We are so proud to share with you The Deli’s latest collaboration with the uber-talented crew at HotBox Studios called Choice/Cuts! It’s our new live in-studio video series that will feature rising artists in a two-part episode performing some of their latest material (and possibly old favorites) as well as talking about their gear and music experiences. We were partly inspired to do Choice/Cuts because of the fact that practically anyone in this day and age can record a performer with their iPhone, smartphone or whatever, and while it is great to have something to remember the moment and share with others, many of the recordings that have flooded the Internet are not really doing the artists and their music justice. We simply just wanted to do something that would showcase their talents in a proper light. We hope that we’ve accomplished that.
The Deli and HotBox Studios are honored that Lushlife, who is such an obviously gifted musician and performer, was nice enough to be part of this little recording experiment of ours. We’ve been big fans of his work for quite some time now, and we hope that if you aren’t already one too, then you will be after viewing the first half of this session where he (in our humble opinion) straight-up destroyed it on “Still I Hear The Word Progress” from his latest way rad album Plateau Vision (Western Vinyl). If you like what you hear and see, then he’ll be performing next in town on July 26 at MilkBoy Philly with THEESatisfaction. They also have a show just before that one on July 23 at Middle East in Boston with the phenomenal Shabazz Palaces. Extra special thanks to HotBox Studios for being awesome dudes and helping to make Choice/Cuts happen the way that we envisioned it! Please contact them if you want to work with a passionate crew of good peeps who know what they are doing. We look forward to sharing more great music, videos, performances, stories and info with you. Much love and respect to all! Cheers!
Arrah and the Ferns may have sweetness and light in abundance, but the undercurrent of frank lust in their new album is both new and old hat for these folk rockers. Since their last offering, they’ve adopted growing pains as a lyrical source, to varying effects. While the album relies heavily on much of the same wistfully-ornamented indie delicacy, there’s simultaneously an explicit element, and a successful one at that. Romance isn’t dead on Make Your Mind, it’s just got a mouth on it.
The woozy, low guitars at the beginning of album are one of many instrumental stunners, which we’ve long known to be a touchstone for the Ferns. There is some spectacular guitar and drum work on the album, but for most part, the music and the vocals go head to head in friendly tandem - never trying to outdo one another.
Arrah Fisher’s honeyed vocals push through the knot of winding guitars on the second track, “Go Back,” inciting her band to back her up when she half-purrs, half-belts “I see the way your body moves me - but you don’t have to touch me.”
“Triangle” is a list of questions, an effecting device used by Fisher to protest the coming of a different stage of adulthood - one in which commitment is inevitable and freedom to do as she wants a relic of immaturity. “I wanna meet the man on the other side,” she murmurs, seeing her free-spirited inclinations in danger, and then, with a bravado outburst, demands to know “Why do I have to grow up and be a married schmuck - when all I want to do is fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck...fuck!” The unbridled sexuality is startling, but when you think about it, the turbulence is a perfect underlining for sweet-sounding music about growing up and moving on.
The band then counters that song’s thinly-veiled hedonism with the role-reversing “Hang Up,” whose slow-dance 50s rock balladry finds Fisher imploring her lover to throw himself wholeheartedly into a new life. “This is where I hang up, start to pack my stuff up. I will come to you this time...I don’t want to have you on the side. I just want to have a normal time, have a normal life.” Is she embroiled in an affair? Is she coaxing him out of another relationship? Maybe, but it would seem heartless to resist her sincerity.
Make Your Mind has a welcomed, bouncing energy that picks the album up from its wispy, low-tempo tone halfway through. There’s a uniformity of pace, with most songs choosing a leisurely amble over an all-out rush, but the variance of tone and instrumentation saves the album from tedium, and adds up to an invigorating (and possibly final) effort from Arrah and the Ferns. - Alyssa Greenberg