All Wicked Hollow photos by Anthony Vito Consentino
This week, Makin Waves chats with and streams Wicked Hollow, reviews and streams The Scandals and Yorkshire Tenth, and features briefs on Wastelands, Ale ’N Wich’s Bobfest, The Fiendz, autism awareness events, and the return of Happy Mondays to The Wonder Bar.
When I dreamed up the 50th Birthday Tribute to Kurt Cobain and 50th Anniversary Tribute to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” taking place April 29 at The Saint, Asbury Park, putting the bill together was the easiest I ever assembled after more than 30 years of producing shows. I know the live and recorded music of Wicked Hollow, The Black Clouds, Experiment 34, and Yorkshire Tenth well, and knew that all of them were greatly influenced by Nirvana or The Beatles or both. All have a strong sense of songwriting structure, wit and edge.
For Wicked Hollow, that edge includes a bluesy, psychedelic approach to hard rock that struts with the stuff of Aerosmith and Cage the Elephant and grooves with a bit of The Allman Brothers Band and Black Sabbath. With two EPs to their credit – 2015’s “Resolution/Revolution” and 2016’s “VICES” -- the Ocean County-based band recently released a single, “Victims of Prey,” that perhaps come closest to – at least lyrically – to their sinister name.
Find out more about that and other insights into the burgeoning band in the following chat with singer-guitarist Bryan Wood on behalf of his bandmates lead guitarist-vocalist Tyler Veit, drummer Andrew Lawler and bassist Anthony Marino, who’ll also perform May 11 at Crossroads, Garwood; May 16 at the Brighton Bar, Long Branch, and May 31 at the Bowery Electric, New York City. Details are available at www.wickedhollow.com.
Question: Where is the band’s base, Manchester, Toms River, both or elsewhere, and how much of a music scene is there?
Answer: The answer we usually give is that we are from Ocean County, NJ. It is the easiest answer because we have members literally on opposite ends of the county and from four different towns within the county. The music scene is alive and well, mostly underground, but there’s not a summer weeknight on the boardwalk you can’t hear live music.
Q: You and Andrew have been playing music together since sixth grade. How long has that been, and what keeps that musical partnership going?
A: Our sixth-grade school year started in 2007, so as of now it has been almost 10 years since we've met. I think our musical partnership has sustained so long because we grew up together, have common interests – non-musical as well -- and know each other’s personalities; what pisses the other person off.
Q: You seem to have good management. Tell the story about how that relationship came to be and what impact that’s had on your career.
A: We have been blessed with a team of people that believe in what we are doing. No contracts have been signed, no payroll, just honest people using their resources and talent to help an up-and-coming band. There are many members of the team, however, I'll only mention two: Brian Tice and Billy Bourke. Brian has been with us since before the name was ‘Wicked Hollow,’ back in 2015. He helps with all of our designing and branding-related goals. He has a tremendous eye for style and detail and is a monster behind a camera. Billy Bourke helps us with completing our short-term logistical goals. He was actually our vocational school teacher, with the exception of Andrew, for the audio recording program the band met in. He has been around since high school, but started helping us last year.
Q: Comment on the support that the Rat’s ‘Jersey Rock’ has given the band and what impact that has had.
A: Tom and everyone at the WRAT have been amazing. They are one of the few mainstream outlets supporting the great local New Jersey scene. On top of hearing our songs on the radio, promoting those broadcasts and show sponsored by the WRAT help boost our public image and get people excited to be a part of the Wicked Hollow experience.
Q: The name Wicked Hollow sounds more sinister than your well-structured, psychedelic blues-rooted hard rock sound. How did you come up with that name and why, and how does it relate to the band and why?
A: That name literally came about from locking ourselves in my garage with the necessity of discovering a new name for copyright reasons. I believe Anthony suggested it.
Relationships between the band and the name have revealed themselves after the fact. For one thing, the meaning of 'Wicked Hollow' can have a variety of possibilities. For me personally, it reminds me of my hometown and where we practice, the rural part of Whiting, NJ.
Q: You recently released the single, ‘Victim of Prey,’ which tells a tale more wicked than many of your other songs, yet still maintains the band’s accessible, well-rooted sound. How does ‘Victim of Prey’ and other new, forthcoming tracks compare to 2015’s ‘Resolution/Revolution’ and 2016’s ‘VICES?’ What direction is Wicked Hollow’s sound going?
