Dramarama – Swamp Song

Thirteen years is a long time between releases for Dramarama, but it’s not as though the band, which includes original members/guitarists Peter Wood and Mark “Mr. E. Boy” Englert and the “new guys”– drummer Tony Snow and bassist Mike Davis, aka The Thunder Brothers, who joined twenty or so years ago–have let any dust gather, any moss to grow. On the contrary, the band has been tearing up stages across the country the entire time. As Easdale puts it, “Few things compare to that sense of uninhibitedness you feel during a great show–waving your fist, stomping your feet, singing out and not giving a f*ck about anything but the music. Dramarama shows are fast, tight, loud, sweaty sing-alongs.”
And now a bit of history…
Hailing from the Garden State, three friends and bandmates pack their suitcases, lug their guitars and head west to sunny Southern California. Upon arriving in the Dream Factory Entertainment Capital of the World that is Hollywood, singer/songwriter John Easdale and guitarists Peter Wood and Mark Englert discover their dream is, well, a reality. The “World Famous” KROQ (106.7 FM) is not only playing their song, “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” [from their first LP, 1985’s Cinema Verite], but is playing it in heavy rotation! One day you’re working at the local hardware store in Wayne New Jersey, the next you’re being courted by countless record companies and touted to be the next big thing.

 

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Mercy Union – Chips And Vics

Four friends from New Jersey decided to come together over the past year in a basement. Over their countless meetings in the shadow of Manhattan in Jersey City, the four members of Mercy Union – Jared Hart, Rocky Catanese, Nick Jorgensen and Benny Horowitz – pushed their creative limits through endless riffs and backbeats, and in the process, the band was born.

While navigating topics as heavy as the air in that tight basement, these musicians blended their individual styles into a unique and wistful sound that moves one’s soul. From the driving & sweeping centerpieces, “Young Dionysians” and “Silver Dollars,” to the dreamy, romantic twang of “Layovers,” The Quarry is influenced both by the timeless music of the band’s home state as it is the classic tradition of punk, soul and Americana music. There is something familiar about the music presented here; it’s not quite déjà vu or nostalgia but it harkens back to the music cherished during one’s formative years.

The Quarry washes over you – it is nothing you’ve heard before and has the comfort you didn’t know you needed. Hart had the following to share about the album and what it represents to him: “‘The Quarry’ embodies the human thought process. It represents the ability to look at your life and memories from the outside, and hopefully gain some perspective. These songs explore elements of worry, gratitude, loss, and self-worth. It’s a record I’ve been hesitant to approach until the right pieces fell into place.”

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Anthony D’Amato – The Oyster And The Pearl

Praised as “an instant winner” and a “folk pop epic” by Rolling Stone, Anthony D’Amato’s latest single, “The Oyster and The Pearl,” offers up an early preview of his forthcoming third album, a collection recorded in the mountains of Utah with artist/producer Joshua James that’s due for release in 2019.

The song arrives on the heels of D’Amato’s homemade charity EP ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor,’ which raised thousands for refugee aid, and marks his first studio release since his celebrated 2016 LP ‘Cold Snap,’ which was produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit) and recorded with contributions from an Omaha all-star team including Conor Oberst and members of Bright Eyes, The Faint, and Cursive. Hailed as “folk music raised on New Jersey grit” by Rolling Stone, the collection earned D’Amato his first national TV appearance alongside dates with Valerie June, Shovels & Rope, Gomez, The Old 97’s, The Felice Brothers, Tyler Childers, Ziggy Marley, and more.

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