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30 New Jersey Music Acts Making Moves

Being a proud New Jerseyan, I've obviously seen numerous acts rise from the Garden State. From the emo rumblings of Saves The Day to the Americana vibe of The Gaslight Anthem, New Jersey has been the home of many stellar acts that have made their mark across the country. If you're familiar with this site, you'll remember our somewhat annual 20 NJ Bands to Conquer posts (read our 2010 and 2011 lists if you want). Since there wasn't a list in the last two years, I've decided to make a one full of 30 musical acts that have been making moves inside and outside of the Garden State lately.

1) Suburban Scum
Location: All over NJ
6131 Records
Genre: Hardcore

Hands down, Suburban Scum are one of New Jersey's best hardcore acts right now. You've probably seen them performing at numerous festivals across the country (Sound and Fury, New England Metal & Hardcore Festival, Black N Blue Bowl) or caught them on their Canadian tour supporting Madball. The band will release their new full length record very soon which will ignite several moshpits across the country. 2013 was a good year for the band with their first Japan tour, along with some U.S. touring with Comeback Kid and an appearance at This Is Hardcore.

2) The Front Bottoms
Location: Bergen County
Bar/None Records
Genre: Indie

Rising indie act The Front Bottoms have been everywhere since the release of their 2011 self-titled debut album. National tours with acts such as Say Anything and Motion City Soundtrack have garnered the duo attention from big outlets like MTV and KROQ.  Their latest album Talon of the Hawk dropped in last May which was followed by a full U.S. headlining tour. The band opened 2014 with a full U.S. winter tour cleverly titled the "Hot Chocolate Tour".

3) Action Item
Location: Bergen County
Genre: Pop

The fact that Action Item remains unsigned in 2014 is a complete mystery. The pop band have been touring nonstop over the past few years and just came off their stint on last summer's Vans Warped Tour. You might have seen them on the road with everyone from Socratic to Owl City. Their latest album Resolution debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at number 72.

4) Brick + Mortar
Location: Asbury Park
Photo Finish Records/ Island Def Jam
Genre: Electro/Indie

Since 2008, Brick + Mortar have been turning heads in the booming Asbury Park music scene opening for acts such as Jimmy Eat World and Awolnation. In the summer of 2012, the duo released their Making Moves EP via motion City Soundtrack's label The Boombox Generation and dropped one of the craziest music videos for their track "Bangs". Aside from performing at last year's Lollapalooza and touring the nation with Anthony Green, the act put out their new Bangs EP via Photo Finish Records. Catch them on the road with Middle Class Rut.

5) GDP
Location: West Orange
Run for Cover Records
Genre: Rap

GDP has been one of NJ's hottest MCs since the 2007 release of Involvement on Division East Records. Since that release, he's opened for acts such as Wu Tang Clan & Mac Miller, signed with rising pop punk/ indie label Run For Cover Records and toured all over North America and Australia. His new EP Holla is out right now.

6) The Scandals
Location: Bayonne
Gunner Records
Genre: Punk

The Scandals have been one of New Jersey's top notch punk acts since they formed back in 2004. Whether they're opening for acts like The Gaslight Anthem and New Found Glory or performing at festivals such as The Bamboozle and The Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival, you're guaranteed to watch a killer set from the four piece band. The Scandals frontman Jared Hart recently did a split with The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon for Red Bull Sound Select. The band will head overseas in March for their European tour with The Uprising.

7) Those Mockingbirds
Location: Montclair
Genre: Rock

It all started with the Numa Numa Guy. Back in 2010, Those Mockingbirds, led by guitarist Adam Bird and violinist/pianist Tory Anne Daines, kidnapped the Numa Numa guy in exchange for 50,000 downloads of their track "Honest? Honest." Since then, the band have seen press from Fox News, Alternative Press, MTVU and legendary radio station WCBS-FM. The band will release their debut album Penny The Dreadful this year.

8) Jenny Owen Youngs
Location: Montclair
Genre: Folk

Montclair native Jenny Owen Youngs has been everywhere since the release of her debut album Batten the Hatches back in 2005. Her brutally honest lyrics have landed her tours with acts such as Motion City Soundtrack, Alison Weiss and Chuck Ragan. Her latest release was 2012's An Unwavering Band of Light.

9) Dads
Location: New Brunswick
6131 Records
Genre: Emo/punk

Dads are looking to be the next big act to rise from New Brunswick basements. In the fall of 2012, the band embarked on a two and a half month North American tour which was followed by a quick Northeast trek with Koji. Their touring habits continued last year with their U.S. tour with Pity Sex & The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die and a 24 date European trek. You can catch them on the road with Reggie & The Full Effect right now.

