Makin Waves Scene Report with Dentist, Lowlight, The Vaughns & More

Also featured this week are Hub City Stompers, Silent Culture, Sean Kiely, and Joshua Branson.

  Asbury faves Dentist are about to embark on a national tour in support of Night Swimming, their forthcoming third LP and label debut for L.A.-based Cleopatra Records. But first, they’ll play the record release party for Avery Mandeville & the Man Devils on July 13 at The Saint in Asbury Park with Lowlight and Julian Fulton. Then the tour will kick off July 18 at Ortlieb’s, Philadelphia, before heading down the East Coast to New Orleans, out to Texas, the Southwest, and the West Coast, trekking to the Midwest, and winding up Aug. 15 at Mohawk Place in Buffalo, N.Y. On Aug. 24, Dentist will play a homecoming show at Asbury Park Yacht Club.

  Fans of Fazerdaze, The Primitives, The Cardigans and Soft Science will dig the 11-song LP, which will drop July 20 and features a video for “The Latter,” streaming below, and a single for “Corked” that can be found here.

  Dentist feature the husband-and-wife songwriting team of of vocalist-bassist Emily and guitarist Justin Bornemann, as well as drummer Matt Hockenjos. Their mix of catchy, dreamy, fuzzed-out indie surf pop, aggressive garage punk and lyrical themes of social anxiety and heartache combine the freedom of the beach with the urgency of the city.

  “This album was an attempt to capture all the different aspects of ourselves and create something that we would want to listen to,” Justin said.

  “Musically we are attracted to rawness and simplicity, but melodically we lean towards a pop aesthetic,” Emily added. “The lyrics tend to be focused on social anxiety, heartache and loss, but sometimes reveal love and optimism.”

  Produced by Justin and recording-mixing engineer Andy Bova at Simple Sound Studios in Oceanport, Night Swimming was mastered by Jürgen Engler, who has worked with Die Krupps, Nico, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, and Queensryche.

  Dentist have shared the stage with Television, Screaming Females, Ringo Deathstarr, and Laura Stevenson. They were named one of the top 10 bands at this year’s SXSW by Mercury News and also have been featured by National Public Radio and Stereogum. Night Swimming follows a self-released 2014 self-titled debut LP, and Ceilings, their 2016 outing on Asbury Park-based Little Dickman Records featuring the single “Meet You There (In Delaware),” which found its way onto Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” playlist and was chosen as one of Daytrotter’s top 100 songs of 2016. 

  On the heels of their latest EP, Born to Run, and a successful tour with The Pretenders, Lowlight have released It’s Later Than You Think, a live LP that features three new songs: the Asbury Park-inspired “Locals Only,” the road weary but romantic “California Blue,” and the jaded jangle of “Endless Bummer (Coastlines).” For now a digital-only release, the 10-song collection was captured while the Asbury alt-roots rockers were on tour opening for The Pretenders in late March and early April throughout the East Coast. Jersey weighs heavily in the band’s third release following Born to Run and the brilliant 2016 debut LP, Where Do We Go from Here. Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, where Lowlight have opened three of several shows for The Pretenders since 2017 — most recently on the June 28 release date of It’s Later Than You Think — is the source of most of the songs, but Mayo Center for the Performing Arts in Morristown also is featured, along with Boston’s Orpheum Theatre.

  Recorded by Scott Maxwell, the audio tech of The Pretenders tour who’s also worked with U2, It’s Later Than You Think was mixed and mastered by Lowlight producer-guitarist Derril Sellers and once again features epic pastoral album art by his wife, keyboardist Dana Sellers. Other tracks are “Bones,” “86 Parisienne,” “Motel Chronicles,” and the title track from the debut LP and “Sleep Wounds,” “Can’t Stop Now” and “Nights and Weekends” from the recent EP.

  After you’ve bought, downloaded and heard It’s Later Than You Think, you can experience Lowlight live in person on July 13 at the aforementioned Saint show, as well as their monthly residency on third Saturdays at John & Peter’s in New Hope, Pa. They’ll also open for the new roots-rockin’ super group Glorietta, featuring members of Delta Spirit, Wild Child and Black Pumas, on July 26 at 90.5 the Night’s free Songwriters on the Beach series in Belmar, as well as for their buds in Roadside Graves, including Lowlight singer-songwriter-guitarist Renee Maskin, a former Graves member, on Sept. 1 at Asbury Park Yacht Club for the release party for a long-awaited follow-up to their previous Don Giovanni Records outing, 2015’s “Acne/Ears.” Coach N’ Commando also will be on that bill.