A: With ‘Victim of Prey’ and our other new unreleased material, I feel we are letting the music do the talking more than breaking it down to a science. ‘Res/Rev’ was written and recorded sort of under the gun and had a less natural feel. ‘Vices’ was where we started to expand our sound possibilities and also, unlike ‘Res/Rev,’ included our new guitarist Tyler Veit. The sound is always destined to change when a member is replaced. It is hard to say where our sound is going. All I can say for certain is that, like most art of today’s time, there will be some sort of reflection of the urgent times we live in.
Q: When do you expect ‘Victim of Prey’ to appear on a record, and will that be on another EP or a debut LP?
A: I’m not sure if it will appear on an EP. We have a lot of songs that we are sitting on at the moment. The next EP will have 100 percent new material. We are currently experimenting with the possibility recording in a natural environment other than a traditional studio. I would expect another single this summer before an EP or LP.
Q: Do you still plan to tour this summer, and if so, where, and will be it be in support of a new record?
A: We are looking into seeing the East Coast. Both northward and southward are possibilities. More will be announced through our media outlets.
Q: I wanted Wicked Hollow to play the Sgt. Pepper/Kurt Cobain tribute because, along with The Black Clouds, you seem to be strongly influenced by and appreciative of both The Beatles and Nirvana. Please comment on how and why those two bands have influenced you, and why because of that, you’re looking forward to playing April 29 at The Saint.
A: The Saint is our home, we love Scott and everyone there. They really bring a sense of community to the live music world. As for Kurt and The Beatles, it’s hard not to like a band that has influenced every band you do like. That statement may be true more for one band than the other, but I think both bands really put things into perspective with how monumental and influential music really is. Also, listen to the music they made ...
From Bayonne with New Brunswick as a second home, rip-roarin’ punk outfit The Scandals return to record mode for the first time in five years after world touring, solo outings by front man Jared Hart and his work with The Crowes, a project led by Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, producer of six-song “Lucky Seven.” A welcomed return it is with Fallon maintaining The Scandals’ raw but accessible sound, while boosting strong Taking Back Sunday-like vocal harmonics that balance Hart’s gruff vox.
I especially like the bending guitar notes and exciting counter harmonies of “Birthmarks,” as well as the cathartic, empathetic, reggae-tinged, Clash-like single “Hostage.” The squawk ‘n’ yelp of the earnest “Calling Card” also makes for a strong track.
It’s really great once again to see a fellow Jersey rocker like Fallon produce The Scandals on a record that is follow up to their 2012 EP “Trenchknife” helmed by Bouncing Souls’ guitarist Pete Steinkopf, a pioneer of the New Brunswick house show/basement scene that spawned The Scandals, Gaslight Anthem and many others. Celebrate the new release on April 29 at Crossroads, Garwood, with Scandals’ New Brunswick pals Gates, as well as Dead Swords, Nine Eighteen and D’Arcy.
One of the things I love about Yorkshire Tenth is that the four members are childhood friends from Hamilton, who, despite going into different directions residentially and with their individual businesses and careers, they still band together and rock out like when they were kids. The warmth of that permeates their fun debut EP, “Lessons,” for the new indie Capacitor Records launched last year by Yorkshire Tenth co-vocalist/guitarist Chris Marino, The Black Clouds’ Dan Matthews and their buddy, Brian Kelly.
“Imperfect” is my favorite track because it recalls for me countless hours reading of Charlie Brown’s woes in the “The Peanuts” comics. The tune made me think what it might be like if the good ol’ blockhead finally stood up for himself.
In keeping with a not-taking-any-shit attitude, the Nirvana-meets-Weezer-like “Innuendo” also is a treat, especially the closing drum mash. Speaking of Nirvana, Yorkshire Tenth will participate in a birthday tribute to Kurt Cobain on April 29 at The Saint that also will feature The Black Clouds, Experiment 34, and Wicked Hollow (see above). The show also will honor the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” LP.
