Hailing from the home of Einstein's brain, Princeton NJ, The Paper Jets have split the powerpop atom and created a fusion of guitar-heavy rock and infectious grooves garnering critical acclaim from NJ centric music publications. Following up their 2014 full length album We Are All Strange Friends, which you can stream on Spotify and you can purchase a CD here and supporting tour, Almost Nine EP is slated for release on May 26, 2015. They've shared the second tasty tidbit “Of an Extrovert,” a live concert favorite appearing in recorded form for the first time ever.
It's rare to get an artist bio these days, let alone so extensive and interesting so I'll share the whole thing for you to read as you listen to “Of an Extrovert,” below.
Shortly after their Summer 2014 tour, The Paper Jets reconvened to begin work on the Almost Nine EP. Consisting of two previously unrecorded live-concert staples – “Elizabeth Distressed” and “Of an Extrovert” – along with the freshly written “Brand New Shoes” and the Tim Ryan cover “Jo Don’t Let Me” (which features harmonies from Ryan taken from an old demo of the song), the record is already receiving praise from critics, with Infectious Magazine premiering its first single, “Elizabeth Distressed,” and The Sunday Experience calling the song “ridiculously infectious.” During the recording process, the band also reconnected with Chorba and FDR Label, who signed the band to their first record deal after hearing the EP’s working demos.
The Paper Jets are here to prove that guitar-based powerpop is alive and well in a world ruled by electronics and auto-tune. Consisting of Brian E. (lead vocals/guitar), Scottie Maloney (bass), and Frank Lettieri Jr. (drums/vocals), the band has synthesized the sounds of musical forebears Cheap Trick, Big Star, Ben Folds, Spoon, and Ted Leo & The Pharmacists to create a new, modern take on a genre that is well overdue for a revival.
Brian and Frank continued working together in a variety of configurations before uniting with Scottie and then-guitarist Bill Lambusta to form The Paper Jets in 2008. They soon recorded their debut mini-LP, Face Forward, and self-released it in June 2009. Recorded in a single weekend, the project featured songwriting contributions from all four members, and the ensuing tour took them further beyond their hometown to perform at the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, and WE Fest in Wilmington, NC.
Following the tour, the group briefly grew to a five-piece with the addition of Kristen Leu on keyboards and backing vocals. Teaming with James Parker of Riverview Studios in Bordentown, NJ, and producer Scott Kammerer, the band captured this lineup in action on the concert DVD Bored in Town, which featured performances of many fan-favorite tracks from Face Forward as well as several songs that have yet to see the light of day on a Paper Jets studio album. The DVD was eventually released in November 2011 after the band had solidified into its current power trio roster following the departures of Lambusta and Leu. It was packaged with the odds-and-sods album Sorta Bored, which collected five tracks from Brian and Frank’s original senior thesis sessions as well as a variety of other recordings from their time together both before and after the formation of The Paper Jets.
The band celebrated the DVD’s release with a high-energy performance at New York City’s The Bitter End, then dove in to begin work on their debut full-length album, We Are All Strange Friends. After recording his guitar parts in his Hopewell, NJ, home, Brian brought in long-time friend Tim Ryan to play keyboard and synthesizer on the record. Recording then moved to MOSHI Productions in Bordentown, NJ, where Frank recorded his drum parts while Hurricane Irene raged outside, eventually flooding the studio. Tragically, Ryan was killed in an automobile accident shortly after finishing his parts, and the completed record is dedicated to his memory.
Prior to the album’s release, the band’s home state of New Jersey was dealt a harsh blow when Hurricane Sandy decimated the Jersey Shore. In an effort to contribute to their home state’s recovery, the band quickly released “It’s Only Talk” as a benefit single with all profits going to the American Red Cross. Later, they were given the opportunity to do even more after forging a strong relationship with Mick Chorba, owner of NJ-based indie FDR Label and member of bands The Successful Failures and Dipsomaniacs. After watching The Paper Jets perform their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” live, Chorba asked them to record a studio version for FDR’s compilation album My Hometown: A Tribute to NJ, with all profits going to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. The group quickly convened at Frank’s house to fully self-record, self-produce, and self-master the track, which features drums recorded outdoors on Frank’s patio. The final result was included on the compilation, and the good karma would come back into play shortly thereafter.
In the lead-up to We Are All Strange Friends’ release, the band returned to the road, performing at a variety of college campuses; taking the stage at iconic Asbury Park, NJ, venue The Stone Pony; and touring the Midwest, highlighted by a performance at The Abbey Pub in Chicago. They also established a strong presence in Philadelphia, performing Strange Friends single “Set of Rules” live on-air at Philly alternative rock radio station Radio 104.5, earning airplay for subsequent single “Cooking Up an Accident” on the station’s New Music Show, and being named one of Philadelphia’s Top 25 Local Bands in 2014. During this time, the band also performed at World Café Live and Xfinity Live in Philadelphia, Sullivan Hall and Tammany Hall in New York City, and established a home base at Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope, PA, where they are known for their raucous homecoming shows that often end with the crowd mobbing the stage.
We Are All Strange Friends was officially released on January 28th, 2014, to critical acclaim from outlets such as The Aquarian Weekly, which called it “a terrifically entertaining record,” and Jersey Beat, which called it “damn good stuff” and included it on their Top NJ Releases of 2013 list. (A year early, but we’ll take it!) The band supported the record with a summer tour of the South that hit venues in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. They also recorded and released an official music video for “Set of Rules,” which was directed by Frank and shot at Hill Theatre Studios in Paulsboro, NJ. The clip, influenced strongly by underrated film Josie and the Pussycats, features the return of Invisible Solid bass player Drew Novelli as fictional TV pitchman Jimmy Soppressata, not to mention the first onscreen appearance of Brian’s pet birds.