Makin Waves’ Record of the Week is New Brunswick-based Mr. Payday’s full-length debut, “Welcome to the Modern World.” The band’s third and best release will be celebrated Aug. 26 at Pino’s in Highland Park, followed by appearances on Sept. 9 at ROCK New Brunswick, Sept. 15 back at Pino’s, Sept. 20 at Bowery Electric in New York, and Sept. 24 at Raritan River Festival on the New Brunswick waterfront.
Doug “Sluggo” Vizthum has made impressive records with Pleased Youth and Bad Karma, two of New Brunswick’s greatest bands, but his third outing with Mr. Payday may be his best. The band’s full-length debut, Welcome to the Modern World, is a 10-song collection, half of which is good, the other half is among the best local music released this year. After two spotty EPs, it’s great to hear that Mr. Payday have grown into themselves and developed a more cohesive sound and style with the strongest songwriting Vizthum has done since Bad Karma’s debut LP in the early ’90s.
The self-released Welcome to the Modern World opens with the inviting, punk-fueled party anthem “Club Test,” a brief sonic blast that makes for a hearty welcoming. “Now and Forever,” a rare punk love song, follows with a tough melody that keeps the sentimental lyric from seeming sappy.
The lyrical “Broken Wing” is downright beautiful as it recalls Bob Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” for the Court Tavern set. “Set to Automatic” is a Devo-ish rant about how technology is robbing society’s collective soul.
The single, “Written in Stone,” and the title track feature nice vocal turns by keyboardist Caroline Feinman, whose piano lulls the latter to a pause as it skewers Trump, only to literally blow up like our president seems to want to do to the world. “Welcome to the Modern World” is one of my favorite tracks, along with the standout Moot the Hooplesque “Sun Shine Down”; “End of the Day,” a Stooges-like sneering strut glazed with Cheap Trick-ish power pop; and “Nazi Beer,” a tongue-in-cheek stab at wasteful hate that sounds like a cross between the rootsy punk rock of Meat Puppets and the satiric slash ‘n’ stomp of The Minutemen.
The album also features the southern-style punk of “Double Barrel,” an “I Don’t Like Mondays” kind of rant that contemplates violence as a solution to what ails the modern world.
Mr. Payday will celebrate the release on Aug. 26 at Pino’s in Highland Park with Sux, featuring members of Jersey punk greats Adrenaline O.D.; Little Dickman recording act Dentist, and the local super group Atom Driver, who also will celebrate the release of their new EP, In the West.
Mr. Payday will return Sept. 15 to Pino’s to play with Crescent Moon and Naughty Clouds. That gig will be sandwiched by the Hub City Sounds: ROCK New Brunswick Warmup Party on Sept. 9 at Volume IV in New Brunswick with Spowder, Glazer and Schwervon! and the Raritan River Festival on Sept. 24 in Boyd Park.
Mr. Payday also will play Sept. 20 at Bowery Electric in New York.
Bob Makin is the reporter for MyCentralJersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor and still a contributor to The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like Makin Waves at facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.