North Jersey Notes: BlackOcean, Sundown Conspiracy, Compulsions and More!


I think that it’s so funny that I can find a band to feature in the most peculiar ways. This week for instance, I just happened to be on Craigslist looking under musicians, and I saw this ad looking for a ‘seasoned bass player.’ I emailed the band to see if they could send me a link to their music. Drummer Jay Burchfield answered almost immediately and emailed me a link to a band called BlackOcean. The first song that I heard was called “Bio” and I was blown away! Finally, I’ve found a band that tickles my fancy down in South Jersey. Singer and guitarist Steve Hunter’s vocals gave these guys a sound that reminded me of Helmet-meets-Black Sabbath with a dash of Clutch. These guys were cool! I had to hear more! So, I gave “Dog Leash” and “Next” a listen and these songs were up to par with “Bio,” only I feel that “Next” could be the band’s rock radio hit. Even though these guys are from South Jersey, they are so North Jersey-worthy that they deserve to be in this column.

In early 2008, BlackOcean was formed by childhood pals Jason Burchfield and Steve Hunter who, right from jump, went on a songwriting spree. According to Jay and Steve, the songwriting has gone through many transitions until they finally found the right recipe. Initially, their lineup was a trio with bassist Spike Justis, who left the band in early 2010. Wanting a fuller sound after Spike’s departure, BlackOcean decided to hire a lead guitarist in Zack Blickos, whose metal background gives the band a little bit more of a heavy edge. The unique sound that they created as BlackOcean caught the ears of reps at indie label, Toil Records, and before you knew it, these Vineland, NJ, natives had a record deal.

Black Ocean are currently putting the finishing touches on their Toil Records debut CD, Sea Of Darkness. As for their bass player situation, let’s just say, you might recognize him because he’s been in some pretty recognizable bands, but you’ll just have to wait to see them perform up north to see who it is. Learn more about BlackOcean at or



My new bro, Mike Inga and the boys from Sundown Conspiracy are currently in the studio working on their upcoming still-untitled full-length CD, which Mike tells me should be out just in time for Christmas. For more info the band, log onto

Another one of my bros, Rob Carlyle of The Compulsions, which has suddenly become an all-star band with Richard Fortus of Guns N’ Roses, Thin Lizzy and the Psychedelic Furs on lead guitar, Sami Yaffa from the New York Dolls, Hanoi Rocks and Joan Jett on bass, and Frank Ferrer of Guns N’ Roses and Psychedelic Furs on drums, is offering a free download of their song “Ea$y Money” off of their upcoming full-length studio CD, Beat The Devil, on the band’s Facebook page, Download the song now because you only have one more week to do it for free because the offer expires on Oct. 15 at midnight. Download “Ea$y Money” now before Beat The Devil is released! This song is dirty!

And finally, another brother, Pete Wells of the metal band Apathy, recently reached out to update me with the goings-on in his camp. It turns out, lead guitarist Manuel Cordova quit the band back in July to pursue other life ventures. Translation: He couldn’t hack playing metal anymore! Enter new lead guitarist, Daniel Cadena. Apathy is currently working on their upcoming CD, Hell Is All We Have, which is set to be released sometime in 2012. A few nuggets on the upcoming CD include “Wounds Of War,” “Serpents Order,” “Gemini” and the title track. For more news and info on Apathy, 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:

10/8—Sacred Oath/Spoonfed—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/8—Steve Brown and the Fallout—Grasshopper Off The Green, Morristown, NJ

10/8—Sundown Conspiracy/Seas of Wake—The Pavillion, Budd Lake, NJ

10/9—ZO2—The Chance, Poughkeepsie, NY

10/13—With Dagger’s Drawn—Dobb’s, Philadelphia, PA

10/13—ZO2—The Hiro Ballroom, NYC

10/14—Fate Strikes Twice/August Infinity—The Studio at Webster Hall, NYC

10/14—In Disguise/Sundown Conspiracy—The Cup Complex, Linden, NJ

10/15—Audio Insight—Casey O’Tooles, Wayne, NJ

10/22—Borgo Pass—Whoville, Bethpage, NY

10/28—Don Jamieson’s Gunfire-N-Sodomy—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/28—The Misfits/King Kelly—Starland Ballroom, Sayreville, NJ

10/28—Panzie*/Ghosts of Eden/Beta Plus Embryo—The Mercury Lounge, NYC

10/29—Voodoo Terror Tribe/Sardonica—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ

10/30—Ratt’s Stephen Pearcy/Spider/Juliet’s Vice/DB Sleeze—Dingbatz, Clifton, NJ