Makin Waves: Yawn Mower, Nicole Atkins, Lunch Ladies, Bouncing Souls, more

by BOB MAKIN will begin running Bob Makin’s Makin Waves column this week.

The debut of Makin Waves features a review and report on the Asbury Park two-piece Yawn Mower, plus briefs about Nicole Atkins, Lunch Ladies, Bouncing Souls, Randy Now’s Mancave, coLAB Arts and more.


Do you know who’s asleep out in Foona Lagoona?
Two very fine Foona Lagoona baboona.
And their names, oddly enough, are Biff and Chick.
And they make music that’s rather sick
In Yawn Mower, a little ensemble that fools the ear
Into thinking that maybe, just maybe, there’s more here.
Yes, despite Yawn Mower being deceptively small,
They make a really big sound that’s a very big ball.

And a ball is sure to be had at on March 11 when the rockin’ two-piece celebrate the release of their five-song EP, What’s All This New Piss?, at The Saint, while Little Dickman Records presents a Burger Revolution benefit for Planned Parenthood also featuring Pamela Flores, Stained Glass, Lyons, and Gods.

The gnarly fuzz of What’s All This New Piss?, a follow-up to last year’s fantastic five-song “Get to the Boat,” kicks off with the snotty snarl of “Preacher Says So,” another indie-sounding nugget from Yawn Mower that simmers on the surface with seemingly harmless-sounding fun. But it boils beneath with deeper meaning, this time about the environment.

The club-crawling lament of “Here We Go Again,” featuring a chunky, crunchy staccato that will get the Saint crowd moving, is followed by “Paddle Out,” a psychedelic wash of frustration bolstered brightly by a sweet solo by former River City Extension trumpeter Dan Melius. Halfway through this song, I was thinking how great a horn part would be, and BAM, there it was. I guess great minds think alike, no matter how warped.

Speaking of River City Extension, whose former members are friends with drummer Biff Swenson and vocalist-guitarist Mike Chick, their engineer, Pat Noon of Eight Sixteen Studios in Bayville, helmed What’s All this New Piss? Noon is now working on the forthcoming record by Brick + Mortar, who also are connected to River City Extension, as are Yawn Mower’s pals in GayGuy/StraightGuy. What a two-piece feast the three of them would make, but I digress.

Mastered by Alan Douches (Cage the Elephant, Brand New), What’s All This New Piss? closes with the standout “When Do We Get To Cash in?,” an apocalyptic indie-rock take on “The House That Jack Built,” and the high-octane fun of “Shed Is Old,” a salute to youth who are fixing what is old but still worth keeping.


On that note, I am grateful for Yawn Mower. I never was a big fan of two-pieces because I always thought something was missing. But along with GG/SG, Yawn Mower have inspired a new appreciation for two reasons: their sound and stage presence are full, and they’re as much fun as they are thought-provoking. The subtle, less-is-more approach makes Yawn Mower quite catching, like a cough. And it takes just one of their songs to set listeners off.

You can see and hear what I mean on March 11, as well as April 20 at The Saint, when they open for the Austin, Texas-based two-piece Primal Static, plus March 31 at 10th Street Live in Kenilworth, and April 21 at the Makin Waves Rock Circus at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen. Subtitled “The 2, 3, 4, 5 Showcase,” the second installment of the Rock Circus also will feature the surf-rock trio Black Flamingos, the power-pop quartet The Paper Jets, and the roadhouse chic five-piece Lowlight, while burlesque dancer Vivi Noir and the harlequin aerial troupe Vertical Fixation entertain in between sets. For more about the Rock Circus, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Yawn Mower will follow What’s All this New Piss? in the spring with another single of covers, this time Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” and Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” The release will be the third entry in a series of cover projects that include a Christmas EP and last year’s similar take on The Beach Boys’ classic “Little Honda” and Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life.” The two-piece are in the studio right now remixing “Boat” and “Piss” tracks that will have local rappers doing verses on them for a summer release.

For more about Yawn Mower visit the band’s Facebook page.



Asbury Park-based singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins has signed with the Florence/Muscle Shoals, Ala.-based Single Lock Records. Atkins is preparing her much-anticipated label debut, Goodnight Rhonda Lee, recorded with Fort Worth, Texas’ Nile City Sound, aka producers Austin Jenkins, Josh Block, and Chris Vivion (Leon Bridges). Additional mixing was provided by Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes). Atkins’ fourth studio recording and first full-length release in nearly three years will arrive later this year.

