Maria Mar’s Local Radar: The Black Clouds & Chemtrail

Locals, we meet again on my favorite day of the week. Happy Hump Day to you all, the month is flying, almost time for some Valentine’s Day cupids. Maybe some love notes from some of my local bands? Wouldn’t be the worst problem to have. Don’t worry, I’m not getting all sappy on you. Hopefully 2013 has brought tons of new bands to your attention, or had you re-hatch old favorites. I’ve found out many bands are reconstructing, many are going on tour, but most are hitting the studio, which is always a plus for a music buff like myself. This week, I am going to focus on two bands that have paid their dues in the scene, one show at a time. There are many bands like that, and don’t worry, one day I will eventually get to talk about them all. However, for today, we are spotlighting Chemtrail and The Black Clouds. Although these bands are very different in sound and style, they both have the same goals: play music because they love it, they need it, and their fans want it. I honestly don’t think these groups will ever stop playing music, in one shape or form, whether it’s with the same bands or on their own—it’s embedded in their blood. You can tell by their style and performances how much they enjoy it and how natural it comes to them. One band has lyrics, the other doesn’t, and it doesn’t matter. I am hoping to enlighten you all on some talent that may not change your life, but certainly change your day and the direction it may be heading. Please proceed and allow me to fill you in on these acts.

The Black Clouds are no strangers to the local rock scene; in fact, you may want to consider them veterans. This rock/alternative band consists of Dan, Rob, Gary, and Cory. They were always so cool and friendly upon emailing me or sending me music that I was instantly hooked on them without even hearing a single track. However, that would change in the near future (the part about not hearing a track, that is). Fellow Jersey Rocker Steve Hook, the radio legend of the Jersey Shore’s Rat, is also a huge fan of the guys, and passed their CD my way. One of the key factors that initially attracted me to this band was that they don’t take themselves too seriously. I find that trait to be very important in the business these days, for with so many constant changes, it’s the only way you will get out alive. These guys have an awesome sound, and an even better live set. Live set is key in my book, as some fans travel hundreds of miles to experience an hour of music bliss and the possibility of managing their way to get up close and personal. I think we’ve all been there when we are fighting our way to the front, and you will definitely do the same at a Black Clouds show. Having energy in studio work and having energy on stage isn’t exactly the same thing. If a band has really great music, as I just stated, it clearly has impacted their live performance. Satisfying the fans is always important, and The Black Clouds do just that. They recently released a new record, which I will be featuring on Jersey Rock. Their sound has definitely matured and improved since 2009, and I love the direction they are headed in. Some of my favorite tracks of theirs are “No Reason” and “All Or Nothing.” I look forward to having this band in the studio to chat about the future, the present, and everything in between. Check them out.

Asbury Park’s Chemtrail are an instrumental post-rock band. Upon some research, instrumental bands were most popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s before that little thing called the British Invasion. However, let me bring it back to the present. They started back in the 2006, gaining steady momentum with a consistent fanbase. I remember the first time I saw them live, and I’m having trouble comprehending how six years have already flown by, but it’s easy when you reflect on how much they have accomplished. Their music is really unique because when you listen to them, it can really put you in a position where you aren’t thinking about anything other than the music. I have seen them play several times, and each live set gets better and better. Being nominated for Asbury Music Awards and always having a buzz in press and online, Chemtrail are a band you need to experiment with. It may sound weird to people when they hear that there are no vocals, but they don’t need them. Their music is so full sounding that lyrics and a vocalist would almost be like getting in the way. In their own words, “their résumés boast a history of punk rock, stoner rock, emo, and metal bands, which all can be found in hints of influence.” I find it cool that all of them have experience in such diverse genres, because it really gives them a lot of history to pull from. In fact, music lovers of all types will be able to find something in Chemtrail to enjoy. I honestly cannot name another instrumental band that I even listen to or enjoy like I do them, and I don’t see that changing anytime in the near future. They own the genre, they dominate it, and they do it right. I also heard that guitarist Mike proposed to his now fiancée on stage at one of their shows. Well, that just goes to show you never know what they are going to have up their sleeves. So, you have had six whole years to check this band out, what will be your excuse now? None. Give yourself a fix of some real, raw talent.

So here are two bands that I want you to get on your radar, see live, and purchase their music. As I stated before, The Black Clouds and Chemtrail are totally different, yet so similar at the same time. Maybe one day they will play a show together for me, and we can all live happily ever after. I am seeking some new bands to get on my radar, so be sure to provide me some feedback, insight, suggestions, or anything else you may know about some new or current bands in the local rock scene. Although I get flooded with submissions for my show, sometimes it’s nice to hear from the fans, the real supporters of local music, what is hot right now. I trust your feedback more than anything, so it’s always nice to hear from you all. So whatever you’re doing this weekend, be sure to change your plans and open up your schedule to get out to some local shows. Until next week, my friends, keep following Maria Mar’s Local Radar!