long island

May 19, 2016 4:52 pm

Nobody knows when Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey is gonna decide to fully detach himself from society and retreat into the ozarks, where he’ll choose to only play his emo art rock in front of a small, yet loyal, horde of raccoons and squirrels with intricately designed sleeve tattoos. It could seriously happen at any time. That’s why fans couldn’t help but gush and obsess over last year’s emergence of “Mene and “Sealed To Me,” the band’s first sign of new music since their 2009 release, Daisy. Who cares if they were just leftover demos from 2006? These people will take anything they can get from Lacey at this point.

While Brand New’s been famous for toying with their obsessive fan base over the years, 2016 has seen the band as transparent as they’ve ever been. They’ll be co-headlining an honest-to-God tour with Modest Mouse this summer, then followed that news up by announcing plans for a new album via cryptic email. And now, we’ve got said album’s very first single, “I Am A Nightmare.”

As someone who eats up any and all of the intentional cryptic tomfoolery Brand New likes to pull off, I seriously cannot believe this is finally happening. I was content with another decade of one-off shows in Cooperstown, New York and mailing fans the strangest looking lyric books years after they ordered them. But now that this day is finally here, I’m speechless. Okay, I’ve gotta listen to this thing before writing one more word.

Pretty shitty, right? This is really disappointing. The opening riff to this sounds like it belongs on the loading screen of SSX Tricky and it follows the same bland formula abandoned by now obsolete bands that Brand New left in the dirt over a decade ago. What brought Brand New to this level of mysticism is how they transcended their original genre of basement Pop-Punk, turning their sound into something harsh and unforgiving held together by a kinda creepy/kinda dark emotional foundation.

There really isn’t much of that here.

It’s the laziest vocal effort Lacey’s given his entire career. Usually, if he’s even keel in a song, they’ll add a layer of him in a different note as a counterbalance. But on “Nightmare,” there isn’t a single howl or scream. It’s a consistently boring murmur.

This isn’t exactly the best foot a band would want to put forward after a 7 year hiatus. It doesn’t build off any of their past releases or show a different route being explored whatsoever. They’ve devolved the progress made by genre deviating works like The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me and Daisy back to the mean of their contemporaries.

And so after nearly a decade, the most Brand New can muster for a comeback single is a banal pop ditty filled with saccharine guitars and a hook that any listener can see coming from a mile away. What a fucking nightmare.

May 28, 2015 6:25 pm

Indie pop stars, Gingerlys, took over The Palisades Monday night. I had the pleasure of sitting down with front-woman Jackie Mendoza and lead guitarist Matt Richards to talk about love, life, and the pursuit of indie rock fame (their drummer Brian was unable to join as he had recently been hit by a car. “Dammit Brian you always do this” Jackie jokes on the phone).

From the moment Gingerlys’ set started off, they sounded bigger and brighter than their means. Upon first impression, the band sounds like they are being held back by the physical confines of the space. Their music has a “big” expanding quality, and very serious dance party potential.

The red/orange lighting as the backdrop at The Palisades show felt perfect. One would imagine listening to a Gingerlys record cruising down an open highway in a convertible with the top down, at sunset. The metaphor is meant to evoke feelings of release and happiness, as if Alice in Wonderland herself tried to create a rock band.

The songwriting process of Gingerlys is largely centered around guitarist, Matt Richards. His style is reminiscent of the early 90s. Matt’s background is very interesting, as the music scene on Long Island where he grew up was what you might call, limited. “I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything growing up. My rabbi microwaved my Van Halen CD in 7th grade to make an example of me. I’ll never forget how a CD looks when it’s microwaved”.

Matt presents the song ideas to the rest of the band in, more or less, their final form, where the other members will add their opinions and tweak it.“When you are writing a song, there is a certain energy only you can connect to. It’s not until you show the song to other people do you find out what’s good and what’s not so good”.

The band’s biggest challenge “is collaborating. We all come from very different places. Jackie loves electronic pop, I love anything rooted in alternative rock, Brian is a jazz musician, Colin loves stuff from New Zealand. It’s hard sitting down to write a nice little pop song, but as hard as it is, there’s a lot of creative energy and great ideas that come out from forcing a collaboration like that” Matt says.

Lead singer Jackie Mendoza says she would listen to ragtime and swing if she had to listen to one genre for the rest of her life. “I love the energy of big band, the dancing and the freedom”.

Jackie is a new edition to Gingerlys, and this influence is apparent in what she brings to the band. Though quite reserved, she has a contagious energy while on stage. She spent the set bouncing around, playing synth and delivering fun, awesome, and memorable vocal melodies.

It is hard to imagine the band without Jackie because her voice fits in so beautifully with the existing soundscape. Gingerlys is a very independent minded group themselves; they released a 7” with ShelfLife in addition to some other exciting plans in the works for this summer.

Photo cred instagram @aalaskaa

Photo cred instagram @aalaskaa

The band says they are taking some time off from their ridiculously busy live performance schedule of nearly 100 shows this year to sit down and work on 10-12 songs for a full-length album. They have two singles with Connor Hanwick of The Drums under their belts and are going back in June to finish. We’re really looking forward to their release and be sure to watch out for it on AtypicalSounds in early fall.

You can listen to their most recent EP here.

Written by Alessandra Licul