Particle Zoo
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Particle Zoo

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Press blurbs/highlights"

“Expressive indie rock with rich melodies, soulful harmonies and thoughtful lyrics”
- Jim Testa, Newark Star-Ledger, 11 Jan 2011

“Strong, deep lyrics”
- Chris Loupos, RWS Magazine, 1 Mar 2006

“Delivering the pop goods with the efficiency of Spanish influenza… adorable, tongue-in-cheek creativity that lacks all forms of pretension… damn good songs”
- J.J. Koczan and Patrick Slevin, Aquarian Weekly, 1 Feb 2006

“Upbeat and witty songs”
- Erasing Clouds, 2006

“Refreshing, fun and addictively catchy”
- Nelson Heise, Left Off The Dial, 5 Dec 2005

“DeVito’s killer hooks glue together a very catchy chorus… wonderful, happy, sunny day music”
- Gordon B. Isnor, Left Hip Magazine, 1 Oct 2005

“Catchy and fun”
- Patrick Christiana, Daily Beacon, 7 Sept 2005

“Concise and contemplative songwriting, delightfully catchy and bouncy melodies”
- Joe Wawryzniak, Jersey Beat, 8 Aug 2005

“Cleverly-written pieces; good strong melodies, attention to hooks, judicious decisions about when to depart from pop song conventions”
- Tris McCall, Jersey Independent Music, 29 July 2005

“DeVito concocts lyrics the way a scientist might calculate steaming test-tube mixtures”
- Barry Gramlich, Bergen Record, 27 June 2003

“An album so catchy that one can’t help but want to hear it over and over again”
- Lazlo,, 7 April 2002

- Various

"Jersey rock scene veterans show signs of growth, and honor the King"

By Jim Testa

The search for the Next Big Thing drives the entertainment industry. The idea consumes music bloggers, inspires rock journalists and sets hipsters off to investigate scruffy venues in unsavory neighborhoods. But for a very contented crowd at Maxwell’s in Hoboken on Saturday night, the same old reliable favorites fit the bill very nicely, as three long-lived New Jersey bands offered a lesson in how perseverance, adaptation and resilience can pay off.

[Jersey City] trio Particle Zoo, which released its first album in 2005, organized the night to celebrate the release of its new release, “Into the Fray,” a quantum leap forward for a group that was once best known for its quirky songwriting and dorky stage presence.

Singer-guitarist Jeff DeVito still beams like a kid in a candy store onstage and wears his hair in a spiky pompadour, but the group’s music has matured from weird little blasts of poppy punk that verged on novelty tunes to expressive indie rock with rich melodies, soulful harmonies and thoughtful lyrics.

Drummer John Christie played many of his parts one-handed, using the other hand to pick out melodic parts on a small synthesizer perched on his kit; this added a world of depth to the songs. Particle Zoo no longer sounded like a punky trio onstage, especially with DeVito using an array of effects pedals to add unusual tones and delay to his guitar parts. Elements of the songs were evocative of the intricate indie rock of Nada Surf and even the anthemic overtures of U2, though the band retained a loose, playful feel.

Because the show took place on Elvis Presley’s birthday, all the bands added an Elvis cover to their sets, and PZoo did not disappoint with a rollicking version of “Mystery Train” that married the rockabilly beat of the original with an expansive new-wave arrangement.

Particle Zoo is the perfect example of a band that has survived in the indie underground by updating and changing its sound, and the fact that it was able to pack Maxwell’s on a snowy Saturday night gave testament to the fact that fans appreciate and embrace those efforts.

Asbury Park’s Last Perfect Thing followed with a razor-sharp set of aggressive indie-rock that couldn’t have been tighter or more locked into a well-honed groove. The band has been playing since 2003 and has long been a staple of Asbury Park’s cohesive scene, and it clearly was taking no prisoners in this visit to Hoboken. Emphasizing the band’s 2009 album, “The Signal,” frontman Greg Wilkens conveyed a flinty intensity on songs such as “No Meds” and “The Signal,” with high keening vocals that played off Mike Smith’s melodic bass lines and guitarist Jeff Teeter’s dynamic riffs.

The band’s crisp musicianship and focused stage presence couldn’t help but impress, as the musicians merged the power of heavy metal with the more light-handed sounds of indie pop. Wilkens threw in a surprisingly heartfelt version of Presley’s “Love Me” that let him show off both his range and emotional depth before the band ended the night with another walloping original.

