Strawberry Jam
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Strawberry Jam

Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States | SELF

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

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This band has not uploaded any videos

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"The 2012 CBGB Festival - My Thoughts"

...At that point, I figure it's a good point to head out. I don't know the final band of the night and if I time it right I can catch the D Express train back to the Boogie Down and hit the sack at a decent time. It's a work day tomorrow so I have an excuse, right? I bid adieu to the Brits I've been been chatting with and Alex decides to head to Bowery Electric to see if he can catch some photos of Cheetah Chrome and Richard Lloyd. As I'm heading out the last band of the night kicked in and I was... compelled to stay...and Alex, who unfortunately was already gone, got robbed of the opportunity to see Strawberry Jam.

So who are Strawberry Jam? They are an indie band out of Elizabeth, NJ and one of the best bands I've seen this year (and keep in mind I've been to Coachella this year). In my humble opinion, they would have spanked the Arctic Monkeys had they been on the same stage (but more on that in another post).


So why did I like them so much? One -they were the most authentically "CBGB" band of the night i.e. young, unsigned and hungry (hungry in a good way - that they want to succeed and want to reach a bigger audience). They played their own material and I while I didn't know them from Adam that night they had a sound that was distinctive enough to pull me back from hitting the street and heading home. Two - I thought the following two songs into their set "Might legitimately be the best band I've seen tonight". The two Liverpool natives that I now rejoined, agreed. Not bad, considering that their competition that night was the lead singer of the New York Dolls, the lead singer of the Hold Steady, and a former member of R.E.M. Even more impressive when you realize (as I did recently) that their manager was subbing for them on bass so it wasn't even their regular line up. Three - their overall sound falls into my wheelhouse (mid-80s/early 90s Alternative) but it's not derivative, like some bands I know (I'm looking at you Vampire Weekend - who two albums in, still haven't made the leap to interesting). They have a great vocalist/lyricist/guitarist in Sara Salermo, a talented and expressive guitarist in Richard Andrew, and the powerful drums of Henry Salermo (Yes, Sara and Henry are siblings). I hold off on mentioning their bass player because as I said, it was their manager filling in when I saw them and as Henry told me in a later conversation, Strawberry Jam has a bit of a "Spinal Tap drummer" situation with bassists so I'll give their current bassist his due in a later post (which will definitely happen as I have recently have had the chance to interview the band). They even have a video and a website for those of you who weren't with me that night (or for my two new British friends who were). http://www.reverbnation.com/strawberryjamx3 - Kurt Maitland


"The 2012 CBGB Festival - My Thoughts"

... At that point, I figure it's a good point to head out. I don't know the final band of the night and if I time it right I can catch the D Express train back to the Boogie Down and hit the sack at a decent time. It's a work day tomorrow so I have an excuse, right? I bid adieu to the Brits I've been been chatting with and Alex decides to head to Bowery Electric to see if he can catch some photos of Cheetah Chrome and Richard Lloyd. As I'm heading out the last band of the night kicked in and I was... compelled to stay...and Alex, who unfortunately was already gone, got robbed of the opportunity to see Strawberry Jam.

So who are Strawberry Jam? They are an indie band out of Elizabeth, NJ and one of the best bands I've seen this year (and keep in mind I've been to Coachella this year). In my humble opinion, they would have spanked the Arctic Monkeys had they been on the same stage (but more on that in another post).


