Friday, July 13, 2018

Favorite Live Shows from the First Half of 2018

Hinds at Warsaw in May

Going Live

It's been a weird year here for the site. I'm working up a "State of the Site" post that I hope to get up here at some point. The State of the Site keeps changing from one day to the next, though, so nothing I think about writing remains relevant for very long. One constant is still my love of live music. I got to experience shows in some very cool places like Japan and Austin this year in addition to my usual spots around the tri-state area. Here are a few that really stick with me from the first half of 2018.

Russian Baths

Russian Baths Record Release with Dentist, Baked, Grace Vonderkuhn, and The Black Clouds at The Saint, 2/22/18

A Thursday night show at The Saint in the dead of winter. The Front Bottoms were holding a listening session for their new album next door at Asbury Park Brewery. Maybe we didn't pack this show out the way I would have liked, but any time I can get friends like Dentist, Baked, and The Black Clouds together with some Asbury first-timers like Russian Baths and Grace Vonderkuhn (both of whom absolutely blew everyone away), it's a good night.

Grace Vonderkuhn had to make their way up from Delaware in a rainstorm to kick off the show and managed to be onstage, playing about 15 minutes after they arrived. Russian Baths brought their own lights and shook The Saint. Baked, Dentist, and The Black Clouds all turned in great sets making this one I was proud to have slapped with a "CoolDad Music Presents."

And The Front Bottoms eventually brought their crowd over.

A Giant Dog

A Giant Dog at Hotel Vegas for SXSW, 3/12/18

This one was a tough decision for me. It was my first night in Austin for this year's South By Southwest. I'd spent the early part of the evening over at The Mohawk where I caught Shamir and Bully. The rest of the schedule there for that night included Wye Oak and Superchunk. The Superchunk set, though, conflicted with one of only two A Giant Dog sets happening at the festival. I sucked it up and hoofed it over to Hotel Vegas to catch A Giant Dog on their home turf.

Such a good call. I was right up front in the dust as the band took the stage. The Hotel Vegas crowd went absolutely apeshit, and I think it was just about the most violent scrum I've ever tried to shoot from at a show. My camera and I got slammed down on the stage -- HARD -- multiple times before I decided to shoot from someplace a little safer.

When it was all over, I was sweaty, spent, and sore. I wouldn't have traded it for anything. What a welcome to Austin.

BOYTOY

Rock or Die V at Valhalla Presented by Little Dickman Records, CoolDad Music, and The Garden State Beard and Mustache Society for SXSW, 3/17/18

Months of planning. 9 bands. The run up to this one was pretty stressful, but things ultimately went off without a hitch. Gloomies, Dentist, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Fruit & Flowers, Sharkmuffin, Kino Kimino, BOYTOY, High Waisted, Honduras. Lots of great music made by lots of great friends.

Several of the bands were running across the street to play a Pianos showcase at Sidewinder. The Glory Fires pushed their whole, big setup into Valhalla for a 25-minute set. We were streaming CoolDaughter 1's swim meet on my phone and cheering her on as we bounced to Honduras. Afterwards a bunch of us went over to Ladybird Lake to catch Roky Erickson and A Giant Dog.

Just a great day.

Pretenders, Lowlight at Count Basie Theatre, 3/30/18

My second time seeing Lowlight open for Pretenders, this time just 5 minutes away from CDMHQ in Red Bank, NJ. The Basie was sold out thanks to the turnout of Lowlight friends and fans. As always, Lowlight turned in a professional and emotional performance. If you want to hear some of it, check out the band's recently released live album, It's Later Than You Think, which includes selections from the show. It's on Spotify.

Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde amazed again, rattling off an unrelenting string of hits during a 20-or-so song set. Chrissie Hynde still hates mobile phones at her shows and stopped the band once or twice to call people out. She maintains a gruff sense of humor about it though: "I saw the Rolling Stones with Brian Jones: No Phone. Sam The Sham and The Pharaohs: No Phone. Iggy and The Stooges: Well, I wish I had a fucking phone."

