Lazlo, founder of BlowUpRadio.com (an online radio station based around New Jersey artists), shines a light on some of the many new releases from NJ based musicians each week with this column. This week Lazlo takes a look at releases by AFTYN, Jim Mill, The Wag, The Blakes, Renee Maskin & The Mysterious Wilds, Phoneboy, Erika Sherger, and crowded shoulders.
AFTYN - "Autumn". AFTYN returns with their first of several new singles this year. "Autumn" is instantly recognizable as another catchy song from the duo that started out as indie-folk, but now incorporates electric instrumentation into their sound, adding a new musical palette for them to make beautiful songs.
Jim Mill - "Unhappy Hour". Jim Mill's first new solo, original music release in almost a decade, "Unhappy Hour", deals with themes of unhappiness in life via some incredible songs that showcase the grunge-punk-rock sound he's known for, as well as experimenting with some synth sounds associated with 80's Brit-Alt-Rock (The Cure, Depeche Mode, etc.) the end result may be my favorite release to date from Jim Mill.
Not only do I urge you to listen to "Unhappy Hour", but if you want to know more about the songs you should check out Jim Mill's interview with Sean Manuel on BlowUpRadio.com. You can read it here.
The Wag - "Blue Bottles and Copper Coins". Celebrating their 25th year, The Wag's new album, "Blue Bottles and Copper Coins", showcases a band that has been heavily influenced by acts like The Beatles and The Moody Blues, but has a sound all their own. Founding members Brian Ostering and Alicia Van Sant have joined with newer members Don Lee and Joshua Van Ness, to create an album showcasing all 4 member's songwriting. The hooks and harmonies are undeniable. Sean Manuel also recently interviewed The Wag for BlowUpRadio.com. You can read it here.
To mark the 20th anniversary they have put out 3 outtakes that for reasons seemingly lost to time, were considered not good enough for "New Tattoo". I have no idea why these tracks didn't make the cut then, but I am sure glad they released them now!
These songs hold up on their own, but also showcase the beginning of the creative teaming of Paul Rosevear and Gay Elvis, which continued with Readymade Breakup, and more recently, The Vice Rags.
Renee Maskin & The Mysterious Wilds - "Renee Maskin & The Mysterious Wilds". Renee Maskin has been making music for quite some time in the New Jersey scene, including Fun Machine and Lowlight. Having broken out last year with an outstanding debut solo release, "Swimming", she returns now with a backing band, The Mysterious Wilds, made up of veterans of the local music scene Mike Noordzy and Ben Ross. This collaboration is inspired, showcasing Renee Maskin's signature Americana style that always feels like traveling on a journey, staring out the window and enjoying the ride.
Phoneboy - "Moving Out". Phoneboy's second album, "Moving Out", is a collection of upbeat, emo-infused, indie-pop-rock, that this listener found highly enjoyable. Hopefully you will too.
Erika Sherger - "Bad Wolf". Infusing folk and Americana with some classic country sounds, Erika Sherger's "Bad Wolf" has a timelessness and a warmth like sitting in a comfortable chair on your porch on a sunny day, with a refreshing beverage.
crowded shoulders - "The Place Where Songs Are Born". The new crowded shoulders album, "The Place Where Songs Are Born", is so good! I can't say for certain what their influences are, but I would guess there is a good deal of British alt-pop in the mix. At times melancholy, at times mid-tempo-power-pop, the album flows well and is a true joy from beginning to end.
Also, any purchases through the end of April on their Bandcamp page will be donated in full to Save The Music Foundation, to provide access to music education nationwide.
That's all for this week.
Remember BlowUpRadio.com, plays these and many other New Jersey based artists on our internet radio station, so please check us out. #SupportGoodMusic - If you like any of the above artists, please purchase their music from their site. And if you would like to part of BlowUpRadio.com's New & Notable, please send downloads or contact Lazlo at Lazlo-at-BlowUpRadio-dot-com. We're also on Mastodon at https://mstdn.social/@BlowUpRadio