18. Too High To Come Down by Fight Or Flight
The battle Fight Or Flight is entrenched in is one the Middletown, NJ-based Rap-Rock outfit may not have realized it entered upon the release of its 2011 debut EP Too High To Come Down. Despite all the noble work done by the Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy, Body Count, The Beasties, and Run DMC, it was seemingly undone in an instance by the image presented by Fred Durst, and not so much his music. However, records such as the aforementioned can save this all too appealing genre of music. The napalm drenched rhymes of Tim Guerin are accented by the more subdued delivery of Thomas Pioszyk on numbers such as “Stereo Satellite” and “Breaking Through,” while the charred guitar work of Rich Imparato, accompanied by the thunderous beats brought forth by a rhythm section consisting of stick wielder Jay Maranzino and bass plucker Russell Eia on the title-track show where the musicians true allegiance’s lye.
17. Bad Dads Doing Bad Dad Things by The Skateboards
If Koji Kondo possessed an affection for his father, Surf-Punk tunes, and decided to write the soundtrack to the X-Games, rather than opting to rest on his laurels after penning the scores to Super Mario Brothers and Zelda, then he might have created Bad Dad’s Doin’ Bad Dad Things and Philadelphia’s own The Skateboards would be out of an EP. Not a single word is uttered in this collection of primarily instrumental tracks, padded by a series 8-bit bookends and interludes, until the final minutes of “Fixed Gear Dad,” where a disembodied voice utters, “I’m doing what I like/I’m riding a fixed gear bike.” Were these sentences uttered by Chris Baglivo or Evan Bernard, also known as the producers of Green Paper’s Fire? Numbers say it’s a coin flip. However, the chances you’ll be intrigued by this record, which speaks to my inner most NES nerd, if not be totally enthralled with it are dramatically greater.
16. Demos by Old Nick
For a demo strewn about on Chemtrail’s merch table during a summertime performance at Asbury Lanes, the tracklist penned in smudged black ink on the Maxwell CD-R’s face, Old Nick’s vast five-track collection is impressive from start to finish, but no number more alluring than “The Unforgiving Tide,” a five and a half minute cruise on a treacherous body of water called love. Front-man Jay Sakong, scarred by past lovers, and led by jangling guitar chords slowed to a crawl, waxes poetic about his ever eroding emotions of the heart…then the drums kick in and the the chorus explodes as our protagonist is left numb to a new caller…can she pull him from the dismal depths in time, dive into this demo and find out.
15. Over Water by The Paper Suns
In November, Asbury’s most youthful psychedelia-laced haze makers, The Paper Suns, dropped its debut studio release, Over Water, a three-song compilation of twangy Southern-Rock compositions caked in fuzz and haunted by two-part vocal harmonies that spill over verse and chorus alike. The impressive collection, which was tracked at the Boardwalk’s own Lakehouse Music, is an expression of the outfit’s influences. “Tonite” resembles a tune crafted after partaking in a Smith Westerns listening party, while “I’ll Be Fine” is cut from the same cloth as a Kings Of Leon cut, however, it’s the record’s title track that exhibits the three piece’s unique musical identity.
14. Demos by Plus Plus Minus
The Red Bank, NJ-based Plus Plus Minus, featuring Quinn English on drums (a.k.a. Puppy Mills of The Gay Blades), his wife Lisa Cusack-English on bass (The Poconos, boy/girl), and front-man Jed Higgerson (The Churchills, Hello Lovely), emerged earlier this year, bombarding the Boardwalk and beyond with a brand of rage tunes beloved by many. July brought Indie-Rock super group’s first official release, a pair of demos, which created quite a buzz. The first track, “Saw,” is a dusty deserted piece of sexified Sludge-Rock, hooking the listener with a huge melody and repetitive guitar riff that crackles like the aftermath of a lightning strike, while “You Lie” is led into battle by jagged fret-work, the methodically struck charred chords resembling a lost track from some Queens Of The Stone Age session.
13. Tarot Classics by Surfer Blood
In October, Surfer Blood strolled through our Boardwalk haunts while on the Lost Cities Tour with the Pixies and charmed a sold out Asbury Park Convention Hall audience with its brand of Indie Surf-Rock tunes, none moving the assemblage more than the melodious ode “Miranda,” a piece of Pop-Rock that fronted the outfit’s 2011 sophomore studio release Tarot Classics. The four-track collection, which features front-man John Paul Pitt’s lush baritone, is led by one of the catchiest works in band’s already candy coated catalogue and backed by the aforementioned single, which has developed into one of SIMGE’s favorite songs of the year. Accompanied by a second pair of alluring originals (“Voyage Reprise” and “Drinking Problem”), that don’t really differ from the Palm Beach, FL group’s paradigm, and a series of remixes by the likes of Connor Hanwick (The Drums), Peggy Wang (The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart), and School Of Seven Belles, among others, makes this EP one of the year’s best.