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives, Maki, and The exkilll

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives, Piggies, Foodie, The exkilll at NOON+CAFE, Osaka, JP, 4/8/18

The entire trip to Japan with The RockNRoll Hi-Fives was a beautiful experience that I'll never forget. I can't thank the Centenos enough for including me on their once-in-a-lifetime trip and for making me feel like the fifth member of their family. Every show was wonderful for different reasons; but, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be this one in Osaka.

NOON+CAFE is a great venue. The artist "green room" is above the stage, and I snuck up there for some shots during The Hi-Fives' set. The exkillll were playing only their first or second live show ever and were a blast. Piggies were one of my favorite bands that we saw on the whole tour. Our host, Maki, plays in Foodie who have their debut album coming out this month. We made friends with everyone. The show was just a nice microcosm of the whole tour: gracious fans, discovering new bands, making new friends.

Hinds

Hinds, QTY, Sharkmuffin at Warsaw, 5/10/18

I'd seen Hinds maybe about two or three times before either at SXSW or Northside Festival. I never got to see a headlining set from the Spanish four-piece; but, even in those abbreviated appearances, the band's exuberance spread to the entire crowd. Hinds play simple, shambolic garage rock; but they do it with so much joy, and they have so much fun on stage, that you can't help but get swept up in it. By the end of their set at Warsaw, Carlotta Cosials and Ana Perrote were surfing the crowd as the band did their cover of "Davy Crockett."

This was also a great opportunity for our pals in Sharkmuffin who kicked off the sold out evening, and I found a new favorite band in QTY.

Sweet Spirit

Sweet Spirit at Johnny Brenda's, 5/18/18

This was one of those game-time decisions for me. I had spent the early part of the day with my family at the sentencing for the man who, back in September, caused my brother's fatal car accident. When I got home, I remembered that Austin's Sweet Spirit, the pop / soul project that features Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen of A Giant Dog, were playing Philly that night. "Fuck it," I said. I got in my car and made the drive to attend the show.

Damn, I needed that. Sweet Spirit bring it live with pretty much the same intensity as A Giant Dog. And the songs are so damn strong. It was such a fantastic night.

I feel weird putting this kind of responsibility on people who don't know me from a hole in the ground; but Sabrina and Andrew and their bands were there for me during a couple of pretty intense times, right when I needed them. I'm just grateful is all.

Snail Mail

Snail Mail and The RockNRoll Hi-Fives at Asbury Park Brewery, 6/9/18

Just a day or so before this show at Asbury Park Brewery, Matador Records announced that Interpol would be releasing a new record and going on tour. The tour would be bringing them to Madison Square Garden next February where the openers would be label mates Car Seat Headrest and Snail Mail. Snail Mail had just been tapped to play Madison Square Garden, and we were all going to see them at Asbury Park Brewery.

Snail Mail's debut LP, Lush, is one of the best releases of 2018. Lindsey Jordan brings a fresh take and a different voice to guitar-based indie rock, showing that there's still lots of life left in the genre. The brewery was absolutely packed out; and, while it really isn't the most conducive place to see a sold-out show, I staked out a spot up front and enjoyed the whole thing.

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives got the opening slot at the very last minute, and Eilee especially was seriously stoked about it. They made the most of their short set and won over some new fans.

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Secretary Legs, Algebra II at The Saint, 6/17/18

This was another CoolDad Music Presents joint. I gotta say. Something about this one was just really special. The Glory Fires bring me to the verge of tears with the passion and intensity and just plain rocking out that they bring to every set. Secretary Legs put out another of my favorite records of the year, and it's been my dream to book them ever since I heard it. Algebra II are some beautiful and supportive people with great songs who helped put the whole show together.

This was also Father's Day. I spent a fun day with the family and then I got to experience this show. We took over The Saint and made it our own for a night. Thanks to Scott for letting us do that.

Superchunk

Superchunk and Sneaks at White Eagle Hall, 6/20/18

"Reviewers keep saying 'It's such an angry record,'" said Mac McCaughan of Superchunk's What a Time To Be Alive from the stage at White Eagle Hall. "With everything that's been going on, though, I don't think it's fucking angry enough."

