Category Archives: Bands

With Our Teeth discuss music, garnering a following in South Jersey and the grueling task of auditioning new members

Pat Casale, Luis Colón, Mike Scornaienchi, Chris Sikora and Stephen Anthony Matranga. Photo by PJ Hennessy

With a foundation built upon camaraderie— guitarist and vocalist, Chris Sikora, and drummer, Pat Casale, have been playing together since 2007— and ambitions, With Our Teeth look forward to spreading their peer-deemed, post-hardcore sound.

Having released a two song EP, Born in a War, in March 2011, With Our Teeth, with an enigmatic sound in tow, created a new niche within the local music scene. After discovering that they did not click with hardcore shows or jive within the punk realm, With Our Teeth proudly donned— as Sikora jokes— the title of “weird” band on the bill. Weirdness aside, however, the three-piece outfit must contend with typical band woes, such as, auditioning new members and balancing music with school, work and other responsibilities all while trying to garner a following in South Jersey, which, as many agree, is a far cry from the likes of a musical hotbed like Nashville.*

 

Starting off with a little background of the band, how did With Our Teeth come together?
Chris Sikora: With Our Teeth started with Pat, our old bass player and I; we were having trouble finding a singer and a second guitarist. Steve [Matranga, guitarist and vocalist of WOT] contacted me about starting a pop-punk band but at the time we had a full lineup for the band we formed before With Our Teeth. When we found out we had to start all over again, however, I contacted Steve and asked him if we wanted to play with this band [With Our Teeth]. A month or two later, we got a hold of an old friend who was interested in singing for us. Steve and I are going to start that pop-punk band one of these days! [laughs]

 

How would you, as a band, describe your sound (I know, not the easiest question to answer!)
Sikora: We always have a difficult time answering that question. Usually we just take the answers that other people throw at us— post-hardcore, melodic post-hardcore. We’ll ask people if they’ve heard of certain bands that we like, and when they say no, we just tell them that we’re rock/alternative.

 

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Recent Roundup: Acceptance and accomplishment in the music world, from Against Me! to Every Minute Can Kill

While excited graduates don their caps and gowns, high school students prepare for prom and summer rolls ever closer, waves ripple through the music industry, washing ashore acceptance and accomplishment alike.  

The Ocean

In the midst of North Carolina’s recent vote favoring Amendment One and President Obama’s statements supporting gay marriage, Tom Gabel, front-man and guitarist of the Florida-based punk band, Against Me!, opened up to Rolling Stone about his plans for the future; a future where he’ll eventually take the name Laura Jane Grace.

Adding his voice to milieu, Gabel revealed his plan to step out of the shadows of gender dysphoria and undergo hormone therapy and electrolysis treatment in order to transition into a woman. Gender dysphoria, previously known as gender identity disorder, is the act of feeling uncomfortable with one’s biological sex, a weight which has weighed upon Against Me!’s front-man for years.

After his announcement, Gabel received praise for his courage within the online and music communities alike. While he admits in the article, available in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, that embarrassing moments are inevitable, his biggest source for trepidation stemmed from his wife, Heather. “For me, the most terrifying thing about this is how she would accept the news,” Gabel told the magazine. “But she’s been super-amazing and understanding.”

The couple plan to remain married and, while some fans have expressed a concern for Gabel’s future involvement with the band, one thing is certain: acceptance is a song we all can sing, so long as we care enough to learn the melody.

  1. AltPress
    NEWS: Tom Gabel (Against Me!) comes out as transgender, to begin living as a woman http://dlvr.it/1XfNZ6
    Tue, May 08 2012 22:26:04
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  2. matt_owns
    I have to say that Tommy Gabel has more courage than most of humanity. Damn proud to be a fan of his/hers.
    Wed, May 09 2012 19:34:18
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  3. RxOliver
    Nice to see so many influential people in the music industry publicly showing their support for Tommy Gabel today. #PunksNotDead
    Wed, May 09 2012 17:57:04
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  4. Bruce_Holder
    Thank you Barack Obama and Tommy Gabel for making me proud again to be an American @whitehouse @tommygabel
    Thu, May 10 2012 00:45:18
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Welcome to the Family

Every Minute Can Kill, a local post-hardcore five-piece, can now boast that they are officially infamous. Infamous Empire, an organization which specializes in tour booking, studio management, band management and graphic design, brought the Vineland-based band into the family fold, adding the locals to their roster. Joining the likes of, Apparitions, As They Sleep, Damien Deadson, It Lies Within, The Party Foul and Your Chance to Die, Every Minute Can Kill look forward to their future within the Infamous family, sharing on Facebook, “They’re going to help us do big things.”

