Aloha, locals! We meet again! Happy Hump Day to you all. Fall is in full force, the weather is changing, and new bands are forming! I have so much fun writing this column week to week, and giving local bands the opportunity to have their chance in the spotlight. Nothing brings me more joy than receiving positive feedback, seeing bands’ “likes” go up on Facebook, and witnessing more bodies in the local music venues. Everyone is doing a great job supporting the scene! I’m a firm believer that music is a human function, for it arouses the mind. I firmly believe that live music and the local scene cannot function without one another. So many bands, musicians, clubs owners, writers, talent scouts, and others not mentioned here have a burning desire to create something memorable, whatever it may be, and however minuscule or majestic. The interaction with sound is inescapable, either to make it or take pleasure in it. The people I surround myself with have always found music substantial in their lives, whether for enjoyment in listening, the emotive response, performing, or crafting. Although I may not be on tour in a rock band like I always dreamt of, this column allows me to express, and create, my passion; local music. On that note, enough of the sentimental crap, let us talk about some noteworthy Jersey bands you should get on your radar.
Let’s focus on a group from Brick that goes by the name of ASL. I first discovered these guys at The Saint in Asbury Park, where they opened for local favorites, Empire Escorts. Having walked in halfway through the set, I pretty much asked everyone in the room why I had never heard of these guys before, and some other people were asking me the same question! Well from that moment on, I would never forget them, ever. Days went by, and I followed their Facebook page to find out where they would be next, for I was determined to see these guys again and watch a full set. Shortly thereafter, they were added to a benefit show in their hometown, where they played alongside bands such as Set It Free, Breathing Blue, and Boy Meets Machine. It was at that very moment I remembered why I wanted to catch their full set so badly. Upon the first beat, I was immediately blown away. These guys are one of the most innovative, memorable bands I have ever seen. In fact, they have two drummers. And just when you think the drummer is only going to drum, he becomes the lead singer, who then becomes the guitar player. It’s a masterpiece of a live performance that will leave you so confused in the most fun way possible while enlightening you at the same time. From the gigantic, fascinated audience they bring out to their intense performances, it’s clear that this band is on a mission. In my opinion, seeing a spirited crowd rocking out avidly to music really isn't a thing of the past. I can’t help but hear a little Rage Against The Machine vibe in there; maybe it’s the energy or the nonstop rock sound but in my opinion, that is massive a compliment. If you are not into loud, hard punk and roll, ASL may not be the band for you. If you are into good music and an even better live set, add them to your playlist, immediately. They are constantly playing locally, which is what every band in the scene should do in order to build their solid following. One of my favorite tracks is “MLK.” I feel as if ASL are patiently waiting for critical and commercial success, selling millions of copies around the world while making it to the top. But, for now, they are going to continue to dominate the local scene, one venue at a time.
Please allow me to introduce to you a three-piece outfit from Somerset going by the name of Crash The Bear. They’ve been a band since early 2010. Their name grabbed my attention immediately, for I am still uncertain what it actually means, but, honestly, that doesn’t matter. They shared their music on my Jersey Rock page, and I became an instant fan. In fact, they even asked what I thought of their music, and wanted an honest opinion, so I am giving them an in-depth answer right here. I must say that I’m still slightly unfamiliar with this group’s live set, but they recently shared their recorded stuff with me, and I cannot get enough. I want to bring them to your attention so you can enjoy the ride of becoming a fan with me. Now this may sound awkward, but a three-piece at times needs to have more talent than a five or six-piece. Sometimes it could be frustrating as a trio because you are somewhat working without a net. But, in many cases, along with Chevelle, Seether, Blink-182 and Crash The Bear, it enhances their amazing sound! They are an alternative rock sounding band, with members Eric, Anthony, and Jeff. Eric is an amazing lead vocalist; I am really into his range and tone. One of the things that grabbed my attention most about their recordings was their meaningful lyrics. They are songs that you can place into different situations of your own life. Sometimes bands and artists sing about meaningless topics such as “Laffy Taffy” or “Payphones.” Sorry nationally signed acts; didn’t mean to throw a dig. Their new single, “Emilee,” will grab the attention of music lovers of all genres, and it’ll be on their forthcoming EP. Get to know these guys now, and try to catch them at a local show near you in the future.
So there we have it; two more splendid bands that you need to get on your radar and show some support to! Crash The Bear and ASL are from two complete opposite sides of the musical spectrum, but they both play for the love of the music. Check out their social media sites, tour schedules, and YouTube videos immediately! So, if you have some free time this weekend, find out where the local venues are in your town, seek out some flyers or posters, and make your way in there! That way, you can meet all sorts of new people and be exposed to their knowledge and interests of music. After you find a place and band you are digging, buy their stuff, their merchandise, and especially their music. Advertise them to other people, and get them on the local radar! Until next week, my friends, keep supporting the local music scene because without people like us, there is no scene!