For this show at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, Superchunk brought every ounce of their high-strung intensity. McCaughan, bassist Jason Narducy, and guitarist Jim Wilbur bounced and bounded around the stage. Jon Wurster played drums with his usual exuberance. The show was -- like the album -- angry but also hopeful. Maybe if everyone, like me, who was shaking their fists and singing along go out and do something...

Sneaks opened and worked through a few minor technical difficulties to deliver a sparse and engaging set.

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives Record Release at Mercury Lounge with Lost Boy ?, 6/24/18

This one started at 5:30pm on a Sunday, so CoolMom was able to come with me. That always makes the show better. Davey Jones and Lost Boy ? kicked things off, and they never cease to amaze me. Jones is a songwriting machine and cranks out winner after winner. They played mostly new songs, and the next album sounds like it's going to be great.

A few songs into The RockNRoll Hi-Fives' set, Gloree broke a string on her bass and didn't have a replacement. It didn't matter. Evren and Eilee worked the crowd with jokes and stories while Mom and Dad tried to deal with the problem. When the band finally started up again, they just made the best of the situation. Everybody laughed and smiled along with them. After the show, it was pictures, autographs, hugs, and congratulations; and The RockNRoll Hi-Fives were off on their next adventure.

So that's the first half of 2018. I don't write as many extensive reviews of shows as I once did, so I wanted to say something about all of these. See you out there.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

What's Going On: 7/12, 7/13, 7/14 & 7/15, 2018

Sharkmuffin are back in Asbury for a cassette release on Saturday.

World Cup Final Weekend

People who love soccer will be having a blast this Sunday when France meets Croatia in the 2018 World Cup Final. Me? I'll be at a swim meet somewhere as the cooldaughters have separate events at Rutgers and Princeton. I hope I'll find some time to work in a show or two.

I procrastinated on this today, so no big blurb. I will let you know that Avery Mandeville has a release show at The Saint tomorrow with Dentist, Lowlight, and Julian Fulton & The Zombie Gospel. Sharkmuffin return to Asbury on Saturday when they play the Yacht Club with Davey from Lost Boy ? and Lola Pistola. Lucky 7's Rock N Roll BBQ is back in JC this Saturday with lots of music including The Battery Electric, Hey Anna, and Crazy & The Brains. 

Have a great weekend. Go team! Don't drink and drive.

THURSDAY (7/12)

5th Ave Boardwalk (Belmar): Songwriters on the Beach ft. Don DiLego / Jason Morton & The Chesapeake Sons, 7pm, FREE

10th Ave Burrito (Belmar): Folkfaces, 9pm

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Open Mic, 8pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Brother Andrew / Gary Mayer & David Ross Lawn / Cat London, 9pm

Barca City (New Brunswick): Alejandro Ataucusi / Matt Cook, 8:30pm

BoonTunes (Boonton): Wyatt Siroka / Learning / The Round / Wizard Brain / Matt DeVoti / paul from the internet / Teddy Owen, 7pm, $10

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Eastbourne / Jeff Shadows & The Moths / Skanko & The Polite Gentlemen / Joint Operation, 7pm, $7

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Cranston Dean / Riley Schiro / Kev Daly, 8:30pm

FM (Jersey City): James Calleo / The Defending Champions, 8pm

House of Independents (Asbury): Summer Nights: Grease Sing Along Band, 7pm

The Kingsland (Brooklyn): Ugly Sun / Spowder / Language / QWARK, 7pm, $8-$10

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Symptoms / Playground Justice / Vengents, 8:30pm, $5

Pet Shop JC (Jersey City): Paper Maker / Cyclone Static, 8pm

Pianos (NYC): Grim Streaker / Dead Stars / Gustaf / Big Bliss / more, 7pm, FREE

Pier Village (Long Branch): South, 7pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Duane Mark / Western Star, 10pm, $5

The Saint (Asbury): Barrbarians / Mirage / Ralph Heuser / Downstream, 7:30pm, $5

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Who's Bad (Michael Jackson Covers), 7pm, $17.99+

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): Todd Barry, 8pm, $20

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Dwayne Gretzky (Yep. Covers.), 7pm, $10-$12

FRIDAY (7/13)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): 5J Barrow / Double Day / We're Ghosts Now, 9pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Lemats / The Cold Seas / The Big Drops, 7pm, $8

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Well Wisher / The Vaughns / Yawn Mower, 9pm

BoonTunes (Boonton): Beach Bully / Machines Never Forget / Champ / The Neverends, 7pm,

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): The Penniless Loafers / The Damn Long Hairs / Girth Control / The Defending Champions, 7pm, $10

Brooklyn Bazaar (Brooklyn): Color Tongue / Darkwing / QWAM / Desert Sharks / Nihiloceros, 8pm, $10

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): The Apy Brothers / Arcs & Edges / Jacob Daniels, 9:30pm

Crossroads (Garwood): Levy & The Oaks / Nine Eighteen / The Nasty / Natalie Farrell / Seamstress, 8pm

Flemington DIY (Flemington): Special Lady / Fox Memorial / Guest Policy, 6pm, $5

House of Independents (Asbury): Chris Smither, 7pm, $25-$27

In The West (New Brunswick): Secretary Legs / Iffy / Freezing Cold / Decoration, 7:30pm, $5-$10

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Very Be Careful, 9:30pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Organ Dealer / Fluoride / Bea$ters / Vasoconstriction, 9pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Out Live Death / Walk The Plank / Coach's Son / Doc Rotten, 9pm, $7

Music Hall Of Williamsburg (Brooklyn): Garthapalooza ft. Lyons / Cassandra / Crucial Taunt, 7pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Appalachian Gypsy Tribe / Mr.Revelator / Jay Regan Band / Albert Savage, 7pm, $15

The Saint (Asbury): Avery Mandeville / Dentist / Lowlight / Julian Fulton & The Zombie Gospel, 7pm, $10

Scarlet Pub (New Brunswick): Feeny / Ernston / Sunbowl / Erin Walsh, 8pm, $5

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Splintered Sunlight (Dead covers), 7pm, $15-$20

Stosh's (Fair Lawn): Wild Moon / Erica Russo / Alpha Rabbit / The Extensions / Shimmy, 7:30pm, FREE

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): The Get Up Kids / Racquet Club / Ageist, 8:30pm, $26

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Jobonanno and The Godsons of Soul, 8pm, $10

SATURDAY (7/14)

209 4th Ave. (Asbury): Sonic Blume, 6pm

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Alex English, 9pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Hub City Stompers / The Cryptkeeper Five / Molly Rhythm / Experiment 34 / Chalk & The Beige Americans, 6pm, $5

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Sharkmuffin / Lost Boy ? Davey Jones / Lola Pistola, 9pm

BoonTunes (Boonton): Mosura / The Convincing Actor / NGGA / Picnic, 8pm, $10

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): MushFest: A Psychedelic Saturday, 2pm, $10-$15

Christ Church (Shrewsbury): Hysteria / Sister Munch / Opaque Melodies / Secretary Legs, 7pm, $10

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Plato Zorba / Sweet Joey's Thing Of Beauty, 10pm

Clash Bar (Clifton): Huge Pupils / SHRB / C.R. & The Degenerates, 7pm

FM (Jersey City): ManDancing / Hodera / Future Teens, 9pm, $8

Fox & Crow (Jersey City): Jack Skuller / Sasha Dobson / Bryan Wood, 10pm

House of Independents (Asbury): Hip Hop Dance Party, 9pm, FREE

In The West (New Brunswick): Big Mess / Kiss Concert / Youth Expire / Resounding No, 7pm

Index Arts Center (Newark): Jean Pool / Happy Fits / Crust / LKFFCT / Electric Sensei, 6pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Sandy Mack, 10pm

Lucky Bar (Jersey City): Lucky 7's Rock n Roll BBQ ft. The Young and The Rest Less / Sean Kiely / Terra Electric / Hudson City Rats / CC Roots / CHANGE√∂RDER / Hey Anna / The Battery Electric / The Components / Crazy & The Brains, 1pm

The Saint (Asbury): Black Suburbia Music Show ft. Drew The Recluse / Taylor Tote / Sousa / Philosophical Tom / The Moja Experience, 7:30pm, $10

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Tramps Like Us (You guessed it. Bruce covers), 7pm, $18+

