Locals! It’s Wednesday! You know what that means: It’s time to chat about some bands that are making an impact on the scene that you need to know about. My name is Maria Mar of Jersey Rock on 95.9 The Rat, and I want to keep you up-to-date as to what is on my radar. You know, many say that good music is hard to find these days, but I beg to differ. Thousands of bands vie for attention every year. The best you can hope for is some good buzz, lucky listens, and unpredicted surprises. However, if you get yourself familiar with the New Jersey local music scene, your problems will diminish. Now, contrary to what I believe, there’s no way to see thousands of bands in a week. Trust me, I’ve tried. I have realized a cape isn’t all it entails to be superwoman. Plain and simple, you have to pick your preferences, be open to some new things, and go with the flow. And lately, I’ve done just that. I’ve opened my mind, broadened my musical horizons, and have found some dope bands for the liking. In fact, I like them so much, I am going to rave about them and throw them in your face. It will be painless when it hits you, I promise.

First and foremost, please allow me to introduce to you a pop punk band called For Our Lifetime. I recently featured these guys on my radio show, and got tons of good feedback. The band’s songs are extremely welcoming to the ear; it’s still super catchy, but has enough of a rock edge to differentiate it from radio-friendly pop. Most people believe that the top 40 pop punk music scene deceased when Fall Out Boy broke up. However, no one mentioned this news to For Our Lifetime. Or maybe they got the memo and just chose to delete it. I understand there are a millions bands in this genre, but something about them stands out like a pink elephant. Picture the soundtrack to a fun, reckless paced party that everyone you love is attending. You may want to check out this band via samples on programs such as iTunes and sites such as Myspace, Facebook, or by buying their CD. A lot of pop punk bands just link two words together, or they’ll have a sudden burst of inspiration of haphazard words, or they’ll go the old-fashioned route of mindless pop culture references. For Our Lifetime, however, adds some flair to it by going nuts! The sound here may please a wide range of fans and be greeted in with a number of parallel sounding bands. These guys are continuing to build a solid, steady following in New Jersey, and will hopefully branch out from state to state. Two songs I recommend for first listen are “Put Up Or Shut Up” and “True Friends” off of their full-length album, Have You Lived. After that, feel out the whole album, for you will have no regrets.

Next, let’s dabble in some classic grunge with a side order of alternative rock. I am referring to a five-piece act from Montclair who are no strangers to The Aquarian, Those Mockingbirds. Let’s just say, because I reference my entire existence to Family Guy, that the “bird is the word.” Upon seeing them live for the first time, I stopped dead in my tracks, purchased a vinyl, and never looked back. You could tell I wasn’t the only one in the house doing this, for many onlookers were scattering to find out more about this group, seeking cover. This is timeless music. They are a band comprising of all kinds of sounds like drums, guitars, more guitars, keyboards and violin. Adam Bird, Tory Anne Daines, Kevin Walters, Rob Fitzgerald, & Jon Gianino all bring something groundbreaking and fresh to the table. I am a sucker for a lady who can hold it down in a sea of men, and Tory Anne breaks the mold. She is characteristically a performer, a re-embodiment, or more precisely, a reinvention. Picture the Betty Davis of rock. Those Mockingbirds’ sound attempts to represent raw emotion, both musically and lyrically, relying only on their musical instincts. They produce a sound that is indisputably kindhearted, honest, and stimulating. I sense they are picking up a wrench, and hurling into the machinery of rock and roll, breaking the settlements of a glamorous entertainment industry. “The Difference Between Love + Addiction” contains a little something for everyone, and “Fa Sol La” will honestly never leave your playlist. I cannot wait to watch this band get the success they deserve, for this act if just too fierce to go unnoticed. Inventiveness, ingenuity, cleverness, creativeness; feel free to add some adjectives in once you’ve listened.

Last but not least, I am about to embark you on the musical trio, Only Living Boy (pictured). Yes, they are named after the Paul Simon song, with no similarity in sound whatsoever. This band is nothing but straight up rock and roll, and some of the sickest talent to date. Forget a Chaser; you’re shooting this straight down. And that burning sensation you will get once the music starts is one of the best feelings your body will ever encounter. If you’re rolling your eyes at that statement, take a listen and see for yourself. The boys are currently working on new material and I am more excited than a kid on Christmas morning. This is a band that when they roll through town, I make it a point to cancel any other plans I had. Hailing from Hackettstown, Joe, Eric, and Trevor are wise beyond their musical years. Screw boring and futile songs; they write, cater, and produce catchy, memorable songs that will actually leave an impression in your heads, heart, and ears. Only Living Boy are a beast of a band; loud, skillful, animated, and unyielding. These dudes bring it as if they were forced to at gunpoint with hard-hitting riffs, thrashing beats, and some really banging basslines. Joe’s vocals are raspy and rich, making dudes nod their heads and ladies swoon. Eric is a master of bass. In fact, most of the time when I bring up this band to my friends, I hear that repeated response of “Yeah bro, their bass player is so sick.” And, of course, being a drum buff, Trevor is a monster. He has this indistinctive boisterous, relentless energy combined with infectious rhythms that literally will suck you up like a vacuum. Some of my favorite tracks consist of “Lonely Puppy Blues” and “Hear Music.” Their entire full-length, Hide Nothing, is simply extraordinary. With demonic vocals, thunderous drums and lusty live performances, what more could you ask for?

So there you have it, three more bands that I’m not only raving about, but am demanding you try out. Even if it’s just a free sample, I promise you will look up the whole recipe to complete the meal. These bands are all extremely easy to reach, and I am sure would love to hear that you checked them out in The Aquarian. Look up their social media, their tunes, schedules, and indulge. I’ll catch you all next week!

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