Search Results for "Mercy Union"

New Video: Mercy Union – “Chips And Vics”

Jersey rockers (and personal faves) Mercy Union have got a brand new video for your viewing pleasure. It’s for the track “Chips And Vics,” and it was shot by David Patino and Greg Pallante, the latter of whom also gets photo credit for the image you see above. You can check out the video below.

“Chips And Vics” appears on the band’s debut full length, The Quarry, which was released back on October 19th via the band’s own Mt. Crushmore Records. They’re in the very early stages of a lengthy US tour in direct support of Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers; get dates here!



Mercy Union (members Gaslight Anthem, Scandals, Let Me Run) announce UK tour!

New Jersey punk rock band Mercy Union, featuring members of The Gaslight Anthem, The Scandals & Let Me Run, will be heading to the UK in May. The band released the ‘The Quarry’ last year, which if you have heard yet, you can check out along with the tour dates below.



Laura Jane Grace + the Devouring Mothers debut “Apocalypse Now (& Later)” video, announce full US tour with Mercy Union, Control Top

Lots of fun and exciting music from Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers, and that’s pretty awesome in our book. First, in case you hadn’t heard, their first full US tour for next spring. Slated to kick off March 16th, the tour runs all the way through late April, and features support from New Jersey favorites Mercy Union and Philly’s Control Top, making for a trio of bands that are going to have a kick-ass 2019. Head below to check out the full rundown of tour dates.

Additionally, Laura Jane and company debuted the full video for the track “Apocalypse Now (& Later).” You can check it out below as well!

As you should know by now, “Apocalypse Now (& Later)” was the lead single from Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers’ debut full length album, Bought To Rot, which was released earlier this month on Bloodshot Records.



Mercy Union (members of Gaslight Anthem, The Scandals) stream new song “Silver Dollars”

New Jersey punknroll band Mercy Union recently shared a brand new single from their upcoming debut album, The Quarry. The song is called “Silver Dollars” and it is our second taste of the band’s very first record.

The Quarry’ embodies the human thought process. It represents the ability to look at your life and memories from the outside, and hopefully gain some perspective. These songs explore elements of worry, gratitude, loss, and self-worth. It’s a record I’ve been hesitant to approach
until the right pieces fell into place.

You can stream the song here.



DS Exclusive: Jared Hart on Mercy Union’s unorthodox origin and the road to “The Quarry”

When last we caught up in any official capacity with Jared Hart, the New Jersey native was somewhere in Florida in the midst of a support run, opening up for Frank Iero’s project at the time. Hart was mere weeks away from the release of his full-length debut solo album, Past Lives and Pass Lines, a collection of songs that were written over the previous handful of years that didn’t really fit the anthemic, street punk stylings of his “day job” band, The Scandals.

At the time, prevailing wisdom seemed to be that Hart would try to settle into a groove of spending six months a year working with The Scandals and six months a year working on solo activities, achieving some semblance of perfect creative balance. And while Hart has stayed steadily busy over the course of the last three years, it’s safe to say that the bulk of that work has not exactly gone as planned. Early 2016 brought with it the start of what turned out to be a year or so on the road across most of the globe as part of Brian Fallon’s backing band, The Crowes, in support of Fallon’s own debut solo album, Painkillers. Then there was the release of the stellar, Fallon-produced Scandals EP, Lucky Seven. Then there were solo European dates for Hart, a follow-up solo EP featuring reworked tracks from Past Lives + Pass Lines, scattered Scandals dates, and a few shows filling in on guitar for fellow Jersey punks Lost In Society.

In the process of working on ideas for what would theoretically be a second solo full-length, Hart would reconnect with an old Jersey musical acquaintance: Benny Horowitz, best noted for his work in The Gaslight Anthem, but also part of other noteworthy projects like Bottomfeeder, Wax Bottles and Antarctigo Vespucci. “I had a good handful of songs and a handful of riffs that were starting to come together,” explains Hart. At one point, I hadn’t seen Benny in a while, and he was saying “come by, we’ll get coffee or lunch, or if you want to jam or something, you could bring a guitar…” It seemed like he wanted to stretch it out a little bit, so I was like “you know? Fuck it, I’ll bring the guitar over and we’ll see what happens.”

Once the duo got together, things progressed quickly. Perhaps unusually quickly. “Immediately, we were fleshing out a full song,” says Hart. “He was like “what have you got?” and I pulled a riff that I had forever out, and then all of a sudden there was a structure, and there were these parts, and things he was playing were making my guitar go a certain way, and I remember thinking “this is interesting…this doesn’t usually go like this.”

