The Second Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival Recap
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.
A Bird Breaks the Mold with “The Sun and the Moon”
Every time Adam Bird’s new project, A Bird, is mentioned, it is prefaced by the fact that he is formerly the frontman of Those Mockingbirds. (Of course, I’m now guilty of it too.) When A Bird released their first single, “Polluto,” back in June, I thought perhaps Bird would be rid of that preface. With the release of “The Sun and the Moon,” A Bird is making a statement that this is a fresh and original project, not only in respect to Those Mockingbirds, but in respect to the musical landscape as a whole.
Rocky and the Chapter: They’re Not Supposed to Care About Us
You guys, Rocky and the Chapter are back AGAIN with their fourth release since this time last year, “They’re Not Supposed to Care About Us.” These guys are out of control, but that’s great news for the rest of us, since it means we get more kick-ass EPs like this one, released September 29th from Sniffling Indie Kids.
Right away, “Dream It” slams to life, strong and hard on the guitars, the vocals matching their force. Then, a softer side of the EP, “Give” is a bittersweet, melodic track that perfectly demonstrates Rocky and the Chapter’s ability to be vulnerable and powerful at the same time. “What do you say when you’re helpless and the world stands still to wait?” Catanese asks. “It’s taken everything I’ve made as I fall to earth, and try to raise.”
Screaming Females Release Black Moon
Two weeks ago, the Screaming Females secretly released twenty-four vinyl copies of their new single “Black Moon” at New Brunswick’s Spina Records. Last week, “Black Moon” was released for streaming on Spotify, and who would’ve guessed – its fucking amazing.
“Black Moon” is the band’s first release since their widely acclaimed 2015 album Rose Mountain. It’s worth noting, that in the eleven years since their debut release, Baby Teeth, the Screaming Females have released six full length albums, two EPs, and a live album, not to mention their seemingly ceaseless touring schedule.
The Vaughns Fall in Love with Santa Cruz
The Vaughns dropped the single “Santa Cruz” back in May of this year, their first release since their 2015 album Tomfoolery. The song is a major step forward for the band, both stylistically and in regard to their maturity. Last week, the band continued to build upon this success with the premiere of the music video for the track, filmed and produced by Kelsey Ayres and Rich Weinberger of Caskethouse Co.
Interview with North Jersey Indie Rock Fest Organizers Frank DeFranco and Neil Sabatino
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.