Nikki Sue & The Bad News
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Nikki Sue & The Bad News

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Country Folk




"Album Review: Nikki Sue & The Bad News - Nothing Gold"

Alt-country, pop-folk, outlaw rockabilly; it’s become increasingly difficult to pigeonhole bands who eschew traditional americana musical values while still working and diversifying in that chosen style. Such is the current dynamic evident in NJ based Nikki Sue & The Bad News who list influences ranging from Buddy Holly to Neko Case. What this particular powerhouse gets right, especially on their latest and greatest work Nothing Gold, is funneling different aspects from their predecessors through a prism that results in an energy and sound that is purely theirs.
From the outset, Nothing Gold establishes a diverse range through the sultry, bar room crawl of “Leave It All Behind” straight into the upswing nostalgia of “Anchored” which finds the titular lead singer Nikki Sue channeling Karen O at her most weary and lovelorn. This bleeds into the album’s most impressive, consecutive string as the start, stop shuffle of “Who Needs Enemies”, catchy chorus of “Location”, and the rolling rhythms of “Knockin’ On My Door” lend a diverse, pulsating heartbeat at the work’s central core.
The latter half of Nothing Gold finds Nikki Sue & The Bad News crafting inventive approaches and pastiche blends of different pure hearted country elements with a hint of pop-rock showcased on the two tempo “Bridge On The River”. This aesthetic continues and winds its way to the haunting closer “Spittin Lies” which swirls with all of the band’s power fading out into the dark, bleary eyed night.
“Just keep quiet don’t make a sound, no one can hear us moving around,” Nikki Sue whispers near the beginning of the record. Although it’s taken out of context, following the winning construction and impressive songwriting found on Nothing Gold, Nikki Sue & The Bad News will be hard pressed to keep up that ethos for much longer. - Speak Into My Good Eye

"Weekly Free Music – Nikki Sue & The Bad News - "Nothing Gold""

I’m just gonna say it. Nikki Sue kicks ass. There’s something very cool and attractive about a band that is fronted by a capable woman. Not just some pretty girl who thinks that she can sing, and the band goes along with it because she’s hot. No. Nikki Sue know what the hell she’s doing, and she does it very well. Their newest album, “Nothing Gold”, is their third release and undoubtedly the strongest. - Von Cloedt - Von Americana Rock Mix / Radioestes

"Review: Nikki Sue & The Bad News – “Nothing Gold”"

Since the release of their 2011 EP Anchored, Nikki Sue & The Bad News were onto something special, perhaps without even knowing it. The New Jersey-based band has been winning over listeners with their brand of Indie Rock with a generous sprinkling of Country flare. While it was an impressive debut, the audio was marred ever so slightly by its production value. Nikki Sue’s new full-length Nothing Gold finds the band moving forward by looking back, revisiting that debut as well as including a few all-new compositions.
The move is undoubtedly a risky one, especially when you take into account the fact that that EP was released only 3 years ago.Those concerns are put to rest once the music starts. This development might escape the ears of any newcomers, but all of the tracks from Anchored (as well as the new songs) have been re-recorded, mixed and mastered by guitarist Ben Hutcheson. The result is a much cleaner-sounding product. Gone is that strange echo that surrounded a lot of the early recordings. There’s another crucial element at play here that makes Nothing Gold such a vast improvement: time. In the three year span since those initial recordings, the band has matured a great deal. The new versions crackle with a new sense of urgency. Nikki’s vocals are charged with even more confidence and emotion and now there’s equal footing with the band as her voice is now clearly heard over the instruments.
While the bulk of the album has one foot in the past, the three new songs give listeners a glimpse into the band’s future. “Leave It All Behind,” which I’ve recently covered in a previous post, is one of the band’s strongest recordings to date. I love the sassy self-assurance in Nikki’s vocal delivery, which is done in such a way that never borders on being arrogance. That playful spirit continues on “Who Needs Enemies,” a jaunty little ditty that makes almost makes you forget how scathing the subject matter is. The title track reinforces my long-held belief that Nikki Sue & The Bad News’ slogan has it backwards. If anything they’re a “Country band with an Indie Rock twist.” The only difference is that this brand of Country music is far removed from the likes of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift and clearly callback to the days where Loretta Lynn and June Carter Cash ruled their airwaves.
The album’s finale “Spittin’ Lies” finds the band hitting emotional pay dirt. The choice to decrease the tempo from its original version was an inspired one, as there’s now much more meaning and emphasis behind each note. In the album’s final minutes, Nikki’s repeating of the line “look what you’ve gone and done” is as powerful as it is heartbreaking.
I had initially hoped to hear more original songs, but the improvements to that early material and the strength of the new tracks more than make up for it. - Hobsnobbery - The Blog You Liked Before It Was Cool

