Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Gates & Deal Casino

Locals, we meet once again. These weeks apart are killing me! However, they do allow me to scout a number of acts, some that you may have heard of and others that may be brand spankin’ new to your ears! I cannot emphasize enough how much talent there is in New Jersey, with so many bands going unnoticed. I hope to continue to be active in a community where it’s all about bands, fans, promoters and music lovers in general, coming together in support of music; that old fashioned do-it-yourself mentality. From what I have seen the past few years, it’s non-stop chatter on socials (which, don’t get it twisted, can sometimes be a bad thing), and a scene that is just compressed with a hive of people filled with excitement that allow music to be their passage for expression. I am one of those people. So on that note, I will continue to bring to your attention groups and artists that make me feel that emotion, allowing me to give back something to them on a scale that may seem minimal, but will hopefully bring them into the limelight they all deserve. Our little Local Radar world is a place where your work and passion actually exists within, no matter what direction technology is trying to push us in. This week, ladies and gents, please allow me to introduce you to Gates and Deal Casino.

New Brunswick has once again gone wild and famous; please make some noise for the glory that is Gates. Before we bask in the glory of this band, I have to praise New Brunswick for continuing to hold its reputation of producing so many good performers in their basement culture! (Shout out to all of my NB artists!) Dan, Dan, Ethan, Kevin and Mike, otherwise known as Gates, are making New Jersey proud, signing to Pure Noise, the home of many awesome acts including The Story So Far. The first time I heard them was at The Court Tavern, in their own stomping grounds, as they played the Owel CD release party, and I left with an awesome feeling of accomplishment; that I had just seen a band that was definitely going places. This young, insightful Jersey quintet have a sound that is vivid and uniquely melodic that at times can be tremendously catchy yet absolutely real. Confused? So am I, but that’s the beauty of what we have here. I purchased their EP, The Sun Will Rise And Lead Me Home, and ironically enough, it left me somewhat puzzled; an emotional rollercoaster, if you will. “Sleepwalker” had a crazy effect on me, almost hitting me right in the heart. They write amazing lyrics that are thought provoking and genuine. It is noticeably evident that Gates are guys who allow their lives to pour into their poetry, which, in this case, is their music, causing them to thrive in this thing we call life. I personally adore “A Vague Ambition” as well, and if you take a listen, you will see what I mean.

I feel they are one of the many fresh faces in the music scene that will rise. Their studio recordings are one thing, but their live show is another. The energy and power of Gates is very much captured during their set. Their sound, thoughts and feelings are complex and human, much like the crowd they are trying to reach. They are a band that actually, in my opinion, sounds better live, which can be rare nowadays. I am not here to review each record piece by piece, but simply to let you know that these guys deserve every inch of success that they are getting. I think the industry has found itself a solid pick.

With a new name change and intense sound, Deal Casino are ready to make an impact on the scene. You may remember them from Bamboozle 2012, where they placed second and got to rock with some of the most popular names in music today. I recently had them on my show, and the reaction I got was somewhat overwhelming. Let me just start off by saying these guys have an incredible fanbase. Their new EP, Cocaine Love, shows their range in talent and broadness in style, and was recorded at Lakehouse Music in Asbury. Their track “Something About January” is very heartfelt, telling a story about a specific someone, and if that someone hasn’t heard it, they need to. If you’re an old fan of this group, you will also understand that the title of the EP is an ode to their prior band name, saving a piece of history.

The sound and pattern on “Something About January” almost moves along like someone telling their other half that they ripped their heart out of their chest. It starts out somewhat calm, soulful and tearful, and gradually builds up into a fireball of gut-wrenching rhythm and heavy-heartedness. “Our bones would break, our blood would shed/These lives we lived are all we have,” they cry out in defense. You need to check out this tune and pick up the whole EP. Title-track “Cocaine Love” showcases a whole other side of Deal Casino with a somewhat catchier feel that is extremely radio friendly. I want to compare their vocalist to a man named Alex Band, lead singer of an early ‘90s group called The Calling. For those of you who may not know them, it’s raspy, filled with great pitch, and could switch it up from a ballad to a pop rock song in no time. Show them some love.

There you have it, two bands that are on my radar this week. Be sure to see them live, download a track or two, and join forces in the local movement. After all, there is no scene without a bunch of bands of different genres and sounds coming together to help drive the interest in local music! I will continue to share my passion of music with you all with different styles and artists that influence me, and will also keep expanding my horizons to different sounds that I may have never listened to before. Until next week, my friends, rock on!