Founded in 2013, Single Lock shot to international notoriety with releases from St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Dylan LeBlanc, Donnie Fritts and label co-founder John Paul White.

“Nicole’s reputation speaks for itself, but we believe this record sets the stage for even bigger things in an already remarkable career,” said Single Lock label manager Reed Watson in a news release. “Nicole is a talented artist who is just finding her voice, and we are excited about her future. The fact that a New Jersey girl fits so well in our Muscle Shoals home reminds us that the world is a lot bigger than our little corner. We’re proud to have her on board at Single Lock Records.”

Goodnight Rhonda Lee is a vintage-sounding soul album inspired by legendary artists such as Dusty Springfield, Candi Staton, Roy Orbison and Janis Joplin. A single, “A Little Crazy,” was released in November on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp. Co-written with Chris Isaak, the track was a highlight of Oscar-winner Cameron Crowe’s 2016 Showtime series, ”Roadies.”

After a tour of Texas during South by Southwest next week, Atkins and her band will perform next month in Brooklyn before embarking on a May tour with Old 97’s that will bring them to Union Transfer in Philadelphia (May 2), The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park (May 3), Irving Plaza in New York (May 6). Atkins and her band also will play Mountain Jam on June 17 on Hunter Mountain in New York’s Catskills.

Visit for updates.



Good Eye Records’ second release, Down on the Sunset Strip, the debut of the young Central Jersey alt-rock outfit Lunch Ladies, will drop March 10 with a celebration also featuring performances by Spowder, Professor Caveman, Whiner and Sunflower at New Brunswick’s The J House. Admission is $5.

The Bouncing Souls will be touring with Rancid and Dropkick Murphys.

The beloved New Jersey punk band Bouncing Souls will tour the East Coast with Rancid, Dropkick Murphys and Jake Burns this summer. The Boston to Berkeley Tour will bring them to Philadelphia (Aug. 3), Asbury Park (Aug. 4), Brooklyn (Aug. 6). and other places from Boston to Chicago.

Featuring a joint encore between Rancid and Dropkick Murphys, the tour then will head west with punk legend Kevin Seconds of the hardcore band 7Seconds and the pioneering ska-punk act The Selector as the openers.

A free, stacked show on March 11 at Pino’s in Highland Park will band together three of New Brunswick’s finest headliners: Mr. Payday, featuring Sluggo of Bad Karma and Pleased Youth; Coach ’N Commando, featuring Matt Witte and John Swayne of New Blood Revival, and the scorchin’ punkabilly unit The Turnbucklers. Opening for them will be Monroe-based singer-songwriter Lance Scott Greene. Find out more on Facebook.

A hot weekend of jam ‘n’ groove bands will be at Roxy & Dukes in Dunellen. New Road, the Bryan Hansen Band and Albert Savage, formerly Mike Frank & Friends, are coming in on March 11, followed by a sweet show on March 12 with Anthony Krizan & the Backwoods Swampers and Citizens Band Radio. Krizan is playing behind his long-awaited solo debut CD, Dust & Bone. CB Radio’s latest is American Highway. Opening will be Flemington singer-songwriter Mike Jamieson. For ticket info and times of both shows, visit

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: City Gardens in Trenton is my all-time favorite concert venue. And the man who made it so great, Randy Now, aka Randy Ellis, will celebrate the fifth anniversary of his Mancave, a record store and retro curio shop in Bordentown, on March 12. Highlights to the event from noon to 4 p.m. will be free food and live music. Visit

The New Brunswick-based arts incubator coLAB Arts and the environmental group the Lower Raritan Watershed Partnership are looking for a resident artist whose position will be funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. They’re seeking a trained, experienced, not discipline-specific artist for a nine-month residency. A passion for community engagement and creating local impact are required. The position offers 20 hours per week for $300. The candidate will be responsible for coordinating and participating in existing creative engagement projects and developing new ones, Send a resume, references, portfolio, artist statement, and cover letter to coLAB Producing Director Dan Swern at For more specifics, including applicant requirements, visit

The Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey will host the sixth annual Paint the Pony Purple Benefit Concert on March 12 at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The family-friendly event will raise necessary funds to continue the agency’s programs and services that spread knowledge and awareness of epilepsy and improve the quality of life of those living with the condition in New Jersey. The event will welcome hundreds of families, supporters and music lovers to enjoy performances by Gaslight, Stroke of Luck, School of Rock All Star Band, and Slapjack. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and the show will continue through 5 p.m.

Bob Makin is the reporter for and former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly. Contact him at


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