band to follow

MD Band To Follow - WVNDER

It's been a while since we've been excited about someone new, but Maryland alt-rock quartet, WVNDER has quickly become one of those bands tugging on our heart strings!

The Frederick, Maryland based quartet has beginnings in 2014 with a debut Bandcamp album - a band made up of core members, Andy Cizek (Vocals), Jack Rentschler (Guitar/Vocals), Danny Salsbury (Guitar/Vocals), and Brett Schleicher (Drums) - WVNDER quickly caught the attention of a few important people in the scene, which skyrocketed their short, however impressive career into the blossoming present it currently takes.

WVNDER signed with Boston label, We Are Triumphant - who re-released their debut album in August 2015, and otherwise allowed for an open door to the spotlight WVNDER wanted - and dare we say, deserves. WVNDER, a two year old band, has spent their time making moves, playing shows, affiliating themselves with companies who they hope will better their standing - and as a listener we admire that in a fellow group of artists. 

WVNDER released their full-length sophomore album back in August of 2016, solidifying their seats as a band you should be watching out for. With roots in pop punk, alt-rock, emo punk, WVNDER has transformed themselves with the use of technical musicianship and emotionally driven, cathartic lyricism. 

Precipice follows debut album WVNDER with 12 tracks, and maintains important footholds that WVNDER had established previously - we're thinking of lead singer Andy Cizek's voice that breaks through the wall of instrumental power, and delivers not only the weight of emotion that the lyrics exude, but also ground the listener in a specific moment that transforms each track into separate entities of being.

Check out the tracklist below!

Precipice Tracklist:
1. Afterimage
2. Character Blur
3. The Dark
4. Goodbye
5. Crier
6. Other Worlds
7. Spellbound
8. Limbo (feat. Bradley Walden)
9. Stay Away
10. Come Home
11. Dream Life
12. Bliss

Of course, what upholds Cizek's voice is the backing of powerful, heavier musical technical prowess of Jack Rentschler and Danny Salsbury. The duality of the guitar allows two separate sounds, one that steadies the beat, and another that highlights the working vocals. And, obviously, the importance of drummer Brett Schleicher to hold down each track with the constant beat. 

By definition, a precipice is a very steep rock face or a cliff - and this Precipice feels like the leap into freedom. That was what we, here at The Hook, most enjoyed about WVNDER and Precipice. WVNDER joins the ranks for band's we're watching out for - one that brings back memories of what we loved about pop punk, what we miss about it, and what the scene needs to uplift sometimes tiresome roots.

If you're in the Baltimore area, check out their show on December 8th!

Otherwise, definitely check out WVNDER - they're always up to something, especially really awesome shows, and in the meantime check out Precipice, or take a look at their social media to stay up to date on some really good fuckin' music.

WVNDER: Facebook // Instagram // Twitter

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

CA Band To Follow - Crooked Teeth

Photography:  Ashly Nicole

Photography: Ashly Nicole

Crooked Teeth is one of the newest bands we've been into, but their freshness doesn't take away from the pure sound that they create - and we're adding them to The Hook's most watched band list!

Out of San Francisco, California, Crooked Teeth claim to be a "a cocktail of all of [our] favorite elements from (but not limited to) Emo, Pop, Punk rock, Pop punk and Alt Rock." Take it from us, Crooked Teeth is a gratifying collection of eclectic music. Not to mention, Crooked Teeth has spent the entirety of their short existence making sure that their resumé is nothing short of impressive. Having shared the stage with acts like Have Mercy, Cute Is What We Aim For, and This Wild Life, as well as having played for Common Ground Fest Wests Festival, and Emo Night LA.

And for all of these really cool accomplishments, we were even more surprised to find that Crooked Teeth is only a three piece comprised of Tyson Evans (Vox/Bass), Adam Miranda (Guitar) and Adam Galindo (Drums).

Photography:  Ashly Nicole

Photography: Ashly Nicole

According to Crooked Teeth, "The project was started out of a desire to not really have any limitations as far as sound or one particular genre association. The band was put together within six months of the completion of the debut EP, Out Here, A Lone. Adam Miranda (Guitar) ended up printing some shirts for me (Tyson), and I sent him the songs with no objective, which was when he reached out to play and invited his friend (now also mine) Adam Galindo of Strife to hop in on drums."

A band with a plan is what we like to see. Out Here, A Lone dropped on May 27th, 2016. It was produced/engineered/mixed by Matt Lang, percussion was done by Andy Rodesney, and finally mastered by Mike Kalijian. The 5-track EP is the perfect little teaser for what (we hope) is to come from Crooked Teeth.

Think about Green Day and Blink 182 for us, then check out their bandcamp to form your own opinion. Otherwise, check out the tracklist below.

