YDKJ Album Review

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REVIEW: Above The Moon’s Hard-Hitting EP ‘Patterns You Create’

They say that music is an extension of the self. That being said, whoever “They” are would be absolutely blown away at the level of depth Above The Moon has managed to imbue their newest EP with.

Above The Moon is an indie rock four-piece from Madison, NJ with a knack for writing instantly captivating songs that will have listeners reaching for that replay button over and over again. Consisting of Kate Griffin (vocals/rhythm guitar), Shawn Murphy (lead guitar), Chris Mangin (bass), and John Gramuglia (drums), the band has been making their presence known across the tri-state area since late 2016.

Wanting to put a bit of themselves into their third EP, Griffin, Murphy, Mangin, and Gramuglia pulled inspiration from their own life experiences, giving fans and friends not only a look into their collective creative mind, but a look into themselves as well.

Patterns You Create was released to the public April 27, 2018, offering an array of refreshingly real tunes that somehow manage to be amazingly catchy while touching on some of the more unpleasant parts of being human. Don’t be fooled though, this is hardly a sad album, but rather an eye opening experience inviting listeners to hit that reset button, acknowledge their emotions, and face the world with a newfound sense of vigor.

The EP opens up with a bang as “The Grey” jumps right into the heat of it with a heart-pounding beat and intense guitar that immediately catches the attention of anyone within earshot. Griffin’s powerful vocals evoke chills as the song’s vivid lyrics tug at the heartstrings. Visual in nature, one can almost watch the “silver linings turn to grey,” and feel every implication that comes with it.

“San Junipero” is a heartfelt masterpiece of sadness and resolution. The use of vocal layering adds amazing depth to the song that is mirrored in the beautiful way it was crafted.There’s a sense of openness and reliability to it, allowing the melancholy to mix with hope that can only be leaned through real life experiences.

There’s a brief tone change at the midpoint as “Underneath Alice” rolls in slowly with a deceptively mellow opening that builds as the song progresses. Gradually becoming more full as the vocals and drums that began the track are joined by the bass, and then the guitar. This places an emphasis on the vocals before the rhythm goes into full swing. As the song swells so does the feeling it evokes in those listening. There’s something absolutely enthralling about it that simply has to be experienced first hand.

“Fight The Sea” is fast-paced and high-energy track with one hell of a flow, much like the raging sea it harkens too. There’s a sense of power in every element that sparks something in listeners. This is a solid song to listen to when you need to get hyped, it’s literally a song to prepare you for battle (metaphorically of course.) Good luck not dancing along to this one as it inspires you to take the world by storm.

Patterns You Create ends on an introspective, relatable note with “Never Been Enough.” This song touches on some human elements that aren’t always easy to face, and that is reflected beautifully in the emotion Griffin’s stunning vocals convey. The echoing “it’s not enough” mirrors the mental process uncertainty can imbue in someone dealing with self-doubt, becoming a self-defeating mantra in the process.

All in all, Patterns You Create is one rollercoaster ride you don’t want to miss. Ten out of ten, would definitely recommend. Luckily the EP is available on Spotify for all to enjoy.

Aquarian Weekly - Defying Gravity

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It isn’t often that you read an article that starts with Craiglist, but doesn’t end badly — until now! That’s exactly how the story began for New Jersey indie-rockers, Above The Moon. Two years after responding to each other’s ads to form a band, and enlisting a few friends to round them out, and Above The Moon have just released their third EP, Patterns You Create. Now, the group discuss their beginnings, finding their sound, and what’s to come.

Where are you all from? 
As a band, we’re based out of Madison, NJ, but we’re from all over the state. Kate and Chris are originally from Kearny, Shawn grew up in Maplewood, and John is from Paramus.

How long have you been a band and how did you get started?
We started playing together in the fall of 2015. We originated as a lucky Craigslist find when Kate and Shawn answered each other’s ads. Shawn and John were friends from work, so he was quickly brought in, and when we needed a bassist in 2017, Kate reached out to Chris. They played together in their first band back in high school, and have been friends ever since, so it’s all come together pretty easily.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
We are, without a doubt, rooted in a ‘90s-type unpretentious style; we naturally combine that with indie/pop vocal hooks to create our sound. We all grew up in the ‘90s, so bands like Weezer, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam and even The Cranberries have a huge influence on our writing. There’s also a bit of a singer-songwriter vibe to some of our tracks as well. We’re a mix of all of our favorite things.

