Maria Mar’s Local Radar: LEEDS & Snowball 37

It’s time for another week of Local Radar. The Jersey Rock submissions are pouring in like water—50+ CDs a week is a lot for one girl to handle—and it’s the best problem I’ve had in a while. I get bored with music that is called “popular” these days, for most of it has no appeal to me except for when it comes to local releases; almost everything is somewhat original. Aside form receiving submissions, I always explore websites that showcase independent or up-and-coming artists, such as The Aquarian Weekly, of course, whether the music is being reviewed or interviews are posted with the bands themselves. This week I am going to talk about two groups that have gotten my attention lately with new releases. LEEDS and Snowball 37 have been dedicating their time in the studio, and both are ready to get on the road and share their product while exploring new venues and outlets of performance. Let’s find out more about these groups, shall we?

First, I’d like to bring a brand new breed of rebel rock from Old Bridge into the limelight, LEEDS. Whether they are named after a school of business or a city of England I’m not sure, but they have just released their new self-titled EP and are playing shows all over the area. They formed back in 2011, playing bars and some small venues, and are ready to take it up a notch. After dedicating countless hours in the studio, they explain on their website that their true passion is their live show. I must admit, I have yet to experience it, but with their tour schedule for the summer of 2013, I am sure there will be more than enough opportunities to witness their set. In fact, their email even stated, “We cannot wait to play in front of as many people as we can.” I’m not 100 percent familiar with this band yet, and I will not sit here and proclaim to be their biggest fan, but I can tell you one thing: they have a strong drive and determination that is going to get them places.

LEEDS’ music is really growing on me. As odd as it may sound, one thing that really attracted me to LEEDS when they reached out to me was that they didn’t site a single influence. I checked their bio, website, and everything I could find on them, but nothing appeared in that category of “who do you sound like.” The fact of the matter is, although I know they have groups that they look up to, they are not out to mimic but to build their fanbase through their own style and sound. From what I have witnessed throughout my somewhat short time in the scene, it’s not a good idea to copy everything from only one band or artist, as it will make the audience feel bored. Create your own signature moves and unique expressions, for listeners and concertgoers love “unique.” A song that really grabbed my ear was “Let’s Raise Hell,” as it’s a perfect soundtrack to their lives from what I’ve read so far. “Wine, Women & Song” is another entertaining track, but to switch the mood a little, also check out “Too Late To Turn Back,” as the lyrics on that one are pretty in-depth and evocative. They’re not deficient in attitude, but they do sound like a commercially flourishing band, in a positive way. Basically, they have some pretty likable songs, and aren’t afraid of saying whatever they feel like saying. Even though LEEDS are still in the early stages of their modest beginnings, you can still hear the groundwork being laid for their future success with this collection of impactful music.

Next, I have to talk about a group that I am so glad I became familiar with. Hailing from Point Pleasant Beach, Snowball 37 are a smooth blend of “alterative and power pop rock,” if you can picture that. Their manner kind of takes me back to sounds of ‘90s rock nostalgia that I never get sick of and sometimes wish would be reincarnated. You know, like those albums that you hold close to your heart because they somewhat remind you of your youth, like in my case, Weezer’s Blue Album and Green Day’s Dookie. 16 years later and those 10-12 songs still sound as fresh as they did in 1994. Anyway, I digress. After months of chatting about their recordings, the guys have finally informed me of the release of their full-length record, Declasse, available for purchase on iTunes now! “The All Star Generation” and “Indigo” are two of my personal favorites, but there are 11 more tracks of goodness to be heard. Each song and lyric tells a story, and no story is the same. After all, the statement on their socials is that they are “making meaningful music more meaningful.” It truthfully doesn’t even matter what genre you glue them in, for this record somewhat transcends on all fronts. I am not going to sit here and review the entire album or say that it’s the greatest thing to happen since sliced bread, because let’s face it, that would be a bold statement to make on any disc. However, I want to write down my view as to why I enjoy this band. To me, really reputable music has the capability to leap out of its respective “genre,” and appeal to just about anyone with an open mind, or better yet, an open ear. David’s vocals are high on the charts when it comes to conveying edginess or sentiment. While they’re not the most famous band out there, they have a decent following and aren’t exactly unknown either, for when I mentioned that they’d be getting airplay, I got a great response. Although I may not know them on a personal level, I can tell they actually toss a respectable deal of life into their music, nor do they do it just for the reason of gaining mass appeal. I don’t see how anyone can walk away from this band without feeling excellent. Be sure to pick up a copy of Declasse and show them some support.

LEEDS and Snowball 37 are two more acts from New Jersey that are definitely worth a listen. Both of their social media outlets have somewhat of a community built around them, which gives fans the opportunity to interact directly with these talents. Thanks for all of the suggestions lately on bands that I should experience, for I have many more issues to publish. After all, discovering newfangled talent isn’t just about finding bands that are comparable to musicians you already listen to, and I have been learning that more and more each day. Until next week, my friends, I shall continue to explore and expand my knowledge of the local scene. Bon voyage!