For how much good music comes out of the Garden State, the people who live there sure don’t seem to love it all that much. While the Local Weathermen are NYC based, lead singer Fritz Ortman grew up across the Hudson River in Morris County. He spent the majority of the pandemic stuck at his parents house isolated from his friends, day by day watching the world descend into deeper and deeper chaos. It made Fritz more and more despondent by the day as he felt like he was stuck in his own hellish suburban bubble, which for better or worse served as inspiration for his band’s melancholy new single “NJ Hell”. The track reminds me of something from the sadder side of Pavement’s discography, you can feel the desolation in Fritz’s voice as he coos out the chorus, “If I’m dying, will you give me mouth to mouth? If I am frozen six feet under will you help?” The song reflects the steady dull droll that there is to both suburban life and all life in our late capitalist order; We’re all getting up bright and early each morning to check twitter for the latest memes and national tragedies before chugging down our coffee and getting to work.
“NJ Hell” follows “Man” a particularly strong single from Local Weatherman that closed out last year. “Man” was a touch more chipper as Fritz came to terms with his new found personal responsibilities that came with a realization he “Needs to be the man now, man now, man now, man now.” On the other side of the coin “NJ Hell” feels like the come down after “Man” where Fritz realizes no matter how well he steps up to the plate the universe will forever have an unhittable curveball up its’ sleeve. “NJ Hell” is a morose track for morose times, about how even a place as nice as The Garden of Eden (New Jersey) can feel like hell in our godless modern age, though luckily for us its’ downtrodden vibe doesn’t make it any less catchy.
Local Weatherman will hopefully be following up their excellent 2019 EP We’re Doomed with more tracks soon to come. They also have a single release show this Saturday at Windjammer (552 Grandview Ave, Queens, NY 11385) ! Keep an eye on their socials twitter and insta for more info and at GSC for the latest!