In the Market for Evening Plans?

Every Minute Can Kill is performing this evening in Levittown, Pa. alongside At Daybreak, Me Versus I, The Pugilist and It’s a Trap. The M.O.S.H.-ing begins at 5:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, located at 89 Pinewood Drive.


Oh the Horror: Local artists share their stories of bad timing, equipment glitches and wardrobe malfunctions

Eat your tell-tale heart out Edgar Allan Poe. Much like the monster in the closet, musicians must battle the technical glitches, flat tires and wardrobe malfunctions that go bump in the night.


Beyond the member-generated terror— it is a general consensus that girlfriends are never welcomed to band practice— horror stories plague bands, from the nationally known to the garage-band heroes. As post-hardcore outfit, Every Minute Can Kill, rockers, Beyond the Element, and alternative rock-ensemble, The World Outside, can attest, ghastly tales perpetuate more than dark and stormy nights.

In a Kingdom by the Sea

After finishing recording their album, “Get Your Groove On,” in Toms River, Vineland-based Every Minute Can Kill ventured to a nearby White Castle to replenish the calories that rocking out burns. While the band was listening to the rough mixes of their tracks— naturally with the music up and windows down— a rusted pickup truck, with no windows, matched pace with them. A mile or so later, after bearing the brunt of an angry onslaught of profanity laced death threats, the truck with the noted “skinhead” drove off, leaving Every Minute Can Kill with a tale that would do Poe proud. “He drove away and left us unscathed,” said Rich Williams, guitarist for the band. “But we still joke around that he almost ripped our old bassist, Frank, right out of the car.”

Beyond the Element’s Mike Badgley and Corey Presner at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia during their reunion show. Photo by Sara Jordan Reis

While the road is an assumed platform for nightmares, a venue’s stage is where a nightmare can quickly mutate into a full-blown terror. Factors such as equipment failure and nerves can dramatically affect a band’s performance. Unfortunately, for Jersey-born Beyond the Element, both demons have reared their ugly heads during their set.

“Our first show with Kevin— no offense Kevin— he played everything 30 times faster [than the rest of us],” said bassist and vocalist, Corey Presner with a laugh. “He played different music than us.”

When Beyond the Element’s drummer, Kevin Reardon, is not “playing different music,” he is busy destroying his drum set. During their set one evening, Reardon kicked a whole in his bass drum, forcing him to think fast. “That was fun,” said Reardon with a sigh. “I had to turn the bass drum around [in the middle of the song] and finish the show on the front of it.”

Quote the Raven

Much like a crowdsurfer materializing out of the audience and fulfilling the kicks-to-the-head quota every show-goer agrees to, band horror stories crop up unexpectedly, ambushing bands both internationally known and locally grown. Technical glitches, on-stage mistakes and van problems pepper the existence of any band, spreading panic in their arrivals; a panic rivaled only by that of a rookie show-goer when a M.O.S.H. pit opens up and the call for a “wall of death” echoes throughout the venue.

Transforming nightmares into, “One day we’ll look back on this and laugh,” local acts, Every Minute Can Kill, Beyond the Element and The World Outside face the fears that could fall the House of Usher with each set. After all, the show must go on.


Picture of Shows Past: Tim of Honor Bright Performing at Harmony Grange

Tim, vocalist and guitarist of Syracuse-based pop-rock outfit, Honor Bright, 
performing at the Harmony Grange in Delaware on Nov. 11, 2010

The World Outside to Open for Bowling for Soup Sunday, April 22

The World Outside from left to right: Zach Hartman, Kris Morganti, Max Santoro and Erika Lapp.

While Debbie, the title protagonist in Bowling for Soup’s hit, “1985,” “just hit the wall,” local act, The World Outside, is busy breaking down the walls separating them from their Northeast niche to…well, the world outside.

With their positive lyrics, occasional harsh vocals and melodic harmonies in tow, The World Outside will take the stage Sunday, April 22 at the Chameleon Club, located at 223 North Water St. in Lancaster, Pa., in support of Freshman 15, Patent Pending and Bowling for Soup.

The Bucks County-based alternative rock outfit is no stranger to the stage. Having opened for Fuel at the Crocodile Rock in Allentown, Pa. last month, The World Outside is quickly capitalizing on Zach Hartman’s vocals and piano prowess, drummer, Max Santoro’s well-beyond-his-15-years talent, bassist, Kris Morganti’s infectious on-stage energy and finally, guitarist, Erika Lapp’s, harmonies.

