August 22, 2019 | 89° F

Looking for new music? Local bands worth listening to


It’s no secret that many famous singers and musicians are from New Jersey (Whitney Houston? Frank Sinatra? Bruce Springsteen? We could go on), and Rutgers is one of the most diverse universities in the nation, so naturally, there’s no shortage of great talent on campus. In fact, New Brunswick is home to an incredible underground music scene. If you’re tired of your usual Spotify playlist and are interested in finding new voices and sounds, show some of these Banks-based artists and bands some love, all of whom have music available for streaming. 

Cook Thugless

Best known for its song “Sweet Coffee,” psychedelic rap band Cook Thugless always puts on a great show. The unique part about this band is that each of the members contributes something different to the band's sound — bass, trombone, saxophone or drums — you name it. Its 2017 album “Money,” featuring its latest song “Thankful,” along with older projects, are all available on major streaming sites. If you’re looking for a sweet escape from reality, Cook Thugless will be music to your ears. 


Based out of Old Bridge, NJ, up-and-coming indie pop-rock trio Pollyanna has regularly been performing at underground shows in New Jersey and is looking to make its mark in New Brunswick. “We’re different because we’re not trying to sound like any specific band or artist and we don’t limit ourselves to genre,” said vocalist and guitarist Jill Beckett. “It’s sometimes hard to describe what bands we are influenced by because we simply just create music from our hearts.” As of now, the band has one single that was released in November 2017 called “Between You and I,” and will also be releasing a new single in May and an EP in the summer, so keep on the lookout for new music if you like what you hear.

Rest Ashore

Although now based in Hoboken, math rock quartet Rest Ashore got its start in New Brunswick and regularly perform at shows on the Banks. The band recently released its sophomore LP “Pornoviolence,” and despite the graphic title, the album is an illustration of the band’s lyrical and musical talent. True to the math rock genre, the album features plenty of key changes and unexpected odd meter, and is interesting enough to stream on repeat. If you’re already a fan of the band's SoundCloud, follow it on Facebook for show dates, as it frequently performs in the New Brunswick and tri-state areas. 


Well known and loved within the New Brunswick music scene, ManDancing is a band that delivers its vocals straight from the heart. The band's newly released, emotion-filled debut album “Everyone Else” ranges from soft acoustic to high energy and is perfect for one of those calm and silent winter nights. Not a band that confines to one specific genre, ManDancing makes music for those with diverse and eclectic palettes. 


Four-man indie rock band Flycatcher is a true embodiment of New Brunswick as three of the four members attend Rutgers and are basement show regulars. If you are interested in heavier rhythms paired with lighter melodies, check out the band's new album “Skiptown,” and keep an eye out for it at the next basement show off campus.

The best way to get big is to start off small, and these artists are definitely going places. If you are looking for a fun outing with great live music, check out a local basement show in New Brunswick. Not only will you likely see one of these bands perform while you’re there, but basement shows are also quickly becoming the hottest parties on campus.

Elizabeth Leoce

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