Locals, it’s that time again to bring some New Jersey talent to your attention. I hope you were all digging the piece I did on Graviteer last week, for their new music is amazing, catchy, and fresh. While it’s not unusual to notice music that can offer saccharine relief from the immoral times, it’s much more rare to discover bands that make the bad times sound eccentric. I’ve recently been finding some bands that are not only affecting my ears, but my emotions and moods as well. You got to love when you can create a soundtrack to your life with music. It can calm and invigorate us in ways even a drawn-out nap can’t, and it holds the power to elevate our moods above our worries and relieve debilitating depression. Music can also perk us up if we use it with exercise or dance. Therefore, I want to chat about some new bands I’ve been introduced to that have been affecting me in a great way.

I found out about The Scandals because one of my favorite acts, Lost In Society, have been playing some shows with them. I knew if they liked them, I would too. In fact, Lost In Society have actually introduced me to a ton of new punk groups, so I think I owe them some flowers or something. Anyway, I had to check them out immediately.

The Scandals are a punk rock band from Bayonne with a solid following and contagious jams. Their new EP, Trenchknife, has been getting a ton of buzz, and rightfully so. They’ve been together for almost 10 years, and with some lineup changes and revamping, are right where they need to be. The Scandals have played countless shows, and gained a consistent fanbase that follows them along the way.

Punk is a hard genre to portray in my opinion. I like to believe that punk rock isn’t so much about being irritated or pissed off about something as it is about being honest and expressing what you’re really feeling. Basically, just because you have the hair, the tattoos, and the clothes, it doesn’t make you punk. You need to be punk, and feel it in your veins and in your blood, and these guys just get it. Punk can be about almost anything, be it a relationship that’s tainted, a parent that wasn’t there, politics, corruption, your moods towards something in general, or just something wholly haphazard. They sound perfect lyrically, and their music is varied in the best way possible while also staying somewhat naive. The guitars have a great taste in creating simple but very unique melodies. The bass gives the extra fill in creating their harmonies, and the drums keep everything together. They’re constantly playing shows and are very active on social media, encouraging current and new fans to check out their material. I’d have to say my favorite track is “Jersey Sweep,” for some obvious title reasons, but it’s the hook that sucks me in the most. I also love “The Glow.” They are climbing mountains, short stretches at a time, and are a vastly underrated band that deserves more credit than they’re receiving. If you have yet to check out The Scandals, get them on your radar.

Next, I want to touch on the magic that is Tara Elliott And The Red Velvets. Now, if you have been in the scene, you will know this household name; however, I want to spotlight them in a new a light. This is emotional rock ‘n’ roll at its finest. Having won awards, playing hundreds of shows, and getting more outrageous each time they perform, Tara Elliott and the gang always have surprises up their sleeves. Elliott has that theatrical demeanor that will draw fans of the art itself. Having been to hundreds of live shows, there are many remarkable moments, but all of my favorite concert experiences have been great for very dissimilar reasons. To explain what I feel makes a concert worth attending, this band can do the explaining by performing. They are raw, original, entertaining, and sensual. There’s a discrete difference between playing your songs well and giving them everything your heart and soul contains. Most bands and artists can play their music fine, but the few that put their passion into every concert are the ones you will reminisce on forever. If you have yet to see them, put the article down (upon completion, of course) and find out when they are playing next.

There’s nothing mysterious, crazy, or difficult about how to act at a concert. It’s mostly just common sense: the music needs quietness, so the audience promotes silence; both the musicians and the audience want to focus on the music, so listeners stay put during a performance. However, there is more interaction in a Tara Elliott show than normal, for the crowd makes just as much noise as her and the band. Two of my favorite tracks are “Teenage Secret” and “Ride,” but you should definitely check out their entire discography. To touch on my statements in the beginning, their lyrics touch my soul. They are dark, sexual, beautiful, and rock, all in one package. Be sure to check out Tara Elliott And The Red Velvets.

So, I hope you will check out these two bands. While completely different on paper, they both affected me in many ways. I love their styles, lyrics, recordings, live sets, attitudes, images, and just everything they have to offer. Both of these groups play a lot locally, so be sure to get off your butts and check out a show. And do me favor; put on one of their tracks, especially if you are having a bad day, and see how much that will change. This is music that has the power to make us feel good, inside and out, musically and emotionally. I am also hoping to work with Tara Elliott And The Red Velvets in the near future, as we may have some ideas brewing, but you will have to stay tuned to find out. Be sure to keep checking out the Local Radar and my Facebook and events pages, for I am hoping to put together a showcase in the near future, hopefully consisting of the aforementioned acts. Until next week, my friends, keep supporting the local music scene one show, emotion, and CD at a time.

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