You Can Take the Kids Outta New Jersey...
Every once in a while, I like to get away from writing about the big mindie releases and highlight something that may be a little more under the radar or local. I recently came across Less Radio, the debut EP by Manhattan's The Normal Living. When I found out that two of the band's founding members, Jon Grabowski and Liza Zitelli, are New Jersey natives, I decided that The Normal Living would be a perfect fit for one of these mini-review posts.
Less Radio is a six song EP, and what jumps out at you immediately is Liza Zitelli's voice. It's a voice that reminds you of Ronnie Spector and the girl group sounds of the 1960s -- a sound that you could argue started in New Jersey with The Shirelles. The band explicitly reference that sound on "Timeout New York," the EP's second track. The Normal Living also incorporate elements of indie pop and country on songs like "Penn Station," which pines for the original, grand structure replaced by the bland New York entry point that all of us Jersey kids know so well.
I do think Less Radio could have benefitted from some production flourishes like turning up the girl group effect with a more, and I'll use some highly technical jargon here, reverb-y wall of sound treatment. I'm a firm believer in the idea that more reverb makes everything better, but that may be just me. You can tell from the current recording, though, that The Normal Living know how to write a pop song.
You can check out the EP on Spotify or stream a couple of tracks via the band's Soundcloud.