What became apparent seemingly early on is that the new music the pair were creating wasn’t new solo music, and it wasn’t new Scandals music; it was becoming its own thing. “As the riffs kept coming, Benny was like “you know, we have a record here. Should we do an EP?” says Hart, explaining that he was initially gunshy to bring in old material he’d had in the bank and risk messing with the collaborative, spontaneous jamming. Eventually, he relented. “And I was like “well, I have all these other songs too…” So we started jamming on those, and then all of a sudden, after a couple months, we had a full-length.”

As it became apparent that the new music was a new project, that meant that the new project needed new members. “It was just me and Benny (at first) and we had all these songs, and we got to say who we wanted to play with us. And I was like, oh, fuck…that’s usually not a question that gets asked, usually you have the band all there first (before developing music).” Hart and Horowitz recruited fellow Garden Staters Rocky Catanese and Nick Jorgensen to the mix. Catanese, himself a veteran of the criminally-underrated Let Me Run, has been a friend and collaborator of Hart’s for years, so including him in the new band only made sense. “Our first tour together was in 2012,” Hart explains. “I used to fill in for Let Me Run once in a while, he has filled in for EVERYTHING that I’ve ever needed…any time the Scandals needed something, he’d hop in, and we’ve always just kind of had each other’s backs in that sense.” So I said well “of course Rocky has to be in it, because he’d be filling in anyway!”

When it came time to get their new material recorded, the newly-formed quartet holed up with none other than Pete Steinkopf at Little Eden studio in Asbury Park. Catanese and Jorgensen put their own respective touches on the music that Hart and Horowitz had crafted, and the recording process moved efficiently. Each of the band’s members has had experience in bands playing fairly diverse sounds within this punk rock realm, but Hart says there was never a discussion about musical directions when it came to the new project. “I wanted to make a record that I wanted to hear. I felt like I was lacking hearing some of these songs myself, and even just the sound of it, where it sounds sometimes like you’re in the room with the band playing…that’s kinda what I wanted to be able to do. I’m super proud of that,” he explains. “The actual process of writing and recording was really cathartic to do it like that. To not worry and to not stress and to let it just kinda roll…The only reason that something sonically or tonally or structurally got changed was how it fit into the context of all of the other songs (on the record), not anything outside of that. That was really fun to do.”

As the recording process was winding down with Steinkopf, and before Hart would leave for a solo run through Europe, the band got word that they’d landed a spot opening up a handful of dates for Racquet Club on the veritable super-group’s first real US tour. Initially billed as “Jared Hart with Full Band,” it wasn’t until Hart was overseas, their album already in the bag, that the band settled on a name. “Picking the name was probably the hardest thing of this whole project. That was the most anxiety I’ve had in general,” laughs Hart. “I was in Europe. We had a day off, and I had to pull over and just sit there. We made the name and I sent the t-shirt design in the same day. I sent it in to get printed that day and I had like a full-blown panic attack about the name. Because now it was done, it was printed. They sent me a picture of the screen blown out, and I was like “oh my god, what if this isn’t good?” My cousin is 18, and he was sitting in the passenger seat and he was like “dude, it’s fine!” I had my head against the steering wheel like “I’m not good with change and this is so permanent.” He had to kinda talk me off the ledge there.”

That name, of course, is Mercy Union. The band are slated to release their debut full-length, The Quarry, next month. And their doing it themselves via Hart’s newly minted Mount Crushmore Records. Evoking his mom’s “if you want something done right, do it yourself” motto, Hart determined that releasing the album on their own made the most sense, however nerve-wracking an endeavor that might be. “Starting this label up and trying to do everything the right way and through the right channels…that aspect of it has been stressful. But the band part of it and the record and the songs has been way less stressful than anything else…I know that if something goes wrong, it’s going to be my fault, and I prefer it that way.” Hart determined that he’d acquired enough experience over his fifteen years in the music business to make it work, not only for himself but for other friends that might have music to put out down the road. “I want to learn how to do this right and be prepared for whatever comes down the line. I’ve been talking about it for years, to have an outlet for friends to be able to share their music when they can’t get anybody to put their shit out.”

The dozen songs that make up The Quarry have some familiar notes, but those notes combine in a way that produces a new and unique sound, which was exactly the point. “As a writer, I’ve never been able to totally force songs into molds, and that can be a hard thing about being in a punk band that’s strictly a punk band or a pop-punk band or whatever you want to call it. When you step too far out of that realm, everyone’s like “whoa, what are you doing here?” Hart formed The Scandals almost a decade-and-a-half ago and it’s been his baby ever since. But there aren’t songs on The Quarry that would fit in the Scandals catalog, or even that would have fit well on Past Lives + Pass Lines. “(These songs) couldn’t be forced into that mold, and I don’t think that would be fair to any of us. With that kind of music, it’s easy to tell when something is forced, and I love that band and I love those guys and I can’t just force a record that sounds like everything else.”

