Maria Mar’s Local Radar: The Porchistas & InDisguise

It’s about that time to talk about local music once again. You should see the size of the list of artists I am aiming to cover—it’s miles long! Summer is back, shows are booming, and bands are ready to make their marks in the scene.

I confidently can say that I explore many different acts and genres. I still listen to the radio, download songs, and buy CDs that I haven’t heard. But the most effective way I hear new tracks is by the people around me: the local bands and fanbases. Please continue sending me your stuff, or recommending acts you want to see spotlighted, for it’s beneficial for everyone! I love writing these articles in hopes of giving you a reason to get out to local venues to see some talented acts. This week, I am going to focus on two bands that could not be more different, yet are after the same mission: making music appealing to their fans. You know, that kind of music that makes you rock anywhere when listening to their albums, at high or low volume. On that note, allow me to introduce, or reintroduce to you, InDisguise and The Porchistas.

Okay, I know I may be a little late on this one since they’ve been together for a good while, but The Porchistas are doing new things as of late and deserve to be in the spotlight here. They recently reconnected with me, and I am glad they did, because it’s almost as if they resurrected themselves. I heard of them so many times, yet somehow had forgotten to really get into their stuff. What immediately came to mind was that they won an Asbury Music Award, were noted by the Jam Awards, and pretty much never had anything bad said about them. Kind of a big deal, you ask? I had to find out for myself!

Having basically no familiarity of The Porchistas aside from word of mouth, I had no idea what to expect from this group and their recordings when reading of its many acclaims. What I ended up receiving was one of the most unexpected, pleasing albums I’ve heard in quite a while. Well, now there is no turning back. Haven’t heard of them? Let me try to paint you a picture. In their own words, they consider themselves “Lyrically driven, folk, hippy, punk, throwback rock.” Although that description sounds like a crazy combination that you may not choose on the menu, it works.

“Make A Wish” captivated me upon first listen, but it didn’t prepare me for the rich and varied experience of their entire record. Want some songs that you won’t forget? Check out “Zombie Jesus” before diving into “She Deserves,” a personal favorite. Tucked among what some may say are “different” tracks lies a handful of gems that will grow on you. I think what makes their sound so eclectic is the diverse influences that their members pull from. They site everything from Rancid to Ween, and miles in between. If you are a heavy rock fan, it definitely takes some getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it, listening to them play is bliss to be remembered. You can almost take each song and give it your own meaning—well, at least that’s how I see it.

This album is the beginning to that journey of discovery, as Adam’s vocals are backed by a completely solid group of musicians. The assortment of music on this record is fantastic. The faultless production values help the songs flow together and enhance the overall listening experience. Playing a few shows in Asbury Park as of late, they will also be embracing us down in Lakewood for the Jersey Shore Music Festival at FirstEnergy Park along with dozens of other talented local acts. Many in the business may feel like rock has reached its limits on unique styling and talent, and that almost every note has been played by somebody else. Although many sounds have proved this somewhat true, here is a group that shows proof you can take something that exists and make it sound completely fresh. Catch one of their live sets sooner rather than later.

Next, let us turn the tables to something heavier and louder with a band I met a few years back from Kearny named InDisguise. They have been rocking more than ever as not only performers, but as spectators as well. One of the main things that attracted me to them is their love for heavy music, for I have seen these guys at more shows than most. Tracks “Soil Burn” and “In Your Face” are two personal favorites, but don’t let that distract you from checking out their entire debut album, Ashes Divide. They combine various genres of heavy rock, metal, and even a little “polished aggression.” With stand out vocals that command the microphone, energetic, heavy drums and fantastic riffs, they have a lot to be respected for. Each instrument lends its own voice in its own right, but in a way, that blends every player together. While the group clearly rocks out with anger, they also marry it to some quite cool vibe, which gives them some sort of an edge. What I mean by this is they can battle with the heavy hitters while maintaining tracks that are radio friendly and tolerable for music lovers of all styles. The lyrics make you bang your head, yet they make you stop and think as well. Each number stands as a message, a work and an effort in its own. They are always working, playing shows, and posting new videos to my Jersey Rock wall, which just goes to show me that they are a band on a mission. Check out their socials and official website to find out when they are completely destroying (in a good way) a venue near you.

These are just two of the many acts going strong in the Jersey scene with big plans for the summer. They both have appealing lyrics and a strong delivery to keep you interested and coming back for more. I hope you are feeling somewhat enlightened after reading this. I mean, let’s be honest here, anyone can pretty much listen to any kind of music they want to, and who am I to know your exact tastes? You’re right, I do not and most likely never will. However, what I do know is that music comes from somewhere, and it’s usually from the heart of small cities and towns that just need a little support from people like you. Help keep the art and creativity alive by showing acts that it means something to you!