Mid-week, glass half full, which means the week is almost done! The weekend is right around the corner and it’s time to start making some plans to get out and see some local shows. I saw a lot will be happening, so please keep sharing your shows with me. I also wanted to take a second to congratulate my friend’s local band, Toothgrinder, on getting signed to Spinefarm Records, which is also the home of acts such as Volbeat, Three Doors Down, and more. They are so deserving of this opportunity, and have worked really hard to get to where they need to be. The most beautiful part of it is they did it all on their own. There are so many bands out there that “sell out,” take their fans for granted, and in a digital age, expect everything to be handed to them. Uploading a YouTube video literally can make you famous nowadays, and it’s very sad. Yes, of course social media can be used as a great tool for many bands trying to reach their fans and get to where they need to be, but it’s nice to see some groups, such as Toothgrinder, doing it the old fashioned way: touring, playing tons of shows, releasing music, and funding themselves to get better and better. I couldn’t be happier for them, and I can’t wait to see where this next step in their musical journey takes them.

All right, I know, enough with the sentimental stuff, but it’s nice to harp on some good news for a change! This week, I’d like to talk about a band from Middletown, NJ called Back And Forth, who recently caught my eye from Nikki Black, the lovely host of Jersey Rock. They are a punk/hardcore band, which is by default one of my favorite styles. They started back in roughly 2010, with members Matt on vocals, Chez on guitar, Dean on guitar, Matt on bass, and Chris on drums.

Now, I am fairly new to this band, just dabbling in some recordings, so I cannot judge them on their live set yet. However, based on their recordings, I can tell I will be a fan. Their LP, Mercer Ave, is available now for free streaming, and I have been hooked for almost two weeks now. Trust me, with my free time span these days being close to zero, that is a long time to spend on one record.

Most tracks are short and sweet, leaving me just enough time to really get into it. I started off with “Disconnected,” which, if it isn’t a single, it should be immediately. It’s so catchy and fun, really making any heavy music fan out there want to bang their head. You seriously cannot help it; you will be raging to this tune the second it comes on. With a sick drum and bass intro, I turned this song up as long as I could. I then proceeded to check out “My Lady Mercy,” which brought me to a whole other level. Check this one out and you will see what I mean. I also love “My Lady Mercy” for as heavy as it is, it takes you to a softer place. I really analyzed the lyrics on this track and I tried to interpret them in my own right, leaving me feeling emotional, but in a good way! Any good song should have that effect on the ear of the listener, and that does just this.

If I had to recommend one Back And Forth song for you to start out with, it may be “Against My Will.” Not just because it’s my personal favorite, but it hits every damn note that you could ever imagine. Not only does it execute a catchy tune in the most violent way possible, but it really makes you realize how talented each and every member of this band is. They complete one another, and each brings a violent asset to the table. Sometimes in a genre like this, a lot of bands tend to sound the same, but something about them remains unique. Maybe it’s their energy or their mood, something does it; I cannot place my finger on it, but it works. I highly suggest you stream this LP for free, for it’s time well spent. Any band that allows their fans to access their music at their own will is okay by me.

This band is playing a ton around the area, so you have no excuse not to see them live. I have heard amazing things about this group and I have to see it myself, so let’s all collide and go see them. You can also find out more about them on their Facebook page at facebook.com/backandforthnj. They are very engaging with their fans, and I am sure they would love to hear how much you love their live set (tell them Maria sent you). While you are at it, be sure to check out their album, for as I have raved throughout this whole article, I promise it will not disappoint you. If you are looking for your heavy fix and the next best band in this genre, listen to Back And Forth, over and over.

I will be back with another awesome band of your liking next week; it could be heavy, it could be pop, it could be country, who knows! Just keep on sending those submissions my way. Cheers!

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