NEPA MUSIC NOTES: The Sorters, Terry Childers, Patrick McGlynn, No Take Backs, Joe Craig, and more
It’s been a while for NEPA Music Notes, but that’s not to say that there hasn’t been local music to talk about – there’s often too much to cover, so I fell behind on writing this column since I’m the only editor and full-time writer for NEPA Scene. Instead, I’ve been writing larger feature pieces on bands and solo musicians, presenting song and video premieres, hosting podcast interviews, photographing or live streaming concerts, etc., and in 2020, just when I thought I might be able to bring this back, COVID-19 surprisingly kept me as busy as ever.
Arts and entertainment, along with the venues that host everything, were profoundly affected by the pandemic, so that alone became an ongoing story with many facets that will continue into 2021. From drive-in shows to live streams with Ionic Development, there was a lot more to cover last year than anticipated, and artists stuck at home suddenly found the time and creative ways to produce even more work worth talking about.
The purpose of NEPA Music Notes is to briefly highlight new and noteworthy songs, albums, and shows in between everything else we cover since there’s never enough time to feature it all, and now that winter is here (and the coronavirus is still hanging around), things have slowed down just enough that I can start this column fresh again in 2021. This is not a complete list of every bit of music coming out of Northeastern Pennsylvania at the moment, but it’s a start as I dive back into my notes.
🎶🎶 National music magazine Alternative Press recently published an article titled “10 unsigned emo bands to keep an eye on in 2021,” and two of those artists are from NEPA – The Maguas from Scranton and Sleeplore from Clarks Summit. Both received coverage from NEPA Scene in November and December, respectively, so it looks like we just may know what we’re talking about. Read it here first before the rest of the country catches on!
🎶🎶 At the tail end of 2020, Wilkes-Barre singer/songwriter Terry Childers showed off two sides of his often experimental style. Under his own name, he shared a personal acoustic song called “Explain It to Me” that echoes with sadness and frustration just a few days after releasing the new wavy track “Hello, I Must Be Going” under his electronic alter ego Trashbot, calling it “new food for hungry ghosts.” Bob your head along to the trippy lyric video:
🎶🎶 Moosic singer/songwriter Joe Craig, a regular at the NEPA Scene Rising Talent open mic (when we could still host those safely), released a new album of rock and love songs called “Feeling of the Night” on Jan. 1. Since 1984, Craig has been playing in local bands and producing his own solo albums influenced by classic hard rock, alternative rock, pop, and new wave from the ’80s and ’90s, so check out his latest work on all major streaming platforms:
🎶🎶 Keith Boone, who plays in Avoca indie/alternative rock band The Cryptid and Beatles tribute group The Taxmen, kicked off the new year with his first solo single, “Nectarine,” on Jan. 1. Chill out with this dreamy tune as he begins his own musical journey:
🎶🎶 John Roginski, the owner of Papa Bear’s Studio in Duryea who sometimes goes by “Not” John, has a new country song called “Americana” that, within days of its release, became more timely than expected due to the deadly riot at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I can’t believe how appropriate my new song is for what is going on the world today,” he said. “I hope everyone in Washington gets the chance to hear it.”
🎶🎶 Formally known as BrighterDays, Montrose pop punk band No Take Backs debuted in 2020 with three easycore singles, and now they’re easing into 2021 with another new track, “Make Amends,” via Punkstyria Records, accompanied by a lyric video on Jan. 2:
🎶🎶 Towanda acoustic Americana band The Sorters may be new to the music scene, but they were already nominated for Song of the Year in the 2020 Steamtown Music Awards and made quite an impression with their live performance at the award ceremony. On Jan. 5, they kicked off this year with a breezy new single, “Daytime Fools Parade,” and lyric video that is just the beginning for these up-and-comers:
🎶🎶 Often weaving political and social messages into his music, Scranton indie folk singer/songwriter Patrick McGlynn is more relevant than ever with “Carnival Man,” an acoustic single that mocks the political circus of the last few years. The track’s meaning should be clear to most listeners, but coming just one day after the storming of the Capitol, he clarified on Jan. 7 that “this song was written weeks before the riots at the Capitol and is in no way sympathetic to those people.”