Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Dead Last, Stiff Motion & The New Royalty

Greetings locals, we meet again. Well, I must say if I have gotten anything out of this summer other than tons of iced coffee and a few haircuts, it’s tons of new local music. It’s incredible how much talent there is out there; from live shows to recordings, it’s utterly mind-blowing and inspiring to the eye and ear. All of my senses have been affected! I’ve been noticing some of you are checking out the bands I bring to the spotlight here, and it’s solidifying why we do what we do! Keep supporting local music. So, three bands really jumped on board hard this week, playing shows, releasing new tunes, and just being downright awesome. Please allow me to introduce in no particular order, Dead Last, Stiff Motion, and The New Royalty.

Let’s start if off right with a little metal for the soul with a five-piece band from Brick called Dead Last. Ironically enough, they are the furthest thing from last on my local radar. Now, if you want to see a metal band that will let you unleash you’re every sensitivity and emotion no matter who is paying attention, this is the band for you. The band consists of Chris, Mark, Ken, Cory, and Sean. They started less than a year ago and have already been dominating the local front, keeping it straight metal and thriving on adrenaline, emotion, and pleasant chaos. The members emerged from a prior band called Hiatus, who was also popular amongst the scene. The band is backed by a solid fanbase, following them wherever they play, and even have sponsors including Ergo Clothing. It’s not hard to become popular in the scene and remain relevant when you have a combination of great talent, brotherhood, and more. Lead singer Chris pours his heart and soul on the stage, almost as if he is telling you a story through his facial expressions, body movement, and insane screams. They recently blew the roof off Jenkinson’s on one of my Live And Local Original Band Nights, grabbing the attention of people from the boardwalk and forcing them to come inside to hear what all of the mosh was about. With chords on top of chords and hooks on top of hooks, Dead Last doesn’t play shows—they are the show. Get to know them.

Next, let’s chat about a little rock band called Stiff Motion. The name is very intriguing, always leaving people wondering what it means. The words are complete opposite of one another? Who knows, who cares, it’s catchy! I was introduced to these guys at The Break Contest for Bamboozle where I humbly became their coach. These kids are some of the most hardworking, down to earth, talented people in the local scene. Nolan, Kenny, Brandon, John, and Jack each bring a quality to the band that is necessary. This may sound wild and crazy, but they bridge the gap between several genres including rock, alternative, grunge, a little punk, and even some reggae. One of the most important things about being a good live band and remaining relevant in the scene is having a solid stage presence that will keep you present-day fans satisfied in addition to welcoming in new fans with open arms. If you looked up stage presence in the dictionary, Stiff Motion would appear, smiling and rocking out. They produce an unparalleled performance environment in which they’re wholly confident. Whatever they do, they seem to be 100 percent sure of what they’re doing, own it, and regardless of whether or not you like it, they’re going to make you enjoy yourself. The band’s uniqueness stems off of their confidence. They leave their inhibitions at the door and it almost seems as if their lead singer, Nolan, looks in the mirror and says, “Tonight, I’m going to be the person most into my music.” Watching them get to where they are in such a short time makes me feel like a proud mother. The boys are currently working on new material, which I will be debuting on my show, Jersey Rock, on 95.9 The Rat. They’re also throwing their first ever headlining show at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Sunday, Aug. 19. Get in there so you can see what all of the buzz is about.

And finally, let’s talk about one of my biggest weaknesses, The New Royalty. From Freehold, they pretty much define pop punk, combining the fast-paced rock rhythms of punk along with the catchy hooks and melodies of pop. Formed as a cover band in 2008 in the studios of a music school, The New Royalty has evolved from a group that imitated the music of the past into a band that is creating the new music of the future. These five young musicians from Central Jersey combine powerful, catchy melodies with meaningful lyrics that address the joys of their generation as well as the difficulties to come. The band has shared the stage with huge acts, including the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Big Time Rush, and played at Bamboozle, Warped Tour, and more. I cannot help but compare lead singer Bree’s vocals to Hayley Williams of Paramore. She is extremely energetic, talented, engaging, and just what everyone frontwoman should be—not to mention she’s backed by some of the most talented musicians around. Trevor, Kyle, Nick, and Ricky complete the pieces to the puzzle, making bar gigs sound like arena shows. You won’t be able to get their songs out of your head after listening to them, for they define the importance of catchy hooks. For me, watching their live set made me realize the real power of music. It was the mixture of the message sent by the sound and lyrics, the enthusiasm of the entire band, and of course, their appreciation for the fans. The group is all about immense gratitude. It’s apparent they realize how blessed they are to be playing so many shows and making it on the map all on their own. What’s also clear is that this vibrant Jersey band has just begun their careers.

There you have it kids, three more bands that you need to get to know now before their discs are sold out on the shelves. Wait, are there even CDs on shelves anymore? Never mind, I digress. I will be out and about all week scouting some new talent to write about and who knows, your band could be next. I am fortunate enough to live in a state with a remarkably vigorous local music scene with multiple venues, ranging from intimate bars presenting acoustic bands to ornate clubs and venues. So what is stopping you from getting out too see these bands? Nothing! Music is so ingrained in the spirit of Jersey, so let’s keep embracing the local radar!