Last Friday, The Lunch Ladies released Down on Sunset Strip on Good Eye Records. It’s now Monday, and I’ve been listening to this album for four straight days. I’ve written a review for this album each day, for four straight days, but I keep deleting them and starting over because every time I listen to Down on Sunset Strip, I take something new away from it, think of something new to say, and try again to adequately convey what this album is. I’m not saying that this is the best or most insightful review, but this is the one I’m posting, because I can’t waste any more time without telling you to go check it out.
Asbury Park’s PRIM released their debut EP, Awake Again, back on January 30. The band is led by singer/songwriter Jenna Murphy, who is joined by Erik Romero (also responsible for the EP’s production, engineering, and mastering), Jeff Lane, Chris Beninato, and Mike Linardi.
The EP is remarkably dynamic, with emotional highs and lows coupled with musical climaxes, giving Awake Again an overwhelmingly powerful impact. From the first listen, I was enthralled with this album. Instrumentally, the sound is so dreamlike, and you can easily get lost in trying to peel away the layers of the guitar, piano, bass, and drums which are all so distinct but still come together to complement each other and the vocals so perfectly.
Rocky and the Chapter are back at it with the release of their newest EP, You Are Not Mine, which was released February 24 on Sniffling Indie Kids. This EP is a follow up to the 2016 release, Aye, which was one of my favorites of the year, and You Are Not Mine exemplifies everything that attracted me to the band initially. The New Brunswick five-piece, led by Rocky Catanese, will be celebrating at Porta in Jersey City on Saturday, March 4 with a special release show also featuring NGHTCRWLRS and Cicada Radio.
This coming Friday, one of the most hardcore independent bands on the scene will be bringing the fucking ruckus to the Meatlocker in Montclair. The New York City natives, Show Me The Body, are being brought across the Hudson by Whiner guitarist, and Meatlocker regular, Christian Castan, who also managed to book Machine Girl, DutchGuts, Loko Disparo, and of course, Whiner themselves. This show is gonna pack more whoop ass than you can fit in a Tall Boy, which you’re are more than welcome to bring to this BYOB event (if you are 21+).
Last weekend, the Screaming Females made yet another homecoming to WFMU’s Monty Hall in Jersey City. This is the second consecutive year the Screaming Females have played this venue, and tickets for both Friday and Saturday night were sold out weeks before the show. WFMU (91.1 FM) is a listener-supported, non-commercial radio station that has been on the air since 1958. As a station, WFMU stands as a true bastion for unique and creative expression, allowing each DJ their own individuality without any restrictive, station-wide playlist or guidelines. They are the alternative beyond alternative.
I got tickets for both nights because I don’t willingly pass up the opportunity to ever see the Screaming Females play a show. Since the inception of N.J. Racket, this has been the fifth time I have covered a performance, and I’m not getting tired of it yet, so I hope you’re not either. Of course you’re not.
Oh, that lo-fi synth sound of C.R. and the Degenerates’ new album, Close Encounters. It is my weakness. But despite a mellow, atmospheric first impression, these tracks prove to be quietly intense, languid yet primed with sustained tension. This album is a struggle. It’s a contradiction. It does exactly what it sets out to do and nothing more, and this restraint is what makes it so successful.
Close Encounters is sparse on lyrics, but what C.R. Gennone does with those lyrics—the emotion he injects into each line through his phrasing and melancholy delivery, coming across almost like keening in parts—reveals a musician who knows the precise effect he wants to convey and understands exactly how to achieve it.