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20 NJ Bands to Conquer 2010

20. Static Radio NJ (Rock/pop-punk) (Black Numbers)

Hailing from New Brunswick, Static Radio NJ is definitely a band you want to keep on your radar for 2010.  I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with these guys a couple months ago and was blown away by their calmness and composure.  These guys aren’t in it for the fame, girls, or glory – they simply enjoy creating raw and passionate hard core/ punk rock.  You won’t be seeing any “selling-out” from these guys in 2010 despite their increasing popularity.  They just opened up for The Bouncing Souls at one of four holiday shows at the Stone Pony and also played The Fest 8 in Florida.  I highly recommend spinning a copy of An Evening of Bad Decisions, their sophomore full-length and keep your eyes out for a third full-length LP in 2010 as well as a split 7’ inch including an original and a cover of All’s “Worlds on Heroine.”  -Alex N.


19. Killed by the Bull (Hardcore/Punk) (KOI)

Killed by the Bull may not go on fancy tours that last more then a few days or make high-budget music videos, but luckily they make up for it by actaully playing music worth listening too. This North Jersey group does not produce your run of the mill hardcore/garage/punk. After all would you expect a band that features ex-members of The Banner, The Judas Factor, Captives and Fake Your Death to let you down? Didn't think so.


18. The Black Hollies (Indie/retro) (Ernest Jennings)

A Jersey City quartet with music that will take you back to the 60's. The group is influenced by "the Autumn season and everything Autumnal, My Baby Doll Muse, anything and everything by the Small Faces". The Black Hollies, which happens to be street slang for amphetamines, have been on tour for the better part of 09 and have been pilling up press as well. Have a feeling this is only the beginning for these guys.


17. The Front Bottoms (Indie/Pop) (Unsigned)

This is a band I just came across a few weeks ago due to the recommendation of our photographer Brian C. Reilly and I can't be more happy that Brian spoke up. Finally! a band that is had to describe/classify. In my last post about this group I said "Think Blink 182 mixed with Pavement." I'm going to stick with that. As for their plans for 2010, expect a new EP to drop Mid-February and for tours to follow. Though the group has been at it for a little while now, I feel like the times are finally catching up to their unique sound.


16. The Exotic Aquatic (Indie/rock) (Unsigned)

A group that has stayed quiet for most of 09, but is ready to make a strong return to the underground spotlight in 2010. Tours are in the works, new songs are being recorded and the group is currently garnering attention from many top online music media outlets. Recently saw the group open for Ted Leo and their new songs sound way ahead of anything they've done in the past. While you eagerly await a new release from this group, check out "Shake" off their 2008 EP Where I Used To Sleep


15. Those MockingBirds (Pop/Rock/Indie) (SideCho Media)

It's always a pleasure to see a song-writer develop over time and this has been the case with Adam Bird. Originally fronting the NJ band Perfuma, I could always tell his songs had a lot of potential. Now with a new band, I think Adams songs finally have that little something that was missing. I'm also not the only one who agrees, earlier this year the group got swept up by LE Records/SideCho Media and are shooting to have their first of two EPs out in March. TMB have a pretty full show schedule right now, so this would be a good time to check these guys (and gal) out.


14. Action Item (Pop-punk) (Unsigned)

Action Item is a band with a bright future ahead of them. After the release of their "Boy With The Microphone" single, Action Item toured nonstop with bands like Socratic, Farewell, We Are The In Crowd and Punchline. They are currently on tour with Between The Trees and Rookie Of The Year. It's going to be tough for Action Item to remain unsigned for much longer. -Terrance Pryor 


13. Full of Fancy (Pop-punk) (Whoa Oh)

A throw-back pop-punk band that has been around for some time. Over the years they've gained the respect of the central Jersey scene and now with a new record on the way, I feel they might finally catch the attention of music lovers on a more national level. Why do I think this? Well, it's hard not to like their dirty pop songs that everyone can relate too. Take a listen to "Hot Tub" to see what I mean.

12. Trees Above Mandalay (Pop-punk) (Unsigned)

A band that has been around for a couple years, now finally has everything they need in place. New songs, new management, new year! The Morristown group has been playing more NJ shows than probably any other band on this list, which can explain why the crowds they bring out have been increasing steadily over the last year. Trees Above Mandalay also treat their fans better than any band out there, which I believe brings them more fans in return. Did I mention their music is completelyenamoring? Well, listen for yourself.    