"New Music: Nikki Sue & The Bad News – “Leave It All Behind”"

I hope you can forgive me, dear readers. I was rather preoccupied on Friday, trudging through a difficult workday and leading a brief expedition into Brooklyn. During that time Nikki Sue & The Bad News, New Jersey’s purveyors of Viking Metal Folk/County, have seized a golden opportunity to make Fridays a little more awesome, which is something that was desperately needed in the long absence of ABC’s “TGIF” programming block.
“Leave It All Behind” is the first single released off of Nothing Gold, the upcoming follow-up to 2012's borderline addictive Lower Places. All of the necessary elements of a great Nikki Sue track are in play here. Nikki’s sassy, commanding vocals continue to impress, but the band is really put in the forefront. Ben Hutcheon makes his slick guitar-picking seem effortless while Steve Salerno and Dan Monda transform the rhythm into a bonafide toe-tapper. I don’t mean to be a “track-tease,” but I’m going to stop right here. I’d go a little further, but I’ve gotta save a little something for the review.
Nothing Gold will be available this Thursday on Nikki Sue & The Bad News’ Bandcamp site. However, as the Latin proverb so eloquently stated, “fortune favors the bold” so if you can’t wait until then you can download that track now. If you’re in the Northern New Jersey area on Friday night the band will be playing their record release show at the Clash Bar in Clifton, NJ. Coming along for the ride are Don Ryan, Band of Mountains and Farewell Luna. - Hobsnobbery - The Blog You Liked Before It Was Cool

"Feel Bad for May Compilation / Artist Summaries"

Lately all I want in my ears are female musicians, and fortunately there is now an abundance of them, Nikki Sue & The Bad News are two time Couch By Couchwest alumni this year they premiered a brand new unreleased song ‘Nothing Gold’ for us. She’s going be the new sweetheart of New Jersey and I hope she makes it big. - Popa Tunes

"Nothing Gold Review"

Nikki Sue (Nikki Ilchert) has an amazing voice and The Bad News are top-notch. The songs move effortlessly from foot-stomping rave-up to heart-breaking ballads. Stand out tracks for me are the title track, Spittin' Lies and Knockin' at My Door, but there isn't a dud in the bunch. So is it irony for Nashville-based music blog written by a former avowed Country music hater to be writing positive words about what is essentially a Country album by a New Jersey girl and her band?

Some may argue with my contention that Nothing Gold is essentially a Country album, and some may be right. A Country influence is definitely present along with rock, jazz and some more contemporary influences. Thing is, Rock wouldn't be Rock without Country, Jazz and Country have a long, complicated relationship and all of those other contemporary influences have both been influenced by and had influence over the development of "Country" music. See why I think genre labels are dumb?

Here's the bottom line, Nikki Sue and the Bad News make some awesome, fun and danceable music. Nothing Gold is an excellent jumping on point to get aboard with this talented and fast rising star. - Ear to the Ground

"JAM Music Awards Nomination"

Nikki Sue & The Bad News nominated for 2 awards:

Top New Band
Top Indie/Pop/Rock EP - JAM Music Awards

"Lower Places Album Review"

Attention Nashville, Jenny Lewis fans, Saddle Creek Records subscribers, and country-loving boys and girls of all ages: American folk rock has been found again, and this time, it’s right here in our home state.

Introducing New Jersey’s most thriving rockabilly band: Nikki Sue & The Bad News. Staying true to the NJ art and music scene, Lower Places is a wholehearted DIY construction. Nikki Ilchert and lead guitarist Ben Hutcheon mixed, recorded, and mastered their latest EP in Ben’s home studio. “It’s important to me that the audience identify with my lyrics,” Nikki admits. “A lot of my songs are on the darker side, like ‘Hell to Pay,’ but it’s not intended to depress anyone. It’s intended to do quite the opposite; I want to make my audience feel less alone.”