Earlier in the evening, Readymade Breakup performed songs from its recently released, eponymous third album, bringing a bright, romantic flourish to traditional American pop-rock. Frontman Paul Rosevear’s sweet vocals were buoyed by muscular guitar parts from Jim Fitzgerald and harmony vocals from bassist G.E., evoking comparisons to Tom Petty’s rootsy Americana. With members based throughout New Jersey and Manhattan, Readymade Breakup doesn’t really have a local scene to call home; then again, this is a band that has survived for more than five years with steady gigging and an unwavering belief in its sound.

Particle Zoo

Based in: Jersey City

Year formed: 1999

Members: Jeff DeVito (vocals, guitar), John Christie (drums, synthesizer), Pat Suler (bass, vocals)

Key albums: “Into the Fray” (2011), “Collection” (EP, 2009), “Loneliness and Strangers” (2005)

For fans of: Nada Surf, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe - Newark Star-Ledger, 2011

"Press Blurbs"

Into The Fray (LP 2011) - pending

"Album Review/Band Interview"

by Peter Kakouriotis

Mark my words, Loneliness and Strangers will be Particle Zoo's breakthrough record this year! Everytime I hear these guys, they just keep getting better. Jeff [DeVito]'s songwriting has always been catchy, but this time he and the guys have really outdone themselves. This is pop rock at its finest. Rarely can I listen to a CD from beginning to end anymore, but this record is simply infectious. From the opening chord of "Girasole" to the wild synth accents in "Strangers With the Same Dream," this record is rock solid!

AQUARIAN: Now that the new record is out, what are you guys doing to promote it? Anything out of the usual?

Jay Holler (vocals, keyboards): We're doing a media campaign with Planetary Group and a radio campaign with Nice-1-up. And we bought some ad time on WDHA for the week of the CD release show.

Scott Greene (bass): At the shows and through the website we'll have new t-shirts on sale and free stickers and matchbooks to give away. They all have artwork from the new album so there's a whole theme happening.

AQ: Seeing that we are in the summer touring season, what are your touring plans for this summer?

John Christie (drums): Our timeline got a little shifted this year with the record release happening in July, so we're actually going to shoot for a fall and winter tour instead.

AQ: Your last few records have been successful, have you thought of finally making the jump to a label?

Jay: Of course! That's been one of our main goals since we started working on the album.

AQ: What or who inspired you to write the 13 cuts off the record?

Jeff DeVito (vocals, guitar): There are some recurring themes on this album that I like to write about in general. Excessive behavior and not taking responsibility come to mind. And quite obviously many of these particular songs deal with the regret and confusion that follow a difficult break-up. Others are a little more light-hearted. For example, the idea for "Permanently Temporary" came from the fact that I've been renting the same place for over five years now.

AQ: Where did the title, Loneliness and Strangers come from?

Jeff: We were struggling to come up with a title that we all liked for a while. I especially was pushing for something that related directly to the songs we had picked out to record, but none of my ideas were really that good. There was one rehearsal early on in the pre-production process where we had practiced all the songs for the record except "Loneliness Passing Through" and "Strangers With the Same Dream." I remember someone asking which songs we had left to play and Jay answered, "Loneliness and Strangers." We all liked it, so it stuck.

- The Aquarian Weekly, 6 July 2005

"Press Blurbs"

Loneliness and Strangers (LP 2005):

"A 13-song gem."
-The Express-Times

"Damn good songs."
-The Aquarian Weekly

"Pained lyrics... killer hooks... beautiful vocal melody... wonderful, happy, sunny day music."
-Left Hip Magazine

"Refreshing, fun and addictively catchy. "
-Left Off The Dial

"A refreshing blend of great pop music that stands the test of time."
-Northeast In-Tune

"These New Jersey zekes take out their past schoolyard beatings on surf, emo, country and the Sixties."
-Glide Magazine

"Particle Zoo continue their transformation from loud punky-punks to melodic pop songsmiths on Loneliness and Strangers. Songwriter Jeff DeVito wraps himself in ’60s garage rock and the Beatles and churns out ear-grabbing riffs and hooks. "
-The Village Voice

"An infectious electric sound."
-Daily Beacon Online

"The first part of the album feels like a trip back to the good old '60s in the days when weed was called grass and the flower children reigned supreme....The second half is more musically diverse, exposing the full range of this band's talents."
-Arizona Daily Wildcat

"Pop rock at its finest... this record is simply infectious."
-The Aquarian Weekly

"A total four-star blast."
-Jersey Beat

"Loneliness and Strangers is one of the essential Jersey indie releases of 2005, from one of the state's most thoughtful and perceptive pop bands."

