Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Everymen, New Jersey Hardcore, 2012

Wednesday Run Album Review

Disappointment again Tuesday as I was unable to find the record I was looking for at my local shop.  I'd gone out to grab some lunch and, hopefully, score the vinyl for A.C. Newman's Shut Down the Streets; but it looks like I'll be ordering that one, too.  My frustration turned to happiness, though, when I got home and discovered that the mail had brought with it New Jersey Hardcore (Killing Horse Records) by Tuckerton's The Everymen.  I spent the evening listening to the record and took it with me for a run this morning right after the rain finally stopped.

I almost think this record could have been called New Jersey. Hardcore. or Hardcore New Jersey, because The Everymen's sound really isn't anything close to hardcore; but, to me anyway, it's unmistakably New Jersey.  It's the New Jersey of the beautifully derelict structure of Asbury Park's Casino right next to the beach, the New Jersey of the tightly-packed, tin-ceilinged bars of Hoboken and Jersey City.  Guitars and sax along with the vocals of Mike V. and Catherine Herrick give The Everymen an early punk sound that generates -- some probably over-romanticized by me -- images of a mid 1970s rock band tearing up bars along the Jersey Shore.

"We could all be doin' a little bit better.  Just a little better," says the subject of "Joey & The Neighborhood."  It's a short, spoken-word recording, but it does a nice job of setting the tone for the rest of the record.  There aren't going to be any intricately programmed synths or carefully selected samples.  Instead, New Jersey Hardcore is simple rock and roll.  "Dance Only, Only Dance" and "With the Boys," with their big guitar chords and "bah, bah, bah" sax, are just that.  Single and album standout "Coney Island High," a reference to the 1990's East Village punk venue, features Catherine Herrick singing about a girl who's "sick and tired of that pleated skirt and polo shirt and book bag" and just wants to score a ticket to a rock show.

There are influences other than proto-punk garage rock here, too.  "Novocaine" could be an homage to Elvis Costello's "The Big Light" from King of America.  Album closer "Yellow Sunday Dress" mirrors some of the new wave Americana from that same record.

New Jersey Hardcore doesn't break any new ground musically, but I don't think that's the point.  The Everymen tap into some of that primal appreciation that we all have for a simple, solid rock and roll song.  Even if you're into some more modern or innovative sounds, turning up New Jersey Hardcore should allow you to forget that you could be doin' just a little better.  For about thirty minutes anyway.  And despite the fact that the music business may take at least a few of The Everymen across the river to Brooklyn or Manhattan if it hasn't already, they do their thing here in fine New Jersey style.

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