So why did I like them so much? One -they were the most authentically "CBGB" band of the night i.e. young, unsigned and hungry (hungry in a good way - that they want to succeed and want to reach a bigger audience). They played their own material and I while I didn't know them from Adam that night they had a sound that was distinctive enough to pull me back from hitting the street and heading home. Two - I thought the following two songs into their set "Might legitimately be the best band I've seen tonight". The two Liverpool natives that I now rejoined, agreed. Not bad, considering that their competition that night was the lead singer of the New York Dolls, the lead singer of the Hold Steady, and a former member of R.E.M. Even more impressive when you realize (as I did recently) that their manager was subbing for them on bass so it wasn't even their regular line up. Three - their overall sound falls into my wheelhouse (mid-80s/early 90s Alternative) but it's not derivative, like some bands I know (I'm looking at you Vampire Weekend - who two albums in, still haven't made the leap to interesting). They have a great vocalist/lyricist/guitarist in Sara Salermo, a talented and expressive guitarist in Richard Andrew, and the powerful drums of Henry Salermo (Yes, Sara and Henry are siblings). I hold off on mentioning their bass player because as I said, it was their manager filling in when I saw them and as Henry told me in a later conversation, Strawberry Jam has a bit of a "Spinal Tap drummer" situation with bassists so I'll give their current bassist his due in a later post (which will definitely happen as I have recently have had the chance to interview the band). They even have a video and a website for those of you who weren't with me that night (or for my two new British friends who were). http://www.reverbnation.com/strawberryjamx3 - Kurt Maitland


"Gear Talk Presented by Guitar Center: Your Favorite Bands. Their Favorite Gear"

Strawberry Jam: April 6th, 2012

What is your favorite piece of gear?
Sarah (Vocals/Guitar): My favorite piece of gear is probably my Paul Reid Smith guitar, it’s really good tone wise, the clarity is disgustingly good, but it also has the dexterity to move into distortion and natural kind of crunch that I like to hear throughout our songs. Oh yeah, and the fret-board is really smooth.

Max (Bass): My current favorite piece of gear is my Peavey Foundation bass, though it doesn’t really have the type of sound I’m looking for.

Henry (Drums): My DW 5000, double bass-drum pedals, double chain, really smooth. They’re my favorite part of my kit.

Richard (Lead Guitar): Probably my Boss ME-70 multi-effects pedal. Its my baby. Basically I can have my own tone no matter what amp I use, because I kinda have a bad amp.

What is the next piece of gear you are looking to purchase?

Sara (Vocal/Guitar): The next thing I would get is a Fender Pawn Shop. Last time I came to Rubber Tracks and used it, it was just disgustingly good, like I couldn’t even believe it. I didn’t even like Fender Guitars previously, and this changed my mind. I would definitely invest in one of those.

Henry (Drums):
When we were practicing today in the Guitar Center rehearsal room, I was playing on this dry ride, a Sabian HHX Raw Bell, and it had a really clear tone. Even the bell, at the very top of the cymbal, you could tell it was hammered out a little differently, so its not what you would expect a dry-ride cymbal to sound like, and it was cutting through really well throughout the rehearsal.

Max (Bass):
Probably a Fender Jazz Bass because it has the tone and sound I’m looking for.

Richard (Lead Guitar):
The next thing I’m going to buy is probably a Fender Telecaster or an Epiphone Wilshere.

What inspires you to make music?

Henry (Drums): I guess our friends, and knowing a lot of other bands in the local, New Jersey, music scene, you know? At the same time that we’re all friends, it’s almost a competition, so you want to keep pushing each other, and one-upping each other. Aside from that its to make a good, valid piece of music that someone can enjoy on the other side, on their headphones, and try to interpret what we put out there.

Max (Bass): I’ve been playing music since I was five. Music brings people together in a way that nothing else can. Like for example, music can not only bring the people playing the music, but the people listening too, to the same page in terms of what their feeling and their expectations. Theres nothing else in the world that can duplicate that feeling.

Richard (Lead Guitar): Its one of the best mediums to convey emotions and express your own emotions. I was watching this documentary, it was about how music is the only thing that you can put your soul into, so when you die people can look at it and its like they know you, from hearing your music.

Sara (Vocals/Guitar): The things that I write about are all based on personal experiences. Anything I put in a song is true, so in striving to write honest music, I strive to connect to people who feel the same way, but not everybody’s going to get on a stage and put it out there and share it with someone else. So to share with people what I have to give, and be able to give that to them and have them interpret it in their own way, to change their mind, to evoke their own emotion, from my emotion, and to give them a certain feeling, thats what I strive for. The moments when your on stage, going crazy and you can feel the music in your veins, and everyones singing along with you and knows exactly what your talking about, thats what inspires me. - Converse Rubber Tracks Studio,


"Strawberry Jam! - Mr. Caulfield"

Strawberry Jam!? Mr. Caulfield? Don’t judge a book by its cover. I expected something like bubblegum or sprinkles, but what I got was a uniquely alluring female vocal over a tapestry of bewitchingly calculated instrumentation.