"A dork-pop masterpiece of a record."
-WRSU 88.7 FM

Go-Go (EP 2003):

"Post-punk garage flavor, reminiscent of The Ramones"
-The Daily Record

"Classic new wave/post punk featuring synthesizers, fast forward guitars and shrieking vocals"
-Face Magazine

"High energy and full of cleverness"
-Crusher Magazine

"A swirling carnival ride of shouted garage punk vocals and dizzy organ lines"
-The Herald News

"An edgy, Beatlesque unit"
-The Courier News

"A hint of pop and that whole 'modern rock' thing"
-Mundane Sounds

"Particle Zoo earn props for the amount of bash that's in their bash 'n' pop"
-The Providence Phoenix

"Exciting punk-meets-carnival-swirl-pop"
-The Aquarian Weekly

"Part '80s rock, part garage punk and part '60s experimental pop"
-The Daily Record

"One hell of an immensely enjoyable little slice of jangly, spacey, supremely catchy and tuneful wonky pop-rock weirdness"
-Jersey Beat

"Catchy pop hooks and intelligent lyrics"
-The Block Island Times

- various

"Loneliness and Strangers -- Album Review"

By Gordon B. Isnor

Straight up, guitar and organ-driven pop rock and roll from North Jersey, Particle Zoo's Loneliness and Strangers immediately made me think of The Figgs from Saratoga Springs, NY. That's a compliment coming from me, because I've been a big fan of The Figgs over the years, practically wearing out my copy of their Lo-Fi At Society High.

The first song after a pretty acoustic intro, "Girasole" is an infectiously happy number with a simple driving beat of guitar and drums with a peppy little organ part and some nice synths. Particle Zoo has harmony vocals down to a science; they add a very nice touch before Jeff Devito rips into an ace guitar solo.

"Freaky Fat Tuesday" is based improbably around an ska beat. There's something very comical about Particle Zoo - the organ sounds, played skittishly over a ska beat provide a lighthearted comic foil to Devito's pained lyrics about heartbreaking women, then out of nowhere in a dead serious tone he'll drop a crazy funny lyrics like, "Don't touch the tiger".

"Pi In The Sky" is a bouncy, easygoing sunny day feel with killer hooks and some superb production ideas - after coasting along gently for a few minutes, chunky distorted guitars enter to great effect before the band breaks the song down to just a bouncing bass line and vocals. The song shifts gear at the end, slowing down and paring down to just a vocal and Rhodes pianos. Incredible production.

Skipping along a few tracks to "Mistakes", a shuffle feel, affords the opportunity to point out another of the great things about Particle Zoo - there are tons of rhythmic figures that add a hell of a lot of charm and energy to the sound. This song features more of Devitos's great guitars, which, always clean, walk a fine line between jangly and ballsy. A killer "do do do do" hook and background push this song over the edge.

"Permanently Temporary" may well be the best song on the Loneliness and Strangers, although "Girasole" certainly gives it a run for its money. A killer intro can really sell a song and this one does just that with an au courant disco beat and bass line underneath some nice acoustic guitars and a super nice retro synth line. The beautiful vocal melody on the verses gives way to a crunchy chorus with a really nice fat guitar riff.

If I'm not mentioning the ballads on the album, it’s because although they're fine examples of their form, I personally like Particle Zoo best when they're rocking out and bouncing along – like on "Strangers With The Same Dream". Another of Devito's killer hooks glues together a very catchy chorus.

The production values are a perfect match for Particle Zoo's sound - very clean and straightforward; the bass is fat, the drums are well-recorded, the guitars ride the line between clean and crunchy and Devito has a very solid, appealing voice that comes across crystal clear.

