North Jersey Notes: Socratic, Angel Vivaldi & Thank You Scientist


I was recently asked to check out a band called Socratic from Linden, NJ. The band was not only very alternative, but they were also very good! I got to hear a few songs on their MySpace page, I heard a song called “May I Bum a Smoke,” which really showcased singer Duane Okun’s passion and sense of melody. Another song that I couldn’t get out of my head was called “Turn,” an extremely radio-friendly track. Speaking of radio-friendly, so was the song “Boy In A Magazine.”

According to singer and primary songwriter Duane Okun, the band has been playing together since they were 15 years old. They simply love to make music, and were never concerned about trying to fit in anywhere. In 2004, Socratic signed a deal with Drive-Thru Records to release their debut CD, Lunch For The Sky, in 2005.

In December 2006, Socratic released a free 5-song EP they called Just Turn. In May 2008, they released their next full-length, Spread The Rumors, which was produced by Mark Hoppus of Blink182, and featured the songs “Boy In A Magazine” and “May I Bum a Smoke.” It was after this CD that Socratic was fortunate enough to travel to Japan, Australia and all across the U.S. They even shared the stage with All-American Rejects, Incubus, The Offspring, Pete Yorn, Say Anything and the Teletubbies—yes, the Teletubbies! Their lineup consists of Okun, bassist Lou Panico, guitarist and pianist Vincent D’Amico and drummer Thomas Stratton.

Socratic is currently in the process of cutting ties with Drive-Thru Records, but they still have lots going on. They’ll be heading down to Austin, TX to perform at the 2011 South By South West Festival. Socratic has also been recording a slew of new material for their upcoming CD. No word on a release date yet, but you can log onto to find out when it will be released or to learn more about the band.

My bro and local guitar hero, Angel Vivaldi recently emailed me to let me know that he’ll be heading into Machine Shop Studios to record his third CD, Universal Language with producer Will Putney, who is known for his work with Shadows Fall and Lamb of God. Universal Language is set to drop early next month, and will also be the debut of former Mutiny Within drummer Bill Fore in this lineup.

Angel also said that he recently landed an endorsement deal with Ibanez guitars, and he hopes to do some clinics for Ibanez in 2011. Angel will be headlining Dingbatz in Clifton, NJ on Sunday, Jan. 16, where he’ll debut some brand new music from Universal Language for the first time. For more info on Angel Vivaldi, log onto

My other bro, Luke “DJ Cloak Dagger” Rizzo will be celebrating the 20th installment of his Metro Art Expo on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, where it all began at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ. Luke started the Metro Art Expo back in 2008 as a platform to bring together and showcase a widely eclectic range of musicians, performers and visual artists. In other words, it was Luke’s vision to align the raw energy of a live concert with the aesthetic focus of an art show. This New Year’s Day event will feature live performances by the NYC Latin Funk group, Sangha Tierra, DJ Cloak Dagger himself, and the visual arts of Ray Mandal and the Freestyle Graphic Concepts Crew. Tickets for this Metro Arts Expo will be $12 with doors at 9 p.m. For more info, log onto

And finally, another one of my bros Sal Marrano, from the band Thank You Scientist, just emailed me to let me know that the band has finally finished their debut CD, The Perils of Time Travel, and they plan to celebrate with a CD release party on Jan. 7 at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ. I was able to hear one track off of the CD called “Grin”, and if that song was any indication of what the rest of the CD sounded like, you better get your asses to this CD release party! For more info on Thank You Scientist, log onto

That’s all for now! If your band is from North Jersey, and you want some exposure, send your press kits to Arts Weekly, c/o Tim Louie P.O. Box 1140 Little Falls, NJ 07424, or you can email me at, where you can also let me know where you’re performing next!

Just remember, we are all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

Have a happy and safe New Year!! See you in 2011!!!

Tim Louie is the Author of S**t Happens.

NJN Concert Calendar:

12/31—Filter Effect/The Doomsday Prophecy/Shat—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

12/31—Steve Brown—Silk Rock Bar, Clifton, NJ

12/31—Smoove—P.K. Shamrock’s, Belmar, NJ

1/1/11—Sangha Tierra—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

1/1/11—The Dirty Stayouts—Rebar, Lodi, NJ

1/7/11—Thank You Scientist/HMS Revenge—Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

1/8/11—Hands on the Stereo—The Meat Locker, Montclair, NJ

1/8/11—Cookie Head/Code Red/Mindswitch/Arc of Fire/Locked—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

1/9/11—Beatrix Kiddo—The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

1/11/11—Venus Vegas—The Bitter End, NYC

1/20/11—Kill code—Highline Ballroom, NYC

1/22/11—Incognito Theory/Diecast—Championship Bar and Grill, Trenton, NJ

1/28/11—ZO2—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