Monday, August 29, 2016

Premiere: New Dentist Track! Mayfair House Sessions


A few months ago, I introduced you to "The Mayfair House Sessions" in which Asbury Park singer / songwriter, Dan Matlack, brings musicians into his home studio to write and record an original song. The series debuted with a duet between Matlack and Lowlight's Renee Maskin; and, since then, has featured collaborations with Sal Boyd, Tara Dente, Zach Westfall, and more.

The latest product to emerge from Mayfair House is a brand new single from Asbury Park's Dentist. The band worked with Matlack and Westfall to produce "Pullout." Somewhere between Pixies and the surfy garage rock of a band like (Dentist's beloved heroes) Mrs. Magician, the song features some hard-charging rhythm guitar paired with tension-building leads. Emily Bornemann's vocals are right up front and come down much more on the garage rock than the dream pop side of the spectrum.

"Pullout" is a bit of a departure for Dentist that still manages to remain true to the band's sound, showing that -- fresh off the release of a brand new record -- Dentist's creative juices are still flowing.

Listen to "Pullout" below, and check out the Mayfair House Sessions Soundcloud page to keep up with everything Dan Matlack and friends are doing over there.

Dentist's latest LP, Ceilings, is out now on Little Dickman Records. It's available from the Little Dickman store and from whichever is your favorite place to purchase downloadable music.

Recap: Asbury Park Surf Music Fest & The Asbury Park Promenade of Mermaids, 8/27/16

Ain’t No Party Like A Surf Rock Party

By Matt Chrystal (including all photos)

Picture it: New Jersey. August 2016. A beautiful and sunny summer’s day. It’s hot, but not too hot. It is, what some might call, the makings for a perfect day. Except for one thing… I’m at work… in North Jersey… oh, and another thing … I have a broken ankle.

But then it happens. I’m not sure whether it was out of the blue or if it was a preconceived notion that I tucked far away. It’s an idea, or maybe it’s a declaration, whatever it is, it hits me…
“Fuck this! I’m going to down the shore!”

I ditch work early (unless my boss is reading, then I labored diligently, promptly clocked out at the correct time and departed swiftly from the office).

I hit the Parkway. I brave Saturday shore traffic.

I coast down the exit ramp and in to Asbury Park as if pulled by a tractor beam.

There is no debate about any other choice of destination.

The Asbury Park Surf Music Festival is going down on the boardwalk And ain’t no party like a Surf Rock Party … cause a Surf Rock Party don’t stop!

What began Thursday night with the legendary Dick Dale playing the Wonder Bar, continued into the Aloha Friday Pool Party at the Berkeley Hotel is cresting into the main event festival at the Anchor’s Bend.

As luck would have it, I just happen to have a Hawaiian shirt and a pair shorts with me (ok so maybe the idea was more along the lines of a preconceived notion).

I eventually find parking on Bond Street and hobble unevenly, one foot in a boot-brace and the other in a low top Vans sneaker, for what seems like miles until I finally arrive at the mecca of beach party sights and sounds. It’s like something out of a classic surf film or travel guide to the Jersey Shore. I haven’t even arrived at APSMF yet and the beach party vibe is in full swing in the city by the sea.

The Asbury Park Promenade of Mermaids (a separate event from APSMF) is gathering on the boardwalk at the 2nd Avenue Pavilion. A large crowd has congregated around a group of belly dancers. There’s a variety of eclectic and eccentric characters in every direction. Mermaids and mermen, sailors, sirens and seamen, mythical deities, sea creatures, pirates and even a few zombies… for some reason, there are always zombies! Ladies clad in bikinis made of shells and some men clad in even less.

I arrive just in time to see friends and “local creative types,” Juicy Jenn Hampton of the Parlor Gallery and Timothy Lucas, aka Dr. Sketchy, scurry through the hordes of onlookers to secure the best viewing spot in order to judge which participants stand heads, and in this case, tails above the rest.

As I make my way further down the boardwalk toward Convention Hall, I am greeted by the twangs of the Televisionairies floating through the atmosphere. I make my way through the Bazaar of vendors which have been selected to be part of the APSMF, a collection of DIY artists and local merchants peddling their unique wares. I stop to chat with Groovy Graveyard, high-five my buds at Little Dickman Records; and I am introduced to some folks from the Asbury Park Moto Club.

I enter the Anchor’s Bend and am greeted with a big hug from festival co-organizer, Vincent Minervino. He looks as though he is mere moments away from unleashing a smile and breathing a sigh of relief as a year’s worth of planning and stress are giving way to the realization that the event is a raging good time.

The promenade is packed with partiers holding pineapple drinks and the beach is littered with bodies in pin-up style dresses and Polynesian shirts. Every other hand has a tiki cup or a drink with an umbrella in it.It’s only mid-afternoon and the good times and good vibes are rolling right along.

