Friday, July 21, 2017

Deal Casino, Deal Casino, 2017

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

Back in December of 2014 I ended my review of Heck, by the Asbury Park-based band Deal Casino, by asking: "With the release of their third, four-song EP, fans of the band can only be asking:  'When's the album coming out?'"

Well, it's the middle of 2017 and the Deal Casino album is finally here. And it's not as if they haven't been busy. Since Heck they've been out playing live; and they released the four-song EP Nika in July of 2015. Last December, the band put out the three-song Human Cannonball EP as a taster for the album.

Deal Casino is the sound of a band at the peak of their powers. It's as if they knew this was the right time to make the album instead of two or three years ago. With Joe P on vocals and guitar, Jozii on guitar and keys, Jon Rodney on bass, and Chris Donofrio on drums they're a world-class rock outfit. You just need to listen to tracks like the album's terrific, rocking "My Gun," the slow-burning "Human Cannonball," and the crunching and squealing guitars and drums and bass in lock-step rhythm of "Panama Papers." And am I reaching to hear a bit of The Beatles in "Blueberry Pop," "Purple," and "Living Skinny?"

Joe P's vocals on "My Gun," the album's opening track, show the influence of Jeff Buckley; and it's a great thing to hear. He also does a bit of acting in the vocals on "Chelsea's Wedding" when he sings, "I pour myself into a glass / Pour myself into a joint / And wait for the time to pass;" you can hear the alcohol, drugs, and exhaustion in his voice. There's also a bit of Love Is Hell-era Ryan Adams going on as well.

You shouldn't be waiting for an album or EP to end, but it turns out my favorite songs on Deal Casino releases are always the last ones, the slower, sadder songs. I still love "Flying Cars" from Heck, and "Anything That’s Bad" on Nika is also a keeper. So it stands to reason that I would be drawn to the gorgeous "La La Land" on Deal Casino. "I always call her 'Baby' / But she answers to her first and last" may be my favorite line from the song, and there's also a fabulous guitar break that sends the song to a higher place just before the chorus kicks in.

Deal Casino took their time in making this album. You shouldn't take your time in getting a copy of it.

Deal Casino, the album, is out now and available from your favorite digital vendors or over at Deal Casino's Bandcamp page. Deal Casino, the band, are having their record-release party at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park TONIGHT, July 21st. Joining them on that bill are Born Cages and The Cold Seas.

New Single from Columbus, OH's Trying

Photo: Collins Laatsch


Music draws a few types of people. There are those for whom the social aspect of going out to shows is just as important as the music. They go out to party and to have an experience with their friends. Then, there are others who are less about the partying and more about just being there for the music. I'm not saying that one is better than the other, but I've definitely experienced the odd-person-out feeling of being that guy who's there at a show by himself in the midst of hordes of people having a raucous good time. "21" by Columbus, OH's Trying captures that feeling pretty well.

Trying is the, mostly, solo project of Cameron Carr. Or, as Carr puts it, "Trying is basically my solo project with generous friends contributing their time and talent as I fiddle with children's instruments and guitar pedals in my bedroom."

"21" is the title track and lead single from Trying's debut, three-song cassette which is due out next Friday from Feels So Reel Music. Of the song, Carr says, "'21' is like the kid stuck in the corner at the party that really doesn't want to be there. It's the awkward look you get when you turn down free beer. It's the disconnect people who love the music not the party often experience in the DIY music scene."

The song's poppy jangle and Carr's vocal delivery place "21" somewhere in that mopey, twee pop space occupied by Belle and Sebastian or The Smiths, while the mostly acoustic (save for some distorted guitar that elbows its way into things) arrangement and clever lyrics recall songwriters like Jonathan Richman or Stephin Merritt.

Carr recorded and mixed the songs himself with mastering duties handled by Eric Sa.

Check out "21" right here and look for the full EP on 7/28 at your favorite outlet for those kinds of things or over at the Feels So Reel Bandcamp.

Trying have also announced that their debut LP will be out sometime in 2018.

Trying have a small set of Midwest dates coming up in support of the release.

7/21 Columbus, OH at Steak Sauce Studios
7/22 Detroit, MI at The Old Miami
7/23 Elyria, OH at Blank Slate

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Melvins, A Walk With Love & Death, 2017

Album Review

By Ken Geiger

I can tell you this much: I do not care if the Melvins release an album or two at a yearly rate. Every single release will be heralded as an event of the utmost importance to me, and it should be to you too. The Washington-native band have remained one of the most prolific bands of the past 30+ years without ever facing a decline in quality at all. In fact, some may argue that they only continue to become BETTER with age. I am in complete agreement with the people who think that of the band; and this new album, A Walk with Love & Death, is a perfect example of why so many see that the Melvins are a band who only continue to grow and become more important to the state of music.

One of the first notable things about this record is the fact that it is a double album (the first one the Melvins have ever done, if you can believe that). The first disc, Death, is a proper Melvins album. The second, Love, is a soundtrack the band created for an independent film that shares the same name as the album. Starting off with the first disc, Death contains some of the greatest the band has put out since the turn of the century (and maybe even in their entire career). Cuts such as "Sober-Delic" and "Black Heath" see the band going into a direction that resembles more of the psychedelic rock of the 1970s, than any previous Melvins sound. "What’s Wrong with You?" is a perfect take on the Redd Kross sound that bassist Steven McDonald made a name for himself with. However, the band does not totally abandon its heaviness, as you have one of the heaviest cuts in their entire catalogue on this album in the form of "Euthanasia" (which has actually been in existence since the 1990s). I have to say, though that my favorite track from this side of the record (and probably overall) is "Flaming Creature," a song that manages to blend classic Melvins heaviness, their new fondness for trippy psychedelic passages and Steven McDonald's power-pop sensibilities all into one beautifully crushing masterpiece.
Now with Love, the second disc on this album, the listener gets a soundtrack that is as crazy as one can imagine it to be. I originally was going to pass on this record, but then realized how similar this disc is to another one of my favorite Melvins releases, The Colossus of Destiny. If you are a fan of the band's more experimental side, or just a fan of odd soundscapes in general, then this is definitely a record you should spin at least once. It really encapsulates the entire experience of this double album. Plus, with some highly esteemed guests, such as Thomas Hazelmeyer of Halo of Flies and Joey Santiago of Pixies, how can you go wrong with at least giving it a listen?
Clearly, the Melvins just show no sign of slowing down and settling into one sound. I could not even imagine them attempting that. This new melodic hard rock direction in songwriting that the band have been exploring since Steven McDonald joined has been constantly piquing my interest, and this record is that sound coming into perfect fruition. Sure, it may not be as heavy as some of their more classic albums, like Lysol or Houdini, but that doesn't make it bad; not at all. In fact, the songs on Death are some of the most epic tracks that the band have put out in their entire career. On the flip side of things, Love shows that the Melvins can still find ways to experiment in new fields and be weirder than anyone out there without compromising their sound.

Overall, this is one of my favorite records of the year, and it's even starting to slowly crack into my top 5 of favorite Melvins albums in their discography. Do not turn a blind eye to this record.  t is out on Ipecac Recordings in all listening formats and can be found online, in stores, or maybe at the band's merch booth when they roll around to the Stone Pony on August 5th (which is definitely a show that nobody in the Jersey Shore area should skip).

What's Going On: 7/20, 7/21, 7/22 & 7/23, 2017

I think this is pretty self-explanatory. Photo by Addie Juell.

Somewhere You Found My Name

The height of summer is upon us, and I'm already seeing back to school sales starting to happen. The CoolFamily has a swim meet-free weekend ahead of us, and I'm looking forward to kicking back and hearing some great music.

Things get started on Thursday night when CoolDad Music presents the release celebration for Little Silver's Somewhere You Found My Name at The Asbury Hotel with Rachel Ana Dobken and Renee Maskin. This is a special one as I've known Little Silver's Erika Simonian since, probably, grade school; and I think this might be Little Silver's first-ever Monmouth County performance. It's going to be a great homecoming show and a full-on celebration for Little Silver's debut LP. It's free, and we'd love to see you.

