The New Lamplighter: Music

Covering NJ’s music scene has been a staple for Lamplighter since the beginning, and we love that the scene is vibrant and always changing. Whether you’ve been following us for a while or you only just found us, we’d love for you to get to know our approach to keeping up with NJ music.

Meet our Music Editor

Mike King | Music EditorMike King joined Lamplighter in the spring of 2012 as Music Editor. He graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in English Writing. He enjoys singing for My Eyes Fall Victim and the occasional foray into independent filmmaking. Feel free to contact Mike with any new press releases, new music, and interesting information about your band by e-mailing Bands are sometimes curious why Mike hasn’t e-mailed them back. The truth? He spends a lot of time sorting through e-mails from bands, PR companies, show promoters, and countless others thinking their e-mail to him is as important as yours. The short answer is: If we’re going to write about you, he’ll most likely let you know. Every message we receive is important to us, but we simply can’t review everyone with the love and attention they deserve. Bands and artists from outside of NJ (which means NYC too) be warned…you’re not really our thing. If you’re a NJ band claiming to be from Brooklyn, now would be a great time to reclaim your true roots.

Features & Reviews

Celestial Bodies | Photograph by Jesse Murch

Ruined Machines | by Jesse Murch

We run two types of articles regarding music on Lamplighter: features and reviews. When we’re writing feature articles, we love to cover the full spectrum of the scene. From bands engaged in conceptual projects, to grassroots non-profits supporting young artists, to people rebuilding the scene’s beloved businesses, our mission is not to simply acknowledge that people are making music…that’s obvious enough. We want to show you that there are ends to the music scene that engage the community and the art in exciting ways. We also want to write openly and honestly. Take for example Mike King’s article “Why You Should Be Upset Trees Above Mandalay Is No Longer Making Music“. It’s not an easy or comfortable piece to read. But because we at Lamplighter are active members of the musical landscape we write about, know that our opinions aren’t as overbearing gatekeepers but as friends singing along in the pit.

Our reviews are generally quick and clean (though sometimes we get deliciously wordy), getting right to the essence of the music. The truth is (as explained above) we get a lot of music sent to us, so it’s rare that we’ll print a negative review. Oftentimes these reviews are sketches of the music as much as they are critical–we don’t want to turn you off to these artists, but draw you in. Once we tweak our system a bit, we’ll be adding ratings too! We’re hoping this will clue you in more quickly to the music we’ve really enjoyed. Since we’ve updated the website, we’ve added streaming music players at the end of our reviews. Two great examples are our recent reviews of Trees Above Mandalay and By Surprise.


We are opening up a project that has, for many months now, been in-process behind closed doors and tight lips. Lamplighter will be starting the first ever (as far as we can find!) NJ-exclusive music chart. In collaboration with local radio stations, we will be tracking the real on-air radio plays of music from artists all over the state. In an effort to make sure the pool of music is broad, deep, and accessible, we will also act as a distributor for local musicians to these stations. This will ensure every station has access to the same new releases, the same persistent library of music, and information on bands from the entire state, rather than have each station work to seek out these artists on their own.

NJ’s Top Artists: September 2013
Artist Song Album
This Could Be
Your Band Your Song Your Album

This entire project is completely FREE to any musicians or radio stations interested in participating. Lamplighter’s goal here is truly not to profit, but to promote the local music scene by dramatically expanding its audience. We think it’s not only important but beneficial to NJ’s radio stations to invest in the state’s musicians–Lamplighter aims to make this unbelievably easy. We’ll be releasing much more detailed information about this in the coming weeks, but any musicians interested in getting involved right away can e-mail our Charting Director, Mike Castellucci, at for more information.

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