By: Nick Manduley
Central New Jersey ska-punks Backyard Superheroes have swooped in and saved us from the same hum-drum holiday music we’re forced to endure every year. The 8 piece skunit (ska unit) independently released a festive double-single, Let’s Get Elfed Up, on December 6th.
The first track, “This Christmas,” is a cheeky upbeat tune about cutting out toxic people from one’s life during the holiday season. Though the high-treble guitar is a tad harsh on the ears upon the first listen, the song quickly won me over with what could possibly be the catchiest (and least annoying, as far as holiday music goes!) chorus I’ve ever heard in a Christmas song. By the time the three-and-a-half minute banger reached its end, “This Christmas” had me singing along with enthusiasm. This song is a must-hear for anyone dreading seeing a particular family member (or members) this holiday season.
The release follows up with “Coal in My Stockings,” and from the get-go it’s clear that this song should be on every New Jerseyans holiday playlist. The track opens with a comical dialogue between a mother and son, who share a brief taylor-ham-vs.-pork-roll debate on Christmas morning before opening presents, only to find that Santa brought- you guessed it- coal. Packed with classic punk vibes and horn-section hooks, “Coal in My Stockings” is an anthemic shout-a-long for anyone less than pleased with their holiday haul.
Let’s Get Elfed Up, along with the group’s three LP’s and 2012 EP Falling With Style, are currently available on all major streaming services.
By: Nick Manduley
New Jersey punk outfit Pheller independently released their latest EP, No Blood, on July 27th. Diving into the 6-track effort is “The Ballad of Bobby Briggs,” which starts with some crunchy palm-muted guitars backing guitarist Matthew Piserchio’s passionately punk vocals. The track has a lot of energy; the pounding drums, dirty guitars, and larger-than-life melodies had me thinking “Alright, this EP is about to melt my face off.”
To my surprise, however, “Bobby Briggs” is followed up by the somber and rather mid-tempo track “Down.” Though it wasn’t the continuity I was expecting, the track won me over with its cheeky lyricism: “You watched my fall from grace / Just as the floor met my face.” This track features an acoustic guitar which, in my opinion, really rounds out the song, especially when that heavy chorus kicks in. “Down” is an almost anthemic tune, good for anyone who feels they “can’t seem to catch a break.”
The release pushes forward with “Vlog #2 Soaked on Splash Mountain,” which re-captures some of that initial momentum that was set by “The Ballad of Bobby Briggs.” This song feels like a party; the soaring harmonies and and catchy guitar riffs will have the listener hooked, and just like any good party, it flies right by. The song is a brief 2 minutes, and leaves the listener feeling like it ended almost as soon as it started. Luckily, this isn’t a party, it’s a song, and I can simply play it over and over again.
The album charges into its second half with “The Bottom” and “Dual Suns.” There is a lot of duality between these tracks, but I think they just might be my favorites from No Blood. “The Bottom” is an explosive, upbeat track, guaranteed to open up a push pit in your DIY basement venue. “Dual Suns” chases it with a 6/8 tempo and a catchy chorus to boot. As Piserchio belts “What’s the point anyway? Everything changes,” against that monstrous chord progression and spacey lead guitar, it’s clear that this track is the emotional powerhouse on No Blood. The album draws to a close with “Wounds,” which acts as one last upbeat, power-punk hoorah. Guitarist Nigel Pierson along with Piserchio offer some great lead guitar work; Corey Granese provides some soul-pounding unclean vocals as well.
No Blood is currently available on all major streaming platforms. Fans can download it for the “name-your-price” option on the Pheller bandcamp page.
By: Nick Manduley
New Jersey rock trio Shred Flintstone independently released their newest record Lois on June 21st. Lois showcases the band’s groovy, psychedelic take on gritty garage punk. The release opens with “The Flood,” which starts gently with a reverb-laden guitar riff before a jangly drum beat picks up the track as fuzzy vocal melodies begin to paint the mix.
The record picks up the energy with the tracks “Nemo” and “Dit Urself.” “Dit” is what’s known in the local music circuit as ‘straight fire’- the infectious, nasty guitar riff immediately grabs the listener’s attention. This song is a textbook example of how to get a crowd moving. “Nemo” is a fun track that brings some pop flavor to the garage rock style, not to mention some super sweet harmonies courtesy of vocalist and guitarist Dan Barrecchia. Tracks such as “Bad Art!” is an anthemic, fuzzy punk song that will bring a rebellious vibe to any basement venue in the country. “What Luck” cheekily pokes fun at those who habitually opt out of attending gigs on account of being “kinda tired.”
“Kirby” takes us into the final leg of this eight-track journey with a wall of harsh feedback before breaking into an oh-so-danceable guitar riff. As noisy guitars and reverby vocals paint the tune, it’s clear that this track is a standout powerhouse of rock. The title track “Lois” shows the band’s funkier side; the track opens with an infectious bassline courtesy of bassist Jack Walbridge before Barrecchia joins in with some funky-fresh lead guitar. Drummer Joey Giambra effortlessly clicks away with Walbridge’s bassline as the track enters a wild guitar solo that slowly descends into a cacophony of noise, before breaking into one final chorus of straight-up punk goodness. The track ends with the hazy high-energy jam “Where’s My Dog?” Clocking in at a whopping six and a half minutes, this fuzzy punk ballad serves as the perfect ending to Shred Flintstone’s Lois.
Lois is now available on all major streaming platforms. Fans can catch Shred Flintstone on stage at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Halloween night. They will be sharing the stage with Jersey rock heroes America Part Two. Tickets can be purchased via the event page on the official Shred Flintstone Facebook account.
School may be back in session, but that doesn’t mean you have to retire your summer jams just yet. You still have time to discover your new favorite songs that you will be rocking out to all year long! With Muddy Paw’s newest Monthly Music Mashup up on Substream, we hope we can help you find your go-to artist for this school year. Every month, we curate a list of the best new artists and albums making waves in the music world. Our August playlist features bands from across New Jersey and Columbus, including The Cordial Sins, Hello Luna and The Vaughns. You can stream the full playlist on Substream here and find us on Spotify!