our songs as a 4 piece. We were definitely struggling to find our sound and were leaning more towards pop punk. However, towards the end of the year, we started jamming with Andy, put Alex on guitar duty, and something just clicked.
Andy and our drummer Steve had a really good vibe off the jump and, being the highly skilled bassist that he is, he really made everyone in the band step their game up. We started writing new songs with him and moved away from our pop punk origins toward a more progressive rock sound.
We didn't lose our roots, but I can easily say that Andy was the missing ingredient in this concoction that we call Science.

Darryl: What was the recording process like?

Tomasz: We did the demos for the album at North End Studios, which is kind of like home to us. We have our practice space there and Ed Auletta, the owner and main engineer there, has been extremely supportive to us, almost like a father figure to this band. We've done plenty of demos with him, and he recorded our single "Any Waking Moment", which is currently available on our Bandcamp  HERE. (Shameless plug)
However, for the actual album recording, we went back to Backroom Studios where we recorded our first EP "Don't Panic!" in 2011. All of us have done several different projects with Kevin Antreassian over there, and we really wanted him involved on this recording.
We were lucky to have Ed come up to Backroom during our sessions as well.
We are very grateful to have such a high caliber of engineers and producers involved.

Darryl: What have you found yourselves writing songs about?

Tomasz: Alex generally writes most of the lyrics for our songs. What I personally like about Alex's song writing is that the guy can write a hell of a love song. I'm a sucker for pop, so I always appreciate a good ol' fashioned love song. However, one common theme in our band is that we're all huge nerds. So with the new record we have definitely delved into everything from Sci-Fi themes to life and death, and all that's in between. There's a loose concept of our new record about a man, in an undefined future, witnessing his world being destroyed, and the adventures of his life and death thereafter. It's very much open to interpretation, but there are songs on the new record inspired by things like MegaMan and World of Warcraft, so you can kind of see where our heads are at. Haha

Darryl: Has playing on the road been kind to you so far? How necessary do you think it is for a band to tour these days?

Tomasz: While we try to keep a busy show schedule, we definitely haven't been on the road much outside of the Tri-State area.
Our biggest struggle with the tour goal, which many local bands can relate to, has been acquiring a reliable tour van. We've been using my mom's old mini-van, the Silver Bullet, to get around to local shows, and while we all have a sentimental connection to that van (which is on it's last leg but seems like will outlive us all)
it is definitely not something we can tour with. Last year, we had a choice to either invest in a van or invest in a new record, and we chose the latter.
The next step, after the release, will be to get a good van and finally start spreading our music further. Even with the ability to get your music heard by more people due to the internet and social media, I think touring is still integral to a successful music career, and we very much look forward to it.

Darryl: Here's a chance to let it out. What's one thing we can all do to make New Jersey's music scene a little better?

Tomasz: That's a tough one, but I would say that the New Jersey scene is still thriving. Obviously, times have changed and everyone says, "it's not like it used to be, man", but it's not supposed to be how it used to be. The scene is supposed to evolve and change, and every generation of bands coming out has the responsibility to build on it. We came into this band thinking, "fuck it, there are all of these awesome bands in NJ, and all of these little sub-scenes, we're just gonna play with everyone", and that's what we did. We never pigeon holed ourselves into one genre; we've played with pop-punk bands, folk bands, metal bands, indie bands, rap artists, etc. It's amazing how many connections you make and what kind of camaraderie you start to feel. On our new record, we have several guest vocals from popular local bands, including additional horns and strings from other NJ artists. We wanted everyone to be a part of this record because the NJ scene made us who we are, and we wanted the record to reflect that. So, that's the one thing I could say we can all do.
Work together. Power in numbers.

Darryl: What's next, once the album's release is behind you? What do you guys want for the band going forward?

Tomasz: Well, we still have a little ways to go with finishing the record. Hopefully, everything will be mastered and done by the end of March; after that, we will be focusing on filming a video for our first single and releasing that. Then, we'll probably be shopping the record around for a bit. We would ideally like to have it picked up so we don't self release. That's obviously the dream, and we're thinking positive, but we don't have concrete release plans right now. Besides that, Alex is getting married in September (Congrats!), and, after that, the focus will be a van and touring most definitely. We don't know where this journey is going to take us, but we're definitely looking forward to it. After all, it's just a ride...

Darryl: Time to get serious. Stanley Cup predictions?

Tomasz: Haha, well this is definitely more of Alex's forte, as he's the big hockey fan in the band. He is predicting Chicago vs Rangers in the Stanley Cup, with the Rangers getting that W. So, I must say, Go Rangers!

Science NJ  Website
Science Faebook

Free Download of Those Mockingbirds New Single "A Ballad From Hell"

Montclair New Jersey's Those Mockingbirds are streaming the first single 
"A Ballad from Hell" from their upcoming, yet to be titled debut full length on Soundcloud Click Here to listen and download. For added visual stimulation, be sure to check out the song's You Tube video. James Damion