All six tracks that comprise this effort are irresistibly catchy. Nikki lays down each one with a gentle, stark, and smart delivery. She introduces preeminent lyrics, which are generationally applicable, as she questions the significance of places and people. In “Maps,” Ilchert evaluates the authenticity of our youth culture and our natural, or seemingly unnatural, habitats:“Oh there’s art/ it’s hung up on the wall/ Is it even art at all/ if it’s everywhere you go?” She sings triumphantly about sorrow and suggests that bad things happen to everyone, and that that’s okay. Stylistically, each song on Lower Places is congruent to one another. Each track offers different levels of jaunty cadence; the variation is slight, much like a ten degree drop in temperature, or the feelings a person endures on a long car ride – different, but of the same experience.

Since Lower Places made its debut in late March, Nikki and Ben have expanded their band and added more Jersey-bred musicians: Anthony O’Connor on the drums, Dan Maxwell on the lap steel, and Steve Salerno on the bass guitar. “It’s nice to be in a place where there are so many opportunities to play live,” Nikki remarks, “and people who are willing to listen, and other artists to bounce ideas off of and be inspired by.”

Lower Places is nostalgia in its finest form. Its overt thematic connectivity to oneness pays homage to life’s smaller moments, which in turn can make a vacant heart feel whole again. It’s harmony’s victory over sadness, and it’s the best bad news you’ll ever hear. - Lamplighter NJ Magazine

"Band of the Week"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Band of the "Week": Year 2, Month 5, Number 2

Yes, yes, I've been neglectful of naming Bands of the, but I hope you'll forgive me now that you realize I've been working on the Volume 1 compilation.

I've also been neglectful when it comes to the 2nd Band of the Week for April - Nikki Sue & the Bad News. They've made our shuffle a couple of times (at least once if not twice), and I've been really digging the sound. So, let's right the wrong and get to it.

Nikki Sue & the Bad News are a New Jersey Indie/Alt-Country/Americana band, and man do they bring it. On their latest release Lower Places, they bring the Twang more-so than on last year's Anchored. Don't get me wrong both sets bring the rock and the twang along with Nikki Sue's unique and wonderful voice. Anchored is Free from the band's Bandcamp site. Lower Places is available for you to Name your price. So grab Anchored for free and then drop a fair price for Lower Places - 'kay?

This music to me is like a long, lazy drive down a gravel road on a perfect summer day. Like their fellow, New Jerseyians (ites?)The Amboys Nikki Sue and company are showing us in Nashville what real country is all about. Kudos from Music City to Jersey.
- Ear To The Ground Blog

"Brick City Bios: Nikki Sue & The Bad News"

New Life is breathed into the Country Rock genre with Nikki Sue & The Bad News. Jonathan Buscema, Ben Hutcheon (The Bad News) and, of course, Nikki Sue are relative newcomers to the Jersey City/NYC scene, but have stamped out a solid place of their own over the last year. Nikki’s one of a kind vocals and guitar lending rhythm to Ben’s lead guitar blended with Jon’s stick work are just the sort of thing to sit back and drink sweet tea to (spiked with whiskey, obviously). It’s Dolly Parton meets Karen O with Patti Smith’s cynical smile thrown in for seasoning. Check out their EP Anchored on Bandcamp - Brick City

"Nikki Sue & The Bad News at The Lamp Post"

After last night (June 2) at the Lamp Post I can now say with impunity that the
Jersey City rock scene is undergoing a renaissance. Just a couple of
years ago it was a struggle to find a spot to see live bands in town.
This week I was able to make it out to three shows and I even missed a
show do to work. Last night's show was the cream of the crop, with Nikki
Sue & the Bad News, Crazy & the Brains, They Live, and Theodore Grimm.
The place was packed for most of the night.
Nikki Sue & the Bad News lead off the night. A Country rock quartet from
the heights, They combine the the vocal styling of some of the 1950's
great country female singers with a tangy guitar and steady bass &
drums. Tonight Nikki Sue said goodbye to one member of the Bad News and
hello to a new member. Bassist Mike Petzinger is tagging out and New
Drummer, Jonathan Buscema is tagging in. Nikki Sue (vox/guitar) and Ben
Hutcheon (Guitar) remain in the ring. - Rocker Tycoon