  Other Lowlight dates include July 22, Old Franklin Schoolhouse, Metuchen, with the Welsh folk act Jon Langford & His Four Lost Souls and fellow Schoolhouse fave Hank Reineke; an acoustic set on Aug. 4 there; Aug. 8, MusikFest, Bethlehem, Pa.; Sept. 15, Metuchen Beer Fest, and Oct. 26, Asbury Lanes.

  Having recently toured the Northeast in support of their new single, “Coffee Sundae,” The Vaughns will play July 12 for SoFar Sounds Baltimore and July 13 at APYC with Well Wisher and Yawn Mower. The charming new single follows the fun-filled “Bring Your Kids to Work Day” video. The whimsical track chronicles dealing with a romantic partner who is still in contact with their ex and will be part of a soon-to-be-announced larger release.

Hub City Stompers have released their second video from their hot new LP, Haters Dozen. For “Hard Place to Be,” Jenny Whiskey has set down her saxophone and picked up the microphone for her tasty tune.

  The clip features NYC punkster Hiromy Araniva skanking to “Hard Place to Be,” a breakup song about a scenester couple whose disparate levels of maturity lead to their parting. Check it out live when Hub City Stompers, who originated in New Brunswick but whose members largely either were raised and/or now live in the Trenton area, play Makin Waves’ “Trenton Makes Takeover” of Asbury Park Brewery with The Cryptkeeper Five, Molly Rhythm, Experiment 34, and Chalk & the Beige Americans on July 14. After that, HCS will do mini tours of the Northeast and California before returning to Asbury on Aug. 24 to play the Wonder Bar with The Pietasters and Sammy Kay. Then they’ll play Chicago before once again headlining Hub City Sounds: ROCK New Brunswick on Sept. 8 in Boyd Park with Doc Hopper, Pleased Youth, Sharief in Burgundy, Silent Knight, Danielle Illario, Nalani & Sarina, Experiment 34, Professor Caveman, SusBus and Hong Kong Graffiti.

    Silent Culture are a great young South Jersey band recommended by my longtime buddy and colleague Lee Mrowicki. I can see why the legendary Asbury DJ likes them so much. They have a hearty, driving sound that recalls U2. While they ready a follow-up to the impressive 2017 singles, “7:30” and “Somewhere in Between,” they will play July 7, Championship Bar, Trenton, with San Diego-based Made in the Shade recording act Secrets, as well as Indighxst, My Last Breath, and Dig Deep; July 13, The Fire, Philadelphia, with Caterpillars, and July 14 at the massive Stick’s Fest at The Basement in Eldora, also with Caterpillar, as well as through July 15 with Sons, The River Mourning, Con Etiquette, Goalkeeper, Fool Sends, Ringtail Howitzer, Damn Long Hairs, Baron Praxis, Hit Like a Girl, The Missing Frets, Mikita, Hannah Stone & Company, Norelle Green, BauceCat, BarrBarians, Moment to Capitalize, The Creds, The Gettysburg Address, Wait and Shackle, Necter, It Came from Space, Reunite Pangea, Meet Me at the Altar, Bear Success, Foxy Dads, Heartside, Old Home, Pool Kids, Casting, Afloat, Stonehaven, This Year’s Comeback, Hold Fast Hope, Pinwheel, Moonflower, Heavensake, Hanger, Poverty, Facets and more. Whew! I pity the sound crew.

  Another very impressive act who comes recommended a longtime buddy and colleague, Jay Lustig of, is rootsy Jersey City singer-songwriter-guitarist Sean Kiely, who has a new EP, It Sure Was Good, that he’s gigging behind. Upcoming dates include July 6, Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1, New York City; July 26, Fox & Crow, Jersey City, with The Royal Arctic Institute; July 28, John & Peters, New Hope; Aug. 16, Whittemore, Tewksbury, and Sept. 13, Rockwood Stage 3. The fascinating four-song outing was inspired by Kiely’s learning of the failed Roanoke colony settled in 1585 by 115 Brits who languished more than 20 years before Jamestown. His discovery coincided with the personal struggles spawning the emotional reckoning of It Sure Was Good. The Multiple Logo Records release follows 2015’s Your Logo, My Logo and 2017’s Willow, Texas split seven-inch with Jeff Taylor.

  Having recently played Jersey Shore and Sourland Music festivals, Branchburg-based singer-songwriter Joshua Branson will continue to perform in support his self-titled four-song EP on July 7 at American Spirits Roadhouse, Asbury (Hunterdon County). A recent video for a track entitled “By Design” was produced by Grammy-winning Canadian Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris). The EP is a follow-up to last year’s three-song Revival produced by Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors, Lenny Kravitz).

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at