Following two EPs and several singles and videos during the past five years, The Vaughns have released their debut full-length, “FOMO,” a delightful mix of whimsical indie rock and gnarly grunge. They will celebrate its release on May 17th at Asbury Park Brewery with Ella Ross an The Morgan Freemasons.
Like Nirvana, The Vaughns are exceptional at mixing gnarly grunge and delicious indie pop. In the wake of two EPs, they’ve never done it better than on their debut full-length, “FOMO,” which they wisely left into the crafty hands of The Front Bottoms bassist Erik Kase Romero, who’s also produced Deal Casino, Well Wisher, Sonic Blume and many others.
The 11-song collection opens with the surf-adelic instrumental “Learning to Surf” and then continues a surf theme with “Kowabunga,” a funny dis of Baltimore, which is compared to hell (I guess The Vaughns don’t care if they play there again). Fueled by ’60s-style psychedelic guitar a la The Yardbirds and early The Who, the entertaining tune alternates between lilting and romping before delivering a strong indie punch.
Five singles and three videos were released from this album, all of which got lots of attention from press, listeners and YouTube viewers. One of the newer singles is “50%,” a horn-tinged ditty that taps into The Vaughns’ funky side, as does “TV,” a struggle with morning and finances that features a sweltering solo by David Cacciatore.
Another track that utilizes horns is “Coffee Sundae,” which was released as a single last year. The surprising flirtation with jazz also sports an impressive solo by Cacciatore that recalls the fine slide playing of second Stones guitarist Mick Taylor.
Another one of the latest singles and also the latest video is “Shout,” the Makin Waves Song of the Week, which can be heard four times daily at AsburyMusic.com, as well as the Song of Week Spotify and YouTube playlists. The emotional rocker features vocals that squeal and guitars that squawk in a tug-of-war for the heart.
A previous video, the hysterical “Bring Your Kids to Work Day,” is as much fun to watch as it seems to have been to make. I love the way this song starts out sweet and innocent, like a cute kid, and then snarls into a nasty, grungy, blistering wash of guitar and accompanying feedback, as if that brat has grown into a teen and is driving his parents is nuts.
Out since 2017 as both a single and a video, “Santa Cruz” is an in-your-face blast of indie rock that reminds me of Courtney Love and Hole.
“FOMO,” a word that apparently relates to social media-driven anxiety, also features three other outstanding tracks that I actually would have preferred as promotional releases and is one of the best 1-2-3 punches released by a Jersey band so far this year:
Help The Vaughns celebrate the release of “FOMO”on May 17 at Asbury Park Brewery with The Morgan Freemasons and Ella Ross. The album release party is part of a month-long spring tour that will wrap up with dates on May 18 at Radio Bean in Burlington, Vt., and May 23 at Arlene’s Grocery in New York City.
The Vaughns also will play WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival in Camden this summer with Elvis Costello, Blondie, The Wood Brothers, Low Cut Connie, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds and many more.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. And like Makin Waves at www.facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.