Mercy Union’s forthcoming debut album, The Quarry, due out October 19th on Mt. Crushmore Records. Pre-order bundle options are available here, but they’re going fast, which is a welcome sign to calm the potential nerves of a new project. “It’s kind of always been a fear of mine, to start something from the very beginning,” Hart says. “I started The Scandals in 2004, and just the sheer sense of that you’re going to do this whole new thing out of nowhere was daunting, but sometimes you just need to stop and take a breath of fresh air and see what happens.” 

Head below to check out our full Q&A!

 



New Music: Mercy Union (feat. members of The Scandals, Gaslight Anthem and more) – “Chips and Vics”

Here’s another one that means a lot to us, gang. It’s the debut single from Mercy Union, a band who should look familiar even if you’ve probably not seen them yet. The band consists of (L-R above, photo by Greg Pallante) Rocky Catanese (Let Me Run), Benny Horowitz (The Gaslight Anthem, Bottomfeeder, Wax Bottles), Jared Hart (The Scandals) and Nick Jorgensen (Hollow-Eyed), and came together as Hart was woodshedding music for a second solo album. Instead, it turned into something new and different and awesome. Check out the band’s first single, “Chips and Vics,” right here.

“Chips and Vics” appears on Mercy Union’s forthcoming debut album, The Quarry, due out October 19th on Mt. Crushmore Records. Pre-order bundle options are available here. And stay tuned…we’ll have more on Mercy Union in the near future.



DS Photo Gallery: An Evening with Ben Nichols and Jared Hart at Crossroads in Garwood, NJ

Every once in a while, the mythical creatures that put show lineups together get one so correct that you and your better half pack up the car, drop the kiddo off at her grandparents’ house after her basketball game (go Panthers or Blueberries or whatever we’re calling ourselves now!) and make the five-ish hour trek from Boston to a tiny little borough in north central Jersey over a torrentially rainy February weekend. And so, when the inimitable Andy Diamond announced that February 10th at Crossroads in Garwood, New Jersey, would consist of an evening featuring the musical stylings of Lucero‘s Ben Nichols and The Scandals/Mercy Union‘s Jared Hart, it seemed the mythical creatures had spoken.

Jared Hart led off the late evening’s festivities in stellar fashion in what was all but a hometown show for the Bayonne-based punk. Lucero fans are an intensely dedicated lot who travel far and wide to see “their” band – let alone to see the band’s frontman in a rare, one-off solo gig – but Hart was more than up to the task of getting the night started on the right track. Hart has a penchant for penning sweeping, sing-along choruses, and that was on display from set-opener “Totem” on forward. The bulk of Hart’s set consisted of material from the Scandals catalog and his first solo album, 2015’s Past Lives And Pass Lines (including a duet with his own longtime better half, Casey, on “The Leo”), with a track from the forthcoming debut from his new project, Mercy Union, thrown in for good measure. Oh, and there was a rousing cover of the Wallflowers’ “One Headlight” which was resoundingly well-received.

After a bit of an extended layover between sets, Nichols took the stage accompanied by only by his trademark Martin acoustic and a half-filled fifth of Bulleit Rye Whiskey and embarked on what would become a rollicking, spirited look through the deeper portions of his songwriting catalog. Beginning the night with “Chambers,” Nichols highlighted the bulk of his brilliant debut solo EP, 2009’s The Last Pale Light In The West, across the evening. As could be expected at a Lucero show, the crowd was a constant vocal present throughout the duration of Nichols’ largely freeform set. And while a couple of expected long-time crowd favorites (“Nights Like These,” “Raising Hell,” “I’ll Just Fall”) made their staple appearances, the bulk of the twenty-nine (by my count, anyway) song setlist focused on either brand new material, or songs that have long since fallen out of regular live rotation.

While we’re not yet sure exactly how many songs will appear on Lucero’s forthcoming studio album (due hopefully this coming summer), we have gotten a pretty stellar taste of what’s to come on tracks like — and these are apparently working titles — “To My Dearest Wife I Write” and “Everything Has Changed” and “Bottom Of The Sea.” Also included on this evening were brand new tracks that won’t be on whatever becomes their new album – a sweet ode to his year-old daughter “Hello, My Name Is Izzy” and the searing and already underrated “One Last Fuck You.” Nichols also dusted off “The Outsiders,” a track by his pre-Lucero band Red Forty, and dedicated it to a longtime, well-known fan in the crowd. Nichols enjoyment of the evening was not only quite noticeable — not only by his eight or nine whiskey-infused Cheerses to the crowd — but was increasingly infectious over the course of the two-plus-hour set. As the midnight hour came and went and the *ahem* sobering reality of a 10:30am trip to catch a flight out of Newark sank in (prompting the image above), both Nichols and the still engaged crowd might have brought the musical portion of the evening to a close, but most were slow to leave, choosing instead to revel in the afterglow of what was a memorable (depending on your alcohol intake) and inimitable evening.