What was your latest release of music and can you talk about that a bit?
Patterns You Create is our third EP, and we just released it on April 27. We headed down to The Headroom in Philly to record with Joe Reinhart of Hop Along and Kyle Pulley of Thin Lips. We were very excited to work with them as we’d hoped to in the past, but the schedules didn’t line up.

The songs on this EP feel and sound much more developed. Listening back, it feels like on our first two EP’s we were trying to find our sound, there are glimmers of it on EP No. 2, but these tracks feel the most like “us.”

What is your writing and recording process like?
Usually a song starts with a riff or chord progression from Kate or Shawn, they work on it for a bit and create a loose structure, then bring it to practice where everyone gets to put their own touch on it. No matter how much of a song is started by a single person, once we bring it to practice it becomes “our” song — most times it transforms completely from where it began, which is always really cool.

Recording with Joe and Kyle was great. All five tracks were recorded over two weekends in January and February. We did drums and bass the first trip down, and all guitars and vocals the second. They were intense 10-hour days, but we were all present to make suggestions and coffee as needed. Joe spent a lot of time choosing just the right mix of instruments and microphones to help us achieve a sound that is very close to our live set, which we are very excited about.

What are current projects you are working on?
We already have two new songs in the live-set rotation! While we don’t have anything specific on the docket yet, we’re always writing and trying new things. We’ve talked a lot about maybe releasing one or two songs this year rather than waiting to have enough material for a new release, so we’re working towards that right now.

Is there any significance behind your band name? 
Funny enough, none of us can really remember how we got our name. When we finished recording our first EP back in 2015, we still hadn’t come up with a name despite a few weeks of trading ideas. We’d already begun working on new material, specifically a song called “Moon”, which is on our second EP (The Distance is the Same). We tossed around a few versions of that, and somehow we became Above the Moon. Ha!

What is your favorite memory as a band?
Last summer, we had the awesome opportunity to play Maplewoodstock! It was an incredible experience. Not only was it the biggest crowd any of us have played in front of (a couple thousand people), but with Maplewood being Shawn’s hometown, it was just straight up cool to play where he grew up. It’s something none of us will forget.

What are your goals for the future as a band?
One general goal we have is to see how long we can do this and how far we can get while staying a DIY operation. We’re not necessarily looking to hit the road and become famous; we’ve got families and jobs that we love, but this is a serious passion we all put a lot of time and heart into, and it’s been fun to see what we’ve been able to accomplish.

The main goal is to just keep going. We’ve also talked about the possibility of releasing an LP down the line, so that could be something we work toward in the future.

What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
For the rest of 2018 we’d like to focus on playing out in cities and at venues we aren’t as familiar with. We got a taste of the Philly scene last year, and it is so much fun and really inviting — very different from what we’ve experienced at home, so we for sure want to make more trips down that way. We’d also like to break into the Brooklyn scene and see what it’s like.

Where can readers find your music?
All of our releases are available on all digital platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc.). You can pick up physical CDs at any of our live shows, and for updates on new music, shows and more readers can check out our official website (abovethemoonmusic.com), our Facebook page (facebook.com/abovethemoonband) or our Instagram (instagram.com/abovethemoonmusic).

Stars & Scars Album Review

Forming just under two years ago, Above The Moon are a New Jersey alternative/indie act consisting of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Kate Griffin, lead guitarist Shawn Murphy, bass guitarist Chris Mangin and percussionist John Gramuglia. On their official website, they describe their music as having “lyrics with heart and riffs that bite,” which paints a fun and intriguing image of what this band has in store for listeners.

The band goes on to describe their songs as setting a mood to both “compel you to roll the windows down and blast it” and “sit in a dark room and get lost in your own head.” From listening to what they offer in their third EP, Patterns You Create, I can say confidently that their music gives a dual vibe of extroversion and introversion – going out and living life to the fullest with the people you love, or staying in and putting your headphones on to enjoy a personal gig all visualised in your head.

Blending together elements of indie and pop, Above The Moon grant us five tracks that will make you dance, mosh, sing along, and scream out in excitement.