11. The Measure (SA) (Pop-punk) (Don Giovanni)

The Measure (SA) is another great punk rock act from New Brunswick.  If you dig the Screaming Females, you’ll love this mash of male and female vocalists.  Along with Static Radio NJ, The Measure (SA) also brought their Jersey pride south to Gainesville, Florida at The Fest 8 and played at a Bouncing Souls after party show at Asbury Lanes after the first-of-four holiday shows at The Stone Pony.  Keep an eye out for this punk rock ensemble because they are now a part of the ever-growing Don Giovanni Records (Screaming females, Shellshag, Black Wine).  Although they released Historical Fiction on CD, “SA” stands for strictly analog, which makes The Measure (SA) that much better than the rest.  Despite the digital take over of the music scene in 2009, The Measure (SA) continue to “keep it real,” and that is why they make the list of bands that will conquer 2010. - Alex N.

10. Roadside Graves (Indie/folk) (Autumn Tone)

There is not much I could say about this band that hasn't already been said considering the mass amount of press the band has been getting lately. Let me highlight some. "I could rattle off amazing tune after amazing tune which would make this review about 2,000 words long but instead I will just urge you to purchase this brilliant album." -Hear Ya. "Roadside Graves’ My Son’s Home was a surprise hit for me in 2009." - You Ain't No Picasso. "what's really remarkable about the record is the band's ability to treat death from so many different perspectives and with such a widely divergent range of moods and sympathies." -Pitchfork. Enough said. You may now purchase the record at Amazon.


9. Montagna & The Mouth To Mouth (Indie/rock) (Unsigned)

It's always great to have a band you've never heard before completely blow you away with their live performance, which is exactly what happened earlier this fall when Montagna & The Mouth To Mouth opened for Islands at Asbury Lanes. Luckily, the groups frontman, Jason gave me their full-length L'avenir at that show, because it went on to become one of my favorite records of the year. I'm not the only one who agrees though, the group has steadily been building up great press since the release. The group is also keeping busy with a packed show schedule, which gives you no excuse to not check out one of NJ's best indie-rock groups. 


8. River City Extension (Folk/Rock) (XOXO)

Scoring a partnership deal with XOXO Records, an opening slot for Los Campesinos! and catching the attention of Glenn Tilbrook are just a few things that have been happening with the Toms River group over the past few months. The folk-rock six piece's debut full-length The Unmistakable Man is currently being mixed by Jesse Cannon and should be released early this year. From what I've heard so far I have a pretty good feeling The Unmistakable Man may be ending up on a lot of "Best of 2010" lists. I guess only time will tell. In the mean time do yourself a favor and check out "The Ballad of Oregon" below. 


7. Chambers (Hardcore/Punk) (Unsigned in the US)

A group that sets the bar for the amount of press bands can get without a label. Whether it's write ups on top over seas punk websites or scoring a full-page feature in NJ's Aquarian, this hardcore band is making DIY work for them. I blame their stand-out, hard hitting, yet easily appealing songs that they've released thus far for the influx of media coverage that is hard to escape. When this band gets signed expect to read nothing more then writes on how their debut full length, which is due out early 2010, is "taking the music world by storm!"


6. Tourmaline (Rock) (Unsigned)

These indie rock veterans have two solid full-lengths under their belts and one more on the way. The group is known for completely changing their sound from record to record and take it from someone who had a chance to get a special preview of their new album, Tourmaline's progression once again is mind boggling. The yet-to-be titled LP was recorded with Joe McGrath (Green Day, AFI) and is currently in the mixing stages. Expect this band to be swept up by fairly large label sometime soon.


5. Waking Lights (Folk/Rock) (Unsigned)

Feeling the need to start off with a rock journalism cliche on this one. Maybe, "NJ's best kept secret" or "NJ's most underrated band" or "best band you've never heard". Either way when this North Jersey group sent me their new 7 inch, The Rabbit Hole, I had a hard time believing music this good was coming from such an unknown band. Though only 11 minutes long, these short but sweet five songs left me scouring the internet for info on the band, but almost nothing was to be found. Have a feeling that's all about to change. And when this band does conquer the music world, expect me to say "told you so".


