Maria’s Local Radar: Grand Mariner

Hello, my local friends. How are you? (Well, I know you can’t answer me here, but hey, I can still ask.) As many of you may have heard, I recently stepped down from my Jersey Rock DJ’ing duties at The Rat. To all of the Jersey Rockers out there, trust me, this was a bittersweet announcement. For the past few years, I have had the pleasure of hosting Jersey Rock, which has been an experience that I will never forget. Between hosting shows, conducting contests, winning awards, listening to so many amazing bands and being able to be a part of such a wide-range of local community talent, to say this show has been rewarding to me is an understatement. Of course, the Local Radar column is a huge part of that as well. It makes my heart smile seeing bands that we broke on this program getting signed to labels, going on national tours, and getting the attention that they deserve. I had a mission to make this show as big as it could be, and I still feel there are so many things that can be done.

Don’t worry, this program is NOT going away! In fact, we have a brand new host, and her name is Nikki! You may have already heard her on weekends here at The Rat! Continue to follow this page to get to know her, for she will be up on it real soon! She’s fantastic, has a pulse on the music scene, and is going to take this program to brand new levels. In the words of Semisonic, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Rock and roll, love you all. Now, enough with this solemn stuff, for the Local Radar is here to stay! I still have way too many bands to write about, so let’s keep that going, shall we?

This week, I am going to talk about a group that is very close to my ears at the moment, and they go by the name of Grand Mariner. I first found out about them from a great music website called Speak Into My Good Eye, which you should absolutely check out (it’s run by some great people who are very active in the music scene). The band features Jon, Matt and Justin. In their own words, they are “three dudes from Howell, NJ playing surf shit.” Their album Happy To Birth is out now, and it’s compacted with some amazing jams that will get you in a true feel-good mood.

I started off listening to the track “Unforgiving Sun.” The title of this track goes well with the band’s whole vibe, as it reminds us of summer, heat, and the ocean. Upon first listen, they really reminded of this group Wavves, which you may have heard of. Trust me, I am not saying they are a spitting image by any means, but the tone and style of their music just gave me a hint of reminder. Sometimes, a comparison is a high form of flattery, and this is one of those times. I then listened to “Summer Wars,” which may be my favorite track on the record. This song, along with most on the album, peels away noisy layers, and really allows me as a listener to broaden the vision and participate in a solo ongoing dance of musical evolution (if that makes any sense whatsoever). Basically, I’ve always had a soft spot for surf aesthetic, and I love fuzzed-out guitar riffs, so they are already ahead of the game in my book.

I also highly recommend you check out “Haunted Surfboard.” The title of the track alone is worthwhile, but it’s a very intense jam that I think you all will dig. You will tend to notice a trend that their song titles really summarize how they are and what they like to do. I like when bands include personal interests in their music and lyrics, for it’s almost like they are unveiling a little bit about themselves in each record. This is just one of those tracks that don’t get old, no matter how many times you play it!

If you like punk and surf rock, you need to check out this album. It’s available on their Facebook page at Over there, be sure to also give them a “Like” and find out when they will be playing a show near you. By the way, do yourself a favor and check out their bio; it will pretty much crack you up and give you a full explanation as to how these guys are: comical and cool. They are also on Bandcamp, so you can check out all of their music there as well.

I will be back next week with another act of your liking. In the meantime, get your butts off the couch (when you’re done reading, naturally), and get out to a show. There are so many coming up that it’s almost hard to choose! Keep rocking, locals!