The neithernors
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The neithernors

Union City, NJ | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Union City, NJ | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Rock Indie


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



"'Wonders'-ful musician unleashes his punk side at Jersey City show"

By Jim Testa
For The Jersey Journal

Local music fans know Malcolm Marsden from the Sensational Country Blues Wonders and the Bottomless Mimosas, two popular acts that entertain with a mix of mostly covers and a few originals, focusing on old-timey country-western and bluesy lounge music.

Marsden will unveil another side of his musical personality on Friday, Jan. 25, when he takes the stage at Jersey City's FM with the Neithernors, a band that specifically showcases his songwriting. It's neither country nor lounge, but a style that Marsden describes as "a two-guitar celebration of noise and nerve" celebrating the sounds of Hoboken and the Lower East Side in the edgy early '80s.

"It sounds to me like I picked up where I left off when I stopped playing music back in the '80s," Marsden said. "Back then, I was pursuing on a fairly serious basis, and those ideas just stick with you, even though time has passed."

Also on Friday, the Neithernors will release their debut album, "Pleasant Valley Fun House," which will be available for download on their Bandcamp page.

"We wrote and rehearsed these songs in a rented house on Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange," Marsden said, "and we had a lot of fun doing it, so the name seemed appropriate."

Marsden's compatriots in the Neithernors include Carrie Cantor on guitar and vocals, Richard Pasquini on vocals and bass, and Brett Vallone on drums, all veterans of the local band scene.

"I was talking to my friend Tom Lucas, who recorded us, and he said that we sound like the music from the Lower East Side made by smart people," Marsden said. "It's aggressive and it's loud."

Marsden has a long history of performing in New Jersey, Manhattan, and Connecticut, but his origins are quiet different.

"I'm an immigrant; my parents were from the U.K.," Marsden said. "I was born in Montreal and we moved around a lot when I was young, until we settled in Montville, New Jersey."

By high school, Marsden was playing in local bands.

"I dropped in and out of college a few times," he said, and found himself in New Haven during the heyday of the punk movement in the late '70s. "I had an electric guitar and I had been playing in bars and such but I hadn't really played in a band, when I saw an ad in the paper one day. It was a strange ad. It was 1978, and the ad said, 'Avant garde, you swine! Do you like the Beach Boys or the Dead Boys? The Dead Boys or Pere Ubu? Call this number.'"

Marsden had heard of the Dead Boys, who had developed a following at CBGB, although he had no idea who Cleveland avant-punks Pere Ubu were.

"But I called the number, and it turned out to be a guy named Craig Bell," he said. "He had moved to New Haven from Cleveland, and he had been the bass player in Rocket From The Tombs, and was starting his own band.

"Craig said, 'Go home and write some songs, we're going to play all originals and we're going to make our own record,' and I looked at him and said, 'Can you do that?' Remember, this was 1978. And Craig just said, 'Hell yeah,' and he played me all this stuff that bands were putting out on their own labels in Cleveland, and it just blew my mind."

That band, called Saucers, recruited a young keyboard player named Malcolm Doak, who would go on to play with Lou Reed.

"He was incredible. He was customizing keyboards for Rick Wakeman at 18 years old, and later worked with Lou Reed," Marsden said.

Other Saucer members included Mark Mulcahy, who later founded Miracle Legion, and Seth Tiven, who went on to form Dumptruck.

"I'm the underachiever of the group," Marsden laughed. "But that was an amazing experience. Six months after we started the band, we were playing at CBGB's and Max's Kansas City. Cheetah Chrome came to town and we opened for him, and we opened for John Cale (of the Velvet Underground). It was a life-changing experience and, of course, I was hooked. I decided I wanted to be in the music business and I moved to New York in 1980."

But life had other ideas, and a series of personal challenges forced Marsden to abandon music for decades.

"It was funny, I got the itch to play out again and I started going to open mics and getting back into it, living in Maplewood and South Orange, and suddenly the old Hoboken scene started coming out to me," he said. "I remember seeing Glenn Mercer of the Feelies play in Montclair and thought, 'Wow, this is awesome.' I lived in Paterson as a kid and, of course, I had heard of the Feelies and I knew there was something going on in nearby Haledon, but I was too shy to do anything about it. And now all these years later, there he was. It's a small world and it was pretty cool. Here we all were reigniting our careers after our kids had grown up."

At that point, Marsden had sold his family business and he needed something to do, so he started exploring the open mic scene, first in Montclair and then in Jersey City and Hoboken.

"It was a way to get out and meet people in an unconventional way," he said.

And that's how he met Gary Van Miert.

"I was at an open mic at Dorian's Red Hand in Manhattan and Gary showed up with a guitar player, and I thought, 'These guys are pretty good,'" Marsden said. "And then the next time I saw Gary, his guitar player wasn't there because he had quit, and I thought, 'Gary's better without that guy.' So I walked up to him and said I liked what he was doing, and we had a conversation where we talked about how much we both liked Sister Rosetta Tharpe."

A bond quickly formed, and the Sensational Country Blues Wonders followed.

"We didn't even practice, we just took our gear and our guitars and went to an open mic and started playing these songs we both knew," Marsden said. "It was electric, and so much fun. To this day, I don't think we've ever practiced in the last six years. It's just second nature when we play together."

If you go ...

The Neithernors will perform at FM Bar & Lounge, 340 Third St., Jersey City, on Friday, Jan. 25, with the Lili Vakili Band, Quiz Show and The Schwam. Showtime is 8 p.m.; admission is $8. - Jersey Journal


Pleasant Valley Fun House - released Jan 2019


Feeling a bit camera shy


Malcolm Marsden made music with legends of the Cleveland/Boston/New Haven CT indie scenes of the 1970s and 80s, then built The neithernors in the spirit of independence that drew him there in the first place. Even so, The neithernors' sound is also an echo of the Lower East Side and Hoboken, 2-guitar celebration of noise and nerve.

The 6 songs on "Pleasant Valley Fun House" celebrate melody, rock rhythm and rich guitar textures, each with familiar but varied resonance, all still grandly original. "Annecy" might have been a lost Kevin Ayers song, while "Y Say Eye" is straight out of the garage.

The neithernors will perform songs from the EP along with newer original music at FM Bar, Jersey City on Friday January 25 2019, to celebrate the release of "Pleasant Valley Fun House". Also on the bill will be Quiz Show, The Schwam and Lily Vakili Band.

Band Members