“This could probably be the biggest show we’ve ever played,” Hartman said with an audible enthusiasm. “What we’re most anticipating is the crowd,” Morganti added, echoing Hartman’s sentiment.

The crowd, which Santoro suspects to be upwards of 1,000, would certainly do well to arrive at the Chameleon Club in time to catch The World Outside’s set. With a unique sound, fused together through a collective love of music, endless talent and undeniable friendship, The World Outside promises to deliver a show, spotlighting their relentless hard work and dedication to a craft they hope to make a career.


NEEDMORE Arrives in Philly Sunday, April 22

Photo courtesy of NEEDMORE's press kit

With a career cruising towards a new altitude— like so many of the planes flying under Delta Airlines’ blue and red, who featured the Los Angeles-born band’s track, “Lost My Way,” during all of their in-flight music— NEEDMORE lands in Philadelphia Sunday, April 22.

While hearing a song titled, “Lost My Way” on a plane would send my mother into a fear-induced frenzy rivaled only by the classic Twilight Zone episode or in-flight breakdown on the summer hit, Bridesmaids, NEEDMORE has certainly found their way and their wings.

Touring in support of their recently released studio record, Back at the Start, which features the hit “Lost My Way” and “Too Late,” NEEDMORE will transform The M Room, located at 15 West Girard Ave., into a platform for their self-defined “no gimmicks” act. The album, an embodiment of how the band now approaches song writing, symbolizes a new start for the members and fans alike.

Garnering nearly 10 million plays across the social media spectrum, including the decrepit beast, Myspace— Mywhat?— NEEDMORE, the self-made band that earned the title “Our Stage’s #1 Rock Band” from MTV, promises to demonstrate to Philadelphia just why they are deserving of such high praise.

With heartfelt melodies, accompanied by the gentle strumming of guitars, sections of piano driven verses and rhythmic drumbeats, NEEDMORE’s relatable lyrics, delivered in a tidy pop-rock package, connects the three members to fans and naysayers alike.

The show, which also features Vanity Theft, begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 and available to everyone that is 21 and older. Ticket information can be found here.


Carmen Magro discusses his musical influences, what brought him to music and what his songs mean to him and his fans

music (noun) – a : the science or art of ordering tones or sounds in succession, in combination, and in temporal relationships to produce a composition having unity and continuity
b : vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony

substance (noun) – a : essential nature
b : a fundamental or characteristic part or quality

heart (noun) – a : the central or innermost part
b : the essential or most vital part of something

Simple definitions defined by Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, simple concepts; yet at times, it feels as though the industry has lost sight of the cornerstone of music— to connect with people on a different level; a level other means of entertainment cannot quite reach.

We’ll sell out before you even know who we are,” a lyric belted out by Davey Fortner of Freshman 15 that, while satirical in nature, reveals an ugly truth: just how far are musicians willing to go to achieve their dreams? While a concrete answer cannot be found in books or online blogs, one thing is certain, Carmen Magro, a Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter and the frontman of an adult contemporary outfit bearing the same name, will never sacrifice his music for fame.

Carmen Magro, Philadelphia resident and singer-songwriter of Carmen Magro. Photo courtesy of Carmen Magro's press kit available at http://www.carmenmagro.com/home.html

The definition of music of substance and heart, Carmen Magro, the man not the band, got his start in the trade by using anything and everything available to him— including the family’s kitchen pots and pans—  to assemble notes and rhythms. After receiving his first drum kit for his 14th birthday, Magro’s eyes opened to the realm of performing on stage.

As is true with many creative professions, articles of substance cannot be forged without trials and tribulations. Unfortunately, Magro lost his father when he was 10, and his mother when he was 19 due to breast cancer. “Those experiences humbled me to really come in tune with my feelings and learn to put them into music,” said Magro. “I find I can’t sing unless it is truly from my heart so I put my heart into every melody and song I write.”

Carmen Magro, the band, consists of Carmen Magro (Vocals, Piano, Keys, Guitar), Chuck Scarpello (Bass), Mark Burkert (Guitar), Dave Murphy (Drums), Steve Sauer (Keys/Synth/Supporting Vocals and Brian Fitzgerald (Violin/vocals). The band recently performed prior to and during halftime of a Philadelphia 76’s game.

Personally, what brought you to music?

Music is, without a doubt, an extension of my soul. I feel I have so much to share with the world and to reiterate what I learn from the world. I do it most easily with music. Putting rhythm, melody and lyrics together to put someone in a moment that makes a difference in their lives is a miracle that music does for all of us. I find myself writing melodies and marrying lyrics with them every minute of every day— some sad, some happy, some playful, some exotic, some tempting; all sincere and all original.