The first track on the EP, “The Grey,” is what I would expect from a band with a musical style described as indie and pop combined; but at the same time, it’s not a tired, standard track. With high energy and an exciting chemistry between the lead guitar and drums throughout, “The Grey” is the ideal track to kick off the EP and introduce new listeners to these up-and-coming musicians and their passionate work. This song hooked me in, mostly due to its roots in what can be considered a “classic” punk sound – the kind of punk you would hear from acts throughout the 2000s, which many of us grew up admiring and still fall in love with time and time again – a sound that shines bright and highlights all the talent Above The Moon have to offer us. There is special interest for the vocal talents of Kate Griffin, who demonstrates a strong, powerful drive through the music, which is how you know there is heart and soul in a song.

The following track is the beautifully titled “San Junipero,” and upon giving it multiple plays, I got addicted to the sound and rhythm. The title is greatly fitting, as it creates the image of a summer night in paradise where two love interests meet. It is a near obvious musical tale based around the Netflix original series Black Mirror episode of the same title (the idea further supported by the fact that San Junipero is a fictional city, created for the sake of the story in the episode). Without spoiling it for those who have the interest in viewing the show and have not gotten around to it yet, Black Mirror’s “San Junipero” is a sweetly detailed love story between two young people, meeting in a heaven-like city where twists and turns ensue, and we are all left with a smile on our faces.

This track exchanges Black Mirror’s 1980s aesthetics of “San Junipero” for a more modern feel fitting to the band’s alternative style; it reminds me of Paramore‘s catalog from the late 2000s to early 2010s. I would pin it in an area between Brand New Eyes and the band’s self-titled album. This aesthetic works well and even without the knowledge of the Netflix original show, the images of love, peace, and living young and carefree forever evidently flash through the mind as the song plays.

Musically, the track has many catchy and clever features throughout. The alternative inspiration comes through with every musician in the foursome shining in such a positive light. Griffin’s vocals put together with some elegant yet empowering harmonising creates an idyllic background, and it gives me an urge to sneak out on a warm July night and have fun with friends and friendly strangers without worrying about the next morning. I shall give a special mention to lead guitarist Shawn Murphy for his fascinating guitar solo partway through the track – the true mark of a punk song. With greatly weighted guitars and a perfect vocal balance between soft and personal, and loud and soulful, I never want this song to end.

“San Junipero,” compared to the EP introduction of “The Grey,” shows off how well-rounded Above The Moon can be by hitting closer to the pop side of the spectrum, rather than the metal side.  I am more than prepared to add this track to my summer playlist for the year – and it is here just in time! If you need one song to convince you that this band are the next big thing to take over the world of music, without any hesitation, I suggest “San Junipero.” It will not disappoint!

Lastly, fittingly, I shall share my thoughts on the EP’s closing track, “Never Been Enough.” Courtesy of drummer John Gramuglia, the rhythm guides the song alongside the lead guitar – a pairing that shows off a strong compatibility between musicians. This chemistry is what keeps a band going, both when playing and recording together, and personally, as it keeps relations intact and healthy in and outside of music.

In five energy-driven tracks, this American four-piece band are guaranteeing themselves a promising and thrilling future in the music industry. They may still be touring around playing clubs and an occasional festival, but I have a feeling it won’t be long until their star begins to rise higher and higher. Above the Moon will stand out for their own take on their artistic, inspirational blend of musical styles. Their tracks are fresh and full of life, and that is a testament to what music means to these four talented people and how they are not planning to stop anytime soon – and so they shouldn’t!

The only way is up for this band. As a music lover residing in the United Kingdom, discovering fresh talent from across the water gets me thrilled because I add some new tunes to my regular mixes. The anticipation begins to build, leaving me eager for when the buzz grows and an act begins to tour outside of the United States.

I promise that even if it takes months or years, I will do whatever it takes to see this band performing at their first ever London show. And I know that will happen; with talent like this, there is no doubt that Above The Moon will take over and win the world.

If you are interested in giving the band a listen, you can stream Patterns You Create and their previous releases on iTunes and Spotify now. They are also playing a short string of shows around New York and New Jersey, and you can check the dates on their official website and go give them the support they deserve.