"Nikki Sue & The Bad News and AJ Philips at Lucky 7 Tavern"

Nikki Sue & The Bad News are no strangers to Jersey City. This four piece country rock ensemble have played at Lucky 7's before and are starting to make the circuit in town. Based in Jersey City, they’ve been recording a new LP, but made time to come out for some whiskey and guitar. Nikki (Sue) Ilchert (vox, guitar) Ben Hutcheon (guitar) Mike Petzinger (bass) Ian Moran (drums) make up the Bad News. Frankly, I have to say though, they all seem like nice cats, affable fellows. Maybe calling them the Bad News is a bit off, but I suppose that “Nikki Sue & the Bunch of Relaxed and Cool Dudes” is a bit long on the billing. - Ghost Train PR

"Nikki Sue & The Bad News w/ Black Out Stereo @ Lucky 7s"

Nikki Sue & the Bad News is Nikki Ilchert (Guitar, Vox) , Ben Hutcheon (Bass), Mark Pugliese (Drums), Mike Petzinger (Guitar). Think a punkier Patsy Cline. There’s a ton of potential for these newcomers… Alt Country rock is on a huge resurgence and my question is could Nikki Sue step up to filling the crater that was left in the wake of losing Anyday Parade? Only time will tell, but be on the look out they are currently recording and are due to debut material soon! - Zachary Adam Clark


Demo - Nikki Sue, acoustic - March 2010
Anchored EP- Nikki Sue & The Bad News - May 2011
Lower Places EP - Nikki Sue & The Bad News - March 2012
Nothing Gold - Nikki Sue & The Bad News - May 2013



Nikki Sue & The Bad News are a female fronted indie rock powerhouse with a bit of a vintage twist. Their range of influences is wide and varied: from Buddy Holly to Johnny Cash to Billie Holiday to Neko Case. Setting their sound apart, Nikki Sue & The Bad News focus on raw emotional (even at time confessional) lyrics and intense dynamics, twangy guitars, jazzy bass lines, and a foot tapping rhythm section. Having lived all over the world but definitively ending up as New Jersey's sweetheart, Nikki Sue

Nikki Sue currently plays both acoustic and with her full band, Nikki Sue & The Bad News, all over the Northeastern corridor with frequency and enthusiasm. Nikki Sue began playing guitar in an all-female punk rock band, after which she then moved on to a play various instruments in indie rock bands. Briefly after stints in many bands and earning a college degree which she has no use for, Nikki Sue pushed it all aside to live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. While on a wild journey on the other side of the pond, she started intricately crafting folky songs and found her destined place as a vocalist for the first time in her musical career, however, she still needed convincing because the thought of being in the spotlight made her weak in the knees (in a bad way). After returning back to the US and showing her closest friends and confidants what she had been working on, she was given the push she needed to peruse this course further. Long time friend Tim Lastfogel talked the apprehensive Ms. Nikki Sue into recording a quick acoustic demo, completed in one afternoon in a walk-in closet and distributed it around the local scene. Before long, floods of emails and calls came in requesting performances from this punk-turned-country firecracker.

Since then Nikki Sue has played everywhere and anywhere from basements, to multi-day festivals and conferences, to country BBQ hoe-downs, to record stores, to quirky bars, to rooftops, to blues roadhouses, to wild biker bars, to piers overlooking NYC, to fundraisers and charity events, to art shows.... and so on! Everyone in the band brings their own style and influence to the table to create a genre defying sound all their own while simultaneously bonding over their extreme love for music and obsession with sharing it with the world.

Nikki Sue & The Bad News have just self-released their debut full length Nothing Gold in May of 2013. The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and most other major outlets as a digital download. It is also available on for a name your own price digital download. Stream or download their albums here!:

The band has a video for the song Lower Places off of the EP of the same name which is available via You Tube for everyone's viewing pleasure staring Nick DiDomenico, star of the web series, The King of Fantasy Football. You can watch the video here!: