Artist of the Month

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October 2015
Shelf Life
"Everyone Make Happy
Everyone Make Happy, the debut LP from Shelf Life, via Lefse Records, finds an absorbing lyrical yet comforting instrumental balance. Scott Leitch (ex-Pirouette/recent drummer for Alex G) cultivates songs that gently sway with internal warmth, while placing listeners in a deeply personal, somber state.
Space-warping synths smoothly land on the surface in “The Curse,” the initial introduction to Everyone Make Happy. Those glowing synths fade to the background as the airy, easily-assimilated acoustic guitar provides shimmers of daylight onto the song’s anguished lyrical tone - “bathe in sister’s blood/talk to the ghost of my dad’s mom/about nothing but heaven and the cancer in her gut.”
Pushed by its percussion, “Mark II” delivers what appears as subtle instrumentation, penetrating beyond the surface as a tight bedroom-pop sound. What starts drearily - “wake me up, when my lungs, start to pump normally” - lifts the shades to the point of optimism. “There’s always something in the sunlight,” riding a casual, almost accidental groove along the way. The album continuously stares directly into sadness, observing a very real place of grief. In “Creature” with its road-worn, country-folk twang , Leitch addresses the questioning nature of a sickness as a somber cloud hangs overhead. “I ask myself what my Father would do/he’d fold his hands lean to belief/but the creature inside him is not inside of me.”
“Low Key Lumber Theft” forebodingly spirals forward as the last dashes of daylight fall below the horizon. The guitar crisply cuts through dusk, venturing further out of sight as it gains momentum and then coolly concludes. With a daydreaming-psych vibe, “Time Traveler” moves into a nostalgic familiar space, which although consoling - “I am meeting the past/it is just how I thought/I have found what I lost” - still cuts - “You had gone away.” An anecdotal throwback, “Double Dare” soaks into your mind with its direct lyricism and catchy melodies, a la Alex G, while “Sinking Just Right” lulls you into a submissive calm of internal self-doubt - “does everybody hate me, just a little, little, little bit” - drifting until your “sinking just right.”
This album delicately balances the weight of emotional darkness with a glimpse of the light, from outside pushing in through the cracks. - Michael Colavita

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Q.D. Tran’s 40 Favorite Philly Releases of 2012

Q.D. Tran’s 40 Favorite Philly Releases of 2012

Every year I never have the intention of making a year-end list, but then I start seeing others rolling out, and think to myself - why not? There are plenty of Philly releases that deserve to be mentioned each year. I might as well give into the fact that another one will be coming next year. 2012 is/was a great year for local releases. I started off wanting to keep my list to 20, and obviously things didn’t go as I had planned. I just kept coming across more albums that I felt should be included. I finally decided to cap it off at 40 (though I still could’ve added more - my apologies to those who weren’t mentioned) or else I would’ve never gotten around to getting it up. Well, here is my final post of 2012. I look forward to seeing you on the other side. Happy New Year, and cheers!!! - Q.D. Tran


1. Spacin’Deep Thuds (Richie)


2. LushlifePlateau Vision (Western Vinyl)


3. Ghost LightAwful Feelings (Single Girl Married Girl)

4. Cousin BrianFirst (Mallrat)

5. TJ Kong and the Atomic BombManufacturing Joy (Self-released)

6. Dr. DogBe the Void (ANTI-)
7. Hop AlongGet Disowned (Hot Green)
8. AsaadWhite (Self-released)
9. Daniel BachmanSeven Pines (Tompkins Square)  
10. Work DrugsDrift (Bobby Cahn/State Capital)
11. StreetwalkersCassette One (Self-released)
12. Cold FrontsPretty American (Self-released)
13. Grande Marshall800 (Self-released)
14. VacationerGone (Downtown)
15. Ape SchoolJunior Violence (Hometapes)
16. GracieTreehouse (Small Plates)
17. Radiator HospitalSome Distant Moon (Forward)
18. PO PODope Boy Magick (Mad Decent)
19. Swearin’Swearin’ (Salinas)
20. Meek Mill Dreamchaser 2 (Self-released)
21. Family Band Grace & Lies (No Quarter)
22. Sun Airway Soft Fall (Dead Oceans)
23. White BirdsWhen Women Played Drums (Grizzly)
24. Wrecking CrewWu Tang Pulp (Self-released)
25. Arc in RoundArc in Round (La Société Expéditionnaire)
26. NothingDownward Years to Come (A389)
27. Far-Out FangtoothThe Thorns (HoZac)
28. Residuels – Residuels (Self-released)
29. Rich MysticsLOVERDOSE (Self-released)
30. Orbit to LeslieWhitemarsh Woods (Self-released)
31. Power AnimalExorcism (Human Kindness Overflowing)
32. LanternDream Mine (Bathetic)
33. Buried BedsSmall Stories (Self-released)
34. Brendan CodeyCasco (Treetop Sorbet)
35. Laser BackgroundLaser Background (Stroll On)
36. Ghost ShipGolden Girls (Self-released)
37. Cheers ElephantLike Wind Blows Fire (Self-released)
38. Strand of OaksDark Shores (Self-released)
39. Chris ForsythKenzo Deluxe (Northern Spy)
40. Night SinsNew Grave (Avant!)


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