One band from Toms River, NJ, is full of surprises.
River City Extension, listed as Folk / Lyrical / Thrash/Chamber-Punk, is an 8-piece band with multiple vocalists and a lot to say. Joe Michelini, Mike Costaney, Dan Melius, Nick Cucci, James Ramirez, Sam Tacon, Patrick O’Brien, and Jenn Fantaccione have been playing together since August of ’07, and over those three years, they’ve attracted a lot of attention to themselves.
As explained on their Facebook page, “having the intention of writing orchestral indie rock, while introducing elements of Punk, Country, Folk, and World music. River City Extension found itself going from a 3-piece acoustic act, and developing into a full 8-piece band. The band perfected a staggering and impressive live show, filled with high energy and angst. Finding themselves without a label they went into the studio and recorded their first D.I.Y. EP, Nautical Sabbatical in 2008. The band literally put the CDs together by hand prior to each show.”
Their 7-song debut Nautical Sabbatical was released on January 28, 2009, and in it you can definitely hear a mix of some of their influences, which include Modest Mouse, Tegan and Sara, The Mars Volta, Cake, and Pela.
“Well what’s funny about [Eric Sanderson’s] band Pela,” Joe Michelini told theaquarian.com, “is they have a song called ‘The Trouble With River City’ which is originally where I took the name. I was so attached to the song I felt it was an extension of my life. So long story short, Pela plays Bowery Ballroom in NYC and I see the lead singer at the bar (Billy McCarthy) and I go to him and say, ‘Man, I have a story to tell you,’ and I sat him down and I told him the whole story about how his record had inspired me to start a band…he said let’s keep in touch, but you have to promise that when you are where I am now, you will do the same thing for someone else that I am doing for you right now. From there he heard the band and we started playing shows together. When Pela had label troubles and the group disbanded, Eric had the time so we were like, ‘Let’s do a record.’””
Andrea Lynn Waddell mentioned on her blog, “What Andrea Thinks“, that she was present during some of the recording for the last track, Elephant. She commented on Nautical Sabbatical, describing songs as the catchy type that will make you want to sing and dance along to.
“I just love how poetically deep the bands lyrics are,” she said.
R.C.E. released their 13-track follow-up album, “The Unmistakable Man“, on May 11, 2010, under XOXO Records. On June 2, the record label announced that the band won the “NYC Deli Magazine Artist of the Month” for May.
Within their twenty available songs, listeners can find an array of thoughtful, fun and creative lyrics mixed with a blend of voices which make a truly unique and inspiring band.
“It’s been said that as a musician, all you need to do in order to secure an audience is to fill a void,” Michelini told jerseyshore.metromix.com. “I’ve been mulling that over for a while, and I’ve realized that it’s true. If there is a need for music or a need for change, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. You’re going to fill that void, and people are going to accept you for it.
“But I think that’s sort of the cheater’s way out. I think around here, for us to be able to say we accomplished something, it’s when we can say we’ve created a void. It’s when we’re giving listeners something they didn’t know they needed and find themselves needing after they listen. I think just filling a void is no accomplishment; it’s just a matter of being at the right place at the right time.”
The band has also posted some extra songs on http://www.purevolume.com/rivercityextension and their Facebook page, where they’ve listed their first EP, “I, Bananafish”, which was recorded at Long Swamp Studios in Toms River, NJ, in March of ’07.
In regards to the EP and the possibility of the extra songs being for an upcoming record, the band told me, “I, Bananafish has been suspended for a bit, and to answer your question, yes. Some of them. We’ll have more album news as we get close to the new year.”
In a phone conversation with Michelini, he mentioned that the band has some songs written which have not been released to the public yet, and some may be premiered at their homecoming show this November at The Stone Pony on November 24th. They will be playing with Brick & Mortar, Soft Black, Elevator Art and Brook Pridemore.
The band also announced another big-deal show on Facebook: “River City Extension] is proud to announce a SOLD OUT acoustic show at The Mercury Lounge in NYC on November 27th with Matt Skiba (of Alkaline Trio), Brendan Kelly (of The Lawrence Arms) and Dave Hause (of The Loved Ones)!”