Strawberry Jam’s Mr. Caulfield starts off with haunting palm muted delayed clean guitars that border on pizzicato strings with a back beat of tom work. The second guitar comes in with sparkling chords and a sneaky little in and out bass line. If Sting had a daughter, she might sound like Strawberry Jam, but maybe that’s giving way too much credit to Sting, because Strawberry Jam is far more than just supposed influences. Who knows what these cool cats listen to? They sound like sexy organized crime. Strawberry Jam is the bad guy I route for. They’re dark, at least while delivering Mr. Caulfield, and I dig it.

www.facebook.com/strawberryjamx3

Many thanks to Pilots in Orbit for the awesome recommendation - Listening In


"Unsigned Bands: Class Of 2012"

...

Strawberry Jam!

Strawberry Jam! Is not just something to spread on your bread! The four-piece is made up of vocalist/guitarist Sara Salermo, bassist Adrian Amador, guitarist Richard Andrew and drummer Henry Salermo. Their vibrant instrumentals range from experimental to dancey and contrast against the deep tones of Salermo’s vocals. In 2010, the band released a music video for their song “Suicide Ink,” and they have a disc with some tunes on it that is presently available at shows. Even though the band has been around since 2009, they’re still a mysterious and untouched find that you need to see for yourself to truly discover the sweetness that is Strawberry Jam! Find them on the web at facebook.com/strawberryjamx3 or Reverbnation at reverbnation.com/strawberryjamx3. - The Aquarian Weekly


"Playlist 11/28/10"

Anything Anything DRAMARAMA

Ready steady go GENERATION X (happy bday Billy Idol)

Tropical London RANCID (happy bday Tim Armstrong)

Live before you die SOCIAL DISTORTION

Ooh Ahh GRITS

If had $1,000,000 BARENAKED LADIES

Jilted John JILTED JOHN

Bandages for Broken Ones THE PAULS

Hanukah Rocks GEFILTE JOE AND THE FISH

8 Days JON CASPI (unsigned NJ)

Bono for Lucky Clovers Cereal BEN STILLER/RUBEN KINCAID (happy bday Ben)

Frozen TEGAN AND SARA

Linus Spacehead WAVVES (happy bday Charles Schultz)

You’re getting Married REPLACEMENTS

Bullet STEEL TRAIN (NJ)

Things to do in Denver when you’re dead WARREN ZEVON

Letter to Lainie RIVER CITY EXTENSION (Toms River NJ)

She loves you GASLIGHT ANTHEM

Strawberry Letter SHUGGIE OTIS (happy bday Shuggie)

Suicide Ink STRAWBERRY JAM (unsigned Elizabeth NJ)

In the moonlight PEARL JAM (happy bday Matt Cameron)

Puberty Love MATT CAMERON

Dancing in the Moonlight KING HARVEST

You’ll Never find my Christmas BISHOP ALLEN (Brooklyn)

Rendezvous BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Airplane Movie Trailer (RIP Leslie Nieslen) - Rich Russo


"Playlist 12/05/10"

Anything Anything DRAMARAMA

Woody Allen (happy bday woody)

Elaine SMITHEREENS (RIP Elaine Kaufman)

Keep a Knockin LITTLE RICHARD (happy bday Little Richard)

Knockin on mine PAUL WESTERBERG

One more night to rock SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY (happy bday Southside)The One PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART (NYC)

Promised Land (live stone pony) BRANDON FLOWERS

Outside looking in BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

Depression Times RODEO QUEENS (World Premiere)

New York is a Christmas kind of town MARAH

Christmas don’t be late TEGAN AND SARA

Cyanide BAD RELIGION

The Difference WALLFLOWERS

Pretty Persusion REM (happy bday Peter Buck)

