Despite being just 18 years old, Rachel Miller has managed to create a name for herself within the local scene and beyond. Being exposed to music at an early age, she was born with a natural talent for it, as she began playing guitar at three and writing music at seven. Although she played in local bands in her early teens, Miller opted to pursue a career as a solo artist in 2011. Since then, she’s won a JAM Award and has even played at The Bamboozle Festival in 2012. She released Failure, her latest demo, last month. For more information on the songstress, log on to rachelmillermusic.com.
Science have really been dominating the scene in Northern NJ since forming in 2011. The alternative rock band is currently focused on writing and recording new music, as they entered the studio in the early part of winter to record the follow-up LP to their 2011 EP, Don’t Panic. In December, they released a video for “Any Waking Moment,” a new single that will be featured on the upcoming record. For more information on the band, check out sciencenj.com
Mixing together rock and emo, Secoue (which translates to “shaken” in French) formed just last year, but have wasted no time creating music and playing shows. At the first gig they ever played, they managed to destroy some of their equipment, with vocalist/guitarist Christian DiStasi breaking two of his pedals during a breakdown toward the end of their set. At the end of December, the five-piece dropped their debut, four-song demo, and put together a series of shows throughout the Tri-State Area, which they finished in mid-January. To listen to their music, go to secoue.bandcamp.com.
Holy City Zoo
New Brunswick, NJ
The New Brunswick area is a renowned hotspot for fresh music in NJ, and Holy City Zoo are no exception. Since releasing their debut EP, cleverly titled (EP), in early 2011, they have come out with a slew of other discs, the latest being 2013’s Everybody Sells For More, a title that is in response to its predecessor, Nobody Sells For Less. The group plans to record their first full-length later this year. Check out facebook.com/holycityzoo for additional information, tunes and show listings.
Two of the three members of Weirdface met completely by chance in the halls of Bergen Community College in 2012, coming together to create their own mix of alternative rock, drawing inspiration from ’90s indie while throwing in bits of airy electronica. After finding a permanent drummer in 2013, the trio began to play shows throughout the area. The group plans to use the first half of 2014 to finish writing and recording an EP, which is set to be released early summer. For demos and live videos, check out reverbnation.com/weirdface.
Those Mockingbirds are set to explode over the next year. The five-piece is currently laying down their untitled LP with engineers Howard Willing and Dean Baltulonis in New Hampshire, opting to record away from their home to focus solely on the music. The music video for their single “How To Rob A Bank” was recently voted into rotation by fans on MTVU. For more information and up-to-date news on Those Mockingbirds, log on to thosemockingbirds.com.
BeAware mix soft pop with electronica, giving their music a sonic, airy vibe. Originally created with the intention of being a solo project by vocalist Mike Lisa, he soon began putting together a live backing band for shows. They released their debut EP, Piece Of Cake, this past November, which includes four tracks that capture the essence of their sound. For more information on BeAware, go to facebook.com/beawaremusic.
On Your Marks
Monmouth County, NJ
Forming from the ashes of a previous band, On Your Marks aren’t living in the shadow of anyone or anything. The pop punk quartet has shared the stage with many prominent national acts, such as Man Overboard, Catch 22 and Major League, and has made it a point to not only perform locally, but also tour nationwide when possible. Last summer brought the release of their first album, Ripped Out By The Boots, which they have playing in support of ever since. For more information on their music and the band itself, check out facebook.com/onyourmarks.
Forbidden Territory formed in 2012, and the trio has accomplished quite a bit in the short time they’ve been together, sharing the stage with artists such as Asking Alexandria, Sevendust and Famous Last Words. The metal band’s debut record, Minutiae, will be released in the spring, and they plan to embark on their first tour in promotion of it this summer. For more details, go to facebook.com/forbiddenterritory1.
The Best Of The Worst
The Best Of The Worst combine elements of ska with hardcore and punk, creating a unique blend that is all their own. Forming in 2005, their first EP, Quarter Life Crisis, dropped in 2008. Since then they’ve released two EPs, one split with Tomahawk Chop, and one full-length record, Perspectives, which came out last February. The group started this year off on the right foot by opening for Kill Lincoln and Chris DeMakes of Less Than Jake. For downloads of their music and a complete list of upcoming shows, check out tbotwnj.com.
Lake Effect’s lo-fi indie rock has a vibe to it that is refreshingly chill. The band mixes eccentric, personal lyrics with simple guitars, soft synths and an occasional drum machine. Often stylizes as lkffct, Lake Effect formed in 2008 and released their self-titled debut in late 2012. This was followed up by a small collection of new tracks this past October, titled Genuine Bonds, on their Bandcamp. For samples of their music and a list of upcoming shows, go to facebook.com/lkffct.
If 2013 is any indication of what 2014 will be for the pop punk five-piece Save Face, they definitely have a good year ahead of them. Releasing their first EP, Lost At Heart, last January, they soon followed up with a split alongside friends in Brightener, fittingly titled Banana Split, in June. Priding themselves on the old-school, DIY spirit, all of the band’s music is available for download on the internet. They are currently in the process of recording five new tracks that will be released as the year progresses. For more information on the group, check out facebook.com/savefacenj.
Stating that they chose their name as a symbol of each member’s individual importance and the strengths they bring with them, post-hardcore band Franchise have developed a way to put their talents together and create a sound that truly works for them. The group formed early last year after months of discussion, eventually leading to the creation of their self-titled debut, which was produced by Frank Marra, who has also produced music for The Gaslight Anthem. Since the disc dropped, they have been playing shows relentlessly throughout the Tri-State Area. For more information on the band, go to facebook.com/franchisenj.
The Empty Frame
Meeting during their years at a private Christian school in Northern NJ, five high school friends who shared an interested in alternative rock came together to jam, ultimately creating what would lead to The Empty Frame. Originally performing under the name Affiliate 9, the group took on the new alias after a lineup change. While the quintet has released a slew of demos, they have yet to release an actual EP, though they plan to spend 2014 writing and recording one. For more information, check out facebook.com/emptyframemusic.
A Thousand Times Goodnight
Bergen County, NJ
After starting out as two brothers and a friend jamming together in their spare time, metalcore act A Thousand Times Goodnight soon grew into much more. The band put out their debut disc, Elephants, in 2011, and has plans to create a sophomore album later this year. They released their newest single, “Chapters,” in October, and are currently writing and recording new music. For more information, go to facebook.com/athousandtimesgoodnight.
A solo electronic project by Roger Berkowitz, Unique Noise creates a dark, ambient feel with its music. Unique and unlike most music found on the scene at the moment, Berkowitz uses what he calls a “sound collage” to create his tones, adding onto the psychedelic feel. He released his first record as Unearth Noise, titled Sacred Excavations, at the beginning of December. To hear the album in its entirety, check out unearthnoise.bandcamp.com, where you can also find more information about the project.