Asbury Park-based Lowlight are on tour and will play a welcome-home show on March 3 at Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery preceding the release of a second single from an album expected in late spring.
Hats off to Lowlight, one of only a four local acts tapped to play the second annual Sea.Hear.Now Festival Sept. 21 and 22 on and near the Asbury Park beach! The 2016 Makin Waves Band of the Year got the news while on a Southeast tour and coincided it with the second single, “Give It a Minute,” from an LP to be released in early summer by Jersey Shore-based Telegraph Hill Records. The Lowlight tour will finish up on Feb. 28 at New York Pizza in Greensboro, N.C., and March 1, Wall of Sound Music Center, Durham, NC. Then the Asbury-based alt-roots outfit are homeward bound, playing March 2 at Boot & Saddle, Philadelphia, with Morning River Band and Driftwood Soldier and March 3 at Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery in Asbury with Brian Molnar & Slow Rolling Low, Ali McGuirk and Rachel Ana Dobken. On March 22, Lowlight will play Bowery Electric, New York City, with Wylder, Bad Business and Willolux, and on May 17, they’ll return to Philly to play Bourbon & Branch with Cold Weather Company and Foxanne. Other local bands on Sea.Hear.Now are Stringbean and the Boardwalk Social Club, Brick + Mortar, and Beach Rats, featuring members of The Bouncing Souls and Lifetime.
New Brunswick-based Atom Driver will play Feb. 28 at Roxy & Dukes, Dunellen, and March 30 at Mill Hill Basement, Trenton, behind their new EP, Here They Come, the Hornets.
New Brunswick indie trio Atom Driver’s third EP, Here They Come, the Hornets, is a blast of five songs that clock in at a swift 13 minutes but leave behind an emotional punch that lasts a lot longer. The EP also was a blast to make, vocalist-guitarist Mark Segal said, as well as a whirlwind of production. “We pride ourselves in being all business, but I think this was a new record for us…. We recorded and mixed it in about 15 hours. We always like to try new studios and engineers. We decided to try out Exeter Studios in Freehold because we really liked how the Zero for Conduct record sounded. Joe at Exeter is top-notch and is a maniac at the console.” Atom Driver will play with Zero for Conduct on March 30 at Mill Hill Basement in Trenton, along with Chicago’s All Eyes West and New York City’s Abstract Artimus. But first the punk-fueled three-piece will play Feb. 28 at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen with Vengents and Devil’s Bubblegum. After releasing two EPs in 2017, Atom Driver took a while to head back into the studio. “The benefit was that we got to write a lot of material and then cull through it to pick the ones we felt were the strongest and most diverse,” said Segal. All three members of Atom Driver were an integral part of the New Brunswick music scene of the ’90s. Segal was in Boss Jim Gettys, bassist Justin Ingstrup was in Good Clean Fun, and drummer Mike Polilli was in the Alternative Tentacles recording act, Buzzkill. Back in those days, dealing with music streams and social media wasn’t part of the rock ‘n’ roll equation, but Atom Driver have a good handle on the mediums of the 21st Century, including a new playlist they are curating on Spotify. “We want to not just support us, but support indie artists like ourselves in the music community,” Segal said. “We do highlights of labels and their artists each week. We did a two-week series on King Pizza Records in Brooklyn.”
Kosha Dillz — “The Other Side of Happiness”
Jersey-bred Jewish rapper Kosha Dillz returns home from his L.A. base to rock March 1 at FM Bar in Jersey City, with Green Knuckle Material, Cook Thugless, and Feli Fame. He’ll also be at The Saint in Asbury Park March 2, with Cook Thugless, Experiment 34, and Chris Rockwell. The dates are sandwiched by shows at Sundance Film Festival and SXSW, all in support of his latest single, “The Other Side of Happiness,” featuring Alverez Kings.
Andy B. — “Master’s Ship”
New Brunswick scenester Andy B., has released his second LP, Look What the Cat Dragged in (Indie on Air Records). Like its 2017 predecessor, My Roots Are Showing, Look What the Cat Dragged was produced by John Pittas, who’s also worked with the great Asbury Park singer and blues harp player Sandy Mack. The nine-song collection features some of Andy B.’s tunes with The VooDUDES, a veteran New Orleans/Caribbean-flavored band that he still fronts. Among them is “Master’s Ship,” which they contributed to Jersey Jams, Jersey Cares, the 2002 charity compilation CD I co-produced with Matt Angus and Seth Alexander. Andy B.’s soulful take on the traditional “Candyman” also is a standout. After the roots rocker returns from Austin, he will announce local shows with his Andy B.AND SoulFolk, featuring top Garden State players.
Steve Dadaian — “On Silver Shores”
The Columbia University-trained Slash Guitar Contest winner Steve Dadaian recently released, Follow the Light, a concept album that features several videos, including a brand new play-through clip for “On Silver Shores,” courtesy of Ultimate Guitar. “‘On Silver Shores’ is an important song on this record conceptually and technically,” Dadaian said. “This song is the soundtrack to the location where the character finds himself in his journey of the album’s story. As a guitarist, I wanted the song’s pace to ebb and flow like ocean waves, given the title and environment. This has some of my favorite chord changes and melodies on the record with perhaps the most technically demanding picking passages. The full album track really sets the stage.” Featuring razor-sharp solos, theatrical and symphonic soundscapes, and unforgettable melodies, Follow the Light starts strong with an ominous introduction entitled “The Journey Ahead.” The album wastes no time beginning its epic tale with the jazz-metal of the title track and continues to flux amid orchestral-influenced pieces, such as “Forest Requiem,” and larger-than-life rock opuses, like “Soul Connection.”
The Makin Waves 2019 Concert Series, launched with LOD @ APYC in January, continues May 17-19 at the Brighton Bar in Long Branch, and May 20 at the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park with Makin Waves Fest. The Aquarian Weekly, the Brighton, Happy Mondays, Reg Santana Presents, and more sponsors to be announced, will present nearly two dozen bands, including The Cryptkeeper Five, The Carousers, The Ribeye Brothers, Defiance Engine, Secret Sound, Mike Montrey Band, Nalani & Sarina, and Taylor Tote Band. Look for an official announcement by Makin Waves on Facebook within the next couple of weeks. On Sept. 28, Makin Waves and Red Pants Productions will present “A 50th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles’ Abbey Road” at Asbury Lanes, featuring a performance of the iconic album from top to bottom by the Asbury All Star Abbey Road. Sponsors will include The Aquarian Weekly, New Jersey Stage, Asbury Park Music Foundation, Telegraph Hill Records, 3143 Artist Management, and more. Asbury Lanes officially will announce the Abbey Road tribute on March 28. The new Makin Waves Tallie Fest will be a women’s empowerment event in tribute to Tillie’s overlooked girlfriend that will feature a dozen female singer-songwriters and female-fronted acts Nov. 15-16 at Asbury Park Yacht Club and Langosta Lounge. The festival is Makin Waves’ third annual benefit for Food for Thought, which provides Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dinners to the hungry and the homeless—largely single mothers and their children. The benefit’s first two years raised nearly $3,000. Stay tuned for more details. The Makin Waves Concert Series also has shows in July, October, and December in the works.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at email@example.com. And like Makin Waves at www.facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.