News Column

A Bergen Band Hits New Heights

May 28, 2013



Brian Sella had no grand ambitions of pursuing a music career when he and fellow Woodcliff Lake native Mat Uychich formed The Front Bottoms in 2008.

"It was never a do-or-die situation," said Sella, the band's singer-guitarist, who graduated from Pascack Hills High School in 2006 (drummer Uychich graduated in 2008). "It was more a way for me to vent my feelings. I never thought of it going any further."

Fast-forward to May 2013. Last week The Front Bottoms released its stellar second album, "Talon of the Hawk." This week the indie rock and punk band begins a spring-summer tour with two sold-out shows at Maxwell's in Hoboken.

"Now, Mat and I are really proud to say that we've taken this to a professional level," said Sella, 24. "I'm still pinching myself. I love it and I'm very appreciative."

The band's sophomore disc, "Talon of the Hawk," features the quirky mix of guitars, horns and synthesizers topped by Sella's witty, stream-of-consciousness lyrics found on the band's 2011 self- titled debut. But "Talon of the Hawk" is also a huge leap forward for The Front Bottoms, a sonically superior and more fully realized effort compared with the band's excellent yet sprawling first disc.

"We've developed naturally. In terms of songwriting Mat and I started thinking more about how people were going to hear the songs more than just what we wanted to sound like," Sella said. "We also worked with a producer for the first time. We definitely stepped up the recording process."

Infectious standout tracks include "Twin Mattress," "I Swear to God the Devil Made Me Do It" and "Lone Star," the latter a heartfelt and unnerving take on the feelings of a young couple following an abortion. It is easily Sella's most direct and powerful song. "It is a bit of a heavier vibe for us," Sella said of "Lone Star." "It's more serious than most of our songs, though it's not a personal story."

In addition to Sella and Uychich, both of whom now live in Saddle Brook, The Front Bottoms includes bassist Tom Warren and keyboardist- trumpeter-guitarist Ciaran O'Donnel.

The band cut its chops playing numerous backyard, basement and dorm parties and VFW and American Legion Halls around North Jersey. For Christmas 2007, Sella's mother, Pat, gave her son three hours of recording time at a local studio. Sella and Uychich cut 12 tracks in their first studio experience. They continued writing and recording and began making their own CDs, eventually catching the attention of Bar/None Records, which released the band's first album.

Sella said he hopes that "Talon of the Hawk" will propel the band to a new level of success. "We want to let the music speak for itself and stay as busy as possible," he said. "I still can't believe it's gotten this far."



WHO: The Front Bottoms.

WHAT: Acoustic and electric indie rock and punk.

IN TOWN: 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Maxwell's, 1039 Washington St., Hoboken. Both shows sold out.

ALSO PERFORMING: 7 p.m. July 12, Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th St., Manhattan; 212-353-1600 $17.


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