10) Com Truise
Location: Princeton
Ghostly International
Genre: Electronic

Princeton DJ Seth Hayley, b.k.a. Com Truise, is one of EDM's brightest acts. Formerly an art director, Hayley has produced many remixes (one was featured on the Tron: Legacy Reconfigured soundtrack), performed numerous tours in Europe and North America and dropped his latest album In Decay in the summer of 2012. If he ever comes to your area (which he will), go see him and become entranced.

11) Banquets
Location: Jersey City
Black Numbers
Genre: Punk

When you have ex-members of Outsmarting Simon, The Banner and Let Me Run in the band, it can't be anything short of kickass. In 2012, the band traveled overseas to perform at the Groezrock Festival with acts such as Refused, Rancid and Gorilla Biscuits. Last year, the band hit up Death To False Hope Fest and The Fest 12 in support of their latest self titled album.


12) River City Extension
Location: Toms River
XOXO Records
Genre: Indie

Indie darlings River City Extension have been gaining buzz since the release of their debut album The Unmistakable Man back in 2010. Since then, the band have been touring with noticeable acts (Manchester Orchestra, The Get Up Kids, Alkaline Trio) and performed at major festivals (Bonnaroo, Soundwave Festival, Newport Folk Festival). Their latest album Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger dropped in the summer of 2012. You can expect new music from these guys soon.


13) PJ Bond
Location: New Brunswick
Black Numbers
Genre: Folk

PJ Bond has the kind of touring schedule that most bands dream of. Playing over 150+ shows a year all over the the world, the New Brunswick native has become a nomad. PJ Bond kicked off 2014 with his current North American tour with Maria Taylor (Azure Ray) which will be followed by an European trek with Austin Lucas and Emily Barker.

14) Lost In Society
Location: Asbury Park
Altercation Records
Genre: Punk

Lost In Society formed in 2004 and see no signs of slowing down any time soon with past performances at Warped Tour and The Fest.  LIS recorded their upcoming third full length album with The Bouncing Souls' Pete Steinkopf. The punk trio will make their way back to the SXSW Festival in March, and they'll also hit up the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival in May.

15) Athletics
Location: Asbury Park
Deep Elm Records
Genre: Post-rock

While Athletics aren't touring as much as most of the acts on this list, their drive and determination shouldn't be overlooked. The group signed with Deep Elm Records (Latterman, Nada Surf) back in 2010 and dropped their debut album Why Aren't I Home which drew high praise from Absolutepunk, MTV and Stereokiller. The band recently released their follow-up Who You Are Is Not Enough for free.

16) Survay Says!
Location: Blairstown
Third Time Lucky Rekords
Genre: Ska/ Pop Punk

Following the footsteps of top notch NJ ska acts Catch 22 and Streetlight Manifesto comes Survay Says!. Forming in 2008 by brothers Henry Menzel (guitars) and Dennis "D.J." Menzel (trombone), the ska/pop punk act have been constantly on the road bringing their hyperactive music to audiences waiting to get down. Last year, Survay Says! played over 200 shows across North America and even managed to hit the road with Big D & The Kids Table en route to The Fest 12. The band recently set up a Kickstarter for their upcoming album Observations of the Human Condition.

17) Knuckle Up!
Location: New Jersey/ New York
Mediaskare Records
Genre: Hardcore

Since 2008, Knuckle Up! have been all over the NJ/NYC area opening for acts like A Day To Remember, Freya and Cruel Hand. Since signing with Mediaskare Records back in late 2010, the hardcore act have been touring North America with acts like Reign Supreme, Hundredth and Counterparts. The band are currently writing the follow-up to 2011's Motivation from Misery.

18) Panic Lift
Location: Newark
Metropolis Records
Genre: Industrial/Electronic

Panic Lift have been making a name for themselves since the release of their 2006 debut Dancing Through The Ashes. The act, led by vocalist/programmer James Francis, paid Germany a visit in 2009 for the Wave Gotik Treffen performing with acts such as Opeth, KMFDM and Combichrist. Panic Lift signed to legendary electronic label Metropolis Records in the summer of 2012 and dropped their latest album Is This Goodbye. Last year, Panic Lift made stops at Canada's Terminus Festival and Kinetik Festival. Catch them on the road with Aesthetic Perfection starting in April.

19) The Static Jacks
Location: Westfield
Old Friends Records/ Fearless Records
Genre: Indie

Since their inception in 2007, Westfield indie rockers The Static Jacks have been touring all over the U.S and Europe along with some TV appearances on Daily Habit & Last Call with Carson Daly. The band signed with Fearless Records in 2011 and released their debut album If You're Young which received press from Rolling Stone & Newsday. The Static Jacks released their new album In Blue via Old Friends Records, an indie imprint of Fearless Records.

