By: Nick Manduley
Brick Township, NJ-based singer-songwriter Kelli Faith dropped her latest single “More” off her upcoming album “21” on August 9th. Clocking in at just over four minutes, the acoustic country pop-rocker sings passionately about finding a love that is not only reciprocated, but also open and honest. The track opens with the rhythmic strumming of an acoustic guitar, with Faith’s vocals effortlessly dancing over the chords as the bass and lead guitar begin to round out the arrangement. After the first chorus, the drums begin to kick in and song rips into a sweet, classic rock-influenced guitar solo that makes it immediately clear that this song is perfect for summer. As a another verse rolls through the listener is brought back into a chorus that is not only catchy, but also makes it clear that Faith isn’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. The music video for “More” showcases Faith performing her song as she walks along the beautiful beaches of Asbury Park, as well as touching acting performances from Faith and her partner Jonathan Greulich.
Faith’s music career began in 2015 with the formation of Manasquan, New Jersey pop punk band Before It’s Too Late. Faith energetically fronted the quintet as they wrote songs inspired by bands such as Hey Monday, All Time Low, and State Champs. In 2016, the band released an EP entitled “Miscommunication” and played a plethora of shows across their home state, opening for bands such as Hinder and The Stolen. Faith personally took a lot of musical influence from Hey Monday’s Cassadee Pope, and after Before It’s Too Late disbanded in the fall of 2017, she translated that inspiration into a new solo project.
Fans can stream “More” on all major streaming platforms, as well as Faith’s debut full-length record “21” which is due out on September 20th. Faith’s late 2018 single “Him” is also available on all streaming services and will be featured on the upcoming album. Faith will be performing songs from her new record at The Brighton Bar in Long Branch, New Jersey on September 5th. She will be sharing the stage with acts such as The Ian Walsh Band, Holdn, and Aqua Aura. The show is available for all ages, and fans can gain entrance for a cover fee of ten dollars.
By: Nick Manduley
Lo-fi alternative rock solo act Lavender Sky released their sophomore LP “Technical Limitations” on July 26th. “Vines”, the first of thirteen tracks, opens the record with a casio keyboard drum loop followed by the strumming of a very twinkly, clean-toned guitar. The listener is quickly enveloped in a hazy fog of psychedelic guitar and synth tones, combined with reverby, melodramatic vocals courtesy of vocalist and guitarist Luke Hoffman. “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” opens with an infectious but gentle guitar riff that is reminiscent of bands like Turnover. Tracks such as “Stop H8in”, “When I’m Not Sick”, “I Don’t Know (RIP)”, and the album’s outro were completely improvised, and surprisingly wound up being some of the most profound songs on the record.
“It really helped recording stuff just from my brain and heart on the spot into the tape recorder,” says Hoffman in the description of the record on his bandcamp account. “Some of them ended up being the deepest tracks on the album.”
“Winter Is Over” shows a bit more of a country, Bob Dylan-influenced side of Hoffman’s musical range. The track opens with a sweet harmonica melody over the strumming of a twangy guitar, and leads into Hoffman singing about cherry blossoms blooming in the spring. The record’s title, “Technical Limitations” is derived from Hoffman’s dedication to create his art using only the equipment directly available to him. “From the beginning of this project, I never wanted to use drum samples I could easily download or use from a pad. I wanted to be constricted to using the given drum settings and synth tones from my casio keyboards that I’ve collected over the past couple years” says Hoffman.
On July 19th, Hoffman held a release show for the new record at the Meatlocker in Montclair, New Jersey. A live album of Hoffman’s set that night was released on the 22nd. Fans can purchase “Technical Limitations” (as well as the rest of Lavender Sky’s discography) for the name-your-price option bandcamp. Fans can also stream the new record on all major streaming platforms.
By: Nick Manduley
Jersey Shore-based emo rockers This Year’s Comeback independently dropped their latest record “Missing Pages” back in March. “Missing Pages” is a follow up and thematic sequel to the group’s 2018 debut LP “Far From Fine, A Garden State Tragedy.” ‘Far From Fine’ told the story of an unnamed protagonist who falls into a pit of emotional distress as a result of being in a toxic, mentally abusive relationship, which is continued on “Missing Pages.”
‘Missing Pages’ shows the band in a more dynamic light. The record opens with frontman Brian Matthew fiercely strumming an acoustic guitar and singing passionately about our protagonist feeling like he’s being “torn out of missing pages,” but then segways into the upbeat, distorted sound the boys gave us on “Far From Fine.” However, this time, the band puts a heavier, more metal edge on their sound. Tracks such as “Dropout” end with an electrifying breakdown and intense screams courtesy of Matthew. Other songs such as “Speedkasket,” “Monotony” and “Young & Angry” delivers the raw, emotional punch that leaves fans screaming every word.
“The purpose of ‘Missing Pages’ was to tie any loose ends that may have been left on ‘Far From Fine,” wrote the band in a social media post. “[We] further develop the psyche of the protagonist, and finally, give a proper resolution to the tail. If anything is to be taken from this, it’s to always persevere in the face of adversity.”
However, while the pop-punk tale has drawn to a close, it’s clear the boys in This Year’s Comeback are eager to push forward; they’ve been pretty busy since “Missing Pages” dropped earlier this year. After a slew of shows across the state, including a performance at the famed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, the band is once again writing new music. The band is reportedly halfway through recording their new EP, which they say could be out by the end of the summer at the earliest. For fans who are itching for new content, the band plans on releasing a compilation of unused demos and songs from their time recording “Garden State Tragedy” and “Missing Pages” later on this week, so be sure to catch up with This Year’s Comeback on social media to stay updated! Links to the band’s socials are conveniently located on their bandcamp account, where listeners can also download all their music for the “name-your-price” option. Fans can catch This Year’s Comeback in concert on August 31st at The Clubhouse in Toms River, New Jersey with other local acts such as The Open Minds, Ventress, and Night’s Edge.
Nick Manduley is a publicity intern with Muddy Paw PR, and a senior at Monmouth University where he is studying public relations and journalism. Manduley is also a staff writer for Monmouth’s student-run newspaper, The Outlook. Since 2016, Manduley has provided guitar and vocals for Jersey Shore-based punk outfit Drive, Kid. Drive, Kid has shared the stage with notable and upcoming artists such as Slaughter Beach, Dog, Rarity, and The Ones You Forgot. Their music can be streamed here as well as all major streaming services.
Noting that the opening track is “a melodic masterpiece,” they went on to say it was proof that they’ll be “more than almost famous.”
“There’s a lot of bands in Texas, even without SXSW, but this is the one to look out for– especially if you liked Hawthorne Heights and Silverstein back in the day and want to listen to a more mature, updated version of that angst.”
Read the full review here!