Out Here, A Lone Tracklist:
1. Golden Boys
2. F@#k Up
3. Deal
4. Helpless
5. State Lines





Crooked Teeth is a really exciting new venture, and The Hook is on for the ride. In regards to their future and current goals, Crooked Teeth had this to say, "The project is still relatively fresh and we are just getting our feet wet under this new name and identity. Ultimately, our goals are to shred really fucking hard, have a kick ass time doing so, and write jams that we would want to turn up loud."

In the meantime, check out Crooked Teeth's social media plugs below, and stay tuned with this up & coming band.

Crooked Teeth: Facebook // Bandcamp

PA Band To Follow- Carried Away

Pennsylvania, and Philly specifically, has been a hotbed for the turn-of-the-century punk music- which is focused on being energetic, honest, and inviting to listeners of all kinds. Though it is more widespread, it seems to have diluted in a sense.

This is not to say it's gotten worse, but it HAS lost a great deal of the bite that punk music of old so furiously held on to, capitalizing further on quirky personal flares and cleverly satirical writing and only occasionally getting rougher than the roughest Title Fight song. Think phenomenal bands like Hop Along, Ex Friends, and Radiator Hospital. Great punk, but not tooth-kicking-in punk. Few bands have found a home in the harder parts of punk, but bands like Philly's own Soul Glo have remained true to the piss-and-vinegar rawness. 

They aren't alone, though, as Bucks County has spawned a no-frills, all-thrills, Hook-Approved hardcore punk act by the name of Carried Away. Having come together early last year, this band has a raw spirit that is set to get heads a-banging, arms and legs a-swinging, and ears a-ringing.

Check out their song "Let It Go" below for a taste.

Seriously, this band is harsh. It builds on the blistering assault of bands like Righteous Jams, Desperate Measures, Cro-Mags, and Mother Of Mercy, staying stompy and steady to create a sense of crushing heaviness that would make any Hatebreed fan shed a tear of pride. All you need to do is listen to the band's demo, Common Case Of STFU, and you'll understand. Released in June, the demo showcases all the unhinged menace that is Carried Away.

Common Case Tracklist:
1. Let It Go
2. Don't Look
3. Unabashed

4. Never Enough
5. Memories

Each one of these five songs will have listeners begging for more.

When a band comes around and captures the essence of hardcore punk in its full breadth, you know shit's serious. Furthermore, vocalist Mitch Koehler dominates the tracks, asserting himself to the forefront to express just how much everything pisses him off (and we've got news for you: it's a lot). One only needs to hear the beginning of "Never Enough" or the end of "Don't Look" to understand where this dude is coming from. Moments like this set the band up to elevate the current scene, because while many a punk act maintains the attitude, these boys are more than happy to bring the aggression to boot. 

You can pick up this demo at their Bandcamp, and be sure to follow them on Facebook to see when they'll have shows in the area. Here's hoping they'll come through Philly soon! Until then, stay tuned for more punch-drunk punk ear-lovin'. 

Carried Away: Facebook // Bandcamp

Philly Band To Follow - Dear Friend

Philadelphia continues to grace The Hook with superb music, with a local scene that's out of this world, it's no wonder that we're adding Dear Friend to one of our newest local features - and sincere new summer faves!

Dear Friend is relatively new, but the four piece isn't shy when it comes to music. The band is centered around singer-songwriter Kenny Luu, and includes Julia Rainer (guitar & backing vocals), Will Wright (bass), and Branden King (drums). With a talented and driven group coming together, all of which have current backgrounds/side projects in the scene, Dear Friend has the opportunity to prove themselves to be a really stellar up & coming band!

And here at The Hook, we're really super stoked about it.

The Philly rock band is a really nice blend of music - maybe Weezer, or The Pixies. Dear Friend just put out their debut full-length, self-titled album - which impressively boasts 10-tracks. A self described "fuzzy, surf-y, pop-y, punk-y" sound of music, and we're going with that because they're totally right.

Their brand of music is refreshingly fun, with what seems to be more punk/shoegaze inspired instrumental work, and an indie/pop vocal to set up for this really interesting exchange! This is us saying you should check it out.

Check out the track-list below, and check back here for a review of the album soon!

Dear Friend Tracklist:
1. Fall Asleep
2. Friends Are Gone
3. Patient With Me
4. Hope You Know
5. On Our Own
6. The Sun
7. In My Mind
8. Wake Up
9. Hardly Ever Right
10. Want You To Stay

While Dear Friend is still really new (we said that) they've already made sure to spend their summer playing a ton of shows in and around Philly. They also have plenty of stuff planned for the fall including a music video, and an album release show (we hope we're invited) and honestly, Dear Friend is a really cool and different sound then what we've previously looked at!

The cool people at Dear Friend have a show planned for September 24th at Ortliebs, but we're sure they'll be playing more before then - especially with recent appearances at Indie Fest in Wildwood, NJ, or at Boot And Saddle opening for Prism Tats!

We're excited for what's to come, so keep posted here for more on Dear Friend!