Personally, it is how I put my thoughts of the world into words to share with others. Some people write poems, some bitch and moan about everything, some people are just indifferent. I don’t know how to do any of that. I guess my music is poetic to some extent but it isn’t hard for me to write lyrics. They just come easily with the music. Sometimes I write a melody first but usually the lyrics and music come together instantly in my head and heart as soon as I have the feeling for them. Music is my sanctuary, my release from the world and my connection to it. Sometimes I feel that if I lost the ability to play my music and share it with the world, I would simply wither away and die. It is my lifeline for sure.

What about the Philly/Tri-State area music scene do you enjoy? Given that it’s a far cry from the likes of a big city, do you think it’s easier or harder to gain a following and make a name for yourself? 

As an original artist I have to believe that if you have something special, it will get recognized. But I grew up in Philly. It’s a great town and those that want to come out to hear music know where to go to hear it. I just try to put myself in a position to be heard any way possible. I’m always hoping that every show is a step in the right direction. But like other musicians, even those in big cities as you mention…all have the big and small shows and they have to find a way to give the same show for one as they would for 100 or 1,000 or 10,000. I find that part easy. I just get lost in my music and hope that someone out there enjoys it and may share it with someone else and they may share it as well. Eventually, I hope it gets to someone that feels my music can really shape the world and can open a door professionally for me. But even without that, I’ve never been disappointed playing in a Philly area venue. Whether it’s in Jersey, Delaware or Philly, I find it easy to get lost on stage, put the world aside and just let my music shine through. I wouldn’t treat a stage in LA, NYC, Nashville or anywhere in the world any differently.

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Beyond the Element discuss their reunion and why they just couldn’t stay away from the stage

Beyond the Element: Bob Crowell, Corey Presner, Power, Mike Badglel and Kevin Reardon.

While St. Patrick’s Day brings the Irish out in everyone, those that weren’t witness to Beyond the Element’s set at World Café Live in Philadelphia that evening were certainly green…with envy. The local rock band, supported by other area acts such as, Carmen, Maddam Ink and Dive, provided the soundtrack for the evening. Irish jigs gave way to good old-fashioned headbanging and even The Blarney Stone held no sway in the environment of rock and roll.

The Deptford-based rock band, Beyond the Element, burnt up local stages, performing alongside national and notable acts including, Papa Roach, Apocalyptica, Skid Row and In This Moment. With a popular full-length album, a devoted fan-base and seemingly limitless talent, Beyond the Element were poised to take the rock scene by storm. Infusing every set with a contagious energy— one which has been scientifically proven to induce spontaneous movement of the head akin to whiplash— and drawing upon their influences, which span the spectrum from 90’s grunge to modern metal, Beyond the Element quickly positioned themselves as an essential element in the cornerstone of locally grown rock and roll.

A Walk Into Fire

Given their rising— or should I say skyrocketing?— popularity, professionally polished yet gritty sound and mainstream radio play, having songs featured on Philadelphia stations 93.3 WMMR and 94.1 WYSP, why did Beyond the Element call it quits, albeit for a short time?

Seven months ago, it appeared as if Beyond the Element’s own talent had outpaced its members. “It was just national act, after national act… It just skyrocketed,” the band’s front man, Bob Crowell, said.

“It just got hard to get people out to shows,” Kevin Reardon, the drum guru of Beyond the Element said, echoing Crowell’s sentiments. “It was emotionally draining on the band.”

A testament to Beyond the Element’s sincerity, however, the call of the stage became too much to ignore. After their half-year hiatus, BTE’s members, vocalist Bob Crowell, guitarists Mike Badgley and Power, bassist and vocalist Corey Presner and drummer Kevin Reardon, pieced the band back together.

Beyond the Element Come Home

Beyond the Element hit the stage of World Café Live, which played host to their reunion on March 17, never missing a beat; both figuratively and literally. It’s by no stretch of the imagination that Beyond the Element will continue to embody original, hard rock. With a sound that cannot be ignored, the Deptford band looks forward to more shows, new songs, a sophomore album— which may or may not be in “talks” as Crowell mentioned with a laugh— and, overall, having fun doing the thing they love, making music and burning up stages with an energy that mirrors a diffusing atom.

The alchemists of the music scene, Beyond the Element have resumed their position: turning the raw elements of song— notes, chords, beats and melodies— into music, which is nothing short of gold.

The above interview was conducted back-stage at World Café Live
in Philadelphia, post-set. 

Just a note: some strong language makes an appearance in the interview.
After all, you can’t censor rock and roll.