Particle Zoo is great driving music, great highway driving music, – wonderful, happy, sunny day music. These days, I imagine it's hard for a straightforward solid rock band like this to make waves - people are so deeply into all their various micro-genres – the glitch-pop, the freak folk, the stoner sludge, etc. – I'm as guilty as anybody. It's a shame, though, to think that people might pass a band like this by unaware of their charm. If you like peppy, straight up rock and roll along the lines of The Figgs, Scruffy The Cat, Elvis Costello, The Minders, etc. you'll thoroughly enjoy Particle Zoo.
- Left Hip Magazine, October 2005

"Performance Pick/Album Review"

by Adam Richter

Looking at the headlining acts for this year's Musikfest, I was afraid fans of alternative, indie rock would be left behind. After all, one of the hippest acts they booked as a headliner is LL Cool J. Isn't he, like, 50?

Judging from the top acts alone, Musikfest seems as though its target audience are people quickly approaching their 25th high school reunion or are long past it.

I realize that the march of time can't be stopped, and before long we fall sway to getting older, telling kids not to throw balls onto our lawn and longing for the days back when Eddie Vedder had hair.

Still, it's important to keep in mind that just because a rock group has been around for decades doesn't mean its members are still any good (ahem, Kansas).

Likewise, just because a band has recently released its first-ever full-length album and will play at a free venue doesn't mean it's not worth checking out. New Jersey-based Particle Zoo, playing Monday at the Pennsylvania Lottery Volksplatz, is a band worth checking out if you like a) original indie rock, and b) free stuff.

Particle Zoo released its debut full-length CD, "Loneliness and Strangers," in 2005, a 13-song gem with more polish and wit than you'd expect from such a relatively young, relatively unknown band.

The Rockaway, N.J., trio consists of singer-guitarist Jeff DeVito, bassist Scott Greene and drummer John Christie. (Keyboardist Jay Holler left the band earlier this year, after the release of "Loneliness and Strangers.")

Their songs sound like an updated version of Elvis Costello, right down to the former punk star's blend of edgy guitars and bittersweet lyrics. In "Loneliness Passing Through," DeVito wails, "Wounds that I sustained/finally start to fade/But not today."

The album is filled with similar tales of frustrated longing. One notable, and amusing, exception is "Pi in the Sky," a quirky ode to the world's most famous irrational number.

Particle Zoo is not a big-name band yet, but their appearance on Monday is a promising sign for the future of Musikfest. And a much better bargain than the $39 price tag that the Styx/Kansas oldster affair. - Express-Times, 6 August 2006

"Loneliness and Strangers -- Album Review"

by Susan Bonicillo

To say that The Beatles have influenced Jeff DeVito, principal songwriter of the group Particle Zoo, is like saying that at one point in time Picasso thought squares were really cool.

Loneliness and Strangers, this New Jersey band's first full-length album, with its keyboard work, poppy riffs and light sound will seem like a throwback to the original Fab Four, complete with a strange reference to a walrus on track five appropriately called "Blue Walrus." The first part of the album feels like a trip back to the good old '60s in the days when weed was called grass and the flower children reigned supreme.

Though they do imitate The Beatles' sound, they aren't nearly as obtuse or cryptic in their lyrics. However, on some choice songs you may be left thinking they found psychedelic inspiration (see "Blue Walrus" above).

Though the title would have you believe otherwise, the album features some surprisingly upbeat music for the first few tracks of the record. "Pi in the Sky" is especially cheerful and comes off like a "Sesame Street" counting song, if Big Bird was flying off some wonderfully strong chronic. Some sample lyrics include: "The professor knows it more than I/He knows of the six and three and nine/The brain is two whole equal sides/The donut's just a Taurus for your eyes."

The album progresses from this initial stage of sugary sweet sounds to a more grown-up sound with lyrics that are especially probing and introspective.

The second half is more musically diverse, exposing the full range of this band's talents. The lover's lament in "Mistakes" is particularly noteworthy as one of the best tracks off the album. The diversity of the music and the musicianship is readily apparent. It seems to want to start off like a ballad in the same sort of desert minstrel style of Chris Isaak but then mutates into something livelier with a catchy accompaniment that is sure to get inside your head.

An articulate vocalist, DeVito knows how to interpret a song. However, as the lead vocalist he also knows not to completely dominate a song. There's reserve and control and knowledge of when to let other bandmates take the stage. Unlike other acts today, in which it seems like the guys just know the bare minimum needed to make a sound (Sum-41 and other pseudo-MTV-created "rock" bands come to mind), Particle Zoo is more than just background sound for the frontman to lay down his vocal. Whereas some bands get dominated by guitar riffs and drum solos, the keyboard is making a quiet comeback in this band. And together, the quartet works to produce spirited and interesting rhythms.

