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The Paper Jets play indie rock that won’t sit still. Driving punk tunes crash into horn-inflected beach parties, breezy guitar-pop tracks take hard left turns into synth-rock jams, and insular ballads slow-burn into full-throated rock anthems. It's the kind of music that should give listeners whiplash but doesn't. And that's because, at the heart of it all, The Paper Jets write sturdy pop songs. They just put them through the ringer afterward to see how strong they really are.
That approach — inspired by the philosophy of Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy in the film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart — has led the Asbury Park, NJ-based band to a career peak with their second full-length album, Everyday Forever, out December 7, 2018. Written, produced, recorded, and mixed by the band themselves with mastering by Rodney Mills (Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Beastie Boys), the album combines the punkish alt-rock of early Weezer with the anthemic power and ambitious songwriting of The Who, the pop sensibility and giant hooks of The Beach Boys, and the hard-rock guitar heroics of Van Halen.
Since the release of their 2014 album We Are All Strange Friends and 2015 EP Almost Nine, The Paper Jets’ founding members Brian Erickson (lead vocals/guitar) and Frank Lettieri Jr. (drums) have perfected their musical alchemy with new additions Michael James Virok (lead guitar) and Scott Austin Miller (bass/vocals), resulting in songs that push the group’s early powerpop sound in exciting new directions. Lead single ͞Charlie It Can’t Be Done͟—inspired by legendary comedian Bill Hicks’ riff on Elvis Presley’s scarves and water͟ guy, Charlie Hodge — is an epic rocker that gradually builds over three distinct sections. C.C. It’s Not Me͟ and Say I Can͟ both plow forward with vocal and lead-guitar hooks battling each other for supremacy, and ͞My Gemini Heart͟ ends the record with a poignant slow-burn that calls back to the album’s highest moments. With songs like these, it’s no wonder The Paper Jets have become a fixture of the Asbury Park music scene. Their music has been featured on local compilations such as the Asbury Park Summer Sampler, 24 Hour Songwriting Challenge, and My Hometown: A Tribute to NJ, while their powerful live shows have netted them three straight Asbury Music Awards nominations for Best Alternative Rock Band. In addition, lead singer Brian Erickson co-hosts the popular music podcast The Great Albums— which has been downloaded over 3 million times and reached #1 on iTunes’ Top Music Podcasts chart — and the live YouTube TV show One More with Brian Erickson, featuring interviews with local musicians and live performances. Erickson also hosts and curates the monthly New Hope Takeover live concert series at historic venue John & Peter’s in New Hope, PA.