West End Park (Long Branch): Whirling Dervishes, 5pm, FREE

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): Hamilton Leithauser, 8:30pm, $25

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers, 8pm, $20-$25

SUNDAY (7/15)

10th Ave Burrito (Belmar): The Royal Pacifics, 2pm

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

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Divided Heaven / Erotic Novels / The Fullers / Steve Burks, 7pm, $10

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Bobby Mahoney & The Seventh Son, 1pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): NJ Is Dead ft. High Time, 5pm, $5

Flemington DIY (Flemington): Tula Vera / Florence Foster Jenkins / Tula Vera / Sad Lips, 7pm, $5-$10

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): PJ Rasmussen, 8pm

The Saint (Asbury): Reefer Madness / Big Cuff and The Wendy Sues / Wind Up Kid, 7pm, $10

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Enjoy!, 3pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): The Hip Abduction, 8pm, $15

Friday, July 6, 2018

Asbury Park Music Foundation Teaming with Tito's to Bring AP Artists to CBGB (at EWR)


Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Some Music

Asbury Park Music Foundation and Tito's Handmade Vodka announced today that they'll be teaming up for The Mockingbird Summer Series, a 10-week, live music series that will showcase artists from Asbury Park. The artists will serenade travelers from the CBGB Terminal C location at Newark Airport.

Acts including The Burns, Drew the Recluse & Miles NxBxDy, Accidental Seabirds, Bobby Mahoney, Rachel Ana Dobken, and more will perform on select Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday mornings during the last 10 weeks of summer (July 12th - September 15th). Travelers can get a taste of the Asbury Park music scene while enjoying Tito's Handmade Vodka cocktails at CBGB. For each cocktail sold, Tito's will donate $1, up to $20,000, to Asbury Park Music Foundation. The Foundation strives "to keep the Asbury Park music legacy alive by providing underserved youth with life-changing music education, helping the local music scene thrive and uniting a diverse community through music."

"At Tito's, our mission is to turn spirits into love & goodness," said Zack Flores, Director of Philanthropic Programs at Tito's Handmade Vodka in a press release. "Asbury Park Music Foundation shares our vision of supporting local communities and we're grateful to be able to partner on The Mockingbird Summer Series to support emerging musicians."

"We want passionate music fans from throughout the US and the world to enjoy a taste of what Asbury Park musicians have to offer," said Jim Lenskold, President of the Asbury Park Music Foundation (and avid local music fan). "The CBGB stage in the Newark Airport is a great opportunity to introduce a new audience to Asbury Park's diverse original music. We hope to encourage travelers and locals to experience the live music playing every night of the year in one of our 20+ great venues."

Lenskold continued, "We are thankful to Tito's for spotlighting our current musicians while also contributing to the next generation of musicians through their donation supporting music education for underserved youth."

So far, APMF and Tito's have confirmed:

Accidental Seabirds
Drew the Recluse & Miles NxBxDy
Chris Brown
Emily Grove
Bobby Mahoney
The Apy Brothers
Rachel Ana Dobken
Eryn O’Ree
Poca
LEEDS
Pamela Flores
The Burns
Mackenzie Brown
Natalie Newbold

The entire series will feature over 20 up-and-coming artists from Asbury Park and kicks off with Accidental Seabirds on July 12, Drew the Recluse & Miles NxBxDy on July 13, and Chris Brown on July 19. Additional scheduling info, artist bios, a Spotify playlist, and more will be available at www.AsburyParkMusicLives.org/Titos by July 12th.

NJ Stuff from The Skullers, Lowlight, and The RockNRoll Hi-Fives

Lowlight released a live album last week.

Catching Up

I've been trying to build a little bit of blog / life balance into my routine lately. The obsession with cycling that consumed me in my late teens / early twenties has returned, and I've been getting out there almost daily this summer. And I've been making an effort to spend a little more time with the coolfamily rather than out at so many shows. That's led to my posting a lot less around here and falling waaay behind on the email and release games. Oh well. There have been a few things recently that I've been meaning to call your attention to, so here are some of those.

