Rich Howells

YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO: New Jersey avant-pop rock band Will Wood and the Tapeworms

YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO: New Jersey avant-pop rock band Will Wood and the Tapeworms
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Will Wood and the Tapeworms

City: Rockaway, New Jersey

Genre(s): Avant-pop, experimental rock, gypsy rock, anti-folk, alternative rock

Years active: 2015-present

Sounds like: Will Wood and the Tapeworms is a constant balancing act between catchy pop and insane outbursts of artistic emotion, presented in a strange cabaret of sights and sounds that combine piano balladry with punk rock, jazz, gypsy, big band, and Latin influences in a mad science experiment that is bound to blow up… but you refuse to duck and cover, instead opting to dance into oblivion.

If Billy Joel and Tom Waits took some LSD and tripped out with Frank Zappa and Mr. Bungle, they may eventually produce something that starts to sound like this, but it’s best to stop dropping names and start listening to a group that’s doing it their own way on their own terms because there’s depth underneath the bombastic Vaudevillian hippy presentation, revealing layers of fun and meaning upon each repeat listen.

Building a DIY fanbase and catching the eyes and ears of major publications and tastemakers, they could blow up in this post-Lady Gaga musical landscape where listeners’ tastes vary as often as their randomized playlists and people want a real show, not a prerecorded bore.

While best experienced live, their new album, “The Real,” recorded at sold-out shows last year, is a great place to start on a musical journey guided by your third eye.

For fans of: Gogol Bordello, The Dresden Dolls, Man Man, Hank & Cupcakes, Mr. Bungle, Foxy Shazam, The Dillinger Escape Plan, S.T.A.R.W.O.O.D., and Felix Sarco

Number of albums/EPs released: Three (full-length albums “Everything Is a Lot” in 2015, “Self​-​ish” in 2016, and “The Real” in 2018)

Latest release: “The Real,” released Feb. 14, 2018

Fun fact: This lively band not only performs in colorful makeup, face paint, and outfits, but trapeze artists and dancers have also joined them on stage during special gigs.

Online: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and YouTube

Upcoming shows:

March 14: Levels Bar & Grill (503 Linden St., Scranton) with Static in the Attic, The Cryptid, and Harambe, 7 p.m.

April 7: Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market After Party at Championship Bar (931 Chambers St., Trenton, NJ) with The World/Inferno Friendship Society and Molly Rhythm, 7 p.m.

April 19: Revolution Bar & Music Hall (140 Merrick Rd., Amityville, NY) with Carrie and The Cats, Ernie & The Band, Dino Skatepark, and The Dirty Shovels, 7 p.m.

April 21: Gold Sounds (44 Wilson Ave., Brooklyn, NY), 6 p.m.

May 25: “Everything Is a Lot” Three-Year Anniversary Performance at Backroom Studios (350 Route 46 East, Rockaway, NJ), 7 p.m.

See NEPA Scene’s photos of Will Wood and the Tapeworms playing at Trophy Scars’ 15th anniversary show last year here.

You Should Be Listening To highlights noteworthy local bands and solo musicians from Northeastern Pennsylvania and surrounding areas that deserve to be on your radar, handpicked by NEPA Scene’s editor. Look for it every Monday and support local music every day.