Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Out For More & Franchise

Locals, we meet again. It’s now that time to talk about some talent that has got my ears aroused, letting me bask in the glory that is local music. I think the reason I am such a fan of Jersey acts is that I have much respect for these bands/artists that work outside the empire of regularity in the industry. While trying to find an album that I truly love from start to finish has become somewhat impossible, local musicians stir up the library and give me some unique tunes to listen to. This week, I am going to talk about two groups that are new to my library, and certainly will be there for a while.

First, let us talk about a band that goes by the name of Out For More, from Brick, NJ. Maybe I am interpreting their name wrong, but I like to think of it as they want more than being a “local favorite”; they want to experience and ride the hustle that will make them a well-known act. There could be no backstory at all behind the name, but I’ll leave that to your imagination. They recently reached out to me about getting some airplay on my show, and I am glad they resurfaced, for they have been in the back of my mind for a few months. Through word of mouth, it seemed like I couldn’t stop hearing about them. They released their self-titled EP last year, and have been striving to move mountains ever since.

Recording at Tracks East, which is the proud home for recordings of many famous and noteworthy musicians, they have a great quality sound. “Out From Under” is probably my favorite track, for it’s a little heavier than the others. I also think it’s a perfect example and summary of this EP’s power. They blend a little punk, some rock, a bit of metal, and a bunch of other sounds, and it’s done tastefully. They are very aggressive with driving rhythms, and release a strong message through each track. Having listened to it a few times over, I concluded that they have an extremely energetic delivery of fresh-sounding rock numbers. Forming in 2010 and waiting almost two years to put out a disc, this span of time allowed them to amass all the clever tricks that are showcased on the release. I don’t think this EP could dissatisfy you unless you’re really expecting far too much out of this band, but it might just entertain you a bit more than you’d expect. Relax, sit back, don’t overthink this effort, and just enjoy the noise. I have yet to catch them live, but their recordings have definitely sparked an interest. I am excited to get to know this group more.

Next, I want to touch on a new post-hardcore band that I literally stumbled upon from Bloomfield called Franchise. Ironically enough, when you think of a franchise—or franchising, if you will—in a modified version, it includes following some sort of business model. However, contrary to what many may believe, they are marching to their own drum, following some sort of genre bandleader, yet making their presence known. Their socials say they will be releasing their debut self-titled full-length this summer, and I am officially starting a countdown.

I first tested them out with a track called “Fade In/Grab You,” and I found myself listening to it on repeat. Then I gave “Strobe” a try and knew I was in love. I feel that their full-length will continue this furious path upwards to the top of the music hill that they are on, blending some insanely extreme elements of metal and a little bit of pop, which could very well likely conjure a genre that still has some vacancy in it. There are some sick riffs on the tracks they’ve released with impressive vocals. I can really understand the lyrics as well; sometimes we tend to forget under all of that growling and screaming that lead singers of this style can also have some fine harmonies. In this case, Tony proves that theory. If you haven’t heard any of this band’s music, which is understandable considering they are fairly new in the scene, you should be warned that it is as extensive as it gets and gratifyingly unpredictable. I am not sitting here saying they are “genre-defying” or their sound is “the most unique thing on the planet,” but they’re clearly doing a lot of things right. I am excited to see them live in the near future, as the musicianship also seems to be top-notch. I hope the full-length will encompass more melodic harmonies aside from the two tracks I’ve sampled, set to grinding riffs, deep bass rhythms, and fast-paced drums. Best of luck to Franchise, for I think they are well on their way.

These are just two of the many acts out there in the scene waiting to be discovered by music lovers and venues, so be sure to give them a shot. With well-crafted material and a steadily growing fanbase, these bands are well on their way. I am always on the hunt for some breakthrough records and artists that are a bit on the outskirts, as that’s what makes them so desirable. If you are feeling frustrated that every band sounds the same and you cannot escape those familiar tunes, start exploring your local venues and groups. I’m not a musician by any means, but I am a lover of music, and true art comes from a very special kind of mind; a mind that can be found a lot around my parts. Give it some time and emerge yourself into the arts and you won’t regret it. Anyone can do it if you actually have the passion for it. Until next week, my friends, rock and roll.