Underground Redefined

This feature originally appeared in Issue 04 of Lamplighter Magazine in Fall 2014 and subsequently on LamplighterNJ.com in May 2016

There is a music school in downtown Summit, in the basement of the Mondo building, that focuses primarily on the instruction of rock instruments. You wouldn’t know if you had passed it before, because there are no signs on the street.

Whether it’s word-of-mouth or just pure curiosity that leads you through the street-level entrance, you’ll find a black door inside that reads ”World of Rock Music.” The few who do enter descend a long set of stairs into the music school, passing through more black doors and a series of tight hallways in which every inch of available wall-space is decorated with random photos and musical memorabilia, like the interior of a Hard Rock Café. Continue reading

Why You Should Be Upset Trees Above Mandalay Is No Longer Making Music

This feature originally appeared on LamplighterNJ.com in September 2013

After nearly seven years, pop-rock veterans Trees Above Mandalay decided that they will no longer be making music. So what, right? Hasn’t the New Jersey alternative music scene always been a revolving door for its local acts? They’ll be replaced soon enough, won’t they? Au contraire, my dear reader. Bands of Trees Above Mandalay’s caliber are few and far between. I would even go so far as to say that they were in a class of their own during their tenure. Now that class has graduated, and the freshman prospects don’t look so great. So you’ll understand how disappointed I was when I stood in the barely quarter-full room at Mexicali Live on the night of Trees Above Mandalay’s farewell show. Why weren’t more people upset about this? Why weren’t more of us there to say goodbye to the band we all once thought would make it big? Continue reading

Celestial Bodies As Pioneers in Space and Art

This feature originally appeared in Issue 03 of Lamplighter Magazine in December 2012 and subsequently on LamplighterNJ.com in March 2013

The date is July 31st, 2012. Joseph Kenyon waits inside his Linden, New Jersey home, watching the digital clock on his computer. Midnight arrives, carrying August with it. He clicks softly. The screen refreshes, revealing a music player loaded with the songs he has been writing and recording for the past month, replacing the batch of songs he released on July 1st, which in turn had replaced another batch of songs from a June 1st release. Surrounding that ever-changing music player is the art that Michal Brodka has been preparing for the past month, also replacing the art from the month before, which had already replaced the art from the month before that. This is not a pair of collaborators with creative A.D.D. or collective, monthly self-doubt. This is simply the August installment of Celestial Bodies. Continue reading