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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
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There is something rather dark and mysterious about a band that takes its name from a classic Spanish film that focuses on its protagonist, a young girl, who becomes fascinated by the 1931 horror movie, Frankenstein. And with an album cover that portrays a child in a bee costume positioned in front of a tombstone saying, “Here Lies Mom-n-Dad Now Their Gone Isn’t That Sad,” you can’t help but be intrigued, if not a bit disturbed. The Spirit of the Beehive is a local fledgling outfit who has popped up on my radar this past year, appearing on numerous bills, oftentimes at DIY spaces. The band has further grabbed my attention with its debut self-titled full-length album, which was recorded by The Weaks/ex-Dangerous Ponies, Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, and released via rising Philly indie label Ranch Records.  
 
The record’s opening track, “Roll Over,” begins with an eerie instrumentation before a languid female voice comes in with barely intelligible lines. “Cycles in and out of morphine hazes. Finding spaces between your floorboards. And I watch the dust move.” Thankfully the group provides us with lyrics on its Bandcamp page; otherwise, the beautifully poetic verses filled with drug-fueled imagery would be lost in the wash of power chords and feedback. “All lost in the black market. To wait in the fix aisle, I roll over.” You also get a sense of the band’s lo-fi, DIY aesthetic when you are abruptly taken out of the world, created by the album’s first, with studio chatter before moving on to the next track. With “Short Walk,” you can’t help but feel the influences of greats like Nirvana and more recently Creepoid with the hushed vocals and sonic bursts. These two tracks set the tone for the first half of the LP, where you travel in and out of the territories of dream pop and shoegaze when the female lead vocals grab a hold of you and then the grungier, harder-edged side takes over with the male lead. This juxtaposition provides quite an enjoyable balance that I actually wished went on longer throughout the record.
 
It’s not until “Ether,” where the two combine forces, changing the dynamic of their relationship. The title of the song suggests that you might be finding something more ethereal; however, the driving bass line provides a sense of urgency throughout the track. It also marks the point where the male lead begins to dominate the rest of the album, while taking on some of the characteristics of its counterpart. What remains a constant is a psychedelic, drug-filled angst full of guitar licks and distortion, giving off the vibe of a band that is here to rock, and they don’t care if you are ready for it or not.
 
The Spirit of the Beehive closes out their ambitious LP with the longest and cleanest sounding recording on the album, “Fever Dream,” demonstrating that they don’t need to hide behind studio effects, while making you wonder where their follow-up release will go next. It’s an eclectic and modern sounding record that also pulls from past genres I hold close to my chest. I highly recommend that you go download it ASAP. - Q.D. Tran

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scene blog

Where Is My Mind?: Nightlands

Where Is My Mind?: Nightlands

Nightlands’ Dave Hartley seems to be one seriously busy dude. He just released his new record Oak Island earlier this week via Secretly Canadian. And while for some artists accomplishing that feat may be just enough and sometimes too much to handle, you’ll also find him lending his musical talents to other rad projects and artists like recently backing the legendary founding member of The Velvet Underground, John Cale, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, touring with Sondre Lerche, recording with Sharon Van Etten, and (of course) traveling the world and being best known as the bassist for much-beloved rock outfit The War on Drugs just to name a few. Oh yeah - we don’t want to forget that the basketball fanatic also occasionally writes his own sports columns for Impose Magazine (“Death Dunk”) and WXPN’s The Key (“Top of the Key”), and for the past month, he’s been furiously championing a petition to get San Antonio Spurs three-point specialist Matt Bonner invited to NBA All-Star Weekend’s Foot Locker Three Point Shootout, which has garnered support from celebrities like Eva Longoria and Arcade Fire. (BTW: He is growing a protest beard for the cause as well - #LetBonnerShoot!) Hartley will be celebrating the release of Oak Island this Saturday at Kung Fu Necktie before heading out on tour in February opening for Efterklang. However, before all that goes down, we had a chance to pass a few questions his way, which you can check out HERE

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Which of these local acts should be The Deli Philly's featured artist(s)?

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