Friday, December 14, 2018

Downpilot, This Is The Sound, 2018

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

Downpilot's This Is The Sound is the Seattle-based band's follow-up to 2015's Radio Ghost. Radio Ghost was a bare, acoustic affair; in contrast, on the new album Paul Hiraga, the driving force behind Downpilot, brought in Melinda Rice on violin and Anne Marie Ruljancich's vocals to complement the core band. The result is a fuller, warmer sound.

For example, "We Just Come And Go" is gorgeous with its acoustic guitar along with a plucked and bowed violin by Rice that can remind you of R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People. And "Theivers" is another lovely tune with its echoes of Nick Drake; and there's a wonderful, quiet guitar solo in there too.

"At The Window" adds a mandolin to the mix as well as Rice's violin and Ruljancich duet-style vocals. Her voice blends seamlessly with Hiraga's and, along with a fuzzed guitar solo, everything comes together on this track to make for a fantastic listen. She also contributes to the melancholy pop gem that is "St. Clair."

"High And Guided" is less than four minutes long, but it's played as if it were an epic. It has a strong vocal from Hiraga and the full band is playing from the beginning. The terrific guitar solo that ends the number could go on for much longer, and you're going to wish it did.

The album also includes the slowly rocking "Behind The Sea" with a George Harrison-like slide guitar break. "Your Supply" is Nirvana unplugged, and the upbeat "Historian" is a throwback to the 70s prime of The Steve Miller Band.

This Is The Sound is out now on Tapete Records.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Premiere: New Single from Finding Feebas. Release Show Tomorrow, 12/14, at Surreal Creamery in New Brunswick.

"I'm Not Okay"

"It's a really personal song for me... I just kinda hope this song gets out there and helps anyone who is going through similar struggles. It's embarrassing admitting that you're suicidal, and this song touches on that." That's Finding Feebas lead singer, Brittney Dixon, on the band's latest single, "I'm Not Okay."

Guitarist Nikki Karwacki adds, "We wrote 'I'm Not Okay' last fall, while Brittney was living in North Carolina for a little bit. It was a rough time for her, and she was already planning on coming back to New Jersey, so she hit me up and said, 'send me some ideas;' and we basically wrote this whole thing via email."

It was during her time in North Carolina when, as Dixon puts it, "I'd lost everything stable in my life." At her lowest point, she found the nerve to reach out to friends and ask, "Please call me or text me every day to check in on me. I need help." That support allowed Dixon to hang on and eventually make it back home to New Jersey, where she found the additional support and help she needed. It was overcoming that fear of admitting "I'm not okay" that allowed her to work her way back.

The realization that the simple act of asking for help can be lifesaving led to the bouncing, pop punk of "I'm Not Okay." On the song, Dixon's delivery is steady, conversational, confessional as the rest of the band -- Karwacki, Alejandro Atacusi (lead guitar), RJ Noebels (drums), and newest member, Tim Hickson (bass) -- wail away through the song's musical twists and turns. "I'm not okay, and honestly that's okay. It's okay to not be okay when everything falls apart."

Finding Feebas celebrate the release of "I'm Not Okay" on Friday, 12/14, at New Brunswick's Surreal Creamery with help from Longlife. Surreal Creamery is an actual ice cream shop, not the name of a New Brunswick basement; so the show will be extra family friendly.

If you ever feel like you have nowhere to turn, someone is always at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

What's Going On: 12/13, 12/14, 12/15 & 12/16, 2018

Champagne Jam

Big weekend at CDMHQ as CoolDaughter #1's big winter swim meet takes place. We'll be back and forth to Rutgers throughout the weekend, but I'll try to make it out to a show or two.

On Thursday night, Jonathan Tea, Blake Morgan, Chris Brown, and Michael Askin are at Asbury Park Music Foundation. The Front Bottoms bring their tour with Manchester Orchestra to The Fillmore in Philly ahead of Sunday's big festivities. Kurtis Blow is part of "Hip Hop Nutcracker" at Asbury's Paramount. Old 97s play a sold-out holiday show at Wonder Bar.

The Ribeye Brothers play APYC with Character Actor on Friday. Eve 6 are at House of Independents. Secretary Legs, Alright, Smock, and The Dirtee Blondes play a show at In the West. Ween are at The Met in Philly. The Bouncing Souls have a killer of a sold-out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg with World/Inferno Friendship Society and Worriers. Finding Feebas celebrate the release of their new single (more on that later) at New Brunswick ice cream shop, Surreal Creamery, with Longlife.

