Tuesday, September 6, 2016

North Jersey Indie Rock Festival, September 10th at Jersey City's Cathedral Hall: Introducing... ...Underlined Passages

The Fantastic Quest

This Saturday, September 10th, labels Sniffling Indie Kids and Mint 400 Records host The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival at the newly-renovated Cathedral Hall in Jersey City. The event brings together 20 bands from both labels along with vendors and bloggers for a day of independent music and fun. CoolDad Music is proud to be participating in the festival, and the organizers have given me the opportunity to introduce a pair of bands and to take a few minutes to discuss what we do over here at the website. While I try to figure out exactly what the second part is, I thought maybe I'd get a head start on my introductions as a way of previewing the fest.

Today, I'll tell you a bit about Baltimore's Underlined Passages. The band released their latest LP, The Fantastic Quest, back in April with Mint 400; and it is a satisfying slice of indie pop.

Opener "Calamine" weaves and jangles dreamily like the fading thoughts it describes. "Arabesque" sails along at a slightly quicker pace, the vocal harmonies of the chorus swirling around the guitars. "Everyone Was There" opens with a bit of distortion before it chugs along on some martial-sounding drums. Three songs in, and I'm thinking about a particular era of indie pop centered around bands like Band Of Horses, Death Cab For Cutie, and even Meadowlands-era Wrens.

Short standout, "The Driver," gives the sense of moving forward at speed. Its "ooo oos" are something you'd turn up on the car radio. Closer, "Hearts on Fire," rocks and sways along until it closes on a last, fading note.

The Fantastic Quest is a set of meticulously-crafted indie pop songs in which it's easy to get lost. Appropriate to the title, I guess, the record conveys movement throughout all of its tracks. At times, there's a strong sense of direction. At other times, the feeling is one of aimless drifting. Any quest that's long enough -- a big project, traipsing through foreign cities with your family, life in general -- will have elements of both, and that comes across here.

Underlined Passages take the downstairs stage at The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival at 3:40pm on Saturday. You can check out The Fantastic Quest over at Underlined Passages' Bandcamp page.

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