I Call Fives receive praise for their latest endeavor, “Someone That’s Not You”

I Call Fives’ recently released EP, “Someone That’s Not You,” proves that pop punk is alive and well in New Jersey. Infectious melodies and thundering instruments promise to bring the scene to a crescendo, a fact which begs the question, “How are these guys not in the music major leagues yet?”

Someone That’s Not You, is the call to arms the war-front— the stages across the nation— needed. Show-goers, the foot soldiers along the front lines, the stage barriers, and the infantryman in the trenches, more commonly known as M.O.S.H. pits, can now rally behind an anthem worth moving to. The war to defend pop punk, commanded by the likes of Jersey-born The Wonder Years and Man Overboard, is in full effect and, with the recent release of Someone That’s Not You, which has already garnered positive reviews, it’s safe to say that I Call Fives will quickly rise through the ranks. A salute to the Washington Township quintet, who are managed by Buddy Nielsen, front man of Senses Fail, another Jersey-based band, for doing the Garden State proud.

  1. Share
    I Call Fives EP review (out tomorrow on Pure Noise Records): “…sounds like a cross between New Found Glory and… fb.me/1AaojfQIN
    Mon, Mar 19 2012 12:52:21
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    I Call Fives interview on Muzik Dizcovery: fb.me/1lkAgdgzm
    Tue, Mar 20 2012 14:16:19
  3. Share
    I manage a band called I Call Fives, they put out a new EP today called “Someone That’s Not You”. You can stream… fb.me/19By8C0Nj
    Tue, Mar 20 2012 09:42:40
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    Proud to be from New Jersey because of this! RT “@earshotmedia: nj.com/gloucester-county/t… fb.me/1tChVFgFd
    Wed, Mar 21 2012 15:16:35
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    Another killer I Call Fives review: “Can it be that summer is almost here? Even if your corner of the world is… fb.me/1bzQ2L4Ci
    Tue, Mar 20 2012 23:05:44
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    I recommend picking up I Call Fives new EP “Someone That’s Not You” on iTunes right now! Pure Noise Records.
    Tue, Mar 20 2012 22:18:44
  7. Share
    Just listened to I Call Fives for the first time. Another awesome NJ pop punk band.
    Fri, Mar 23 2012 13:37:18

Recent Round-up: Remembering legends and highlighting up-and-comers

Never one to classify myself as the atypical college student— you know, the individual depicted in every cliché teen movie, staying out late, partying every night— my spring break has not been defined by tan lines and keg stands. I prefer a more relaxing route. Sleeping in to a reasonable hour— it seems my bed suffers from an acute form of separation anxiety: check. Reading non-academic books and finding myself at a loss after completing The Hunger Games trilogy: check. Indulging my inner artist and enjoying the “Who Shot Rock and Roll” exhibit* at the Allentown Art Museum: check. And finally, neglecting this blog: check.

In Memorandum

Despite my lackadaisical efforts, however, the music world keeps spinning. Proving that the adage, “deaths happen in threes” may not be strictly superstition, Doobie Brother’s drummer, Michael Hossack, died March 12, 2012 in his home in Wyoming at the age of 65. Cancer closing the curtain on another rock star just weeks after the sudden death of Monkees’ heartthrob, Davy Jones and untimely death of Ronnie Montrose; guitarist for Montrose.

“Tour Up”

Much like a spinning album, which alternates between harmonies of heartbreak, catchy tunes to move to and power jams that inspire, the sphere of music encompasses more than the doom and gloom of passing legends. Alive and diffusing energy like an unstable atom, Freshman 15 rocked Philadelphia Monday, March 12 as the “Tour Up: from the Floor Up!” tour with City Lights dwindles to a close. In keeping pace with their touring schedule— positioned to inject their unique pop-punk sound while touring with Bowling for Soup this spring— Freshman 15 released their energetic sophomore album, “Here’s to Feeling Good” on Tuesday.

Davey Fortner and Davey Hoogerwerf performing in June of 2009. Photo: Ashley Cline

A new album from a fresh and fun band, fronted by Georgia gentlemen, coupled by this lovely eastern weather not enough? I understand. Appeasing a raging music appetite is not an easy feat. There is no need to worry, however, so long as your calendar is free this Saturday. Don your St. Patrick’s day green and join Beyond the Element at World Café Live, located at 3025 Walnut St. in Philadelphia, for their reunion show. Lil Rock, Anomaly, Murphee Doyle, Carmen Magro, DIVE and Maddam INK will also be sharing the stage with the Woodbury, N.J. based-band that evening.

Infusing an Irish Jig and M.O.S.H.-ing? Challenge accepted.

*review

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