Usually, when you think of a punk band, the terms “sticky” and “gooey” aren’t the first that come to mind. But that’s how Jess Kenny, lead singer and “weirdo alien hippie” of the Nectars describes her band and their frenzied, hook-laden, take-no-prisoners sound.
“We’re wild, loud, and different,” Kenny says. She and the rest of the Nectars—Mike Baron, guitar; Mike Montalbano, drums; and Jon Paul (JP), bass—are frenetic, full of energy, and representative of a consummately DIY ethos. They’re especially known for their live shows—wild fits of unadulterated fun, a burst of unfettered passion and intensity where they seem to just about everything they can to bring the whole damn house down.
“We love to play live,” says Kenny. “Even when we record, we all go in a room together and track the whole thing live. We are a real band; we really play our instruments.”
And she’s right: Kenny and company don’t use backing tracks; they’re not overly concerned with studio production; they just want to put on a kick-ass live show—because that’s how they earn their fans.
“We just wanna be really relatable,” she says, speaking about the love they have for their fans. “We want our fans to be our friends. We want to connect. If just one person can listen to our album and connect with it, then we’ve done our jobs.”
And each live show, each fan won, is the culmination of years’ worth of work. Since forming in Bergen County, New Jersey, the Nectars have toiled nonstop: writing and recording at a feverish pace, and playing storied New York City venues, like the Bowery Electric, Mercury Lounge, and the Delancey. For two long years, they’ve tracked songs at various studios throughout New York and New Jersey, assembling Sci-Fi Television, a body of work encompassing their full career as a band. The album, as Kenny puts it, is “a collection of stories that represent our lives individually, and as a band, and what we’ve been through in our 20s.”
“This is our first real release,” says Kenny. “No two songs sound the same. Some songs are short and fast, which represents the punk aspect [of our sound]. In some of the tracks, the music is loud and aggressive and the vocals are airy and light. It’s just a combination of all different things.” The album’s three lead singles—the sassy, in-your-face “I Want It,” the poppy, dancy “We Will Run,” and the manic-but-groovy “Heaven”—are just a taste of the Nectars’ sound, and are guaranteed to reel in budding fans.
With the diversity of their sound, the energy of their live show, their advocacy of equality and positivity, and their DIY ethos, the Nectars hit you like a force of nature. They’ll knock you on your ass, pick you up, and gregariously ask what you thought of their set.
“We feel like we’re where we’re supposed to be right now,” says Jess Kenny. With Sci-Fi Television freshly released, the Nectars certainly seem to know where they stand—and from there, the future looks bright.