Otherwise, you know the drill. Send them a meme, bake them a cake, wave from the other side of the street! Social media links below!

Dear Friend: Facebook // 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

NJ Band To Follow - The Fifth Down

There are countless reasons I would defend New Jersey, and I'm adding The Fifth Down to my list.

Self-proclaimed indie-punk group, The Fifth Down, is one of my newest discoveries in the New Jersey local scene - and to be honest, thank goodness. 

After a supposed failed attempt as a Ska band in High School (Ska was in then, right?) the original members, Elias Kotsis (keys/vocals), Bobby Lussier (guitar/vocals), Kyle Murphy (lead vocals/guitar), and Ethan Wagner (bass) were joined by George Ford (drums), Dylan Levine (guitar/vocals) to begin their project in a new direction - of the indie punk variety.

If you're looking for a reference, you can think of bands like The Front Bottoms, Brand New, and The Wonder Years. 

The Fifth Down has been busy! Of course, why wouldn't they be. They're really good. Back in 2013, The Fifth Down released their self-recorded debut EP, A Reason to Celebrate. All of which using material dating as far back as eighth grade. I've listened to the EP, it's pretty rad - you can get it on iTunes. 

They're currently working on their upcoming full-length, More Than Just Your Own Kind. The band says that this LP is focused on "the story of growing out of one’s home to explore more genuine, organic relationships and what is needed to sustain them." More Than Just Your Own Kind will be released on June 3rd, 2016, and you should totally check back on The Hook because we're stoked to be reviewing it!

The Fifth Down also recently just shared their track, "Canada Dry," from More Than Just Your Own Kind! The guys premiered it with SIMGE on May 16th in preparation for the June 3rd release! You can check out "Canada Dry," streaming on Bandcamp, and you can also purchase the track - so you should be doing all of these things, right now.

And from me to you, I've been listening to More Than Just Your Own Kind, and you should be pumped. Obviously, we're going to be talking more about it on our review of the album, but here's a sneak peek: really stellar emotional lyrics, the best track titles I've ever encountered, and a soundtrack that's going to be your summer anthem.

I mean, what I admire most about them is how really relaxed their music feels. It's reminiscent of some of my old favorites, early 2000 jams. Also, there's a song called "Gas Station Sushi," which is gross and great. I don't know, maybe I don't know much about the indie-punk music scene, or I'm just ready for NJ to represent - but The Fifth Down is definitely representing. The Fifth Down is exciting. The Fifth Down and their music has a lifelong fan in me, I'm gonna be real. 

That's right, you heard it here: The Fifth Down is your new windows down, going to the beach, eating pb&j dudes. Listen to them in your backyard (I did), in your car (I did), while eating a banana with peanut butter on it (did that, too) - point is, just check these guys out. 

Check back here for an album review of More Than Just Your Own Kind in June - and a show review later that month as well!

As always, head over to their social media, take a listen to "Canada Dry," tell them your favorite color, why you can't eat pickles anymore - about your experiences with sushi from sketchy places. Just check it!

The Fifth Down: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

NJ Band To Follow - Halogens


Straight out of Absury Park, NJ, Halogens makes there way on to The Hook's featured locals, and with good reason!

The four piece pop punk outfit consists of Zach Henry (lead vocals and guitar), Charlie Throckmorton (guitar), Tim Wuestneck (bass and vocals), and George Saives (drums). You should be taking notes, as the emo and punk scene gains momentum, Halogens has spent their time cultivating and crafting their own special and individualized space in the movement.

A "semi-serious" effort, you can see also bands like The Front Bottoms, or Sorority Noise. Halogens employs techniques similar to popular and thriving pop-punk and emo bands. However, the members of Halogens are way more fun - we'd say. Maybe I'm just over this sad-boy version of music, or maybe it's just exciting to hear something new, either way Halogens is most definitely getting me there.

The band spent around 5 years as an independent group, self-recording and releasing their music, up until recently! Halogens worked in tandem with Adam Cichocki of Timber Studios to produce their new, self-titled EP! The EP was released via Mayflower Collective and Why Bother Records back in January!

Halogens - EP is most definitely a collection you should be checking out. Made up of 5-tracks, the entire album skillfully employs half-screamed, half-sung lyrics, and an intricate mosaic structure with rhythms - while the members of Halogens then twist that to create a genre bending collection that utilizes and warps punk, alternative and indie into 5 equally creative, fun, and fitting tracks.

Not to mention, we had an opportunity to scope out Halogens recently in NYC - and they're amazing live, too. They bring a ton of energy to the stage, and their years of self-production shows most definitely in their performance.

Halogens is one of the most exciting groups I've had the opportunity to not only write about, but to see play live as well, and I've low-key been recommending them to everyone that I talk about music with because I care about nothing besides good jams and their song "Kitchen Sink," from the EP.

Bottom line, check Halogens out. Their social media is below so you have no reason not to say hey, or tell them a fun story. 

Halogens: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram