Makin Waves Scene Report with Rachel Ana Dobken, Asbury Park Hip-Hop Fest, This Year’s Comeback & More

Also featured this week are Asbury Park’s Universal African Festival, Pyrrhic Victory Recordings, Green Knuckle Material and Drive, Kid.

Rachel Ana Dobken, the singer, songwriter, drummer, guitarist, pianist and Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery music curator, will release her latest record, When It Happens to You, on September 8 at Asbury Lanes. In the meantime, she needs funds for tracking, mixing, mastering, musician pay, distribution, video, photography, marketing and publicity, so she’s started an Indiegogo crowdsourcing campaign

  Produced by Dobken, recorded by Joey Henderson of The Burns and Tim Pannella at Cedar Sounds in Oceanport, and being mixed by Kyle Joseph, who’s worked with Bob Weir, When It Happens to You is a full-length follow-up to her 2016 EP, Detach. The multi-hyphenated talent says her record stretches across a multitude of genres, including indie rock, jazz and soul. Imagine Amy Winehouse meets My Morning Jacket, Lake Street Dive meets White Denim. In addition to writing, producing arranging and singing the songs, Dobken also played drums, guitar and piano on the album.

    Asbury Park Hip Hop Fest Vol. One will feature presenter Solo for Dolo, Pacewon, Ren Thomas, Joe College, Nujericans, DBM, Age of Extincton, Drea, Shoreshot, Redline, Dro Pesci, The Good People, DJ C Reality, Ghetto M.C. and Sun Lo on Aug. 6 at the Wonder Bar. The 7 p.m. 21+ show is free thanks to sponsors, who include Lite House Music, Parkview Projects, 7th Boro, Flip the Script Radio, Kanek, and The Credit Pros.


  Neptune-based rapper Joe College also will be among the performers at Zamirahssad A. Dunbar Foundation’s Universal African Festival on August 4 at Springwood Park in Asbury Park. Other performers will include rappers ImaniAray, Most Dop and HD Picasso, hip-hop band King Ramses, Universal African Dance Ensemble, Nikki Robinson and the Nick Nack Dance Attack, Asbury Park Technical Dance Academy, Sigma’s Control Step Team, inspirational singer Michelle White, spoken word artists Paige Ryans, Made Pierre, Felicia Simmons, Sunlite the Poet, and participants in and organizers of the KYDS conscious youth development program, R&B singers Nadirah Dawson and Eric Smith, soul/hip-hop band Whodat, The Reactivation Series Band, and comic Al-nisa Lawson. Highlights also will include vegan and soul food, art exhibits, kids’ activities, yoga and other mindfulness and wellness programs, and scholarship and community awards.

  After a year of singles, up-and-coming energetic Jersey Shore pop-punk band This Year’s Comeback will celebrate the release of their debut LP, Far From Fine, A Garden State Tragedy, August 4 at Asbury Park Music Foundation with Callout, That’s Not Pop Punk Of You, Painted Young and Drive, Kid. If you like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, and A Day To Remember, you’ll dig these guys.

  Speaking of Drive, Kid, the similar-sounding Long Branch act recently dropped their full-length debut for which This Year’s Comeback participated in the celebration. The 11-song “Enjoy Being” follows two EPs, 2016’s self-titled debut and Picturesque, which was released in March. The busy boys will open on September 8 at Asbury Park Brewery for Shane Henderson of Valencia and Promise of Redemption, along with local bands June Divided and My Lonely Heart.

  North Jersey indie Pyrrhic Victory are keeping busy producing bands and their shows. The label has three new releases out. Scary Hours, the one-man project name of singer-songwriter Ryan Struck, recently released a PVR single, “Live to Serve/Serve to Live.” Scary Hours will play with label mates The 65’s on August 18 at Harp N Bard, Clifton. The Components and Summer Husbands will share the bill.

  In support of their self-titled debut LP, Philly synthwave band Retroglyphs will play August 3 at Mill Hill Basement, Trenton, with Bar/None recording act Overlake and goodnight/goodluck. PVR recently reissued the 1987 single, “Faith Is Torn,” of Voice of Doom, featuring members of Samhain and Dag Nasty. Voice of Doom will reunite to play a show PVR is presenting with fellow North Jersey indie labels Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids on September 18 at Pet Shop Bar, Jersey City, also with The Components and John Cozz.

  The aforementioned 65’s have a tasty show coming up Aug. 30 at John and Peters, New Hope, Pa., with Mr. Payday and Secretary Legs. Due in the fall from PVR will be the latest record by the rootsy two-piece Hidden Cabins.

    Green Knuckle Material will kick off the Renaissance tour in support of their same-named 2017 EP on August 9 at Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck, with Jean Pool, Olive & the Pits, and Joyride sharing the bill. The tour then will take the New Brunswick-by-way-of-North-Jersey rap-rock act to Baltimore, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina before heading Aug. 18 to The Skate Foundry in Philadelphia. Then it’s Albany, Vermont and Massachusetts followed by August 23 at Caffeine Underground in Brooklyn; August 24, St. Babs, Cape May Courthouse, and concluding August 25 at Evelyn’s, New Brunswick.

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