Makin Waves Top NJ Indie Songs of the Year
Here’s a look at the 10 best independent New Jersey songs to cross my desk in what surprisingly was a great year for record music from the Garden State. All are self-released unless indicated by an indie label.
Makin Waves Song of the Week: "If Santa Claus Were President" by The New Bardots
Three-fifths of Central Jersey-based The New Bardots have been playing together since the 1970s in such bands as Rockids, Oliver’s Twist, and Oliver Wylde, so it’s no surprise that they wrote and recorded their satirical new holiday song, “If Santa Claus Was President,” within days of the recent election. The band’s maiden voyage on the Italian indie I Couchie Records, the funny, heartfelt tune is the Makin Waves Song of the Week, and its video premieres here.
Makin Waves Record of the Week: "Liminal Spaces" by Fairmont
Charter Mint 400 recording act Fairmont are celebrating their 20th anniversary together with their 11th album, "Liminal Spaces." Founding singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer-videographer-graphic artist Neil Sabatino’s multi-hyphenated talents also include founder of the label. And what a great job he does all around on behalf of the North Jersey indie’s many bands and his bandmates. They are longtime collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Christian Kisala, who appears on a majority of the band’s catalog; keyboarist Lisa Grabinski (Dharma Plums), who’s appearing on her second Fairmont album; bassist Matt Cheplic (The Bitter Chills, Splendid Engine) on his third, and new guitarist Evan Pope (The Maravines).
Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Someone Is Waiting" by Helen O'Shea
Helen O’Shea has followed her Grammy-considered single and video, “Unbecoming,” with the new single “Someone Is Waiting.” Both will be featured on a 2021 EP produced by two-time Grammy-winner Marc Swersky.
Makin Waves Record of the Week: #AlbumNumberFiveSessions by Matt Cook
Asbury Park singer-songwriter Matt Cook’s latest LP “#AlbumNumberFiveSessions” features a who’s who of the New Jersey scene, including Nick Ryan, Brian Erickson, Levy Okun, Deirdre Forrest, Bryan Henson, Dano, and SOF.
Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Carmelita" by Tom Foti
North Jersey-bred, Houston-based singer-songwriter Tom Foti premieres the video for his Latin-spiced rocker “Carmelita” in Makin Waves at New Jersey Stage.
Makin Waves Record of the Week: "Velvet Noir /// Stripped" by Blaise & David Ross Lawn
David Ross Lawn, left, and Blaise, right, have made one of the best Jersey records of the year with their “Velvet Noir /// Stripped” reimagining of the latter’s 2018 sophomore LP.
Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Time" by Emibyrd
Singer-songwriter-harpist Emibyrd premieres the self-produced video for “Time” with Makin Waves at New Jersey Stage
Makin Waves Record of the Week: "Ruminations From Barrydise During an Apocalypse" by Rick Barry
John Lennon Songwriting Contest winner Rick Barry delivers another great batch of songs with the all-star home recordings of “Ruminations From Barrydise During an Apocalypse,” featuring several fellow Asbury Park music scenesters.
Makin Waves Song of the Week: "Sleep Walking" by Mike Chick
Mike Chick of the Asbury Park two-piece Yawn Mower has released a solo double single, “Sleep Walking” and “Call Up the Doctor,” on North Jersey-based Mint 400 Records.