A few months ago, John Cozz of John Cozz and the Squirts released his latest EP, titled Have a Great Summer, or HAGS if you have so little time for him that you can’t even say three whole words and an indefinite article. In the most narcissistic move since naming the band after himself and calling the other guys “Squirt 1 & 2,” Cozz, felt the need to venture into the realm of multimedia with a film release, a film in which even less people asked for than Transformers: Last Knight (Yes, the fifth one. No, I didn’t realize they made five until just now either).
Yet, to his credit, there was one single line from the movie that really resonated with me. “Who the fuck do you think you are, John Cozz?”
Our friend Neil Sabatino of Mint 400 Records has been busy as of late (and honestly well beyond that). The label has some exciting announcements of recent signings, not only confined to New Jersey, but throughout these United States. Check out who’s new below and start getting excited for some upcoming releases!
On September 23, Sniffling Indie Kids and Mint 400 Records hosted the Second Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival at Cathedral Hall in Jersey City, featuring twenty-four bands across five different local record labels. N.J. Racket was fortunate enough to sponsor the event alongside the world-renowned Jonathan LeVine Projects.
As I had been looking forward to this event for months, it is hard for me to really explain what that day was like and how the experience was to me on a personal level. I got to work closely with Sniffling Indie Kids and Mint 400 while they planned the event, and while my personal involvement was minimal, witnessing the level of effort and dedication they put into lifting this event to its full potential and to create a space and atmosphere that was positive, safe, inclusive, and (most of all) fun was truly inspiring. Before we o any further, I want to take a moment here at the beginning to say thank you to everyone that participated in the event, from the festival planners, performers, promoters, vendors, and audience members. These types of things cannot exist without everyone’s passion and participation.
I decided to start N.J. Racket the Thursday night before the inaugural North Jersey Indie Rock Festival. It was an impulsive decision, and I had no idea the depths of what I was getting myself into. If I had, given my attitude at the time, I probably would’ve been too intimidated to even try. At the time, I was completely unaware of the story of what went into putting the festival together or even who was behind it. The festival, even in its first year, was an impressive undertaking with twenty bands from Sniffling Indie Kids (SIK) and Mint 400 Records (M400). A year later, I would find myself at the Tick Tock Diner interviewing the owners of those two labels, Frank DeFranco and Neil, having already worked closely with them for several months as a sponsor for the second annual event.
One of the bands I am genuinely the most excited to be seeing at the Second Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival this coming Saturday is Fruit & Flowers, a Brooklyn-based band who released their debut EP, Drug Tax, earlier in the summer on Little Dickman Records. Fruit & Flowers brings a really unique surfy, experimental, noise-punk sound that is truly unlike anything else I’ve ever heard, while still expertly crafting infectiously catchy tunes.
I was absolutely thrilled to be able to speak with the band’s two guitarists, Ana Becker and Lyzi Wakefield, ahead of the indie fest about Drug Tax, touring, Little Dickman, their Audiotree performance, Twin Peaks, the importance of DIY, and Ancient Greek mythology. Check out what they had to say and be sure to come check out Fruit & Flowers, along with the other twenty-three mega-talented bands, September 23 at the North Jersey Indie Rock Fest at Cathedral Hall in Jersey City.
It’s always exciting when a new band prepares their first formal release, but it’s more exciting when the band is comprised of local scene veterans starting from scratch. You don’t know exactly what to expect, other than expecting it to be good. Such is the case of Ragged Lines.
Originally started as the duo of Carter Henry and Lucas Dalakian, Ragged Lines announced their arrival in the fall of 2016 with the release of a self-titled demo. Now, a few weeks short of a year later, and with the addition of Matt Viani on drums, Ragged Lines looks forward to releasing their debut EP, Red Lights, Your Ghost, with the help of engineer/producer Erik Romero. Today, we are fortunate enough to be able to premiere that EP’s first single, “Rut.”