New Faces NJ: Owel

Local band issues debut album, targets Jersey audience.

Owel Album Cover
Courtesy of Big Picture Media.

Alternative rock band Owel is taking flight with five shows around New York and New Jersey in the wake of their debut album, released this week. Reminiscent of recent Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins and experimental Icelandic artist Sigur Ros, New Jersey-based Owel layers ethereal vocals with cellos, violins, glockenspiels and conventional drum and bass.

Though they issued an EP, I’ve Seen Colors, in 2012, their new self-released and self-titled album is the first with their current lineup. “This being our first full-length record, it almost felt like the first day at a new school. We felt a great freedom to explore different sounds and songs,” says lead vocalist Jay Sakong, a native of Woodbridge.

Drummer Ryan Vargas of Fords, violinist/keyboardist Jane Park, bassist Pat McGee, and Wall Township guitarist Seamus O’Connor (who studied at the Institute of Audio Research in New York with Sakong) round out the quintet. Vargas, O’Connor and Sakong performed previously under the band name Old Nick. With the addition of Holmdel natives Park and McGee for some extra strings they became Owel.

The group will be performing several shows in New Jersey this spring, including April stops at popular venues Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park and Maxwell’s in Hoboken, followed by shows in Kenilworth in early May and June. Sakong and the rest of the group know that becoming a contender for the national stage first starts with a loyal fan base from their home state. “After all, you only get one chance at a first impression.”

4/19: Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park
4/20: Court Tavern, New Brunswick
4/21: Arlene’s Grocery, NYC
5/3: 10th Street Live, Kenilworth
6/2: 10th Street Live

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