Overall, Loneliness and Strangers has some great musicianship that is definitely worth listening to. It's a good debut and shows promise for a follow-up album.

- Arizona Daily Wildcat, 8 September 2005

"Loneliness and Strangers -- Album Review"

by Patrick Christiana

This is the first full-length album from the New Jersey band, and fans of their previous EP will not be disappointed.

Particle Zoo cites ‘60s garage rock and The Beatles as their main sources of inspiration. If you’re wondering just what exactly that sounds like, the answer is an infectious electric sound that is easy to listen to.

The songs are performed with a heavy dose of enthusiasm and upbeat tempos but they manage to come off without crossing the line into saccharine pop music.

The music is catchy and fun, and you have to love any band that includes a tambourine in its lineup.

The lyrics are all over the place, but their manic quality lends the album some charm.

The band gets playful on the track “Girasole,” asking “Why are you always complaining?/ I think it’s ‘cause you’re lazy and you can quote me on that/ but it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault.”

A healthy does of angst is infused to the song, “You Cut Me Down,” where the refrain laments, “And I want you to know where it hurts ‘cause it’s you who cut me down.”

Upon first hearing Particle Zoo, the first thing that will strike you is how reminiscent they are of the Bare Naked Ladies. But Particle Zoo has a little more grunge than BNL that helps them to stand out on their own.

- Daily Beacon Online, 7 September 2005

"Loneliness and Strangers -- Album Review"

by Joe Wawryzniak

I’ve been eagerly awaiting a full length album from this particular band for quite some time now, so I was very excited when this honey showed up in my mailbox. Well, said album turns out to be as good, if not better, than Particle Zoo’s previous EP CD endeavors.

The gorgeously soaring and robust vocals convey a gusto and enthusiasm that’s a joy to hear. The dynamically snappy and stirring arrangements are likewise quite thrilling and vivacious, deftly blending spirit and sonority into a marvelously sparky synthesis. The engagingly upbeat sensibility, the commendably concise and contemplative songwriting, the delightfully catchy and bouncy melodies, and a teeming surplus of go-for-it glee and passion round off the sterling assets which make this album a total four-star blast. - Jersey Beat, 8 August 2005


"Into the Fray" (LP 2011)
"Collection" (EP 2009)
"Loneliness and Strangers" (LP 2005)
"Go-Go" (EP 2003)
"It's in the Cans" (EP 2002)
"Hookers and Hash" (EP 2001)



Nada Surf, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Ween, Spoon, The Cure, The Kinks, Talking Heads, Tears For Fears, Flaming Lips, Pulp

Particle Zoo has been a darling of the NJ original rock scene for the best part of a decade. With a constantly evolving sound and tireless do-it-yourself ethic led by the ever-perseverant efforts of singer/songwriter Jeff DeVito, the Jersey City trio are currently at the top of their game.

The band's live performances are a positively frothing spectacle, with DeVito radiating the heat of a thousand suns on lead vocals and guitars; Patrick Suler sounding like a one-ghoul symphony on his heavily effected bass; and John Christie--a true magician--playing drum kit and live synth all at once.

Particle Zoo's latest full-length album, "Into The Fray," is now available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and Pandora Internet Radio, with the animated video for first single, "Even An Army," playing on YouTube and here on Sonicbids. Featuring twelve new songs of conflict and chaos, "Into The Fray" represents PZoo's expertly crafted alt-pop melange of layered guitars, retro-synths, and soaring vocals. Catch the band throughout the second half of 2012, shambling their way around the NJ/NYC area in support of the new album.

"Into The Fray" radio adds forthcoming.
"Collection" EP charted/heavy/medium rotation on 36 college/non-commercial stations across the U.S.; light rotation/adds on >140 others.

- "Freaky Fat Tuesday" featured on GEICO’s website
- "Personova" licensed to Acclivity Software (formerly MYOB) for international conference event.

>5000 CD, digital download sales.

- Several self-booked tours throughout New England
- Block Island Music Festival (RI), CMJ Marathon (NYC), Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA)
- Opened for Asobi Seksu, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Al & The Transamericans, Pansy Division