NJ Band To Follow

NJ Band To Follow - Shark Club

Shark Club is a band that I didn’t know I needed in my life until I heard them. Everything about them and their music screams authenticity, honesty, and innocence in a peculiar way that is reminiscent of childhood memories. The band has been hard at work in 2016 releasing arguably their strongest set of songs in their latest EP Michigan a little over 2 months ago. On top of that, they have also recently released a cover of Slaughter Beach, Dog’s song “Monsters” which you can listen to below!

Shark Club consists of guitarists/singer songwriters Jake Britton and Russel Cerminaro, bassist Eric Ciparis, and newest member, David Juro on the drums. With influences from bands such as Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms, the band strikes a perfect balance between nostalgia and innovation while crafting a sound that is all their own. The name Shark Club, just like the members of band, comes from simple beginnings. One day Britton approached Cerminaro with a song he had written which they later recorded. They quickly realized the potential behind their music, recruited additional members, Ciparis and Juro, and began practicing in Cerminaro’s basement. That practice space was decorated with an odd painting of a pink shark wearing sunglasses.

Right below the shark, the painting read “shark club.”

The band has released 2 full length albums and 1 EP. Their latest full length effort, Michigan, is the band’s most collaborative project with each member contributing to every song on the record equally, and it definitely shows. Michigan captures everything that is fun and exciting about Shark Club and puts it on full display in a neatly polished package that just makes listeners feel good. 
You can check out the tracklisting for Michigan right here!

Michigan Tracklist:
1. In Your Eyes
2. Aim For The Heart 03:11
3. Paper Bag Funeral 03:20
4. In Time 02:30
5. Mint 04:18
6. Weathered 03:09
7. Yosemite 02:18
8. Blue Whale 03:43
9. God Walks on 45th Street 03:38
10. Midnight 03:25
11. Tomorrow 04:44
12. Quilt

Just like their recorded music, Shark Club’s live shows are just as fun and inviting. Even before they set foot on the stage, the members of the band make it a priority to go around and engage audience members by asking random questions that are guaranteed to take you by surprise. When they finally do take the stage, you better believe their shows will be filled with infectious music and good vibes. “If our high energy songs and scrumptious breakdowns don’t get you pumped, I’m not sure what will.”

Unfortunately Shark Club has no set shows in place at this moment. The members are at school until winter break rolls around when they will be back at the grind recording the dozens of songs they have amassed since their last record. 

If you have never heard of Shark Club before, then now is the perfect opportunity to join the club (pun fully intended). You’ll be treated to wonderfully benevolent music that will make you feel happy in the most innate way while still bringing energy and intensity. Michigan is an awesome, feel-good record that I highly recommend. Check out Shark Club’s social media links below and keep your eyes and ears peeled for even more new music and show dates.

Shark Club:  Facebook // Soundcloud // Bandcamp // YouTube

NJ Band To Follow - Circadian Frequency

Circadian Frequency joins the growing list of NJ bands that you should definitely be checking out, and The Hook welcomes Circadian Frequency as another Hook Approved band - one that is exploring music, concept, and story-telling all in one!

Circadian Frequency includes members Eric Sheffler (Bass), Josh Fagan (Drums), and Tom Bair (Guitars, Vocals, Lyrics, Recording, Mixing & Artwork), and describe themselves as progressive punk "power trio." We'd say very progressive, and very old school punk.

2012 was the year of Circadian Frequency, a project that came after frontman/guitarist Tom Bair started an idea that included only artwork and lyrics, at the time. Bair transformed his idea first into a “travel-log narration” which included segments similar to chapters; and these “entries” were inspired by the process of transformation, and in Bair’s words, “the writing became a planned escape route from a failing marriage.” Of course, Bair couldn’t do this alone – he soon teamed up with childhood friend and drummer, Josh Fagan. The pair, however, would have struggles ahead of them, especially trying to find a bassist to fit their sub-genre blending style. 

According to the band the struggle and endless search caused a “metaphoric revelation” that a band is similar to that of a ship’s crew, an un-ironic metaphoric realization for men trying to encapsulate The Odyssey in music. The eventual inclusion of Eric Scheffler was what gave this “three man crew” the ability to “escape the depths of the basement stagnation, while also documenting their journey to the surface through music and sound!” 

Since their formation, Circadian Frequency has spent their time cultivating music. More specifically, creating music that follows a linear thought pattern, a focus they especially took in writing their version of “Odyssey." The group began this massive conceptual project by patching things together from "cropped recordings of freeform jam sessions, these “sagas” evolved into mutated verse/chorus menageries."

Eventually the concept grew into an actuality: three EP’s. Each EP containing three tracks or “chapters,” self-recorded and released one by one in the order they were discovered. Maybe it's the writer in me, or maybe it's just a really cool idea, but music & story-telling? Are you hooked yet?

ORIGINS began as Volume 1 of the Trilogy. Circadian Frequency handed out 200 copies at local shows. The band states that "Track II, “LIBERATION,” was featured on the very first 502 Philly Rock Compilation released by The Art Is Not Dead Records, in 2013." The compilation allowed Circadian Frequency to enter a new age as a band in the nearby Philly music scene. Thus beginning a marathon of playing and organizing; an impressive 30 shows in their first year all across Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

Pretty impressive.

According to criticism, Circadian’s unique live show gained a reputation that stemmed from their "steampunk appearance, overcomplicated guitar effects, and half-naked cymbal bashing drummer." Nearly two years after their first release, Volume 2 MYTHOS is continuing where ORIGINS left off as planned, and paves the way for their next installment to complete their trilogy.

