Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Only Living Boy & Sick Mind

Hey locals, hopefully your recovery from Sandy is getting a little brighter. Continue to do your part, play benefits, donate, volunteer, and stay strong in the local community. This week, I am going to focus on new music from local bands that we know and love. Many of you have been hitting the studio; pumping out samples and finished products for our enjoyment. None of these bands I am about to talk about are newbies to the game, and don’t require any sort of hazing. In fact, you may have heard about most of them. However, I must praise them all, as their new music not only defines them as a band, but takes them in new directions. Most songs have an identifiable formula: the intro, a verse or two with a chorus, a bridge, followed by another verse and chorus, and then out. Some bands break the mold of that basic formula, and those acts end up getting a write up in the Local Radar! I’ve found along the way that many groups are starting to abandon the old-fashioned method of releasing an album and some singles every few years. Although I understand how people don’t want to go on overkill and burn themselves out, I do feel it’s important that bands stay relevant by releasing new tracks more than often. However, think about how much high quality music you can create; the last thing you want to do is put out pitiable songs because you feel you have to. Anyway, on that note, let us discuss some artists who are pumping out hits these days.

First and foremost, let us discuss the new single from a band that needs no introduction, Only Living Boy, called “Spread Your Butter.” The guys also released a new video for the single, which can be found on their Facebook page. It’s simple in black and white, and shows images and clippings from things of the past. We often forget how amazing simplicity can be at times; raw can be better than cooked. This video belongs in another time period, but I am so glad it made it here. This track, in typical Only Living Boy fashion, is a catchy, straight-up rock ‘n’ roll song that will draw you in more and more with each new listen. I must admit, rock’s style has always been tough to define for many reasons. Long story short, if Only Living Boy can be given no other credit, they’ve really managed to skip the “sounds like it was recorded in a paper bag” phase of their career. The riffs are extremely contagious, and Joe Cirotti’s vocals are as smooth as butter. It’s also compacted with hit-you-in-the-gut drums by Trevor Newcomb, plus locomotive and reliable basslines by Eric Curley. In this day of musician wannabe bands, these guys are the real thing, and they prove it track by track again. They also have a distinctive swagger all of their own. This is a band that knows how to write big, anthemic songs, and make it look effortless. I just cured my itch for the CD this morning, and it’s been blasting all day on auto-repeat. No bizarre time signatures, no unusual studio effects, and no drum samples! This is just a solid rock track playing original compositions. This is just what the world needs right now; real rock, no filter, just pure talent. Get ready for revolution. You can either jump on board or step aside. Give “Spread Your Butter” a spin, and watch the video as well.

Next, let us talk about the new song from a band called Sick Mind, with a track called “Jack In The Box.” I love their name, and don’t feel the need to get into a deep explanation of it, for you can sort of create one with your own, well, sick mind. Residing in Monmouth County, these guys are hard rock at its finest. Their music is much louder and faster than most, and I completely adore this track. This song is off of their new release, Nothing Bad Happens, Ever. The album sears with raw energy, rock swagger, and colossal guitar riffs fully capable of filling an arena. Although it’s compacted with solid jams, that one is my favorite. They provide appeal to many audiences of different genres, for I feel this track could be found on the radio or sang at a festival. This may not be their released single, but hopefully they’ll consider it, as it’s a solid hit rather than a mashup of toss-away filler. The album has a rhythm that pleads to be performed for a live audience, and should keep your toes tappin’ for a while. They maximize their hooks as well as their emotions. No matter what direction this band eventually goes in, I’m confident that they’ll always decide to release and create wonderful, extraordinary, and exciting music while connecting with fans through a great live show. As Sick Mind continues to gain more local attention, they should be looking to expand their touring outside of Jersey, for I think they would do very well on the road. They are young and have their whole careers ahead of them, so hopefully they take full advantage! After all, in their own words, “They are tired of all the crap being released these days.” Do yourself a favor and pick up their new record; it’s worth more than a few spins.

Hopefully the local community will embrace these bands and their brilliant releases. It can be hard to get your music out there with so many musicians in the world, but don’t let it become defeating. I know how you feel, a lot of musicians have felt this way, but what I’ve found is climbing the rock band success ladder is not as hard as you may think it is. It doesn’t have to be a big mystery. Yes, to become successful will take exertion on your part, but shared with a lot of yearning and the right knowledge, you can handle and achieve anything you desire. Again, you want to imbed your band name in people’s brains, but always do it tastefully. Keep releasing new music, gaining new fans, and expanding your horizons. “Spread Your Butter,” if you will. Most of us are tired of all these songs sounding the same nowadays; be unique, set out do to do something different, and achieve success at the same time. These tracks and artists are just a few of the many out there, so spread the word and get yours heard!