The Sharkskins take to the Beach Stage. Hula hoops begin spinning as the sun reflects off of the silver suits from which the band has taken their moniker. The 'Skins sound triumphant as they tear through a set that is just as lively and in-step as their attire. Towards the end of their performance, they pause from their reverb-soaked showcase to break from the instrumental assault of the day to introduce some vocals and harmonies. But they aren’t done yet, as no set would be complete without paying homage to Dick Dale, the godfather of surf rock. Horns come out. These guys are pros and the crowd is digging it.

Next up, the Taratinos from NYC start their set of spaghetti-western-infused surf jams. Their sound may be fit for a soundtrack but this is no background music. The crowd has filled in by the stage. There is nowhere to move on the promenade. The band is beaming and feeding off the energy. A woman in thigh-high boots and floral patterned dress twirls around in sync to the rhythm. A man is gyrating to the point where I am no longer sure if he is dancing or convulsing into a seizure. Good times!

(bonus Jeff Crespi)

I catch up with APSMF co-organizer, Magdalena O’Connell, who I believe is now in her third outfit change of the afternoon.  The changes are strategic it seems, not only keeping up with the event’s themes but also beating the heat of both the beach and the constant running around checking on each detail of the all-day festival’s happenings.

"We are really happy with the way this turned out," she says. "We will finally be able to relax after Vince plays though."

She then takes to the Beach Stage, thanks the crowd for coming and introduces her husband and event co-organizer who is now pulling double duty with his band, the Black Flamingos. Vince counts off and wails on the drum kit and the band takes off.  Vince and the boys fire through a smoking set and treat the crowd to some “Tequila-tinged” tunes.

The Black Flamingos play right up to the event’s scheduled intermission or “Dinner Break” as they call it. There was still plenty of surf rock goodness to be served up that evening including the Primitive Finks, area-favorite the Nebulas and Messer Chups making their debut from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Remember what I told ya… A Surf Rock Party Don’t Stop!

But also remember that I told you, that I had a broken ankle. So it was at this time I put down my pineapple and hobbled off into the sunset.

The event was a blast.

There really Ain’t No Party Like A Surf Rock Party… especially the Asbury Park Surf Musical Festival Party. Oh… and the party continued into Sunday night as the Black Flamingos, Primitive Finks and Messer Chups headed down to Philly.

See I told you… A Surf Rock Party Don’t Stop.

For even more on the APSMF, check out my full interview with Magdalena O’Connell for DIYNJ on

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Guest Post: Brian Erickson of The Great Albums Podcast / The Paper Jets on Comebacks

...If You've Never Been Away: My Five Favorite Comeback Albums

by Brian Erickson

[CoolDad Note: Brian Erickson is co-host of the excellent Great Albums Podcast as well as frontman for the power poppy Paper Jets. He's a great student of music and an excellent conversationalist, two things that have made for some long talks in the short time we've known each other. When I put out the call for guest posts while I was on vacation, I was ecstatic when Brian stepped up. Thanks, Brian. You're welcome here anytime.]

In anticipation of the forthcoming American Football album, I've come up with a list of my five personal favorite comeback albums, in no particular order. The criteria were simple: Was the artist/band gone for a while and did it seem like they would ever come back? If the answers were, respectively, 'yes' and 'no,' then we were good to go.

My Bloody Valentine - m b v (2013 | Previous Album: 1991's Loveless) - To me, Loveless doesn't sit with contemporaries like Nevermind or Ten or even Parklife in terms of Great 90s Albums. It's more a throwback to A Love Supreme or In a Silent Way in that it challenges us to consider what an album of music even is to begin with. So when m b v dropped in 2013, ending the 22 year-long drought, expectation got replaced by reality, and that reality is both a pleasure, and a departure from what we were previously used to from this band! m b v has a warmth to it largely lacking from most early 90s productions. We even get thrown an actual, true-blue pop song in the form of appropriately-titled, "New You," something My Bloody Valentine had never been quite so outward about before. Sure, "Honey Power," and "Only Shallow" had hooks, but never before has the band presented a song with such balance between its majestic guitars and literate rhythm section. And that's what this album ends up being about: balance. Nine songs, perfectly divisible by three and separated musically as such: noisy, poppy, and driving. Let's hope that it's not another 22 years between albums for My Bloody Valentine. But if it is, at least we know it will probably be worth the wait.

Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here (2010 | Previous Album: 1994's Spirits) - Nobody saw this coming. After hard drugs and questionable decisions landed him in and out of jail multiple times, Gil Scott-Heron would not have been my first candidate for the "Someone Who Will Nail Their Career's Final Act If They Can Manage To Get There" Award. Running at only 28 minutes, Scott-Heron manages to say everything he needs to. The set's most compelling line being "You've gotta pay for the things you've done wrong / I've got a big bill coming at the end of the day." He'd be dead just a year later. They say all great fighters have one last round left in them. Gil Scott-Heron won his by a knockout.

Dinosaur Jr - Beyond (2007 | Previous Album: 1997's Hand it Over | Last album with core lineup: 1988's Bug) - Coming 10 years after the band's last album, and 19 years after its founding lineup dissolved, Beyond is everything you want when a beloved band comes back. The tried-and-true power trio format translates well in the mid-aughts, even when electronic music continued its rise to the top of Indie Rock's ranks. J Mascis, Lou Barlow, and Murph don't just sound happy to be back together, they sound downright vital. And what makes this comeback one of the best of all-time isn't just the one fantastic first album they made. It's the three (and counting?) that this still-active band has produced in the decade since. There isn't a bad one in the bunch and if this year's sprightly Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is any indication, Dinosaur Jr is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Wrens - The Meadowlands (2003 | Previous Album: 1998's Secaucus) - This album came to me in relatively real time. I got to it around 2005(ish). My younger sister was a Long Island scene kid who would routinely sneak into The Downtown in Farmingdale, NY to see local bands like Brand New, Glassjaw, or Taking Back Sunday. She made an emo playlist that I supposedly just had to hear. I remember nothing from it but "Happy" by The Wrens, the seven-minute, Pixies-courting opener to their masterful Meadowlands album. I literally jumped up from the computer, got in the car and bought the album upon arriving at the local Borders Books. When I got home, I immediately started learning everything about The Wrens; how they had been railroaded by their major label (Wind-Up Records, home to Creed and Evanescence), and bounced around a bit, marching toward a markedly uncertain future. Seven years went by until The Meadowlands finally dropped. And with it also came hope for everybody approaching (or just north of) 30 years old who still loved playing in a band; who still weren't quite ready to give it up. Gone were the sun-soaked guitar spikes of 1996's Secaucus. Replacing them were...questions. Questions about age, vitality, usefulness, and the value of relationships. Even though The Wrens didn't break up, record labels have been known to hold bands hostage, making them unable to perform or record lest they do their bidding. The Wrens stood their ground patiently as the years continued to melt off the calendar. Their 20s gave way to their 30s and band obligations gave way to day jobs and families. But when they finally saw their opening, The Wrens hit music's equivalent of a walk-off home run making The Meadowlands not just one of the great comeback albums of all time, but perhaps one of the greatest albums the 21st Century may yet produce.

George Harrison - Brainwashed (2002 | Previous Album: 1987's Cloud Nine) - Perhaps inspired by the fruitful Beatles Anthology sessions, or the creative rebirth that his two former band mates had experienced (1992's Time Takes Time for Ringo, 1997's Flaming Pie for Paul), George felt the need to put music to tape again; something he hadn't done as a solo act since 1987. So he started setting songs aside in the pseudo-tradition of his 1970 masterpiece, All Things Must Pass. It had become a bit of a joke that because Harrison had only ever contributed two or three songs to each Beatles album, that - All Things aside - that was all he was really good for on his solo records, as well. He planned a low-key comeback. No deadline or release date. The album would just...happen. He began recording in earnest with help from his son Dhani and his longtime producer Jeff Lynne. What wasn't planned was Harrison's untimely passing in 2001. But his two collaborators carried on in his stead and with songs of light and optimism such as "Any Road," or the wistful "Rising Sun," Brainwashed would have been a comeback triumphant in every way, completely revitalizing Harrison's solo career. But what we get instead is a a beautiful celebration of the life of the man known as The Quiet Beatle, and the best solo album by a member of the Fab Four in nearly three decades.

Honorable Mentions:

David Bowie - The Next Day (2013 | Previous Album: 2003's Reality) - The Starman returns following a decade of retirement and recovery from an on-stage heart attack. While this album is very good, his singular vision would be solidified on 2016's career-capping Blackstar.

D'Angelo & the Vanguard - Black Messiah (2014 | Previous Album: 2000's Voodoo) - If he was waiting until he had something to say, the dawn of the #BlackLivesMatter movement was a good time for D'Angelo to finally say it.

Television - Television (1992 | Previous Album: 1978's Adventure) - Jazzing up the sound of Marquee Moon by slowing the tempo and making brilliant use of space, Television's self-titled album turns out to be a minor masterpiece.

Dr. Dre - Compton (2015 | Previous Album: 1999's 2001) - Inspired by his own past, Dre is still not beyond challenging authority when others might suggest he fall in line. "Why the fuck are they after me?" he asks. Because even after a 16 year hiatus, Dre sounds downright dangerous.

