We’re back, ladies and gents. Local Radar is up and booming with so many bands, so many musicians, and so much talent! I love being able to spread the word here. Thanks to everyone out there who has been hanging with me on a weekly basis. If you have any input on some bands you want to read about, feel free to hit me up! In fact, some of you have been and this week, I am going to be answering one of your requests. The power of word of mouth is unstoppable, especially in this day and age when social media is so predominant. I am finding more and more that bands are breaking the mold, playing shows with groups in other genres, and even creating their own styles. If you can’t define your genre, redefine one. Whether it’s metal, rock, alternative, blues, or something completely different, my ears are yearning to hear it. We have touched on just about every genre and the diversity is never going to end, which is totally refreshing. So now, let us dip our chips into some new sauces, shall we? Please allow me to introduce to you two killer bands from New Jersey known as Political Party Crashers and Kid Is Qual. Intrigued already by their band names? Please, carry on.
Let’s start with a monstrous eight-piece from Toms River, Political Party Crashers. I will never forget the day I first saw them at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park for The Break Contest for Bamboozle. I ran from in from outside like a track star going for a medal. It’d been some time since I saw a good ska band. I mean, there were a few in my youth during the ‘90s, but, well, we all know what basically happened to the genre after that: Hardcore ska suckled into pop punk, some dope bands put out some stellar albums, a whole bunch more not-so-dope bands put out some not-so-stellar albums, then Avril Lavigne wore a tie and married the dude from Sum 41. Plain and simple, these guys own this genre locally, and are going to take the ball and run with it. It’s not every day you find an eight-piece that can hold their own, better yet, harmonize. Not to mention, the live set it so enjoyable, and it blows my mind how they can fit so many members on the stage without it turning into overflow.
I seriously cannot keep my eye balls from spinning trying to focus on each member, and it’s unbelievable. They are not just musicians; they are entertainers and upright performers. No matter what you are a fan of in life, you will not be able to help but dance to their set. Their major key, up-tempo sound is extremely energizing. The more I came to listen to them live and on recordings, I started realizing that they are not just ska, but they are also a blend of, in their own words, “rock, jazz, blues, some punk,” and every other seasoning you can think of that is matchless. I want to believe we still live in a world where third-wave ska never died and horns remained an essential part of alternative music, but these guys are one of my only hopes to hold on to. Political Party Crashers continue to put out music which doesn’t waste time on redundant fluff. They are just one of those bands that make you feel as if everything is going to be okay, no matter what mood you are in or what kind of day you are having. It’s all about having fun and expressing yourself during their set. You can tell how focused this band is. They have a worthy repertoire of songs under their belts, and totally feel comfortable performing together; in fact, they all feed off of one another. A small venue set is highly recommended to catch these guys for the first time, for you will want to get close to them. The guys are also currently working on a full-length, and I cannot wait to hear what they have in store for us.
Now let us change directions for a brief moment to focus on an out-of-this-world kind of band called Kid Is Qual. The three-piece, which formed back in 2007, consists of two bass players and a drummer. Yes, you heard me right—TWO bass players. So yes, bass is chiefly there to “lock in” with the drummer, creating the “rhythm section” and bottom end for the band. So you may ask, “Won’t two bass players muddy up the bottom end?” Answer; absolutely not! Plus, it’s a bonus that both bass players sound completely different. I never really understood why more bands don’t do it. Totally untypical to the norm, they strive to have a new sound. I first heard them at a show a few years back with local band Almost There, and was completely intrigued by their creativity and incomparable sound. I kept trying to compare them to someone, but that is the exact opposite of what one should do upon first hearing them. Generally, I’m opposed to voice effects, and although these guys use them, it fits. But unlike most that use it, they actually can sing; and that’s the beauty of it. They have talent, creativity, and a sense of the future of music. They recently played a showcase for my show Jersey Rock at Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant, and I was like a kid in a candy store. People in the crowd kept coming up to me asking who the band was, where they were from, and when they were playing again. This, again, is a perfect example as to why bands should play shows. Their two EPs are wholly enjoyable, so you should check them both out as well. Take a cue from Kid Is Qual, for they are the kings of the new.
I can only hope that you’re now feeling enlightened and filled with knowledge. Political Party Crashers and Kid Is Qual are two more bands that should totally be added to your playlist. These bands are both active in the local scene, playing out and recording new music, so it’s important to keep track as to what they are up to. Who knows; maybe one day you’ll be writing a review on one of these bands. There are tons of good local shows coming up this month and in October, so be sure to keep checking The Aquarian, tuning into Jersey Rock, and hitting up all of your other local clubs and venues. It’s never too late to jump on board the local music train, for there is always room for one more at the next stop.