Congrats to the Essex County-based hard-core band Wastelands, winners of the 89.5-FM WSOU Calling from the Underground contest to open for Brooklyn hard-rock greats Life of Agony at their record release party on April 28 at Irving Plaza for the Napalm Records debut, “A Place Where There’s No More Pain.” Life of Agony also will perform May 20 at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville …
BobFest will return April 30 to one of New Brunswick’s favorite dive bars the Ale ‘N’ Wich. The annual fundraiser features a rare turn for live music at the legendary pub, as well as one for an all-ages show in the city with an ordinance that makes it difficult to have one. Doors open at 2 p.m. to raise money for the trust fund of the twin daughters of Bob Magee, the Ale ‘N ‘Wich’s beloved manager. A $10 donation is suggested, but more can be given. The pub also will be collecting canned goods for the Elijah’s Promise food justice and empowerment program also based in New Brunswick. The afternoon will include performances by Laurence Hart, Jigs & the Pigs, Coach ’N Commando, The Cover Killers, and The Stuntcocks. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult …
The pioneers of Jersey pop punk The Fiendz have returned with a show in support of the new rarities record, “Fossils.” A release party will be on April 28 at the Clash Bar in Clifton with Satterthwaite and Mikey Erg. The 30-year-old band also will play with fellow Jersey punk veterans The Parasites on May 12 at The Brighton Bar with three young punk bands Nervous Triggers, Aristo Cants and The Accelerators, as well as May 13 at Kung Fu Necktie in Philly. Sharing that bill will be Seeing Snakes and The Missile Toads …
Corefest, the annual fundraiser for my favorite college radio station, 90.3 the Core, will be 3 p.m. April 30 at Rutgers University’s Cook Campus Center in New Brunswick with The Hotelier from Worcester, Mass., Petal from Scranton, Pa., Jersey-based Bar/None recording The Moms, Curtis Cooper from Philly, Jersey City’s Hong Kong Graffiti, and New Brunswick’s own Johnnycola. Tickets are $15, $10 for students.
Several cover acts are banding together to raise money to fight cancer from 3:30 to 11 p.m. April 29 at the Knights of Columbus in South Amboy. The fourth annual Jammin for Jacklyn will feature performances by Series of Shocks, John Walsh, Damian and the DCQ, Amber Morgan, the FOG, Rocco & the MOB, Seven Stone, Alternate Groove, Split Decision, Michael “SaxSkillz” Squillance, plus a large hot and cold buffet for only $25. A cash bar also will be available. Proceeds from the 21-and-up show will benefit a 32-year-old teacher with stage 4 breast cancer, who first was diagnosed while she was pregnant. About 500 people are expected to attend in her honor …
To commemorate Autism Awareness Month, two events will rock for that cause this weekend. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 30 at the Dunellen Theater, “Rockin’ for a Cause” will feature School of Rock students from eight schools throughout New Jersey rockin’ out for their siblings with autism, as well as Autism New Jersey. Last year’s event raised $7,000 with only the School of Rock in East Brunswick led by three-time National School of Rock All-star and Junior Ambassador Ava Panza. This year, School of Rock bands from Chatham, Clark, Cresskill, Montclair, Somerville, Wayne, and Easton/Allentown will participate. In addition to ticket sales, the charity will benefit from a 50/50 raffle.
Meanwhile, the Borough of Fanwood will host its second annual Rockin’ For Autism Music Festival from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. also on April 29 at LaGrande Park. Highlights will include a variety of local musical acts, food trucks and stands, local vendors, nonprofit organizations, autism workshops, a bake sale, a merchant tricky tray raffle, an obstacle course, a beer garden (from 2 to 6 p.m. only ) and more. Performers will include Eric Harrison’s Crash Course, Three-Piece Nugget, Leave the Gun, The Thingama Jigs, The School of Rock and Goodworks. Joining them will be music therapist Jammin’ Jenn, students of the Cindy Smith Dance Studio, and the event’s emcee, Main Source DJs. The festival will coincide with the Scotch Plains Fanwood Youth Baseball Association Opening Day Ceremony, which will feature sports clinics from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Soccer Association and the Wolves Basketball Academy. The event is the brainchild of 15-year-old Fanwood resident Mallory Banks, who since 2011 has raised more than $20,000 for Autism New Jersey in honor of her brother, Ethan, 17. An Autism Awareness Junior Ambassador for the past six years, Banks ranks among the top kids in New Jersey who raise money for Autism Awareness Month. Last year, the festival raised $10,500, more than doubling the amount of money previously raised by Banks since 2011 …
Happy Mondays, the weekly showcase of top original music acts from Asbury Park, as well as throughout the state and region, returns on May 1 to The Wonder Bar with Yawn Mower, GayGuy/StraightGuy and Little Vicious. Happy Mondays in May also will feature The Everyman, Smalltalk and Chris Brown, May 8; Levy & the Oaks and Mack solo acoustic, May 15; Deaf Rhino, The Black Clouds, and Tango Machina, May 22, and Des & the Swagmatics, Secret Sound, and Tash Even, May 29. The Wonder Bar soon will announce June and is booking July and August. Interested acts should contact email@example.com.
Bob Makin is the reporter for www.MyCentralJersey.com/entertainent and a former managing editor of and still a contributor to The Aquarian Weekly, where this column launched in 1988. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.