Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Brick + Mortar & The Gay Blades

Locals, what’s up? We meet again here, enforcing some musicians and bands into your brain, and hoping you never look back. Each week I’ve been focusing on some awesome local talent that needs to be heard! We live in an area with a large and killer local music scene, with bands, venues, publications, and people who support the living crap out of it. Music is so important to everyone; it can hit emotions we never knew we even had, or give us excitement over things we never realized we even cared about. It can change a grim mood and make it wonderful. It can bring people together who never even thought of shaking hands. It can even set a scene; picture a movie, commercial, or even a sporting event without a song—it’s just boring. Anyway, I received several band submissions in the past few weeks, and every single one of them are getting opened. This week I am going to focus on the power of duos; duos whose sound could fill stadiums, melt hearts, and arouse ear drums—that magical number two. How can two people create a full sound you ask? Well, I am about to provide you with two answers.

Let’s start with a duo that is simply mind-blowing—last week’s Aquarian cover band, Brick + Mortar. Brandon and John compile more music and noise than a full band, and sound like they are at a festival even just standing in a coffeehouse. They are that brave pair who tries to summon the illusion that an audience is watching a larger group; they succeed in the most intense way possible. They are straight indie rock. Not into that sort of thing? Explore it again. Are you looking for something new? Tired of every song and band sounding exactly alike? Please proceed. These two characterize music that is fresh, music that cannot be compared, and music that is new and original. Their sound is something that there needs to be more of in the music business. When I first heard them early last year, I felt as if I was listening to an automated dictionary on how to make it in the music business as a duo without mimicking The White Stripes or The Black Keys. They are the Batman and Robin of rock and roll. I had the pleasure of having them in the studio for my show, and they are so knowledgeable and smart that it makes perfect sense as to why they are so gifted. I can still remember the first time I saw them live, and I almost felt as if each of them grabbed me by the hand and dragged me into the light, for there was no way in hell I was leaving that room; fire, chaos, floods, not having it. They provided more sound and groove than I’ve seen full bands put on. They recently released a new music video for their single “Bangs” that needs to be watched immediately after reading this article. The creative vision from the director and the group just enhances their eccentricity. I think that I am personally responsible for at least 200 of those views on YouTube. That song will literally smack you in the face and not help you up. Brandon’s vocals are classic and everlasting; he hits each crazy note perfectly. And let’s not forget how much of a monster John is on those drums; I almost feel sorry for them after he hits them, because they take a heck of a beating. I’m shocked they’re even useable after each set. Also a recommended track for you to jump on board with is “Heatstroke.” It has a complete classic feel, with matchlessness tied around it. I am strongly looking forward to that day when I hear people say, “Hey do you remember your first Brick + Mortar concert?” Remember it people, these two are on their way.

Next, let’s dabble into The Gay Blades. I must admit, the band name is what instantaneously caught my attention, and to be honest, at first, I didn’t care whether I liked their music or not. But then, when I was handed their album Ghosts a few years back, I was extremely intrigued. Who is this fancy duo, and where do they come from? Why have I never heard of them before? How are they not famous? Those are just a few questions I had asked myself upon the first track drop. Not only was their name catchy, but their sound was so polished and tight. Two years later they rolled around with Savages, and I became mega-fan status. Their track “Mick Jagger” became an anthem among parties and local venues, and I really couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this song, whether it was on or not (it was stuck in my head). I even found myself hearing them on other people’s shuffle mixes, and it was embedded in my blood. I was, and currently am, 100 percent Gay Blade. They are huge in the NJ/NY scene, and hopefully branching out nationwide. They’re also huge supporters of the scene themselves, for I have bumped into them at different shows, events, and other raging activities. Some recommended tracks if you’d like my advice are “Oh Shot,” “Try To Understand,” and “Why Can’t I Grow A Beard?” But please, do not let that make you skip all of the others. Each one of their songs is filled with flavoring, color, and essence. It has a little something for lovers of all genres. I picture these guys with a huge choir behind them, maybe some dove’s being released in the air during their set, and a huge red carpet leading up to the stage. Maybe after reading this, they will perform all of these tasks. Bands with excellent CD quality and an even better set are rare on the local front, but these guys know how to get it done. You don’t need to pick one or the other here, two is the new black.

So there you have it, people, sticking hard with the number two—two bands, two pieces, and you all have two ears, so open them up and listen! I will try to keep it as fresh, inventive, and eclectic as I can week to week. Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of getting out and seeing these bands and checking their social media sites for dates to catch them on the road. I will be back next week with some fresh Jersey acts that will hopefully grab your attention. After all, it’s all in a personal determination to get the word out about the optimistic effects of local music. Put down the videogames, leave your smartphone off for a few hours, and hit a local show.