On Saturday, The Ophelias, Yohuna, Pom Pom Squad, and Emily Yacina are at Brooklyn's ALPHAVILLE. Worriers, Gladie, and Hit Like A Girl make up a solid bill at Asbury Park Brewery. Tragedy, the all-metal tribute to The Bee Gees, are at House of Independents.

Saturday also brings a rare peformance by John Dwyer's (Thee Oh Sees) OCS to Brookyn's Murmrr Theatre. OCS will be performing as an 8-piece band, including a string section, and features the gentler, weirder sound of Dwyer's early, pre-Oh Sees records.

On Sunday morning, you have a chance to catch Brian Fallon for FREE at Calvary Lighthouse in Lakewood. Later that day, The Front Bottoms bring their Champagne Jam to Asbury Park's Convention Hall for the second year. This year, they're joined by Manchester Orchestra, SWMRS, Deal Casino, Well Wisher, and more. On Sunday evening, The Vaughns are at Crossroads in Garwood with Walkney.

It's a big weekend. Have fun.

Don't drink and drive.

THURSDAY (12/13)

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

Asbury Park Music Foundation (Asbury): Jonathan Tea / Bleake Morgan / Chris Brown / Michael Askin, 8pm, $10

Baby's All Right (Brooklyn): Operators Presents Handsome Furs, 8pm SOLD OUT

Brooklyn Steel (Brooklyn): Phosphorescent / Liz Cooper & The Stampede, 9pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Cranston Dean / Patty C / Colton Kayser, 9pm

Debonair Music Hall (Teaneck): Aminal / The Brams Hill Band / Hadar Baron / Clayton Ellis, 7pm, $10-$15

FM (Jersey City): Low Doses / Blockhouses / They Live!, 8pm, $8

The Fillmore (Philadelphia): The Front Bottoms / Manchester Orchestra, 7:30pm

H0l0 (Brooklyn): Snakeskin / Jackie Mendoza / Verdigirls / Anna Altman, 7pm, $10

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Groomers / Fake Joy / Gozer / Eyebawl, 9pm

New Lanes (Asbury): Puddles Pity Party, 8pm

Paramount Theatre (Asbury): Hip Hop Nutcracker w Kurtis Blow, 7:30pm, $27-$77

Pet Shop JC (Jersey City): Babraham Lincoln / Cartwheelers, 9pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Funk & Jam Band Jam, 7pm

The Saint (Asbury): Project/Object (Zappa tribute), 7pm, $20-$25

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Breaking Benjamin / Cliver, 7pm

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): Keller Williams's Pettygrass ft. The Hillbenders, 8:30pm, $25

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Old 97s / Caseymagic / Rhett Miller Solo, 7pm, SOLD OUT

FRIDAY (12/14)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Elk / Ward Trio, 9pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Nine Eighteen / The Fullers / The Cryptkeeper Five / The Hempsteadys, 7pm, $10 or $5 w non-perishable food donation

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): The Ribeye Brothers / Character Actor, 9pm

Bond St. Basement (Asbury): The Brothers Union / Ernest / With Sails Ahead, 9:15pm

BoonTunes (Boonton): MK TOUR, 7pm, $10

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Robots and Monsters / Jaws, 8pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Mark Aguilar (w Cranston Dean Band) / David Eastbourne / Dub Proof, 9pm

Cianfano's Bar (Elizabeth): My Rising Fall / Drifter / Breath Before Death / Alive In Fiction / Out Of It, 7pm, $5

Clash Bar (Clifton): Hardcore Holiday Celebration, 8pm, $10

FM (Jersey City): Jenna Pelle / Blak Emoji / James Calleo Band, 9pm, $8

House Of Independents (Asbury): Eve 6, 7pm, $25-$99

In The West (New Brunswick): Secretary Legs / Alright / Smock / The Dirtee Blondes, 7:30pm, $5-$8

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Matt Wade Band, 9pm

The Met (Philly): Ween, 8pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market Holiday Show w Shades Apart / Lost In Society / Erotic Novels, 8pm, $10

Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn): The Bouncing Souls / World/Inferno Friendship Society / Worriers, 7pm, SOLD OUT

New Lanes (Asbury): Wizard Fest Yule Ball, 8pm

Rent Party (Maplewood): Shark Hat / MJ & Klay Family Band / Forget The Whale, 8pm, $10

Roach Motel (Ask): The Best Of The Worst / Sean Henry / Teenage Halloween / Picnic, 8pm, $5

The Saint (Asbury): Griffin House, 6:30pm, $22-$25

The Saint (Asbury): Karmic Juggernaut / The Tea Club / No More Pain, 10pm, $5

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Taking Back Sunday / Rozwell Kid, 7pm

Stone Pony (Asbury): Chris Lane / Mason Ramsey / Gabby Barrett, 7pm

Stosh's (Fair Lawn): Tony Saxon / Ruby Bones / Fairmont / Stuyvesant / The Foxfires, 7:30pm

Surreal Creamery (Actual Ice Cream Shop in New Brunswick, Not Some Clever Name for a Basement): Finding Feebas (Single Release) / Longlife, 8pm, $5

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Midnight North / Peoples Blues Of Richmond, 7pm

SATURDAY (12/15)

ALPHAVILLE. (Brooklyn): The Ophelias / Yohuna / Pom Pom Squad / Emily Yacina, 8pm, $10

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Ugly Sweater Dance Party, 9pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Worriers / Gladie / Hit Like A Girl, 7pm, $10-$12

Asbury Park Music Foundation (Asbury): Pathetic Fallacy / Dig Two Graves / Flourish / Seinfeld Fanclub / Sunverse, 7:30pm, $7

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Inspector 7 / DJ STAX, 9pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Linkin Park Tribute / Kid Rock Tribute / Green Day Tribute / Yellowcard Tribute, 6:30pm, $12-$15

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Daly Rituals / Alex Mack / En Delirium, 9:30pm

Cianfano's Bar (Elizabeth): The Damn Long Hairs / The Penniless Loafers / Fuzzy Bitches / VX, 8pm, $5

Convention Hall (Asbury): AP Holiday Bazaar ft. Slowey and The Boats, 1pm

Elsewhere (Brooklyn): Jonathan Toubin Soul Clap Dance Off w The Black Lips / Gnarcissists / The Advertisers, 7pm, $10-$20

House Of Independents (Asbury): Tragedy, 9pm, $15-$17

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Anthony Krizan, 9pm

murmrr (Brooklyn): OCS / Shannon Lay, 7pm

New Lanes (Asbury): DJ Fun Size, 9pm

The Ocelot (Mystic Islands): Bordella / Dark Reverence, 5pm, $5

Rough Trade NYC (Brooklyn): Wyland / Valley / Miette Hope, 8pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Bourbon Express, 9pm

The Saint (Asbury): Downstream / Erik Mason / Matt Dubrow & The Captives / Brian Massa, 7:30pm, $10

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Taking Back Sunday / Modern Chemistry, 7pm

Stone Pony (Asbury): Life Of Agony / Sick Of It All, 6:30pm

Union Transfer (Philly): Cat Power / Reverend Baron, 7:30pm

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): Teen Top, 7pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Dead Reckoning, 9pm, $7

SUNDAY (12/16)

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

Calvary Lighthouse (Lakewood): Brian Fallon, 10AM, FREE

Convention Hall (Asbury): Champagne Jam ft. The Front Bottoms / Manchester Orchestra / SWMRS / Remo Drive / Beach Bunny / Shannen Moser / Deal Casino / The Moms / Well Wisher / ManDancing / Palamino / The Big Easy / Comedian Brendan Sagalow / Maddy Smith, 5pm

Crossroads (Garwood): The Vaughns / Walkney, 6pm, $10

Hoboken Elks (Hoboken): Holiday Banding ft. Tom Vincent & The Holiday Banding House Band / The Skullers / Jim Testa / Jon & Deena / more, 5:30pm, $10

House Of Independents (Asbury): Lil Tjay, 6pm, $30-$65

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Tara Dente / Brian Erickson, 1pm

The Saint (Asbury): Solar Circus / Doobie Decibel System, 7pm, $15-$20

Scarlet Pub (New Brunswick): Matt Pless / Jeff Linden / Joe Galuppo / The Bad Blooms, 8pm, $5

Stone Pony (Asbury): Chris Gullace Band St. Jude Benefit, 2pm, $20

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Rock and Roll Hair, July - December, 2018

Against Me!
Keep Growing

The year isn't quite over yet, and I'll probably get one or two more shots that could qualify for this list before we're done. For now, though, here are some of the Rock and Roll Hair shots from the second half of 2018. Dinosaur Jr., Screaming Females, Against Me!, the reigning champion RockNRoll Hi-Fives, and more.

Keep tossing those locks around.