Rock me LIZ PHAIR

Rock me gentry ANDY KIM (happy bday Andy)

Flying high again OZZY (happy bday Ozzy and Randy)

Underdog SPOON (Congrats DAPS)

Turn it up MAN RAZE (happy bday Phil Collen)

Come Alive JANELLE MORAE (happy bday Janelle)

Who put the bomp TED KNIGHT (happy bday Ted)

I won’t grow up FOOLS (happy bday Mary Martin)

Growing up (live Holmdel 2003) PEARL JAM

Suicide Ink STRAWBERRY JAM (Unsigned NJ)

Depression Times RODEO QUEENS

Blah blah blah ELEVATOR ART (Unsigned NJ)

Festival of Lights GANGSTA RABBI

Hold on TOM WAITS (happy bday Tom - Rich Russo


"Playlist 12/26/10"

Anything Anything DRAMARAMA

Lone Ranger (RIP Fred Foy)

Jesus Etc WILCO

Down on me JESUS AND MARY CHAIN (happy bday Jim Reid)

Jesus Christ TEENAGE FANCLUB

Mod Lang BIG STAR (happy bday Alex Chilton)

Alex Chilton (LIVE) REPLACEMENTS

Modern Man ARCADE FIRE

Letter to Lainie RIVER CITY EXTENSION (Toms River, NJ)

Anchor ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO

Erica Kane URGE OVERKILL (happy bday Susan Lucci)

Eddie Vedder LOCAL H

All along the watchtower EDDIE VEDDER (happy bday Eddie)

It happened today REM and EDDIE VEDDER

Eddie Said AVON JUNKIES (staten island)

Teenage Depression EDDIE AND HOT RODS

Depression Times RODEO QUEENS

That’s entertainment MORRISSEY

Spiderman RAMONES (happy bday stan lee)

Hero takes a fall BANGLES

Ain’t Good enough for you (live Asbury 2010) BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and E STREET BAND

Walking after midnight (live rxp) GIRL IN A COMA

Bullet STEEL TRAIN

Party Lights WALDOS

Love is all around JOAN JETT (Happy bday Mary Tyler Moore)

Ya ya JOHN LENNON (happy bday Lee Dorsey)

Got a lot of livin to do POGUES (happy bday Shane Macgowan)

Northshore TEGAN AND SARA

Suicide ink STRAWBERRY JAM (Elizabeth NJ)

Twilight Zone GOLDEN EARRING (happy bday Rod Serling)

I saved the world today EURYTHMICS (happy bday Annie Lennox)

Maggie Mae BEATLES

Get Back BEATLES - Rich Russo


"Strawberry Jam! - Strike Anywhere"

Strawberry Jam! are another band from the few and far between NJ indie rock scene. I caught these guys at my job, The Crossroads in Garwood, NJ and came to find out they play frequently with friends and favorites (as well as iheardin features) Old Nick, morning…, and Chocolate Bread. Strike Anywhere is a super catchy tune available on their Reverbnation page. Check these guys out, and if you’re in the area, make sure to catch a show in the little niche that these bands have developed together. - Mark Bucci


"Trust me, this is all better than Kings of Leon or Pete Yorn with FREE downloads of great local 2010 music"

We’ve all heard the saying “everyone has a breaking point,” a point where they are mad as hell and don’t want to take it anymore. I spent most of my life without ever reaching my breaking point. It was good while it lasted, but in the midst of one of the worst snowstorms NYC has ever seen, it happened. Not because the streets weren’t being plowed or because I was having impure thoughts about Janice Huff while she recapped the blizzard like it was a sporting event. It had to do with a Music Industry “year end best of list.”

Year end best of lists irritate me. I skim them with less then a grain. I love when a music writer sorts through the trash for me, (you know who you are), others leave me scratching my head, (you know who you are) and then there are writers who seem to me to be drinking too much eggnog with record labels publicists. (Do you know who you are?). As I read list after list that has neglected great albums or songs of 2010, I shrugged as I always do. When I saw that a few jackasses had Kings of Leon on their lists, a little steam built up inside of me. I assumed the bands record label gave that writer seats next to a model who was told to pay attention to him or her. There’s no reason to ever include Kings of Leon on any best of list. Even if the label set me up with Adrianna Lima, I just don’t think I could follow through with adding Kings of Leon to even the bottom of the list. I just couldn’t take the dive.

