Deal Casino – Nika

Deal Casino is back with another unique viewpoint on modern musical communication. Armed with four heavy-duty and commercially viable missiles, Deal Casino takes a shot at everything from dedicated love to the soulless, gold-digging monsters that haunt our consciousness on Nika.

Deal Casino continues to produce fresh and unapologetic music. Nika is yet another example of a band that understands perseverance, experimentation and goal. Like the projects before, Deal Casino stick to what works only for them. That includes returning to the production fold of Jon Leidersdorff and engineer Erik Kase. Leidersdorff’s commercially-honed vision combined with Kase’s supernatural ear means that the material is set up to prove a very solid point on Nika.

Nika is Deal Casino’s fourth release. If the highly acclaimed 2013 launch of Cocaine Cowboys and The Runaways EP put the band on the map, then Nika seals that proverbial destination in rock and roll stone.

Deal Casino hail from the Sandy money coffers of Monmouth County. Their name brings forth images of sun-drenched castles, strange, private servants, and esplanades splashed with the financial decadence of Squires and Mavericks. Are they descendants of the gangster Willie Moretti? Have they kept the knowledge of the Black Skulls secure in those alleged and secretive tunnels under the beach club? Well, have they??

The first song on the disc is “Halley.” Featuring chimey and chunky guitar, “Halley” is a contemporary-aimed ode to the infatuating angst of love. Vocalist Joe P. is a seasoned singer and brings forth melodic, pop images of Danny O’Donoghue (The Script) as he rises and falls through the vocal spectrum of his chosen resonance and tone. Based on the repetitive, but receptive guitar hook of Jozii, “Halley” rallies and runs the gamut from anticipated verse to exalted choruses. Lovers of Matchbox 20 and that quick-paced brand of pop will love this song.

“Bare Hands” is another departure from the band. If “Halley” is aimed at the alt radio commercial crew, “Bare Hands” is even more focused on the world of pop. Featuring heavy dance beat syncopation and metered bass rumble, “Bare Hands” explores the all-too-common monster we call the gold-digger, as Joe sings, “A new car, a new house you gotta heart, she’ll tear it out.” Guitar work is sporadic and rhythmic, grinding out mini-riffs in the verse before funking up the chorus in the vein of Steve Cropper. The savior here is the chorus. Highly memorable, even if you aren’t a fan of this side of the band, you’ll remember the song for days.

“Red” sees the band swinging back into their gritty world of rock and roll experimentation. Drum work from Nardi is a focus here. Verses see him ricocheting hypnotic tom-tom work before building and broadening into the heavy-duty four on the floor chorus. Jozii pulls off some persistent guitar work on “Red” as well. Reserved and dynamically placed, he rips in and out of Jon Rodney’s fuzz-laden bass riffs while Joe rides the vocally powered rollercoaster down the center of the song. At three minutes in, the direction explodes, and the band tumbles into a complex ending bridge of soaring vocal and guitar goodness. Jozii pulls out some outstanding pentatonic licks and tremolo bombardments. “Red” takes a bit of time actually to lift off the tarmac, but once it’s airborne it is strong and focused.

Combining addictive guitar melodies and breathy, stark vocals, Deal Casino shine brightest on “Anything That’s Bad.” Simple, Stewart Copeland beats pull the pocket into the vocal viewfinder of Joe P. Stellar choruses build off of smooth and hazy verse work. Jozii’s glassy guitar ministrations beam against Rodney’s subtle bass work. The chorus bridges are powerful transcenders, taking the band through effortless passages before somersaulting into that hooky, luxurious chorus.

Deal Casino continues to show real surprise up their sleeve. Nika combines traditional and stylistic accomplishment with extremely agreeable lyrical confession, and the rebellious persistence to never stay the same. The band’s working relationship with Leidersdorff and Kase is clockwork with their evolutionary style of writing and performing, and each release reaches their common goal of addictive sound. The band looks to be hard-targeting commercial directive with this disc, and if they are, they’ve hit the nail on the head.

Deal Casino has been out on the road in support of Nika, and will be appearing throughout the Tri-State Area in the coming month. For more information on Deal Casino and Nika, head over to



Paint Night At Art629 Gallery – Every Monday 7-9:30 p.m. – Asbury Park

Hey, Rembrandt. I know you think you’re amazingly talented but I’ve seen your work on the bathroom walls at The Saint, and I have a message for you. There’s a way for you to learn how to express your artistic desires and impress us. Art629 on Cookman Avenue is the mainstay for nurturing local artists, as well as those who admire from afar. With original concepts that have covered everyone from famed photographer, Bob Gruen, to iconic folk rock star Steve Forbert, Art629 opens the door to all forms of interaction in Asbury Park.

The latest in an endeavor to bond with our growing community is Paint Night. Taught by local artist Brittany James, Paint Night is the best offer on the block. They will furnish all supplies needed for you to paint your very own picture. All they ask is that you, the patron of all things art, is to bring your own needed refreshments. That’s right, BYOB acrylic paint lessons. How could it get any better? All you have to do is show up with your beverage and learn from the pros. And speaking of pros, Brittany is an accomplished painter with a flair for teaching.

Brittany graduated from Montclair State University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a painting concentration. She is experienced in oil painting, acrylic murals, performance art, charcoal drawing, life drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. She is also interested in the healing therapy of art-making and self-expression. Brittany has taught art classes for children and adults for the past seven years and currently teaches at Inspired Minds Fine Art School in Lincroft and Timeless Creations in Point Pleasant. Come out and join the fun for Paint Night only at Art629. For information please visit

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