Head below to check out our photo gallery!



DS Photo Galley: Racquet Club and Mercy Union, Cambridge, MA (10/16/17)

 

For those that were paying attention, a fun bit of punk scene history took place just under the radar upstairs at the legendary Middle East nightclub in Cambridge, MA, a couple of nights ago. The centerpiece of the evening’s festivities was the East Coast debut of Racquet Club, the latest brainchild of Blair Shahan and Sergie Loobkoff, the latter obviously of Samiam fame. Racquet Club became a thing only recently after the reunion shows that Shahan and Loobkoff’s previous band, Knapsack, played a handful of years ago after what had been a decade-and-a-half absence. After the demise of Knapsack, Shahan went on to front The Jealous Sound for a number of years, and recruited that band’s last drummer, Bob Penn, to join him when the new, post-Knapsack project with Loobkoff started. The rhythm section on the new project would be rounded out by Ian Smith, who previously played bass in a band called Mercy Beat with Sam from The Bravery (remember them, kids??). Put ’em all together and what’ve you got? Racquet Club!

The foursome put out their self-titled full-length debut album three weeks ago via Rise Records and headed out on their first headlining tour this week, stopping in Chicago before making their way down the East Coast. Cambridge marked only their third headlining show, though you wouldn’t necessarily know that by watching them. Penn and Smith were a thunderously tight anchor, keeping the low end rocking hard and heavy to drumstick-shattering results. Their dynamic playing provided reliable foundation for Shehan and Loobkoff to build and soar off. Given the songwriting parts involved, there is an element of familiarity to the melodies, though Shahan’s tone is a bit more hopeful than from the Jealous Sound/Knapsack days. Loobkoff’s trademark SG-divebombs are as angular and textured as ever, even if he snapped his high E string halfway through the set and forged ahead as a five-string player for the duration of the set, that included the band’s entire album in reordered fashion. The crowd was a tad thinner than some (read as: me) had hoped, though it was a Monday night for sure. Still, those in attendance were legit fans, many singing along for the duration of the set.

Opening this week-long stretch of the Racquet Sound East Coast trek is four-piece New Jersey band Mercy Union, whom you probably think you’ve not heard of and yet whom you’ve most definitely heard of. I’ll explain. A handful of years ago, Jared Hart, frontman for Bayonne, New Jersey street punk band The Scandals, started performing solo acoustic-style during Scandals downtime. With the help of a few local friends, he put out a full-length solo album, Past Lives and Pass Lines, a couple years ago on Say-10 Records and continued to alternate between solo shows and Scandals shows (as well as a stint in Brian Fallon’s backing band, The Crowes). Hart put together a full backing band for a few shows earlier this year, and used them to record what was slated to be the second Jared Hart solo album but what in actuality turned out to be its own thing, and for good reason. The aforementioned “backing band” includes Nick Jorgensen on bass, Rocky Catanese of Let Me Run (one of the first bands I discovered and subsequently fell in love with through Dying Scene) on guitar/backing vocals, and Benny Horowitz of The Gaslight Anthem on drums. They decided on a name — Mercy Union — only a few days before this run with Racquet Club (they had previously been billed as Jared Hart – Full Band shows), and since Cambridge was the first night of tour, that meant it was also their first show as a unified item.

The band’s set consisted of a mix of reworked songs from Past Lives & Pass Lines interspersed with new tracks from their upcoming full-length debut (more on that in the coming months). Hart’s projects, whether solo or The Scandals, have always been well received in Boston, which has become a bit of an adopted home-away-from-home for him, and that was certainly true on this night as well, if a bit more subdued than in previous shows (Boston…seriously…if you like a set of musicians enough to pay money to go to their shows and sing along and enjoy yourself in the process, what’s with the invisible semi-circular perimeter in front of the stage that people dare not tred in. Particularly upstairs at the Middle East, it’s a phenomenon I’ve never been able to explain. But I digress.) The sound, particularly on the new songs, is very much rock-and-roll (not surprising given their so so Jersey pedigree) but doesn’t quite sound exactly like the sum of the aforementioned parts would. There’s a really cool upbeat groove to a couple of the tracks (I won’t pretend to have written the names down). Even though the band collectively have several decades in the game as touring musicians, there’s a bit of unfamiliarity as they learn to play with each other. That said, the rhythm was pretty tight, Catanese provided noticeably solid harmonies to Hart’s trademark rask, and the added guitar tone provided plenty of depth to Hart’s pre-existing body of work; all clear signs that this was only night one of what should be — and deserves to be — many more to come. And don’t worry Scandals fans; both projects will co-exist!

Check out our full photo gallery below, and stay tuned for more on these pages from Racquet Club and Mercy Union going forward!