ORIGINS V. I Tracklist:
I. MUTINY 06:07

Their music is intense story-telling, nearly all tracks coming in over 6 minutes long - true sagas that exist not only within their own listening space, but also the space that their EP exists in, and the space the EP before and after them exist in as well. Circadian Frequency have been creating a universe, and we're ready for exploration.

Of course, Circadian Frequency doesn't allow the listener to be misunderstood - the pride they take in their storytelling spans from social media to social media. Explanations of songs, of wants, of artistic connection are told wherever the band sees fit - making this journey one that is guided, and The Hook is ready to dig in. Later this month we'll have a review up of MYTHOS, and what listeners can expect from that Volume 2 EP.

Until then, though, hopefully we've piqued your interest. Check out Circadian Frequency via the links below, read their stuff, listen to their really good music, tell them about the fish you caught last year. 

Circadian Frequency: Facebook // Bandcamp

NJ Band To Follow - Wishwell

Photography:  Phillip Shvartsman

Photography: Phillip Shvartsman

This week keeps getting better and better - and it's only Tuesday. New Brunswick, NJ offers up The Hook another freakin' rad bunch of dudes with alt/indie rock group, Wishwell.

Another relatively new band to the scene, Wishwell has been working hard to get themselves out there with a sound that is sincere, calming, and in way too short of supply (if ya ask us). However, regardless of the band's age, these guys are already killin' it. The five-piece includes Kenny Valinote (Vocals, Guitar), Jakub Szczepaniak (Guitar), Tom Risi (Bass), Pat Risi (Keys, Percussion), and Conor Risi (Guitar) to cultivate a sound influenced by post-rock and post-hardcore genres.

Wishwell just put out their debut EP, Reasons, back in February! A stellar 5-track wonder wall of music.

Valinote's voice paired with precise guitar, steady bass, and a trusted drum make for a really centered, focused and professional sounding EP. Reasons was produced, mixed, and mastered by Mike Watts at Vudu Studios in Port Jefferson.

Check out the tracklist below!

Artwork: Julie Chencinski

Artwork: Julie Chencinski

Reasons Tracklist:
1. Will We Wait
2. Bury Me
3. Cathedral
4. Two Colors
5. Say What

Honestly, it's a stellar EP - one perfect for the Fall, or even right now, we don't care. The lyrics are masterfully done, and Wishwell sounds as if they've been together for years - which makes us really stoked on what the future has to hold for these NJ natives!

The band's been quiet after what looks to be a decent amount of show-playing and touring, but according to social media, things are looking to start rolling hopefully soon for Wishwell - and they better, because here at The Hook we're just stoked to get more. 

As always, check out their social media to find out more, or check back here for future news! We're sure the dudes at Wishwell would love some pestering for some news, send them flowers, compliment their eyes - you know the drill. Links below!

Wishwell: Website // Twitter // Instagram // Bandcamp

NJ Band To Follow - With Sails Ahead

Photography: Emily Tantuccio

Photography: Emily Tantuccio

There’s nothing like a band from your hometown.

Maybe it’s the connection to living somewhere and wanting to be able to carry that with you, or maybe it’s bragging rights, but whatever it is, it’s always exciting when you know a band from your hometown, added points if that band is also really stinkin’ good.

Enter in With Sails Ahead. The Toms River, NJ-grown, self-proclaimed rock band is definitely that really stinkin’ good band from my hometown that I was talking about, so yeah.

The up & coming five-piece includes Sierra Binondo (vocals), Josef Warner-Reyes (guitar), Santino Costa (guitar), Jaime Martinez (bass) and Andrew Rotundo (drums) to create a really cool, and unique sound. 

A sound that I personally haven’t heard from in the NJ scene – and I’m excited about it. 

With Sails Ahead formed in 2014, without any members except for lead singer, Sierra Binondo. Binondo took on the task of writing and recording music, including Open Letters, the debut EP from the band, created thanks to the help of fellow NJ musicians. It took Sierra two years to complete the band’s line-up with musicians that fit and worked with the specific sound With Sails Ahead was aiming towards. 

Open Letters was the metaphorical "open door" for the building of the band’s core structure. From there, they have been able to put out more music including Open Letters EP (Revisted) in 2016, and their newest addition to their discography, Years In Waiting which was released in June 2016!

To make up for time lost perfecting their sound and member line-up, With Sails Ahead then spent their energy carving their space into the alt-rock NJ scene, playing show after show with bands like Hail The Sun, Worthwhile, Movements, Hotel Books, and In Angels. 

The rising band catches The Hook’s attention because of this impressive stacked show bill experience, their unique sound, and their most recent music, Years In Waiting. This is an EP we’re stoked to be reviewing soon, but also one that blurs defined lines of genre music. The genre-blending EP incites techniques from alt-rock music and hardcore influences, and lyrics to empower.

The EP was recorded, mixed and mastered by Adam Cichocki at Timber Studios, and Assistant Engineered by Augusto Sanchez. It features 4 tracks that set up the listener for some of those “hardcore influenced” instrumentals mentioned earlier, and the really nice juxtapose of Sierra’s voice to illustrate powerful and empowering lyrics for listeners.

But, we’ll get into that in our future review!

I’m just super stoked on With Sails Ahead and what they can achieve – and maybe that is my hometown pride, or maybe that’s just because With Sails Ahead is accessible, their music is fun and upbeat, instrumentally well done and complete – for their second EP they have jumped leaps and bounds as they continue to establish a name for themselves among their peers and listeners.

We’re hoping they’ve got some cool news in store for us, and until then, check out their social media for more on what’s going on. Otherwise, check back here at The Hook for a future album review! 

We're stoked on it, and you should be too.

Tell them a joke, tweet at them, buy them flowers – you know the drill, links below.

With Sails Ahead: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Bandcamp // Youtube