Sailor Boyfriend brought energy, enthusiasm and great, eclectic sounds to Guitar Bar J.C. in Jersey City on March 1. As part of GBJC’s concert series, owner James Mastro opened his space for a unique new band that represents the next generation of local artists.
The Jersey City duo — producer-songwriter Andy Waldron on synthesizer and vocals, and Alex Mercuri on guitar and vocals — enraptured the crowd with its songs, including “Exposure,” from their EP of the same name (see video below).
The setlist was filled with inspiring unreleased songs that will appear on Shapes & Colors! — the band’s second album, to be released on April 5. The title track is currently available here. It’s an interesting song, with a techno beat and punky vocals, and makes you move, which made typing this piece difficult. I love the confident voice on this track, carried by a strong beat.
The duo released their first album, True Romantics, in 2017 and two EPS in 2018. I’ve seen both musicians in their non-musical capacities working at Hoboken’s favorite bookstore, Little City Books (Waldron) and Hoboken’s Guitar Bar (Mercuri), so it was a treat to see them create dramatic sounds in this space.
Mercuri described the band’s music as “new wave, electronic, rock and art pop.”
“We have been working on Shapes & Colors! for a while and it has gone through different stages,” he said. “It’s a further extension of ideas from previous albums — electronic dance and punk. Our voice has solidified though we still have lots of genre-bending, but there’s a unified theme and sounds. It’s a cohesive album.”
He says the band now strongly identifies as new wave, but that “it’s a catchall phrase. Lots of our sounds are influenced by ’70s sound. It is a name we use for lack of a better term.”
He adds that the album is meant to be heard in its entirety. “The general theme of the album is alienation in an increasingly techno-driven world … we are trying to make sense of a chaotic world and sometimes we give in to the chaos. News coverage, the way art is consumed and distributed — art and politics — sometimes it’s better and sometimes worse. We explore some of these issues on the album without being heavy-handed.”
Mercuri also plays bass and sings in the Jersey City/Hoboken band Long Neck, led by Lily Mastrodimos, which will perform on March 23 at Monty Hall in Jersey City as part of WFMU’s program, “Women’s History Month: Musicians Who Rocked the ’80s Hoboken Sound.” For more on that show, which also features Brenda Sauter & Friends, Wygalator and Karyn Kuhl, visit montyhall.ticketfly.com.
Rose Image opened the show, engaging the crowd with hip-hop tunes, including a beautiful new song titled “Far.”