The Who - Endless Wire (2006 | Previous Album: 1982's It's Hard) - The Who turns in a quietly-dignified, remarkably cohesive album, and easily their most inspired since Quadrophenia.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Interview: High Waisted's Jessica Louise Dye. High Waisted Play BoonTunes on Saturday, 8/27.

High Waisted at Brighton Bar in July

Party on the Road

New York City's High Waisted are a band that like to party, but they should also be taken very seriously. On their debut album, On Ludlow, they deftly combine achingly beautiful guitar tones and the powerful voice of Jessica Louise Dye to create a retro-modern version of surf pop. Whether listening to the record or watching the band play live, you can sense the care and precision that go into everything High Waisted do while still feeling the undeniable urge to dance along.

To this point, High Waisted have done everything themselves without the help of a label. They've managed to net themselves a spot on Riot Fest and have built their first national tour with Somos and Free Throw around that. That tour brings them back to New Jersey for a show at BoonTunes in Boonton on Saturday, August 27th. I had the chance to ask Jessica Louise Dye a few questions just as they were setting off.

On your website (with the awesome address, btw), you say that the band is "fronted by Jessica Louise Dye and backed by three long-haired hunks." How did you all come together as High Waisted?

I moved to NYC for a boy and the opportunity for a fresh start. He broke my heart and decided to move out stealing my entire record collection. Devastated, I wandered the streets of the Lower East Side, sitting alone in dark bars late at night scribbling into a notebook.

It was on one of these nights I met Jeremy Hansen (bass), Stephen Nielsen (guitar) and Jono Bernstein (drums) at a BYOVinyl night. We instantly bonded over old albums by The Ventures, Dick Dale, and Link Wray. It was there, on Ludlow Street, over cold Tecates and spicy tequila, that we decided to start a surf band. High Waisted was born, and the party had begun.

What drew you to your particular aesthetic of 1960s-inspired surf rock?

Surf rock is the only kind of music I can dance to. I wanted to create tunes for other people with limited dancing skills!

I've been pretty amazed with how much you've accomplished while remaining independent and unsigned. Has not being on a label been a conscious decision or has the right deal just not come along yet?

There's a time for everything and we're a DIY band to the core. We design our own shirts, posters, website, album art, blog, and social media. We own our music and have final say on everything. Which is really liberating. When we find a label that gels well with our "go get it" ethos, we'd be happy to have them join our team.

Do you have any advice for other bands that may want to pursue a more independent path?

You have to have a clear idea of what you want now, in 6 months and in 2 years. Most importantly, you have to be willing to put in long hours, learn a lot as you go and work as a team. We enjoy working on all the little details, so loving every step of the process is also a must!

You seem to have cultivated a whole, I don't know, "vibe" around your band -- from your videos to your High Waisted at Sea cruises to your live shows -- where everything you do as High Waisted is a party. Is being in this band really a non-stop party or are you all secretly wallflowers staying home with the cat when you're not playing shows?

As any good party person knows, balance is key. You can often find us running around the Lower East Side at our favorite watering holes crushing brews, playing pool, and getting wild. But time at home with our kitties is also crucial to productivity and creativity. Plus we all have sister kitties and we love them. Shout out to Momma cat Lilo and baby Burger and Tillie!

You've just embarked on your first national tour. Is there anything in particular you're looking forward to as you tour all around the country?

As an east coast surf band, were most stoked to take our sound to the golden coast!

One of the smaller spaces you'll be playing on this tour is BoonTunes in Boonton, NJ on 8/27. Is there something special about playing tight spaces like record stores and boats?

Absolutely. Smaller rooms better trap the audiences' energy. It bottle necks and smacks us in the face!

Finally, On Ludlow is absolutely one of my favorite records of this (or any) year. I can't get enough of it. Do you have any new music planned for after you're done with all of this touring?

Aw! Thanks! We're writing new tunes and testing some out on this tour. Planning to record em' all this fall. We had to let the new jams marinate a little.

High Waisted on Tour
08/26 New York, NY @ Studio at Webster Hall
08/27 Boonton, NJ @ Boontunes
08/28 Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness
08/30 Nashville, TN @ The End
08/31 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar Lounge
09/01 Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
09/04 Denver, CO @ Riot Fest
09/05 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
09/07 Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
09/09 Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
09/10 San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe
09/11 Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge
09/13 Austin, TX @ Sidewinder
09/14 Dallas, TX @ Curtain Club
09/17 Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest
9/20 Pontiac, MI @ Pike Room
09/21 Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s
09/22 Buffalo, NY @ Studio at Waiting Room
09/23 Toronto, ON @ Sneaky Dee’s