20) Night Birds
Location: New York/ New Jersey
Grave Mistake Records
Genre: Surf punk

Surf punk featuring ex-members of New Jersey bands The Ergs, For Science and Hunchback? Count us in. The band recently dropped their latest album Born to Die in Suburbia via Grave Mistake and have hit the road full force. With past tours across North America and Europe, you can expect to catch these guys at a venue near you. The band will drop a new instrumental EP very soon.

21) Bubblegum Octopus
Location: Verona
Placenta Recordings
Genre: Chiptune/ Electronic

Bubblegum Octopus, whose real name is Matthew Morden, has garnered a cult following over the years with his frantic 8-bit symphonies and self-booked tours all over the country. He also composed the soundtrack for the iPhone game Cheeseman. Bubblegum Octopus has been ferociously touring across the country last year and will continue to do so in the new year. You can check out his latest mixtape Goodbye, 2013 here.

22) Old Wounds
Location: New Jersey/ Philadelphia
Glory Kid Ltd.
Genre: Hardcore

NJ/PA hardcore act Old Wounds have been on the prowl since 2010. The band have been hitting up both sides of the United States with opening slots alongside acts like Terror, H20 and Every Time I Die. The four piece band released their latest album From Where We Came Is Where We'll Rest and garnered press from Pitchfork, Guitar World and Alternative Press. The band will engage in a month long U.S. tour in March. Keep your ears open for some new tunes this year.

23) Gates
Location: New Brunswick
Pure Noise Records
Genre: Indie

Gates have been on the move since their inception back in 2010. The band, featuring ex-members of Lydia and Bears and Bright Lights, have frequently toured the Northeast with acts such as Vasudeva and Gifts from Enola and also made their way overseas for a U.K. run with Fallacies. The band continued flexing their touring muscles with a recent short trek opening for The Gaslight Anthem. Their latest EP entitled You Are All You Have Left To Fear is out right now via Pure Noise Records.


24) Real Estate
Location: Jersey City/ Brooklyn
Domino Recording Co.
Genre: Indie

Formed in Ridgewood, New Jersey back in 2009, Real Estate hit it big with their self titled debut release which landed them high praise from publications such as Pitchfork and Sputnikmusic. Performances at Coachella, Pitchfork Festival and Primavera Sound Festival boosted the band's popularity which landed their second album Days on the Billboard charts at #52 (the record has sold over 30,000 copies). The band will release their new album Altas on March 4th via Domino Recording Co.

25) Prawn
Location: Ridgewood
Topshelf Records
Genre: Indie

Forming in 2007, indie rockers Prawn have toured the country extensively and self released a couple of EPs before signing to Topshelf Records (Defeater, Moving Mountains). The band embarked on their first ever U.K. tour with Ape Up in the spring of 2012. Prawn will be working on a brand new album with producer Greg Dunn.

26) East of the Wall
Location: Keyport
Translation Loss Records
Genre: Metal

Featuring ex-members of The Postman Syndrome, East of the Wall's prog metal barrage came to full steam with with their 2009 debut album Farmer's Almanac. The band have engaged in a handful of U.S. and European tours with acts such as Black Tusk, Radare and Goes Cube. E.O.T.W. dropped their new album Redaction Artifacts in November. Expect some heavy touring from them in 2014.

27) Cash Cash
Location: Roseland
Big Beat/Atlantic
Genre: Electronic

Cash Cash went from partying in your bedroom to partying with powerhouse DJs like Afrojack and The White Panda. Their remixes of Krewella, Icona Pop and Capital Cities have been spun at major EDM festivals all across the country, and their single "Take Me Home" has been a staple on many dance radio stations. The trio recently signed with Big Beat (Skrillex, Knife Party) and will continue to ignite more dancefloors around the world.



28) Man Overboard
Location: Mt. Laurel/Williamstown
Rise Records
Genre: Pop punk

Man Overboard are hands down one of pop punk's rising bands with tours around the world alongside acts like New Found Glory, The Wonder Years and Trapped Under Ice. When the band wasn't constantly on the road, they hosted their own radio show on Idobi Radio entitled Man Overboard Radio. Man Overboard released their latest album Heart Attack in May and have been doing their usual touring adventures.



29) Titus Andronicus
Location: Glen Rock
XL Recordings
Genre: Indie/punk

Taking their name from the William Shakesphere play, Titus Andronicus have been making a splash in the indie punk scene with rave reviews from publications like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. For their upcoming album dropping this November, the band will produce a 30 song rock opera with a possible film adaptation. Pre-orders for this release have already sold out.



30) Screaming Females
Location: New Brunswick
Don Giovanni Records
Genre: Indie

Screaming Females have seen a lot in their 8 years as a band. Performances on MTV and Late Night with Carson Daly and national tours with Garbage and Dinosaur Jr are just a few things that comes with being one of New Brunswick's most beloved bands. Screaming Females will record their first ever live album entitled Live at the Hideout. You can expect that release to hit stores on April 8th via Don Giovanni Records.