Otherwise, you can check out American Trappist as they continue their APYC residency. This week they get support from Paleface and Puppy Grease. Tommy Stinson (The Replacements / Bash & Pop) plays the Songwriters on the Beach series in Belmar with Allison Pierce. Nick Clemons Band are at Brighton Bar. Overlake play Diveria Drive in Brooklyn with The Sloppy Heads and Amy Klein (Hilly Eye / Titus Andronicus). Sharkmuffin and The Off White celebrate the release of their split cassette at Muchmore's with the overs, Grandma, Darkwing, Street Rules, and Whiner. Negative Approach, Bloodclot, School Drugs, Stag Party, and Hot Blood (!) are at Paul's Tavern in Lake Como. GayGuy / StraightGuy will be getting sweaty at Porta National Park.

On Friday night, Sharkmuffin and The Off White continue their release celebration at Asbury's Bond St. Basement with Von Mons. Levy & The Oaks are at The Asbury with The Mercury Brothers. Asbury Park Brewery hosts Rare Books, Higgins, and The Roaches Of Red Bank. Jesse Malin and Juliana Hatfield play Crossroads in Garwood. Lowlight head up to Brooklyn's Gateway for a show with Ghost Pressure, Gamblers, Tin Can Collective, and Thomas Moran. The Big Drops and Wild Moon are at The Greeks in Newton, NJ. Deal Casino have a party for their long-awaited first LP at The Stone Pony with Born Cages and The Cold Seas.

Saturday brings Desert Sharks, Erotic Novels, Little Vicious, and Alpha Rabbit to the brewery. The RockNRoll Hi-Fives are back in Asbury for a show at APYC with Cyclone Static. Fruit & Flowers return to Brooklyn following their tour and play Cape House with Big Bliss, Medium Mystic, and Sharp Shadows. Shady Street Show Band, Kevin Bown, Mad Saundz, and Rachel Ana Dobken continue the run of free Saturday afternoon shows at the Danny Clinch exhibit in The Asbury. Ballyhoo! play House of Independents with Fun While You Wait and Kash'd Out. Waiting On Mongo are at Langosta. The Besties play a reunion show to benefit Planned Parenthood at Sunnyvale in Brooklyn along with Shellshag, Nervous Triggers, Weird Skin, and Fidnight Oil.

Colleen Green is at Brooklyn's Sunnyvale on Sunday with former Vivian Girl, Cassie Ramone, and Mikey Erg. Sandy Mack and friends continue their weekly run at The Asbury.

Hope the summer is treating you well. Don't forget the sunscreen. Come say hi to us tonight at The Asbury.


10th Ave Burrito (Belmar): Mail The Horse, 9pm

The Anchor's Bend (Asbury): RAQ, 6pm, FREE

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Little Silver (LP Release) / Renee Maskin / Rachel Ana Dobken, 8pm, FREE

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): American Trappist / Paleface / Puppy Grease, 8:30pm, FREE

Belmar Boardwalk (Belmar): Tommy Stinson / Allison Pierce, 7pm, FREE

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Nick Clemons Band / Killer Joe & The Lido Soul, 7:30pm, $7

Crossroads (Garwood): The Accelerators / Devil In The Belfry / Singaya / The Silverhounds / The Turnbucklers, 7pm, $10

Dark City Brewing (Asbury): Sean from Ohio , 5pm, No Cover

Diveria Drive (Brooklyn): Overlake / The Sloppy Heads / Amy Klein, 10pm

Maxwell's Tavern (Hoboken): Hidden Hospitals / Red Hymns / El Americano, 7:30pm, $8

Meatlocker (Montclair): Ultrabunny / Garbage Brain / Glazer / Machinegirl, 9pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Dragon Slang Tour w. Skrewtape / VAS / Raymond Strife, 8pm

Muchmore's (Brooklyn): Sharkmuffin + The Off White (split cassette release) / the overs / Grandma / Darkwing / Street Rules / Whiner, 5:30pm, $5

Paul's Tavern (Lake Como): Negative Approach / Bloodclot / School Drugs / Stag Party / Hot Blood, 7pm, $15

Pet Shop (Jersey City): Babraham Lincoln / Onesie, 8pm

Pier Village (Long Branch): The Nerds, 7pm

Porta (Asbury Park): GayGuy / StraightGuy, 8pm, FREE

The Saint (Asbury): Rap vs Punk w/ Chris Rockwell / DOM / Doug Zambon / more, 7pm, $7 adv, $10 door

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Felly, 7pm, $20 adv, $24 door

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Stop Light Observations, 7pm, $10 adv, $12 door

FRIDAY (7/21)

