It would be fair to say that most unsigned musicians aspire to be musicians full-time. Jack Bellomy is well aware that until that point, it’s time to grind. When the 25-year-old isn’t whipping up breakfasts at Eatzi’s on University, he’s probably working on that next step. For him, it takes the form of Black Market Garden, his DIY punk project that just released its debut EP.
Fun Songs comes not long after “Fly on the Wall,” Black Market Garden’s debut single. Like everything the band does, Bellomy said the new material is “what the times call for.”
What that means, he said, is that “the music has a lot to do with trying to find something that people can connect over and enjoy themselves in a very visceral way.”
Like every other musician, Bellomy did a lot of thinking during the pandemic that kept him and the rest of the music world sidelined until only recently.
“The best attitude is to be vigilant, as far as music goes at this moment,” he said. “I think we have an incredibly hungry audience, and they’re getting the best possible outcome from this pandemic, all of the artists who have made it through and have been working quietly in the shadows for months on end honing their craft. On top of that, we have a blossoming of new creators.”
Black Market Garden’s most recent local show was a few weeks ago at Tulips FTW on the Near Southside.
“We had been playing live for years before the pandemic hit, and it was really difficult for us to make new friends outside of our loyal cult following,” Bellomy said. “Now that we’re back in the saddle, we are seeing support pour in from all directions, and our last three shows have all been some of the most successful events we’ve been privileged to take part in.”
Some of the songs on the EP are 10 years old, others about three.
“We took our time with it,” Bellomy said, “and we wanted to make sure that all of these songs serve the same purpose, which really wasn’t to indoctrinate but to reconsider and think it over again, or if thinking twice wasn’t enough, feel free to think three times. We want to make music you can engage with on an emotional level and serves that purpose in your own life.”
The EP was recorded at Green Audio (Keegan McInroe, Sally Majestic, How’s My Driving) with Ben Napier and Austin Lyons. Bellomy said that while he’s the main songwriter, the “band” is more like a collective with current and former members playing their parts on the record. The EP features Adrien Lewis on bass, Dylan Mosley on guitar, Alexis Nichole on drums, and Bellomy on guitar and vocals. Oliver Martinez substituted for Mosley at the group’s Tulips show and is now a current member. Bellomy also wants to give credit to Luis Moreno and Justin King of the Arlington jam band Cherry Mantis who formed Black Market Garden’s original rhythm section.
“They should get their credit for their work getting this thing started,” he said. “Great dudes, definitely professional musicians.”
The six tracks were mastered by Gary Long of Nomad Recordings (Nice Brothers, Matt Iddings, The Matt Johnson Band) in Dallas.
Black Market Garden, Bellomy said, is all about inspiring lives. “Whoever wants to play music should feel empowered and enabled by what sounds make them feel good.”
And Fun Songs definitely does that. On “Fly on the Wall,” Bellomy’s smooth, reverb-y vocals float along a poppy bassline into a chorus backboned by eruptive guitar and drums: “’Cause it’s not the first time / And it won’t be the last / When the words you said have pinned you to the wall of broken glass / It’s something they can’t teach you or write it in a book / And it’s all on you.”
Black Market Garden plans to release a few other singles, including one about a plant growing outside Bellomy’s home. “Music can make the listener feel anything.”