4. Washington Square Park (Pop-punk/Rock) (Unsigned)

A pop-punk band from North Jersey that has a blatant disregard for sounding like the embarrassingly over-polished bands that now inhibit the genre. This group have been catching peoples attention rather quickly with their easily digestible rock songs and over-the-top live performances. Their debut full-length, which is being mixed by Mike Sapone (Brand New, Crime In Stereo) is due out in March, non-stop touring to follow. Have a feeling these guys will be representing NJ in a major way in the years to come.


3. Real Estate (Indie/Lo-fI) (Woodist)

Believe it or not they aren't a Brooklyn band. Though the Ridgewood  four-some hardly ever play their home state the group does make several references about growing up in the suburbs on their Woodist debut. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what is so good about this band. It could be their perfectly layered guitar riffs, Martin Courtney's calming voice or just the over all feeling these songs evoke while listening. Either way, word is spreading fast about these guys, so expect to be seeing much more of them in the new year.


2. Titus Andronicus (Indie/Rock) (XL Recordings)

This Glen Rock quartet seemed to be on to something with their debut The Airing of Grievances, which was re-released by XL Recordings this past Spring. Though they've had their fair share of blog buzz, the group still has a long way to go. With a new album due out this March and a leaked tracked that says "these guys aren't just last months buzz band", expect for this group to settle into their career, as they're a band that's here to stay.


1. GDP - (Hip-Hop) (Division East)

Matt Miller aka GDP

West Orange hip hop artist Matthew Miller aka GDP has kept busy for the better part of 09 and doesn't seem to have plans of slowing down in 2010. With the release of his latest full length Realistic Expectations this past summer GDP has been slowly spreading his name across the US. Though his frequent DIY tours may not be so glamorous, GDP stays determined at spreading the word and when you're as good as he is people will definitely catch on.

Reader Comments (63)

Excellent list but if you're going to mention Titus Andronicus as a band that hasn't "made it" yet, then you should have included the Screaming Females from New Brunswick.

Also I predict very big things from Black Wine, which teams Jeff Schroeck from the Ergs with Jay and Miranda from Hunchback.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJim Testa

nice move with making GDP #1

chambers is pretty sweet too.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJay

washington square park!!!!

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkim

why the fuck is gdp first fuck that

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranna

because gdp has more skills than you bitch

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentered

FourYearBeard is the greatest band EVER to come from Jersey... well, mabey not EVER, but they're awesome... www.myspace.com/fouryearbeardband

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSammY


I was actually thinking about that a lot. Definitely knew off the bat I didn't want to include Screaming Females, because it's sort of obvious and everyone who reads this blog probably already knows them. Titus was a tough call, but in the end I thought they were a little less known.

January 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterNJU

washington square park <3
has my heart

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLexi

Sorry but this GDP i just heard is not good and there is much more talent in this list, could just be a bad song they chose

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTommy

Washington Square Park is the best band on the list.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermickey

this is honestly an incredibly beat list. its a good thing that this isnt for anything important. try again next year.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdisappointed

I thought Action Item was gonna be in the top 5 at least. Damn.

January 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterTerrance Pryor

love you

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlucich's mom

i like how gdp's myspace link is myspace.com/g6d6p6


January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterscott

how's my big baby boy doing
call me sometime

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlucich's mom

terrance pryor you're an idiot.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdeb

Nice list.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFrancis J. Scottwood

i always thought the "sa" stood for "sucks ass", but "strictly analog" for a band that has a cd out is way funnier.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdr. octagon

"i always thought the "sa" stood for "sucks ass", but "strictly analog" for a band that has a cd out is way funnier."

I lol'd

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarissa

those mockingbirds are grand

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersenorita mashed potato

This list is missing Man Overboard - Absolute Punk posts about them nearly every week, have most of the large indie labels checking them out, have 2 LPs and an EP coming out in the next 6 months and put out 3 EPs last year.


January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDuh

Man Overboard rocks. Don't know how they were not included in the list.

January 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterTerrance Pryor

agreed man overboard is missing

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermax

first off, totally flattered to be on here, thank you! second.. if i may make two honorable mentions...

Theodore Grimm
The Sun The Moon The Stars (ex- Oval Portrait)

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Mockingbird

GDP all day ay day

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjiggins

gd mother fuckin p

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternick

who is gdp what is this wigger doing

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Chambers kills it. GDP kills it. Kinda like Full of Fancy. Overall pretty good list.

January 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfuzz

i agree with fuzz chambers is pretty rad still need to check them out live

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternorm

isn't man overboard on run for cover records? pretty sure they're already set.

January 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersean

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