Easily one of New Jersey’s most original collectives, Thank You Scientist gathered their members from the far reaches of the Garden State. With the standard ingredients of a rock troupe; guitar, bass, drums and vocals, Thank You Scientist augments their sound with a full horn section, keyboards and additional percussion. Their music is the sum of meticulous calculations of rock, jazz, metal and funk, with four-part vocal harmonies, forays into off-kilter, odd meter rhythms and accessible vocals. Their fusion is exhilarating at every turn, and their inaugural five-song EP, The Perils Of Time Travel, released in January, is as electric as it is innovative. It is mandatory for anyone who is a fan of King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Dream Theater, Pink Floyd or Pat Metheny to check out Thank You Scientist post-haste. Do so at thankyouscientist.net. Their debut EP is available on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon. —Andrew Magnotta
The Death Of Me
After leaving Those Mockingbirds, Dominick Lettera and Matt Yaeger, began to put all their effort into The Death Of Me. This five-piece is made up of Lettera, Yaeger, Mike Carroll, Will Lewis and Jon Gianino, and has released The Vanity EP,which is available on iTunes. The EP is catchy, heartfelt and the lyrics are pretty easy to relate to. The guys have performed with The Sleeping, A Balance Between, Those Mockingbirds, Speak Easy, Astrophel And Stella and Love Automatic. This band has so much spunk and energy in them that you simply must see them live! If you like moody vocals, music that you can relate and dance to, and good live performers then check out The Death Of Me. myspace.com/thedeathofmenj. —Roz Smith
The Binary Code
Bergen County, NJ
Jaw-dropping technicality juxtaposed with an unflinching commitment to excellent songwriting is what sets these guys above the hordes of insipid and uninspired “technical metal” bands. The bass work of Brett Bamberger, the drumming of Umar Fahim and the ridiculous guitar antics of Jesse Zuretti come together into a megazord of soul-shatteringly, awesome musicianship. Suspension of disbelief is necessary to not be destroyed by how talented this outfit is. When I got the chance to see them live, I caught myself staring in front of me with my mouth wide open, wondering what supernatural deity they contacted to help them write such riffs! They’re definitely a band to look out for. Myspace.com/thebinarycodenj. —Dejon Turner
The Nico Blues are five-piece alternative band from the North NJ and Brooklyn area. The band is made up of vocalist/bassist/guitarist Eric Goldberg, vocalist/guitarist/bassist Evan Campbell, guitarist Reed Adler, drummer Skylar Adler and guitarist Danny Goldberg. Notice any last name repetitions? This group is truly a band of brothers; with two sets of siblings as members. Their first full-length album Blame The Boredom, Blame The Basements came out in 2010 and was both recorded by the band and put out on their own Tiny Giant Records. Stemming from the album is the band’s first music video, “Living Proof” which looks like a practice in slow motion. No song off of Blame The Boredom, Blame The Basements, sounds the same. Ranging from songs that you can jam out and dance around to and other tracks that you can mellow out to, the five-piece has a little something for everyone! If you’re a fan of Love Arcade then be sure to check out The Nico Blues. thenicoblues.com. —Roz Smith
Bergen County, NJ
Making the rounds playing a few New York area venues recently, North Jersey quartet, Love Assassin, deliver engagingly straight-ahead rock on their delectable self-titled, self-produced, five-song 31-minute EP (the trailer for an upcoming 11-song long-player). Appreciative retro-styled inclinations aside, these guys really know how to craft tuneful songs that stay focused even after hitting the four-minute mark.
Homespun saloon celebration, “Duffy’s,” captures some of the same youthful bohemian bluster Springsteen and Southside Johnny once did, bleeding desperation as the lyrics turn to ‘drinking and getting high.’ A nifty barroom sing-along, it’s full of stinging guitar riffs and primal drum rhythms that resolutely push the arrangement forward.
