Something for headbangers and dream pop fans this season | Testa


As the year draws to a close, the Hudson County music scene continues to impress with its diversity and talent.

Heavy metal fans will certainly enjoy Black Wail’s latest album, “Dead Mountain”.

Jersey City’s Black Wail was formed in 2014 after local favorite Thomas Francis Takes His Chances passed away, when guitarist / drummer Michael Tarlazzi decided to lead his own band playing the unique mix of punk, metal, stoner rock and psychedelia he had heard. in her head. He recruited bassist Susan Lutin to do a demo of his embryonic compositions, and seven years later we received Black Wail’s fifth EP, “Dead Mountain,” on Hoboken’s Rhyme & Reason Records label.

The group worked with engineer Mike Mobius (who also produced the group’s debut EP) at his Jersey City studio, Moonlight Mile Recording, for this second Black Wail release in 2021.

The first, “Born on Fire,” was released in April, but had been recorded a year earlier before the COVID pandemic put everything – including local music – on hold. The same group – keyboardist Bram Teitelman, guitarist Ed Charreun and drummer Felipe Torres, as well as Tarlazzi and Lutin – recorded both EPs.

Like its predecessor, “Dead Mountain” offers a convenient one-stop-shop for headbangers, with 25 minutes of technically impressive and stylistically inventive hard rock spread across four tracks.

The opening “Staring at the Sun” embodies the EP’s eclectic attack, starting with sultry metallic riffs and languid Black Sabbath-like vocal melody, then transforming into an extended psychedelic bridge before transforming into a point. powerful climax with a jagged guitar solo.

The eight-minute title track features an unprecedented guitar duel, with Tarlazzi and Charreun exchanging stoner-rock riffs; Ozzy Osbourne’s inspired short voice barely makes an impression amid the sturm und drang of blunt guitars, as Lutin and Torres establish a low end. “Hot Seat 2020” revisits a live staple originally recorded on Black Wail’s second EP, “All You Can Eat,” with arching, Zappa vocal delivery and a slow, muddy tempo that allows Charreun and Tarlazzi to have ample room to shred.

“The Frigate” ends the EP with an epic but surreal story of sailors meeting their doom on the high seas, with Tarlazzi recounting as the ship slowly capsizes. The galloping riffs add drama as it remains for us to imagine the fate of the sailors, on a track both powerful and frightening.

“Dead Mountain” is available to stream or download from


For a different experience from another Jersey City-based band, check out “Roll the Dice,” the latest single from Anglophilic Royal Blush. Local fans may have surprised them when they represented Fleetwood Mac at this year’s Ghost of Uncle Joe’s Halloween fundraiser.

'Roll the dice'

“Roll the Dice” by Royal Blush, based in Jersey City

With Allison Heckart’s full-throated vocals at the forefront, “Roll the Dice” delivers a dizzying rendition of lush, ethereal dream-pop from ’90s stars like Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine or Lush – bands that define a sound model since adopted by contemporary hitmakers like Lana Del Rey and Beach House. Andrew Merclean, credited with “guitars and sounds,” provides layers of sounds pierced with staccato guitar notes as a lush bed for Heckart’s voice. The song – introduced by local set designer Chris Gennone of CR & The Degenerates with a line about going bankrupt in Vegas – uses the familiar “roll the dice” trope in a casino as a metaphor for taking risks in real life. . But nothing cliché on the track, which bristles with electricity and ends far too early.

Merclean produced and recorded the track, presumably in a home studio, although additional follow-up was done at the Cocoon by engineer Corey Zack. Matt Quinones on bass and Josh Barsch on drums complete the lineup. (Gennone joined the band full time after this single was written and recorded.)

“Roll The Dice” is available to stream or download from


The refurbished back room of Finnegan’s Pub, 734 Willow Ave., Hoboken, is the closest Mile Square City has become to a true live music venue since Maxwell’s demise.

Finnegan’s offers a regular diet of local bands on weekends, like Face For Radio, the Nicke Conte Trio, and Joe Taino in November.

Mike Kuzan and The Latest Noise Collective are planning a wellness event for Sunday December 12th, with Chaya Morgan of Glaser Drive and Nicole Sullivan.

The Latest Noise will also be hosting a New Years Eve party at Finnegan’s on Thursday, December 30.

For more upcoming events, follow Finnegan’s Pub at @finneganshoboken on Instagram.


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