Interview & Review: The Vinyls

joe zorzi makes his b&b debut, profiling and interviewing New Jersey rockers The Vinyls …

The Vinyls
Extended Play EP
Rating: 8.5/10

It’s hard to find music that’s at least somewhat unique these days. Most bands are too busy copying All Time Low with the assumption that people actually want to hear 5,000 bands remake the same exact songs in different keys. But every now and then, a certain band makes me bite my tongue and take a step back. The Vinyls are one of those bands. They haven’t redefined the alternative rock genre, but they have added their own twists that keep the music exciting — and this is a band that only formed this past August. In fact, their Extended Play CD release party was their first actual show.

The Vinyls released Extended Play on November 15, only three months after forming. For such a young band, they have been able to hone their skills and create something extremely catchy. The EP begins with “American Dream,” a powerful pop-rock song that lets the listener know exactly what their in for. The songs flow nicely, especially with the instrumental ending of “Loner” bleeding into the heavy hitting “Drifter.” The Vinyls are able to make good use of synths to create an epic sound without sounding too cliché. Their Jersey roots are also evident in their songs, with Gaslight Anthem-esque guitar riffs. Drew Duddy is a great singer, who’s voice shares a resemblance to William Beckett of The Academy Is…

With all of these rock and pop elements combined, The Vinyls are able to create a fresh sound. It’s still nothing too out of the ordinary, but everything is done tastefully and the music doesn’t sound forced. The lyrics are probably the main thing the band could work on. At points, they seem a little too vague and generic (i.e., “I threw away my good name on another bad place that I don’t need anymore/It got so bad, it got so bad that I can barely walk out the door” from “My Good Name”), but they still have a good sing-a-long aspect to them.

In a world of generic pop-punk clones, The Vinyls are able to keep things honest. They’re able to put there own spin on things while still keeping their songs catchy and fun. It’s hard to ask for much more out of a first EP. If The Vinyls keep it up, they’ll inevitably be doing very big things.

Zach West (guitar) was kind enough to take some time and speak with B&B about the band’s history and the future of the Central Jersey music scene.

B&B: So, how did the Vinyls form?

Zach West: The Vinyls formed out of the idea of trying something new. This past summer, Drew Duddy and Dave Ryan were looking to start a new project and found Rick while watching him play for a friend’s band at The Court Tavern in New Brunswick, N.J., one night. If the whole same last name thing didn’t give it away, Dan Szpakowski and Rick Szpakowski are brothers, so that worked out pretty well. And I came into the mix from the simple fact that I’m Rick’s hairstylist and I knew the other guys from their previous projects. The whole thing sounds kinda funny, we know, but it’s honestly how it worked out, and it really worked out for the best.

B&B: You guys only came together as a band this past August. But all the members have been involved in the Central Jersey music scene for quite some time now. How did coming from bands with styles as different as Bears & Bright Lights, Throwing Color, and Racing Kites effect your guys writing? Coming together, did you have a central idea of what you wanted to sound like as a band?

ZW: At first, we had no idea. We wrote a lot of songs in a lot of different styles until we really felt comfortable and hit, what we felt, was our niche. The over all idea was just to do something different than any of us have ever tried.

B&B: The local scene has been pretty dead for the past few years. Staple venues were shut down and many kids stopped regularly attending shows. But, with bands like Bright & Early, you guys, and Someday Never making an impact, there seems to be some hope. Do you think the local scene really has a chance to flourish again, or are those days over? With the way the music business is today, does having an impact on the local scene even affect a bands success anymore?

ZW: Yes, we definitely think so. We feel like gaining a local following is still huge to us as a band. To really start a “movement” as a band, you need to create a loyal community around you and rebuild everything from the ground up.

B&B: You guys recently released your first EP. How has the reception been so far?

ZW: We’ve gotten a lot of really positive feedback from the EP. Even our families and friends have been overly supportive with the new project. We couldn’t be happier. There’s been a whole new group of people who’ve reached out to us with the release of our record. It’s a crazy and totally uplifting thing. We’re so happy.

JZ: Do you guys have any upcoming shows or tours planned?

ZW: As of this moment, we have a really amazing show booked for January 14 at The Saint in Asbury Park, N.J., with Athletics [Deep Elm Records)], Tiger Riot, and Gates. We’re beyond excited for this one. We’re currently in the process of booking a lot more dates for the new year. No tours lined up yet, though.

B&B: Anything else you’d like people out there to know?

ZW: We just want people to know that every ounce of ourselves goes directly into our music. We try to keep everything honest and heartfelt. I really hope people can read that in our music. If you’ve never heard us before, I’d like to recommend checking out our Purevolume page (http://www.purevolume.com/thevinyls), if you like what you hear, you can purchase our record on iTunes/Rhapsody/AmazonMP3, or order a hardcopy at http://www.thevinyls.bigcartel.com.

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