Its commonplace in this scene to have no concept of anything that’s happened more than three months prior to current day. Everyone’s focused on what’s new and what’s changed. What bands have broken up and what new bands will come out of the ashes. Jersey City’s Cicada Radio is a band that has been shaping and defining the local scene for eight years now. Such a span of time seems conventionally unobtainable, but Cicada Radio proves not only that it can be done, but with their upcoming EP Catch and Release due out June 15 on Killing Horse Records, they prove that it can be done well.
I had a meeting at work yesterday afternoon. Before the meeting started, my boss looks at me and asks, “Adam, you okay?” Existential Crises aside, I figure I’m doing about as well as I could expect to. “I’m fine,” I assure him. “Oh, okay. You just looked upset is all.” No – I’m not upset. But all day I have been listening to Settle In, Decay by the Brooklyn-based band Good Looking Friends. And maybe listening to this album isn’t good for my depression, but if I took all my therapist’s advice I probably wouldn’t still be needing therapy. Settle In, Decay hurts so good and you should let it hurt you too.urprisin
Last April saw the launch of one of the very best podcast series in New Jersey indie rock. No, it’s not Racket Radio, I said it’s a good podcast. Look At My Records! is the brainchild of Jersey City’s Tom Gallo, a long-time participant and fan of the scene. Tom’s been working his ass off on this podcast series and has featured a ton of great local guests and has promoted the music of so many more on a weekly basis. This Friday night at The Footlight in Queens, Tom will be celebrating the 50th episode of Look At My Records! with a show featuring local favorites Hard Nips, Atlas Engine, Morus Alba, and Milkmen. Last week I got to catch up with Tom and chat with him about the podcast and the show. Check out what he had to say below.
Album reviews are at times difficult to write for a number of different reasons. One reason is that when music is good, it tends to not be so easily defined or explained. Shitty music is derivative of something else and can be summed up by saying its shoegaze, or pop-punk, or metal, or better yet, it sounds like The Smiths or “is influenced by” Radiohead. Of course, that’s a diminutive point of view that good, truly original music cannot be lumped in with. Another instance is when a piece of music transcends being just music and instead represents something larger than itself. The bad news for me is that both of these things are true for LKFFCT‘s latest EP, Cayenne, released back in April. The good news for you is that its got some fucking bangers.
Out of Montclair, The Planet You describes their music as “hyperbolic jazzmo,” and their eponymous LP comes across as the love child of free jazz and post-punk. With a fresh, improvised feel and clever track titles like “yloponoM” and “Posilutely,” this is clearly a band that loves what they do and would never think of making music as work.
This Wednesday at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, indie rock O.G.’s Guided By Voices will take the stage in celebration of their latest release, Space Gun. The album is the 25th from the band since their debut Devil Between My Toes in 1987. Leading up to the show, N.J. Racket was given the unique opportunity to interview Mark Shue, Guided By Voices’ bassist for their previous three albums and member of the live band since its inception in 2016. The interview was conducted by Eric Truchan, the drummer of New Jersey band Secretary Legs and a true Guided By Voices and Robert Pollard super fan. Eric has his own blog in which is a song by song review of every Robert Pollard song ever, which, as you would guess, is an unbelievable amount of music.
From Eric’s own review of Space Gun, posted to An Earful O’Wax: Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard Song By Song Review, “Space Gun is further studio progression in the new life that pulsates through the ultimate band, keeping it in motion; behold the mighty Guided by Voices. Back from their possibly best sounding studio LP, How Do You Spell Heaven, the newest LP is another exercise in high kicks, and top notch production courtesy of recording engineer Travis Harrison. Harrison was also at the helm for the sonic bombast of ESP Ohio’s Starting Point... along with much of August By Cake.”