Last week, at the recently re-opened Meatlocker, the newly formed local super-group Smock arrived on the scene with a riotous set. Sandwiched between established commodity LKFFCT and fellow new-comers Shred Flintstone, it was the highly anticipated first appearance of Smock, comprised of members from Kult of Mary, Whiner, and Sunflower, that brought the crowd out in force.
The first time N.J. Racket covered a NGHTCRWLRS show, Cooper took about two hundred photos of the set, and I’d guess about one hundred of those were of the band’s drummer Max Rauch. His excuse was “that dude has too much fun for me to take pictures of anyone else.” Totally accurate assessment. The second time we covered NGHTCRWLRS played out pretty much the same, only this time we introduced ourselves after the show and were thrilled to learn that not only is Max an excellent drummer that has a ton of fun performing, but he is also an incredibly chill and good dude.
Max Rauch is a name you’ve almost definitely heard before on N.J. Racket. Aside from NGHTCRWLRS, we’ve also covered his other band LKFFCT and we’ve reviewed more albums that he’s recorded and engineered than I can keep track of, including Salt Pepper Ketchup, from our own John Cozz, and most recently Within My World, by Sunflower. Max is easily one of the hardest working members of New Jersey’s DIY community and I am endlessly impressed by both the quantity and quality that he continues to produce and the knowledge and talent he shares with so many other artists is truly invaluable.
Guilty Giraffe is a name you may not have heard yet on the local scene, but I guarantee you that will change following their release of Server Error coming up on May 5. Mint 400 Records’ newest, and youngest, band have already released the music video for the album’s first single, “Doom Song,” and have been earning the reputation for being “the loudest band in the five buroughs,” which is a pretty fucking cool epithet to claim. But these dude’s aren’t just wild and crazy loud, Mat and Felipe are both talented way beyond their years as well as hard working and ambitious enough to carve out a niche for themselves in this scene.
Last week, I was able to chat with the Guilty Giraffe bros for a minute about the upcoming album release, their writing process, their musical maturity, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Friday, April 21, The Skullers will take the altar at Cathedral Hall in Jersey City as part of the Undercroft Concert Series along with The One and Nines, Don Kincaid & The Wait, Underlined Passages, and Young Legs. Frontman Jack Skuller is one of the true local indie wunderkinds, having released his first single at age 13 on the locally famous Bar/None Records and followed that up with a series of solo releases on Mint 400 Records. Now, at the ripe age of 21, Skuller has joined forces with bassist Luigi Sardi and drummer Gabriel Scholis-Fernandez to record a new EP set to be released later this year on Mint 400 Records.
On Saturday, April 8, New York native singer/songwriter Shlomo Franklin headlined at the iconic Bitter End. “It’s quite exciting for me,” Franklin said, “When I started out two years ago, I had no band, a few songs, and not much experience and they gave me a 6pm slot on a Tuesday. To get the prime slot is a special milestone for me.” Franklin now plays with a full band, has a complete repertoire of original music, and has grown as a musician and performer beyond any doubt that he deserves to be headlining shows where he performs.
This week, Travis Love Benson will be wrapping up their “Lil’ Love Tour 2017” with shows on Wednesday April 5, at The Meatlocker in Montclair, and Thursday April 6, at Clifton’s Clash Bar NPR Benefit show, giving you two, count ‘em, two chances to check them out. The anti-folk, folk-punk Travis Love Benson released the EP From Butterflies to Moths (FBtM) on March 25, featuring a mix of original recordings as well as covers of Yo! The Moon! and Girlpool.
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