North Jersey Notes: Konia, Mercury Morning, Plot Thickens And More!

KONIA—West Orange, NJ

I recently received an email from Konia drummer Pete Portas asking me to check out his band. I did, and I was blown away! Where has Konia been hiding? Singer and guitarist Andrew Tuliszewski’s voice was nothing short of fantastic! I haven’t heard of voice like his on this scene in quite some time. It was almost Cornell-esque in its power. I heard the songs “Wait,” “Bleedy Eyes” and “Mexicano,” off of their latest CD, Unstabled, and was so impressed with their sound, I found it hard to believe that they’ve been flying under my radar all these years.

Konia, who hails from West Orange, NJ, formed in early 2004, when Tuliszewski and guitarist Matt Roskie found each other through an online classified ad. Their chemistry as songwriters was undeniable, as they quickly wrote three songs in their very first meeting. Andrew called former bandmate and drummer Pete Portas to join him in this project. The initial plan was to move forward as a power trio with Andrew playing bass and singing, but they soon realized that Andrew fit better on guitar, which led to a search for a bass player. Matt then asked former jam buddy, John Giordano to fill out the line-up. After months of re-tooling, Konia would perfect the heavy melodic sound that you hear today.

Konia would go back and rerecord everything from scratch; they produced and engineered everything themselves. The finished product became Unstabled. The release of the CD was like a fresh start for the band. If you want to Konia or find out where they’re playing next, log onto

My brother, and former Smoke Star singer, Ivo, and his newly retooled band, Mercury Morning, has a new EP out called Aries. Mercury Morning celebrated the release of Aries last weekend with a weekend of free downloads of the songs “Time to Burn,” “Wait” and “The Wanting,” for their fans on It turns out; Ivo has been working with a new lineup since May 2010. Mercury Morning now consists of Ivo on vocals, James ‘Lava” Boehmer on guitar, Anthony Dinallo on bass and Jim Connolly on drums. For more info on Mercury Morning, log onto

I recently received an email from my bud, John Fiction from the band The Plot Thickens. He told me that he and singer Chris Mondi have put the band back together for the first time since 2006, and they’ve already released a four song EP they’re calling The Valentine Massacre, which features the songs “Drowning Lessons,” “Into the Ashes,” “Sexscars” and “Sleeping Beauty.” These new songs are a little bit heavier than I remembered The Plot Thickens sounding like, so good for them. The new lineup consists of Chris Mondi on vocals, John Fiction on guitar, Justin Manson on guitar, Steve Murph on bass and Billy Heffner on drums. For more info on version 2.0 of The Plot Thickens, log onto

And finally, speaking of reunions, my brother from another mother, Shottie Shotwell, guitarist from Ashes of Your Enemy and the producer of Aarius Studio’s reality show Project: American Studio, recently emailed me to let me know that his old band Judge Drain has decided to dust off the oldies but goodies to reunite for one last show at The Cup Complex in Linden, NJ on Saturday, May 21. Interestingly enough, Judge Drain opened the first show at the Cup, way back in the day. So the band found it appropriate to do their one-off show there. Shottie also told me that they will be filming the night with multi-cameras for a live DVD. This sounds like it could be a fun night, so if you want to get in on the DVD, 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’re all in the same boat, so every little bit of exposure counts!

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

NJN Concert Calendar:

4/8—Long Gone Day/Lowdown/Dollhouse Murder—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

4/8—No More Pain—Brighton Bar, Long Branch, NJ

4/9—BoundAlive/Enemy of Everyone/Convictos—Muralhas Underground, Newark, NJ

4/9—Incognito Theory—The Warehouse, Staten Island, NY

4/9—The Plot Thickens—UC Lounge, NYC

4/10—Scarlet Carson—The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ

4/15—Konia—The Clash Bar, Clifton, NJ

4/15—Dead Fish Handshake—The Cup Complex, Linden, NJ

4/15—Skid Row/Trimm/Cashmier/The Jersey Syndicate—The Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

4/16—Will KIllmore—Olive’s, Nyack, NY

4/22—(Damn) This Desert Air—The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY

4/22—Ghosts of Eden—Klub 45 Room, NYC

4/22—Lyken21/A Pale Horse Named Death/Seventh Void/Mindswitch—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