Steven Donahue is a name that a regular N.J. Racket reader would be familiar with. He’s well accomplished with two prominent New Jersey bands, both having celebrated releases in the past year; Young Legs with Petal and the Page and the Big Drops most recently with Time, Color. Donahue also has another, more behind the scenes, project along with Kyle Wilkerson and Sarah C. called Do Your Worst and Don’t Worry (DYW) which records live video performances of local bands in episodic format. DYW has worked with some of the best bands the state has to offer and has created remarkably high quality material for a DIY production.
N.J. Racket is beyond honored to announce that Jersey City’s own Jonathan LeVine Projects will be a sponsor of Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids’ Second Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival. Owner and proprietor Jonathan LeVine is known internationally as one of the pioneers of the street art movement in the early 2000s, and his gallery is considered to be one of the premiere galleries in the world for transgressive and subversive pop surrealism.
Last Sunday, The Homeless Gospel Choir played their first of two New Jersey shows with Early Riser and ManDancing at Backroom Studios in Rockaway and the second show will be on Thursday at The Saint in Asbury Park.
Will Wood is a figure in the local music scene unlike any other. The larger-than-life, near celestial-like being has become notorious for his theatrical antics, the absurdity of his storytelling, and the shear anomaly of his existence. You’re familiar with it all by now if you’ve been following N.J. Racket. Born in 1992 despite the use of three forms of contraception, his grandfather worked in the circus, he is the leader of a cult, he once murdered a man in Punta Cana over a bottle of Tequilla.
Back on March 18, at Backroom Studios in Rockaway, New Jersey, Wood put on part one of a series of major concerts; a performance entitled “The Real Will Wood,” which was filmed and recorded for a live album and a concert film. He described the show as “a multi-cam film production in high-def, high-fidelity, high-on-mescaline glory,” and he sure as shit wasn’t joking. The show was an absolute mind-fucking spectacle that had me twisted up for days after. Wrestling with this for longer than I could bear, I decided to reach out to Will and ask for an exclusive, all access interview. He said no. Very plainly, just like that. I asked again, very nicely. He said no, again, but this time explaining that he wants he’d like to keep his privacy. He has a daughter, and while he speaks of her briefly on stage, he is not comfortable sharing more details because he does not wish for her to be hurt or in any way affected by his notoriety. I assured him as best I could that his privacy, his family, would be given the utmost respect, but that this is a story worth telling and one that I’m sure all of his fans have been clamoring for. He said fine.
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.