New Jersey Indie Rock Band Fairmont Exposes Their “Paper Heart” (Track Premiere) Fairmont
Label: Mint 400 Records
Reviewed by Sam Lowry

Fairmont, the North New Jersey Indie Rock band, has carved an impressive two-decade journey, leaving their mark on the NJ indie rock scene with twelve albums, showcasing eclectic tastes, DIY ethos, and their latest opus, ‘Recluse Jamboree,’ featuring a constellation of vocal talents, starting with the light-hearted yet cautionary first single “Paper Heart.”

In the ever-evolving landscape of indie rock, few bands can claim a steadfast journey like North New Jersey's very own Fairmont. With a tenacity that knows no bounds, they've carved their path in the music realm, led by the creative genius of Neil Sabatino (lead guitar & vocals) and his long-time partner-in-crime, Christian Kisala (keyboards & drums). Together, they've navigated the musical tides for an impressive two decades, leaving their mark on the NJ indie rock scene.

From their inception in 2001, Fairmont has been a force to be reckoned with, unleashing a staggering twelve full-length albums along with a host of EPs and compilation tracks that span genres from punky emo & indie folk to indie pop & indie rock, showcasing their eclectic tastes and musical prowess. Their artistry has been recognized on multiple occasions, with charting success on CMJ & NACC, and their last offering, 'Liminal Spaces,' firmly planted on the NACC charts for a remarkable four consecutive weeks. Not to mention, their soundscape found a place in the television world with sync licenses on Hulu shows like 'Good Trouble' & 'Single Drunk Female'.

What sets Fairmont apart from the crowd is their unwavering commitment to the DIY ethos. Embodying the true spirit of independence, they not only own and operate their own label, Mint 400 Records, but also take on the roles of engineers, mixers, and producers, all within the confines of their humble basement studio. Furthermore, their creative vision extends to crafting most of their album art in-house. This genuine dedication and passion for their craft has been evident throughout their musical odyssey, as they remain authentic to their artistic calling. Now, on their latest opus, 'Recluse Jamboree,' they continue to weave together the threads of their collective experiences into a sonic tapestry that's nothing short of remarkable.

This time around, Fairmont received an impressive array of helping hands. They called upon a constellation of vocal talents to contribute to this collection of seven songs, clocking in at a succinct yet impactful 27 minutes. The voices of Mike Chick (Yawn Mower), Mai Diaz Langou (Swiims), Renee Maskin, Reese Van Riper, Christina Ward and El Valerie all add unique flavors that elevate the record to new heights.

The first single, "Paper Heart," captures a light-hearted feel reminiscent of The Shins, but its lyrics delve into darker themes. According to Sabatino, the track serves as his cautionary tale about the music industry and its soul-crushing nature. Lines like "I have tried and I have failed again, I lied and I got caught and then, I died and I am buried, no I lied I’m just ordinary" shed light on the hoops and ploys musicians must endure to gain attention. This might include resorting to being "funny and cute" on TikTok or adopting a dramatic and psychotic persona on Instagram, where the focus often shifts away from the music itself.

Sabatino expresses his sentiments in the chorus, "It rips my heart in two, I’m picking up the pieces, I’m getting the glue," indicating the relentless nature of the music industry and how artists who succeed become almost gluttons for punishment. Albums that artists spend years crafting and pouring their souls into may only receive attention for a few weeks, if not less. This reality can feel isolating for artists, especially as they age and their themes may not resonate with a broader audience compared to younger musicians who tackle more universal topics like teenage romance. Despite the challenges, Sabatino's albums always serve as catharsis he says.

While Sabatino yearns for well-deserved attention, he has come to accept that his records may only connect with a select few. He finds solace in knowing that if even one person somewhere discovers a song in their catalog that holds personal meaning or makes them feel understood, it was all worth it.

Today Rebel Noise is proud to present “Paper Heart” by Fairmont, the first single from their November 2023 album ‘Recluse Jamboree’:


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