The Skullers, "I'm Your Man"

Last month, NJ blues rockers The Skullers released a cover of Richard Hell's "I'm Your Man." All proceeds from the song go to benefit Career Gear. Career Gear provides "professional clothing, mentoring and life-skills to help men in poverty become stronger contributors to their families and communities."

The band had the opportunity to meet with the Career Gear team in their New York offices and donated some suits to help further the organization's mission.



The Skullers' take on the Richard Hell b-side combines singer / guitarist Jack Skuller's passion for the blues with bassist Luigi Sardi's punk leanings into a version that's become a fan favorite at the band's live shows. Check out the Skullers' cover of "I'm Your Man" below.

The band will play the Johnny Thunders Birthday Bash at The Bowery Electric on July 15th.



Lowlight, It's Later Than You Think

Two of my favorite live music moments from the last 18 months or so happened both times I saw Lowlight open for Pretenders. The first time, at Terminal 5, I got a little choked up watching friends of mine play the stage at a big venue in the big city as they opened for rock royalty. The second time, at Red Bank's Count Basie Theatre, it was wonderful to see the outpouring of support from all of the Jersey locals who turned out and helped sell out the show. In both cases, as always, Lowlight gave an honest and heartfelt performance. That's always been the appeal of the band to me. No matter how many times I see them live or hear their songs, the band deliver the set as if it were the first (or maybe the last) time.

Last week, Lowlight released a live album that was recorded during their last run with Pretenders. It's Later Than You Think includes live renditions of cuts from both the band's full-length (Where Do We Go From Here) and their recent EP (Born to Run).

The versions here of, say, "Motel Chronicles," "'86 Parisienne," or "Nights and Weekends" illustrate what I'm talking about. Even through a recording, Lowlight's live performance reaches into your chest and grabs you in a way that few other bands do.

The set also includes performances of some unreleased songs like "California Blue" and songwriter Renee Maskin's journalistic observations of life in Asbury Park, "Locals Only." Both of these tracks should, once and for all, get people to stop trying to pigeonhole Lowlight as a country / Americana act. And no Lowlight live recording would be complete without a bit of Maskin's trademark TV-MA ("My mom hates this.") banter.

It's Later Than You Think is out now.



The RockNRoll Hi-Fives, Re-Introducing The RockNRoll Hi-Fives

At the risk of fully transforming this site into CoolDadMusicRockNRollHiFives.com, I need to at least tell you about the band's debut full-length, which came out last week.

I've reviewed every one of The RockNRoll Hi-Fives' EPs: here, here, and here. I've booked the band for many, many shows (including the first show I ever threw in 2014). I freaking lived with the Centenos for two weeks as we toured Japan this past April. There's no possible way for me to be impartial about this record. With all that out of the way, I can tell you that this album is an absolute blast. Made up of most of the band's 2016 EP, the Beat the Sound the Dragon's Roar, four new tracks, and Hi-Fives' classic "Livin' the Lost Boy Life," Re-Introducing The RockNRoll Hi-Fives is a glam-infused, hook-filled, loud rock and roll party.

You can hear the increased confidence and skill that have come from doing this family project for the last four-or-so years. Relatively new musicians Gloree, Evren, and Eilee have grown into serious rockers; and veteran guitar hero, Joe, doesn't have to do anywhere near as much of the heavy lifting as before. Eilee has become a legitimate force as a frontperson. Moonlight Mile Recording's Mike Moebius has captured all of this perfectly.

I've seen The RockNRoll Hi-Fives perform almost more times than I can count. I can't hear "Hold On" without seeing Eilee's sneakers stomp around the stage in time with the chugging chorus. I can't hear "Same Mistakes" without seeing her throw her hair as she sings "Honey You. Make the Same! Mis! Takes! I! Do!" I can see Joe doing his "guitar jumping jacks" or running back and forth across the stage during "C'est La Vie." And, while you may not have the same images in your mind as I do, I think anyone listening to this can feel that same energy.

I think I've said some version of this in every one of the reviews I've written of a RockNRoll Hi-Fives' release, so I'll say it again: Music connects people. The RockNRoll Hi-Fives connect with each other as they make music and, in doing that, they bring us all into their orbit.

Re-Introducing The RockNRoll Hi-Fives is out now on Little Dickman Records.