Discover new music at the weekend festival in Jersey City | Test
Jersey City’s Outlander Gallery will soon move from its cozy storefront in McGinley Square to a more ambitious space in a different neighborhood, but not before hosting New Music Explorer Weekend, a three-day celebration of underground sounds that will run from the 20 to May 22 at 113 Avenue Monticello
Organized by gallery owner Charley Cano, the New Music Explorer Weekend promises more than a dozen acts ranging from traditional blues and indie rock to the furthest fringes of experimental, ambient and avant-garde music. Tickets are priced at $11.11 per day or $20.22 for the entire weekend.
“It wasn’t even my idea originally, it started with a young guy named Joey Sforza, a friend from Moore’s Tavern on Monticello Avenue,” Cano said. “Most of the time, I had the idea that it would be great to organize an experimental music festival and make it a fundraiser for Moore’s Tavern. But it turned out that they didn’t need any help at all. They made the call that they were in trouble and the community provided the money as soon as they heard about it. So it’s six months later and now I’m the one in trouble. …I can’t even tell you what it was like trying to keep the gallery open during the pandemic.
Cano returns to the idea of an experimental music festival.
“It tormented my head that this was something that needed to be done,” he said. “Nobody wants to put these artists on a bill.”
The New Music Explorer Weekend meets both of these needs. The festival will feature music struggling to be heard while raising funds for the Outlander Gallery move.
“I have fantastic training and we are always adding new people every day,” Cano said. “I’m excited about the headliners, but I’m equally excited about the no-names, because we have some great people that no one has ever heard of.”
Friday’s headliner, The Wedding Funeral, has a long history in McGinley Square. Alternative blues guitarist Darren Deicide booked acoustic shows at the McGinley Square Lounge for several years, and with his partner, choir-trained singer Ethyl Lynn Oxide, performed throughout the area for years.
Friday’s lineup, which runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., also includes Hoboken’s Maxwell Feinstein, alt-pop girl duo Last Minet, self-proclaimed “sad song singer” Los Sientos, and Moon Watcher, the ambient/ Jersey noise. City’s Drew Sheldon.
Saturday’s show runs from 3-10 p.m. headlined by SAEPIENA (“pounding percussion and modern guitar virtuoso”), Umbrian singer-songwriter Larthia, electronic artist Scottie Rain, Clemens Bretscher, From Empyrean, Lazy Tiger and headlining Jim Joustra Band, a Jersey City-based jazz combo.
Sunday matinee, which runs from 1-6 p.m., features the improvisational-ambient-experimental sounds of Jersey City’s Matt Hurley, who performs and records as Flux in a Constant State. Also on the bill: Bedroom-pop by Jersey City’s Matt Mirliani, and the Jarrett Walser Pack, featuring the jazz, blues, rock and R&B styles of drummer Jarrett Walser.
Advance tickets for New Music Explorer Weekend are available at theaugustagency.biz/outlander-gallery.
Cano raised eyebrows and drew a backlash from the community last month when he announced that his small but well-respected gallery at 113 Monticello Ave. would move to 862 Newark Ave., a much larger space across from the sprawling MANA Contemporary complex. In an interview with the Jersey City Times, Cano blamed rampant crime, drugs and disorderly behavior in his current neighborhood for necessitating the move, which is scheduled for June 1.
Cano intends to continue outreach to the local music community with bi-monthly shows at the JSQ Lounge in Journal Square.
“It will be every second and fourth Saturday,” he explained. “We have already started and it was great. Those folks at JSQ Lounge are really nice, so we’re bringing original rock music to Journal Square.
The Azures (“a band on a mission to redefine music”) and Fixations perform on Saturday, May 28, with Korean-American singer/songwriter Nolah Young, Dignitary and Rainy Days on June 11. JSQ Lounge is located at 50 Journal Square and entry to the storefronts is free.
UNITED AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
When Zoe Ekonomidis of The Components of Jersey City shared a personal story of domestic abuse with Neil Sabatino of Mint 400 Records, he was devastated.
“It was one of the most heartbreaking phone calls I have ever received,” Sabatino said.
Immediately, the two began discussing how to raise awareness and help others who were in the same situation. The result: “Zoe’s Project,” a compilation of over 30 tracks from the label’s roster, with 100% of Bandcamp’s proceeds going to Janie’s Fund, a philanthropic initiative that brings hope and healing to girls who have experienced the trauma of abuse and neglect.
Participating artists include The Components, aBird, The Clydes, The Milwaukees, Yawn Mower, Tom Barrett, Reese Van Riper, and Sabatino’s Band Fairmont, among others.
The compilation will be available to stream or download for just $5 starting Friday, May 20; pre-orders are now available on mint400records.bandcamp.com.