Unsigned Bands: Not Unsigned, Underappreciated

It’s a nebulous time for bands. What constitutes success? Being on a label? Being managed? Playing shows, selling CDs, all these things are good. But I could start a label out of my basement and sign awful acts. That doesn’t mean they’re any good, does it?

So, preemptively, we call it the unsigned band issue, but really, it’s the underappreciated band issue, and hopefully, the underappreciated band-that-will-be-appreciated-soon band issue. That means everybody’s doing their job. The paper, the band, the fans.

Of course, not every example here will, that’s the nature of things. But these are some of the bands to look for from the area and beyond we’ve cobbled together for your enjoyment. And as always, expect more to be featured all the time. That’s what we do.


Described as “metal for fat dudes and the buxotic women who love them,” Clamfight is a quartet of men who could give a damn about anything but rocking. Docking their dreadnought in Westmont, NJ, they’ve sailed around the clubs in Jersey and beyond honing their chops and injecting some much-needed testosterone to the metal scene. Actually, they’re still at it. Fresh off playing Clifton’s Clash Bar last month with doom legends Iron Man, they perform at The Saint in Asbury Park on March 13. Kickass. clamfight.com.

Streets Of Fire

Some bands feel they need gimmicks and cheesy choreography to mask the fact that their songs might not be that great. Not Streets Of Fire. What makes this band so hot? Their ability to take pieces of their pop-punk past and mix it with sounds of alternative ‘90s rock. Guitarist-singer Rocky Cantanese and lead guitarist Michael Drew have taken experiences from their earlier days in the scene in bands like Kick Over The Traces and The Showcase to create music showing how their writing style has evolved over the years. The New Brunswick-based band has been making a name for itself in the local scene, releasing their second EP, The Proposal, a follow up to 2008’s The Ghost, in November. You can catch them at Soundwaves Academy in Union and be a part of their live DVD filming on Feb. 19. myspace.com/streetsoffiremusic.


While they’re not nearly as amusing as their namesake Family Guy character, the four dudes (why is it always four dudes?) are nothing if not hard workers in the tough Jersey punk and metal scene. You’re bound to find haters whenever you mix breakdowns and singing, but their brand of crossover has managed to tug young heartstrings throughout New Jersey. And it’s kept them busy. The Hoboken natives’ debut LP, We, The End, has earned them a number of dates, including the Paramus VFW on Feb. 28 and their hometown venue, Maxwell’s, on March. 3. myspace.com/mayorwestmusic.