When I read that someone remotely respectable ranked Pete Yorn’s album as the 3rd best of the year, I opened my front door and enough fire billowed from my lungs that it cleared out all of the snow in my driveway. Pete Yorn? Is this guy kidding? The only way somebody puts Pete Yorn on a best of list, is if their hoping one of Pete’s Hollywood brothers will hook them up with another story. Let’s be realistic, when dissecting Pete’s career, it’s appears as if his brothers have stopped helping him. So music critics… why bother?

I need to right this wrong. Clark Kent runs for a phone booth, I ran for a listening booth. I started thinking of all of the great music from 2010 and then remembered all of the local unsigned music this past year. So much of it is more note worthy than Pete Yorn or Kings of Leon.

Where would I begin? Where would I stop? I decided to make it close to the length of a 90 minute cassette tape, like the one you’d make for your crush in homeroom or one you made for your lover as he or she left for college. Do the math people! Kings of Leon have released 5 Albums, 61 songs, 6 of which I think are good for a batting average of .098, which for those of you who don’t know baseball, that’s pretty crappy. Pete Yorn has released 6 albums, 72 songs, 3 of which I think are good which is a batting average of .041, and for those of you scoring at home is crappier than Kings of Leon.

I’m giving you 23 free songs for download by local NYC area artists who aren’t on labels. In most cases you’ve never heard of them, yet I believe that all of these songs are more inspiring than anything by Kings of Leon or Pete Yorn. I realize that I have set the bar low and I know that if you only dig 3 out of these 24 songs, it’s a higher average than their combined .088 batting average. I do believe you’ll dig these songs

I’ve listed the songs in alphabetical order by title, they are not ranked. The songs are all by local unsigned acts, some unsigned by choice, some just getting started, some probably will be signed by the time my next year’s list comes out, IF Labels still exist. It really doesn’t matter, it’s all good..and there are obviously more I wasn’t able to include unfortunately. Accordingly, this is NOT a best of list, it’s just a list of really great songs.

For a more in depth discussion on my dispassion for Kings Of Leon and or Pete Yorn tweet @DJrichrusso

you can click them to stream the track (downloads disabled on march 1, 2011, stream still activated)

Baby You’re Too Young DES ROAR (from Brooklyn, one of the catchiest songs of the year)

Bullet STEEL TRAIN (New Jersey, they broke the chains of the their record deal and self released their best album to date and this is the single)

California Girls (Ain’t So Great) ANTHONY D’AMATO (Princeton NJ, I’m sure Brian Wilson and Katy Perry will have a fit when they hear this gem bashing the Girls of Cali)

Don’t Tell Me THERINA BELLA and the TERRIBLE GIRLS (Staten Island, I once stated on my show that Staten Island might have more musical diversity than the other boroughs combined, this is the first of 5 staten island songs on the list, this is the pop genre)


Eddie Said AVON JUNKIES F/ARIES (Staten Island, this is the Ska Genre)

Effigy URGE OVERKILL (Chicago, oops this ain’t local, but who cares, the first new Urge song in like 15 years and they self released it and it kicks ass!)

