Hello, my friends. It’s about that time to chat my favorite thing, music. Each and every week I am allowed to express my views and opinions on some local talent that I feel should be in the spotlight. Some of you may wonder, “What is the importance of local music?” Well, I could go on for hours and dedicate this whole column solely to that subject, but I won’t. There are so many reasons, however, why arts and the local community are important. First and foremost, without local music and aspiring bands, there wouldn’t be an industry. Unless you follow some of the silly trends these days like becoming famous off of social media (not knocking it, just stating the facts of where we are today), no bands would’ve become famous without at least playing a few times at a dive bar in their hometown or practicing in someone’s parents’ basement. Before the days of social media, it was all about developing a fanbase the natural way, which in my opinion, is still very existent. I see tons of bands touring and hustling, flyering and networking, recording records and giving them out for free, just to get their name out there. Hey, I always put it this way, even the Foo Fighters started somewhere. Naturally, I am not a musician, so my opinion may not matter for some of you, but I have dealt with the local scene in many aspects on various levels for multiple years now, and I have come to learn that the local scene will always be important as long as we keep supporting it.
That being said, enough with the preaching, and let’s get down to business of discussing the most important thing, the music! This week, I want to go punk. I want to go as punk as I possibly can. As you all know, I am huge fan of local band The Scandals, and these guys have just released a split record with a band that I am just becoming familiar with called Jaguar Shark. Now, I know a lot of you in the punk world—and just music lovers in general—have already heard of them, and I may be late to the game, but as they say, better late than never.
Jaguar Shark are the ultimate punk band from “Boonton/Jersey City/New York City.” Members include Derek Reilly, Jim Richardi, Greg Mitchels, Alex Reilly, and Steve Cerri. Now, when I heard about that split, I knew I would enjoy it, for it was just as satisfying as a Lost In Society and American Pinup split. I love the artwork on this split as well, showcasing one of my favorite local venues, the legendary Court Tavern in New Brunswick, which has put dozens and dozens of bands on the map. Nice to see that they are paying homage to their starting grounds, as I believe this is just that for both of these bands: just the beginning.
First off, can we just discuss how they have a track called “Big Gulps Huh?” I’m sorry, but if you don’t know what movie this is from, then I don’t know what you are doing wrong. Classic title and an even better song. The energy on this track is undeniable, literally making me want to go see them live at that very instant. It’s a perfect opener, setting the tone for their sound. If you have never crowd surfed, this may be the first time you do. My personal favorite track, however, is called “Tripolar.” Take a listen and you will see why. I love the drum line in the beginning, and it’s got a super catchy tone. The harmony will get you bobbing your head. I also love the lyrics on this one, for if you really listen, it’s not as lighthearted as you may think. Of course, punk is always fun, but I feel this track means more than the ear is led to believe. Again, good music allows you to make your own interpretation of each song, and Jaguar Shark does just that.
Two of the fiercest animals around, jags and sharks, combine to make one brutal sound that will leave you wanting more and more. You should absolutely pick up this latest split with The Scandals, and check out all of Jaguar Shark’s discography, as there is so much yet to come from this talented group of guys. In fact, their EP This City Will Eat Me Alive shouldn’t go unnoticed, for this has been added to my playlist as well.
You can learn all about Jaguar Shark on their Facebook page at facebook.com/wearejaguarshark, where you can find their latest show updates, photos, music and more. You can also connect with them on Twitter and Bandcamp, and pretty much all other social media outlets. Let them know you love what you hear, purchase their new tunes, and get out to a show. You don’t have to do it just because I said so, but I promise if you like punk, or just good music all around, you will love this band. Also, keep checking their show schedule and get out to a show. I will be back next week with another local band of your liking, and in the meantime, keep supporting the local music scene, one band at a time!