Maria Mar’s Local Radar: The Kimballs

My local rockers, we meet once again. Wednesday has gracefully embraced us during the middle of the week, while also teasing us with two more days of work left. Oh well, at least we get some time to stop what we are doing and reflect on some true New Jersey talent! This week, I am going to talk about a trio that’s been around for a little while in the music scene. I, however, have been behind the wagon for a bit, but now I am fully dressed in gear and ready to be their cheerleader. Well, better late than never I suppose! The group I am referring to goes by the name of The Kimballs. I don’t know the backstory of their band name, how they met or what they do in their spare time, though I do know that they have me interested and have solidified, proven talent. They recently reached out to me via email and immediately had my attention with their professionalism and enthusiasm of New Jersey music. Therefore, it is now time to put them into the spotlight where they belong!

The Kimballs are a three-piece band from NJ that considers themselves as “indie rock/power pop.” Now if you are not a fan of the whole “indie” era, don’t be discouraged here. Their songs can be put into that category, but are catchy enough at the same time to be played throughout mainstream radio while avoiding the sacrifice of any important substance. This is the reason why I sometimes have a tough time with the whole “genre” thing, as there are so many bands that can make a crossover into almost any formatted style. However, I see why groups do it, for when new listeners are browsing for something specific, it’s easier to locate. So now that I have eased your mind, please proceed.

I have to admit that I literally laughed out loud at the title of one of their EPs, Great Face For Radio. Many of my coworkers and I may normally be offended by the comment, but I will sit here and bask in hopes that they were not referring the title to anyone specific! Although this EP is slightly older, it’s the one that I started out with to get my first taste of the band. I really like track “1933,” since it’s fun and energetic, which a great way to leave a first impression. The immediate feeling that I got from The Kimballs was that they strive to carve their own identity from the modern musical template. The album definitely grew on me with songs like “Brenda” and “Solid State.”

After solidifying my inner fan, I proceeded to indulge in their new self-titled release, which is also a full-length. This record has a little something for everyone compacted within. The group recommended track number four, “Superpowers,” and they were spot-on. It’s extremely up-tempo, catchy and addicting. Although shorter than many of their songs, it’s just enough to leave you wanting more. I also am a personal fan of “Rescue Me” and “Fact Or Fiction.” The loud and dynamic swings combined with a prominent guitar works well with the strong urgency of the vocals; the perfect recipe to draw people into the sound. Lyrically, I am not sitting here saying the guys are award-winning poets, but they are relatable.

After digging my way deeper into the album, I discovered “Paradise.” This track threw me a curveball that I was willing to dive and catch. It shows that the boys can do a softer, ballad-type tune if need be, and it works surprisingly well. Not to say I didn’t have faith in them, by any means, but sometimes certain bands can be held back by their strengths. So, you may find yourself asking the question, “Is that bad?” The answer is no, but it can be somewhat discouraging to the listener. What I mean by this is that sometimes they can’t do much else, and that is certainly not the case with The Kimballs.

Another attribute that I noticed on all three of their releases was the even-flow. It’s all very smooth; every song flows right into each other seamlessly without mimicking or duplicating the style on each tune. I highly suggest you listen to the album completely through and do not skip anything, for I think you’ll miss the point completely. I also noticed the growth of their sound on each release, showcasing music maturity. If you are a longtime fan of The Kimballs, I think it’s an important element to understand going into this new record that it’s a different band this time around. They may or may not agree, but this is how I perceive it. They are totally trying out new sounds while avoiding the risk of alienating their core fanbase. Overall, I think this new record should increase their audience. I mean, heck, I am already on board. (By the way, no hazing of the newbie). If The Kimballs gave you those fan-code butterflies, they will continue to flutter on.

I look forward to seeing The Kimballs live for the first time in the near future, as they already have me sold on recordings. I am almost certain that their performance will give me all the more reason to love this energetic, emotional, well-constructed music! I even saw all over their social media pages how they have been getting reviews from journalists in other countries, which is totally rad! Be sure to check out their recently released animated video for “Superpowers,” for it’s very entertaining and unique. To learn more about them, visit their Facebook page or official website at I will be back next week with another local act that is causing an ear-frenzy. In the meantime, you have another seven solid days ahead of you to discover a new talent! Get on it people; the shows are not going to fill themselves!