The Agony Family
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The Agony Family


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"The Agony Family "Yourself United""

The Agony Family falls from the same tree as the Grammy-nominated virtual band Gorillaz. This more human-appearing quartet was designed by graphic artist Amber Adeline, who created Jesse Agony (guitar), Claire Agony (bass), Peter Agony (vocals/piano) and the more Animal-esque character Rex Agony (drums, of course). The musical mastermind behind The Agony Family is Greg Scalera, former keyboardist for the pop/rock group Moraine. Animated cartoons aside, this New Jersey native has composed a creative collection of ambient rock electronica works on Yourself United that is both musically and lyrically stimulating.

Scalera’s instrumentation is an eclectic mix of heavily layered electronic sounds and tastefully added stripped down acoustic sets. He also introduces unexpected sounds, such as the harmonica in “When I’m Giant.” This track additionally features a clever duet between the vocals and the synthesizer in the bridge.

Throughout Yourself United Scalera’s vocals are confident, aurally pleasing and blend well with his extensive array of keyboard sounds. Out of the 21 tracks on the group’s debut album, Scalera’s finest performance is heard on “The Last Person On Earth.” The lyrics could be a poetic interpretation of an episode of “The Twilight Zone” and he sings with conviction, excellent enunciation and perfectly controlled falsetto. Melodically, the warm voice of Peter Agony takes the listener on a myriad of musical journeys, sometimes multiple quests in the same song. “King of Kings” and “The Spirit and The Machine” both digress in the extended coda to completely new musical ideas that starkly differ from the rest of the neatly packaged tune.

The Agony Family invited many of their friends to collaborate with them on Yourself United. Guitarist Steve Scalera creates an exciting wall of sound from the funky looping on “March of the Hypnotics” to the stellar convergence of acoustic guitar and wailing electric guitar jam on “Forward World.” One of the more unique numbers on Yourself United is the partnering of guest vocalist Tony Mowatt on “Person of Interest” with its swanky bass guitar opening and the addition of horns, saxophone and rock organ. Despite the repetitive lyrics, this quirky song is such a divergence that the results are that of endearing amusement. Soprano Robyn Lee classically sings “Lullaby of the Sirens” that envelopes the listener with a barrage of intertwining sweet melodies laced with vocal effects. “Dark” is enhanced by the excitement and edginess brought in by guest vocalist Alex Farkas. His agonizing voice is left hanging after the second verse where Scalera winds the song down into a quiet instrumental meditation. Finally after much anticipation, the high octane level of the song returns only to abruptly end.

Farkas is heard again on the title track along with guests TJ McNeill and Rocky Catanese. After a lengthy and decently performed freestyle, the song becomes a mash up of multiple musical ideas previously heard throughout Yourself United. After this barrage of creativity from The Agony Family, the sedative piano and recorder patch that close out the album concluding on an unresolved cadence leave the listener craving more.

Watching The Agony Family perform in all of their comic book glory may be a trance-like trip in and of itself but the music of Yourself United can undoubtedly stand alone as a creative wonderwork.

Review by Kelly O’Neil - ReviewYou

"Maria Mar’s Local Radar: The Agony Family & Bobby Mahoney"

First and foremost, let us embrace the force that is The Agony Family. The six-piece are from Colonia, NJ, and the minute I met them, it was an instant love connection. Back in the spring, I had the pleasure of working with them, along with various other talented acts including Kid Felix, In The Fifth, Stiff Motion and more, for the Break Contest at Bamboozle. They have formed a genre all of their own, combining all different genres of music. Some styles you may hear, in their own words, include a blend of “rock, pop, electronica, hip-hop, musical theatre, hardcore, and classical.” Their live set is completely entertaining and will keep your attention the whole time. Trust me on this, you will even “hold it” if you have to go to the bathroom. Plus, their songs and hooks are so catchy; they will be embedded in your head for hours after you leave the show. Greg, Tony, Steve, Fred, Jakub, and Shawna each bring something different to the table and you can tell by their faces and body language how much they just want to play music. The emotion of their songs comes out through their facial expressions and body movements, and it is super cool to witness. It’s also apparent in their performance that they love the songs they sing; I mean, after all, it is somewhat common sense. If you do not like what you are singing, it will come off almost staged or cheesy. Not in this case. Greg is an excellent frontman/pianist, for he understands how to work a crowd and get people who are sitting down to suddenly be dancing on stage. If you involve the audience, they will be forced to pay attention, and this is just what Greg and The Agony Family does. He is constantly moving, even when he is behind the keys. One of the many things I observed upon working with this band is that they avoid becoming a “rock and roll cliché.” What I mean by that is they do not use the standard crowd questions like, “How’s everybody doing tonight?” They make a special, personal connection with the audience with storytelling, providing background and history on their songs, and the band itself. Trust me, it makes a difference. They recently released a new song called “Autumnatic,” and it rocks, so be sure to check out their Facebook page to hear it. Other recommended tracks include “King Of Kings” and “Circles.” Check these guys out as soon as possible. - The Aquarian Weekly


"Yourself United" - Full length, September 2010.
"Earth!" - Double disc full length, November 2012



The Agony Family is a young six-piece rock band from central New Jersey. Fronted by singer/pianist and songwriter Greg Scalera, the group's powerful music is flavored with poetic lyrics, catchy hooks, and a vast array of evident genre influences including pop, electronica, hip hop, musical theatre, hardcore, and classical to create a versatile and exciting rock-rooted sound of their own. Their style is further distinguished by shred guitarist Jakub Gac, drummer Shawna Grabowski, and the creative use of additional vocals by bassist Fred Ilac, guitarist Steve Scalera, and multi-instrumentalist Tony Mowatt.

The Agony Family has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with a multitude of great bands like Socratic, House of Fools, Powerglove, The Ugly Club, The New Royalty, A Balance Between, Spots, Speak Easy, Those Mockingbirds, The Nico Blues, and more. In 2012, they won the Danimal Records/Jersey Shows Real Deal contest for a $10,000 recording contract, received a nomination for "Top Young Band" in the Asbury Music Awards, and headlined the YuuZoo/Break Stage at Day 3 of The Bamboozle Festival 2012 (headlined by Skrillex, The Foo Fighters, and Bon Jovi). In November the group will independently release their sophomore album, a double-disc full-length concept album called "Earth!" which features a myriad of guest talent including Duane Okun of Socratic, Mark Woodbridge of Speak Easy, Spots, Alex Farkas of All New Atmosphere, and several independent artists.

As artists, The Agony Family can best be described as a group of rock musicians with a variety of creative interests including photography, graphic art, cinematography, live theatre, and much more. They continually strive to find innovative new ways to blend the different kinds of art and music they love in order to provide unique, exciting experiences for their fans and the entire music community.