Favorite Day BESS ROGERS (Long Island, this is my favorite song of the aptly titled Bess Rogers presents Bess Rogers ep)

Fractured 68AD (New Jersey, classic Jersey rock and lyrics about a love gone wrong)

Garbage Man THE SECONDS (Staten Island, Garage Rock genre with one of the great lyrics ever “society hates a street scholar”)

Holy Ghost Town A MILLION YEARS (Brooklyn, actually Brooklyn was a ghost town when these guys were kids, and they are all born and bred there, a true rarity and a great band)

In your street today THE STALKERS (NYC. The lead singer is named Andy Animal, nuff said)

It Goes Like That BERN AND THE BRIGHTS (Montclair NJ, the jersey scene is as vibrant as it’s ever been and this is one of the bands leading the way)

New York City is a Drug (kahne) DIRTY PEARLS (NYC, the mothership of all NYC bands right now, with the first NYC anthem that’s mattered in the last 20 years, and oh yeah, David Kahne produced it)


One More Night to Rock SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY and ASBURY JUKES (Asbury Park, NJ One of the holy trinity of Jersey rock who continues to pack them in and self release great material)

Pix LES VINYL (Staten Island, this would fall under the cerebral rock genre)

Pullin’ Shapes THEODORE GRIMM (Nutley NJ, there ain’t nothing Grim about these guys)

Sidewalk Queen WYLDLIFE (Westchester NY, it’s the NY Dolls meet the Ramones, meet the sex pistols if there’s such a thing, pretty amazing considering not one member of this band was alive when those bands had their heyday)

Someday you’ll be a Star MAX IS KING (NYC, Nick Fowler on lead vocals is the best pure voice in NYC right now, and Artie the guitar player ain’t too shabby either)

Suddenly Saturday (acoustic) OUTSIDE THE BOX (Lavalette NJ, you know a band is good when their acoustic demo of a song is good enough for a list like this)

Suicide ink STRAWBERRY JAM (Elizabeth NJ, yes Elizabeth NJ of all places, who knew the city I was born in and lived in for the first 6 months of my life would spawn some great rock and roll)

The End JOHN WESLEY HARDING (Brooklyn, kinda sorta, Wes is originally from England, now lives in Philly, but did live in Brooklyn the last few years, and he’s great and under-appreciated, it’s my list and my rules!)

This Is My Time KID SHIMMY

Tragic (Just Like Me) PLASTIQ PASSION (Staten Island, Jersey City, Brooklyn, All girl new wave band and it doesn’t get cooler than this)

So there you have it 23 songs, all unsigned at the moment, all with either self releases, or demos and all local (well, almost all local)

Hope you enjoyed it and will do so for years to come, listen to it a few times as a body of work, while in your car, at the gym or even at a Pete Yorn or Kings of Leon show if you get dragged to one.

Happy New Year
- Rich Russo


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Strawberry Jam is an alternative/indie rock band that has been a part of the New Jersey music scene for the past three years. The band was founded by singer Sara Salermo, her brother and drummer Henry Salermo, and guitarist Richard Andrew Surma.They completed their first American tour in the summer of 2012. The band is currently working on their next album, titled "Be Nice, I'm Fragile," and they have also expanded their sound with the addition of new bassist Isaac Velez and keyboardist, Brandie Dominguez. Influences include Kings of Leon, No Doubt, Incubus, Regina Spektor, and more.

For booking and for more information, feel free to contact us at strawberryj09@gmail.com, or to call Genesis Rodriguez at (908)2092995.

Some achievements:
-Toured the east coast in the summer of 2012, playing shows in New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia

-Successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their 2012 east coast tour

-Chosen as participants in the CBGB festival in New York City this past summer.

-Recorded at the Converse Rubber Tracks Studio in Brooklyn, NY with grammy-award-winning producer, Matt Shane

-Featured in the Converse RubberTracks Gear Talk blog presented by Guitar Center

-Featured in The Aquarian Weekly "Unsigned Bands" Issue

-Drummer Enrique Salermo was chosen as a participant in Jose Pasillas' (of Incubus) private drum clinic in Los Angeles

-Airplay on New York's 101.9 WRXP, as well as many college radio stations in the tri-state area

-Played for thousands of attendees at the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival

-Over 40 Thousand song plays on Myspace, Reverbnation, and Soundcloud

-Music video for the single "Suicide Ink" has gotten over 18 thousand views on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8BEl4g3tAw

-Singer/songwriter Sara Salermo has over 120 original songs to date

-Have played large venues such as Starland Ballroom, Sayreville NJ, School of Rock in South Hackensack NJ, and Atlantic City Convention Center