new jersey

June 2, 2016 12:42 pm

Today I’m jumping into the rabbit hole by posing a simple yet vexing question: Why is Young Rising Sons considered an ‘indie pop‘ band?

I’m not going to debate their talent, or bash their fan-base, or repulse you by assessing the ‘authenticity’ of their music. I don’t think they’re sell outs, and I’m not interested in diminishing the merits of their hard-earned success. But I’m convinced the word ‘indie’–contrary to common usage–is no longer an effective term to describe a band or it’s music.  Rather, it’s been diluted into an overused marketing buzz word. My criticism isn’t aimed at Young Rising Sons, per say; it’s commentary on a confused record industry in decline, desperately attempting to push units.

The genesis of Young Rising Sons is about as typical as you can get: future band-mates Julian Dimagiba (bass), Steve Patrick (drums), and Dylan Scott (guitar), were childhood friends growing up in Red Bank, New Jersey. The chums were spurred to approach lead singer Andry Tongren about forming a band after attending an acoustic set at a local bar. Their debut single “High” was a breakout internet sensation that was paired with a viral black and white youtube video. This early success allowed the band to secure a record deal with Universal-via-Geffen affiliate Interscope, which incidentally represents a host of other ‘pop’ bands of a similar aesthetic: The 1975, Imagine Dragons, One Republic.


Young Rising Sons’ melancholy and reflective tunes tend to erupt in climactic choruses reminiscent of Disney film ballads with fittingly trite lyrics like “We’ll rule the world forever / together / with hearts of gold / who needs treasure.” Another trope bands tend to exhibit is sonic cohesion–the sound of the creative process coming together. Not here. Young Rising Sons’ individual musical contributions are as distinguishable track to track as the members of Bruno Mars’ studio band. Their overly balanced instrumental blend is clearly arranged to embellish Tongren’s vocal performance, which would be well positioned to tally up votes on an American Idol contest but point out like a sore thumb at a dingy rock club.

To reiterate though- The dilemma isn’t execution. These gents have and are going to continue to churn out superb pop music. This is more like Maroon 5 (also fellow Interscope label-mates) claiming to be an “indie” band. My gripe has to do with the packaging: Young Rising Sons music is processed, radio-friendly filler for minivans packed with kids en route to soccer practice. It’s just not ‘indie.’ But maybe ‘indie’ in itself is nothing more than a catch phrase now. Maybe it’s like calling factory-packed chicken breast “all natural,” or claiming Pabst Blue Ribben is a “premium lager.”

Perhaps it’s the circumstance of a dwindling old guard industry run by mega-corporations trying to cope with a failing music economy and trying to capitalize on the current craze–whatever you can do to make a buck is fine by me. If ‘indie’ is in, dress your bands in Levi skinny-fit jeans, doc martins, and fitted leather jackets and call it whatever you want big man. You’re in charge.

Young Rising Sons do have a full-length in the works, but I wouldn’t expect a heavy departure from previous output. Sometime during their hectic touring schedule, lead guitarist Dylan Scott announced his departure from the band.

November 14, 2015 7:20 am

Stolen Jars is the indie music project of Cody Fitzgerald and Molly Grund. Inspired by acts as diverse as Sufjan Stevens, Elvis Costello, and Dirty Projectors, the music is a vibrant mixture of looping intricate guitar lines and floating melodies all brought to life by a live band featuring Elena Juliano, Connor McGuigan, Matt Marsico and Tristan Rodman.

Fitzgerald and Grund are building off the success of Stolen Jars’ self-titled album released in 2011. The single off that album, “Driving,” was featured in an international Apple iPad commercial. Their sophomore album Kept is decidedly more ambitious. Fitzgerald composed and layered tracks in his bedroom, tinkering to ensure precision. He and Grund then worked together to build vocal melodies around the tracks.

Stolen Jars played CMJ for the first time a few weeks back, and Bob Boilen of NPR discovered the band and subsequently included them on his list of Top Ten Discoveries of CMJ, as well as All Songs Considered. He wrote of the band: “This staccato pop band wavers between arpeggiated guitar and electronics and a lilting, almost South African-styled guitar band at times. It’s that melody between two of its members – guitarist Cody Fitzgerald and singer Molly Grund – that keeps these six musicians from being more than just another joyous indie rock band.”

All this leads us to today where NPR First Watch shares Stolen Jars’ new music video “Waves” from their sophomore album, Kept.

Cody Fitzgerald of the band says this about how the video came to be: “The video is about falling into and out of different memories. I wrote this song at a time when I was wondering whether I should let those moments pass by as waves of emotion or embrace them. So when the three of us were making the video, we wanted to try and capture that wave-like feeling of falling into a memory and being unsure of whether or not that’s where you should be.”


When premiering, “Folded Out,” the first single from Kept, Wondering Sound wrote “Cody Fitzgerald and Molly Grund’s voices spiral and intertwine . . . flutes dart like fireflies, strings swoop down – what started modest and pretty becomes mighty and bold and imposing.” After their second single release, more music bloggers including Stereogum, The Wild Magazine, and Gold Flake Paint enthusiastically agreed, describing the music as “addictively vibrant,” “sweetly supple,” “grand, an anthem.” The album was mixed by Eli Crews (tUnE-yArDs, Deerhoof, WHY?) and mastered by Jeff Lipton (Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, LCD Soundsystem).

Over the course of the last year, Stolen Jars has been performing regularly in the Northeast, including shows with Sofar Sounds, Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, and Brandeis College’s Springfest where they opened for St. Lucia, ILOVEMAKONNEN and Jessie J. In addition to all of this, Fitzgerald has been working as a film composer on features such as The Rewrite (2015) and Hard Sell (2015). Get ready to fall into and out of different memories, blaming the nostalgia for your new-found love of Stolen Jars.

Brick + Mortar Are “Staying Gold”
July 17, 2015 5:00 pm

Brick + Mortar just released a new video for “Staying Gold” off their new EP, “Dropped“.

The New Jersey duo—consisting of Brandon Asraf (bass, vocals) and John Tacon (drums, electric samples, vocals)—have hit a home run with this super touching and nostalgic video.

Look, even BEASTS cry!  It was impossible not to after watching 4 minutes and 8 seconds of a sickly teenager who is rescued from his hospital bed by his best buddy and taken for one last hurrah, with the chorus of  “staying gold” echoing in the back ground. They go skating in an empty pool, drink some beers, and visit some old friends.  The terminally ill teen even makes out with his crush and of course takes a selfie with his buddies.

“To us, Staying Gold is a rebellious anthem from an angsty kid making a statement that he’s good, no matter what,” says the video’s director Rosco Guerrero. “We follow him in this film, who despite his incredibly difficult circumstances is strong as ever when he’s with his friends. He stays gold.”

We have always been been blown away by the sound of Brick + Mortar.  It is incredible that the rich sound they produce is only with two musicians.

Have a tissue handy and get ready to have your heart warmed when watching “Staying Gold”.  Be sure to check out their album Dropped”, that came out today.

Brick + Mortar Tour

Brick + Mortar Tour Dates

7/17/15 – Cincinnati, OH @ Fountain Square w/ The Ting Tings
7/18/15 – Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s 20 Lanes
7/19/15 – Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern
7/21/15 – Detroit, MI @The Shelter
7/22/15 – Chicago, IL @ The Beat Kitchen
7/23/15 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada
7/24/15 – Denver, CO @ Underground Music Showcase
7/25/15 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Music Garage Live
7/27/15 – Seattle, WA @ El Corozon
7/28/15 – Portland, OR @ Analog Cafe
7/29/15 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
7/30/15 – Redlands, CA @ Hangar 24 Brewery
7/31/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite
8/01/15 – Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
8/02/15 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
8/04/15 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
8/05/15 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
8/07/15 – Tampa, FL @ New Wrold Brewery
8/08/15 – Atlanta, GA @ Wrecking Ball 2015
8/09/15 – Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
8/11/15 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
8/12/15 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
8/13/15 – Washington, DC @ DC9
8/14/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
8/15/15 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall Studio
8/16/15 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs


July 1, 2015 10:00 am

Young Chloe Baker (aka Bitter’s Kiss) is socially conscious in a way that won’t make you roll your eyes and groan. She truly is using her music to say something- her singer-songwriter sincerity is sure to give you chills. Chloe’s album Bitter Kiss out earlier this month speaks to larger themes and Chloe herself says she is “nostalgic for the music of the 60s, when songwriters really had something to say and used their music as a way to discuss issues that really mattered in the world.” After Chloe invited this comparison I couldn’t stop seeing her as a sadder, solo performing, Carole King.

Bitter’s Kiss has the winning songwriting and instrumentation formula of this very era (or you can think Misterwives for a more recent comparison). Chloe herself is very in touch with themes and artistic aesthetics of today, as one can see in her beautiful music video for the song “The Rope”. She is more powerful than what her indie folk packaging may suggest, and her vocal prowess is apparent on her track “Already Gone”, a highlight of the new album.

Chloe’s youth is certainly a strength to her writing, giving her a fresh perspective and allowing her to escape most of the platitudes of the alternative acoustic music of this ilk. Just coming off a show at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall this girl is definitely a summer favorite for Atypical Sounds.

Written by Alessandra Licul