American Spirits Roadhouse (Just Plain Asbury, NOT Asbury Park): CC Coletti Band / Garden State Line / Danielle Illario / Mike Montrey Band / more, 5pm, $12

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Levy & The Oaks / The Mercury Brothers, 9pm, FREE

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Rare Books / Higgins / The Roaches, 8pm, FREE

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Sean Marshall / Colton Kayser / friends, 10pm, FREE

Bond St. Basement (Asbury): Von Mons / The Off White / Sharkmuffin, 9pm, FREE

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Chuck Mosley, 7pm, $12 adv, $15 door

Crossroads (Garwood): Jesse Malin / Juliana Hatfield, 8pm, $20

The Gateway (Brooklyn): Lowlight / Ghost Pressure / Gamblers / The Tin Can Collective / Thomas Moran, 6:30pm, $8

The Greeks (Newton): The Big Drops / Wild Moon, 9pm, FREE

House of Independents (Asbury): Flashback Friday Dance Party, 10pm, FREE

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): We Used To Cut The Grass / Deltaphonic, 10pm, FREE

Meatlocker (Montclair): The Components / The Planet You / Thundera, 10pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Summer Slam Series ft. Yos & B. Sully, 7:30pm

The Saint (Asbury): Sawyer Fredericks, 3pm, $15 adv, $18 door

The Saint (Asbury): Ropetree / Out Of Bounds / Know Your Enemy / Ryder, 8pm, $10

Scarlet Pub (New Brunswick): Poetrypalooza IV ft. Anthony Carrera / Matt Morgan / Damian Rucci / RJ Noebels, 8pm, $5

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Streetlight Manifesto, 7pm, $21 adv, $23 door

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Deal Casino Record Release / Born Cages / The Cold Seas, 7pm, $16

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): The Steppin Stones / Glimmer Grass Band / Jackson Pines, 7pm, $16


The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Taylor Tote, 9pm, FREE

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Desert Sharks / Erotic Novels / Little Vicious / Alpha Rabbit, 7:30pm, $5

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): The RockNRoll Hi-Fives / Cyclone Static, 10pm, FREE

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Don't Sleep ft. Dave Smalley / more, 6:30pm, $15 adv, $18 door

Cape House (Brooklyn): Fruit & Flowers (They Home!) / Big Bliss / Medium Mystic / Sharp Shadows, 8pm, $10

Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery (Asbury): Shady Street Show Band / Kevin Bowen / Mad Saundz / Rachel Ana Dobken, 4pm, FREE

House of Independents (Asbury): Ballyhoo! / Fun While You Wait / Kash'd Out, 7:30pm, $14 adv, $16 door

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Waiting On Mongo, 9pm, FREE

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Pretty Goats / Cowbell Superstar, 9pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Concussed / Punk Open Mic, 9pm

Mercury Lounge (NYC): SWIMM / gods / Zuli, 7pm, $10 adv, $12 door

Paul's Tavern (Lake Como): Roulette / The Black Clouds / Metal Life Crisis / Mind Riot., 6pm, $10

The Saint (Asbury): Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, 6:30pm, $20 adv, $25 door

The Saint (Asbury): The Van Pelt / Sunshine & The Rain, 10pm, $13

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Titans of Tribute Covers Show, 7pm, $10 adv, $15 door

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Wayne Oliveri / Me and Bobby D / Quality Living / Rocky & The Chapter, 7pm, $12

Sunnyvale (Brooklyn): The Besties (REUNION) / Fidnight Oil / Shellshag / Weird Skin / Nervous Triggers, 7pm, $15

SUNDAY (7/23)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Sandy Mack, 4pm, FREE

The Asbury Hotel, Salvation (Asbury): Burlap To Cashmere, 6pm, FREE

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Sunday Night Trivia w/ Gentleman Jim, 7pm, FREE

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Joshua Van Ness Band, 1pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): DJ Princes Of Tides, 7pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Loosid / Smock / John Cozz / Goats, 9pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Full Monty / Doc Rotten / Groomers / Local Demise, 9pm, $7

The Saint (Asbury): Deltaphonic / UFOTOFU / Fungshui, 7pm, $10

Sunnyvale (Brooklyn): Colleen Green / Cassie Ramone / Mikey Erg, 8pm, $12

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Mongo & Friends, 2pm