Charged-up ‘70s-styled rocker, “Take A Chance,” with its ringing ‘life is hard’ choral climax and stammering arpeggio guitar, would fit alongside Ian Hunter/ Mott The Hoople. Bossa nova-swayed playground fantasy, “Mr. Carsons,” would sound nice paired with Loggins & Messina’s joyous Jamaican farewell, “Vahevala.” Maintaining a darker tone, “Down Under” seeks shelter from the storm before the Epicurean “Fingers Crossed” closes the set with love-struck Classical rock-inspired wanderlust. myspace.com/loveassassinnj.—John Fortunato
Lift The Decade
Also from Ringwood, Lift The Decade. The relatively young band has already put out their EP Themes and Morals and have played a slew of shows at venues such as The School Of Rock, Cafe Incite, Architekt Music and others. With a slightly harder pop-punk vibe the four-piece made up of Nick Rezzonico (vocals/guitar), Alex Peterson (drums), Ken Helmlinger (guitar) and James Thoubboron (bass) have a pretty good set of songs put together. With a ballad “Hitcher” and a song that clearly states what frontman Nick wants, “I Want It All” as well as cover or two thrown into their set, you can’t stand still during their performance. Lift The Decade have also advanced to the second round of The Break Contest. If you like music that will get stuck in your head and leave you wanting more, then listen to Lift The Decade. liftthedecade.bigcartel.com. —Roz Smith
One of the State’s favorite new progressive rock power trio’s, Audio Insight has only just begun their career in the New Jersey live circuit, but to great acclaim. After garnering the first ever sellout of Architekt Music in Butler at the CD release show of their debut album, Dimensions, in November, the band hasn’t looked back. They’ve been added to rotation on 89.5 FM WSOU and advanced to the second round of The Break Contest for a spot at Bamboozle. Their strong vocals and memorable lyrics work well with their frantic and melodic music. They also earn extra points for being able to write lengthy songs and keep them interesting the whole way through. Dimensions is available at Vintage Vinyl and online at iTunes. Go to myspace.com/audioinsightmusic for more info. —Andrew Magnotta
Alternative, bluesy, post-rock has begun to rear its head again. Ringwood natives, Adapted, have already started to rise up. The four-piece consists of Garret Gardner (guitars/keyboards/vocals), Tyler Zerrenner (bass/vocals), Nathan Gould (drums) and Steven Serr (guitar/vocals). Their influences range from The Beatles to Pink Floyd to MGMT. Adapted will be hitting the studio within the next month to start recording some tracks and will be playing in the second round of The Break Contest. Though stemming from a Beatles cover band known as Blueberry Acres the guys know how to hold their own. Their stage presence is mellow yet captivating, and their sound has a Sunny Day Real Estate feel. “Blackened Walls,” which seems to be the band’s single, starts with a quiet piano beginning but ramps up the energy in the chorus. If you like post-alternative with a kick of funk check out Adapted. facebook.com/pages/Adapted/349987899953. —Roz Smith
Straight out of Bethlehem, PA, is 19-year-old recording artist, Blaise Delfino. After making waves in Pennsylvania, the singer/songwriter is starting to turn up the heat in the NJ/NY area. Delfino has shared the stage with some performers such as Ryan Cabrera, Chase Coy, Elliot Yamin, Action Item, Patent Pending, Dave Melilo, Sandlot Hereos and Stephen Jerzak. He is a freshman in college and is the host of a show that features other unsigned singer/songwriters. The recording artist is gearing up to release his first EP, Take Two, which will be available on iTunes. Blaise has a number of loyal fans who show up at all of his shows. Delfino’s set is full of youthful energy. His songs vary in topic from being in love to having someone hold you back. He is currently being managed by Mark Sincavage with Greedy Pimp Entertainment. If you’re a fan of Ryan Cabrera, and acoustic guitars with lyrics that can relate to you then give Blaise Delfino a shot. Check him out on the web at blaisedelfino.com. —Roz Smith
The Things They Carried
Long Island, NY
Long Island’s The Things They Carried define themselves as a combination of metal and alternative music, or Killswitch Engage mixed with Muse. Following the release of their debut EP in the spring of 2009 titled Attention Crisis, the band headed to Shoreline, Washington to work with famed producer Casey Bates (Chiodos, Pierce The Veil, Fall of Troy). They recently released the album There’s Something I Can’t Tell Anyone, which ironically, talks about many issues that people can relate to, whether it’s a relationship gone sour, feeling like you don’t belong or a secret that you’re afraid to share with anyone. The bands philosophy is best summarized by frontman Steve Schwartz: “Music, we believe is about taking risks, putting yourself out there, and hopefully people grab on to it.” The band is gaining some serious steam and a 2011 tour is currently in the works. —Giorgio Mustica
Ringwood seems to be pushing out some awesome bands lately. The five that make up Morning… have been making music since high school and have accomplished a lot since making their debut under the name Morning… The indie/alternative band that is composed of Albert Chua (guitar), Ben Oliveira (guitar/vocals) Darryl Norrel (vocals/guitar), Kieran Wardle (bass) and George Serr (drums), and have shared the stage with Sherwood, We Shot The Moon and Mae.
They released their debut EP Dream It Out, Dream It Out, in 2009 and their most current piece The Greatest Feeling In The World in August of 2010 at their first headlining show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. From where Morning… was when they were first starting out playing basement shows, and local VFWs to where they are now you wouldn’t recognize them. Their strength as a band has increased and they have turned into forces to be reckoned with. From the silly banter during tuning breaks and the way the band interacts with their fans, you can really see how much of their heart and soul the five members of Morning… put into performing.
At the moment the band is working on some new material, as well as gearing up to play some shows in the NJ/NY area and getting ready to tour. If you’re a fan of Modest Mouse, Braid and music that can make you dance one minute and hit that soft spot in your heart the next, then Morning… is for you. Keep yourself up-to-date by checking out morningband.com —Roz Smith
Hands On The Stereo
Bergen County, NJ
Bergen county’s own Hands On The Stereo seem to be a local favorite. Their fan base is getting larger and larger at each show and with that so does the energy that this happy hardcore band emits. After revamping their lineup, Hands On The Stereo have created a stronger sound. Chris Cunha (vocals), Dave Falcone (guitar), Rob Bednarz (guitar), Corey Reilly-Davis (bass) and Matt Trawinski (drums/vocals) are the components that make up the lineup. Their general upbeat sound makes it easy to get pumped up from their album. Their self-titled EP was released in 2010 and is offered for free on their Bandcamp website. The band’s set is fun to watch because of the way they feed off of the energy of the crowd and vice versa. The way Cunha interacts with the crowd, whether it be by stage diving, or even getting in the mosh pit with the fans you can really see the love that Hands On The Stereo has for their fans. If you like moshable, and sing-along type songs then Hands On The Stereo just might be for you. Head over to handsonthestereo.bandcamp.com. —Roz Smith