alternative rock

Jordan Lawrence - 2016 Top 10 Albums

Photography: Adela Locsin 

Photography: Adela Locsin 

In no particular order, Jordan Lawrence, Co-Founder, Black Lodge Management (Bay Faction, Hiding Out, Vertigo), gives The Hook his top 10 albums of 2016!

1. Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo
Kanye's most frustrating work, but also his most brilliant. The energy on this record, the samples, and the features all make it hard to beat. The press and release mess around it made it all the more irresistible to enjoy and really take in. 

2. Frank Ocean - Blonde
A beautiful follow-up to Channel Orange, Frank's vocals over minimal yet lush guitar arrangements put you in his place in the driver's seat. Well worth the hype. 

3. The Weeknd - Starboy
Not a single bad song on this record. Perhaps his most commercial release yet while still maintaining his character. 

4. Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book
The brightness we needed in a fairly dark year. Between the optimism of the record itself and the incredible marketing done around it, Chance is a true indie staple in a major label-run industry. 

5. Drake - Views
While this record is longer than it needs to be and has a good few filler tracks, it also has some of my favorite Drake songs. Just solid. 

6. Bad Suns - Disappear Here
The band expanded on what they did with their debut in terms of songwriting, along with adding more of a rock edge to it. 

7. Joseph - I’m Alone, No You’re Not
Beautifully written songs and vocal arrangements from these three sisters, whose familial ties give the record all he more unity. 

8. Maren Morris - Hero
I'm normally hesitant with country, but these songs just scream pop records. Maren's performance and the diversity here set her up for a long, unique career. 

9. AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
Perhaps one of the most intriguing releases of the year for me. A singer-songwriter from Norway, singing honestly in English over tracks that perfectly blend sounds of nature and electronic minimalism. 

10. Pinegrove - Cardinal
A step in a different direction for a label and scene that tend to do the same stale things over and over again. Some great, dynamic, honest songs here with instruments and timbres not normally heard from bands on Run For Cover and similar labels.

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 - 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