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September 2014
Seagulls
"Great Pine
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With spindly strings horning in the opening instrumental, “Dragoon” awakens Seagulls' debut LP Great Pine, seamlessly transitioning into “Swimmin’,” a song that is initially given a steady-footed beat around which a more intricate and illuminating composition is built generating a peaceful yet purposeful layered sound, setting the tone for what lies ahead. “You and Me” plays like a surf-folk love letter, developing a warm, earnest vocal confession, while fitting nicely with the tug and pull groove of the scratching guitar and persistent bass. The vocal harmonies provide a sweetness accompanied by reserved bursts of trumpet and accordion-like effects offer a tease of nostalgia.
 
“Love, Give” follows a similar theme as vocals, strings, and snap-percussion set a pleasant, pensive, strolling pace as echoing harmonies and backing vocals reinforce, “Love give your hands to me, for someday I’ll be on bended knee.” “Old Habits” maintains an up close lo-fi aesthetic and underlying 8-bit accents, but the perspective has changed, shining a light on the dark side of relationships and a groove that has a somewhat worn and dusty ascetic, enhancing the lyrics meaning - “Old habits, die hard or they never do/so keep lying til they all catch up to you.” A well-placed take on Big Star’s “Thirteen” incorporates the honest-loving sentiments of adolescence, falling neatly inline with the group’s heartfelt vocal honesty, while simultaneously acknowledging one of their potential influences.
 
The record’s title-track “Great Pine” serves as a breath-catching ambiance builder before the turbulent “Holy Smokes” emerges. Enlisting peaks of aggressive kick-in-the-door instrumentation - particularly percussion between smooth stretches of vocally dominant valleys - in essence, layering pieces of clear skies between moments of violent storms.
 
“Distracted” concludes Great Pine with an uplifting blanket of vocals, allowing the guitar to stretch its sea legs as the backend force steers the musical ship; holding the course. This album starts on the shore, and while there are moments where it seems destined to searchingly drift out there, Seagulls appropriately demonstrate an ability to reel it in, taking a beautiful inaugural voyage. - Michael Colavita

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Your Children is Beautiful, Synth Sircus, and More at Millcreek Tavern June 16

Your Children is Beautiful, Synth Sircus, and More at Millcreek Tavern June 16

It’s been pretty quiet in the Your Children is Beautiful camp. Maybe it’s because they are busy working on a 15+ song album entitled DIE COOL or it could just be that the scraggly crew’s chilled-out, gentle indie pop is generally not that loud in the first place. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make some noise when they take the stage tonight at Millcreek Tavern armed with plenty of new tunes. And from improvisational progressions and sonic frequencies to talking computer and classic video game consoles, Synth Sircus is one of those collectives that you can’t exactly figure out until you experience them live. To a point, even they don’t know sometimes since their musical collage is often designed as they play along. Debuting in 2010, the analog sideshow has featured members of Agent Moosehead, Grimace Federation, Music For Headphones, Aunt Dracula, and a whole host of other performers so expect the surprises to continue. Also on the lineup are Cannons, who will be injecting some rock into the evening of chillness. They recently released their new EP Cuddled By Giants (which you can take a listen to and purchase HERE) so there should be plenty of new material circulating among the bands. Add in the one-man synth project of Time Ghost and New York’s You Bred Raptors?, and you now have a reason to swing by the Millcreek to grab a drink or ten. Millcreek Tavern, 4200 Chester Ave., 9pm, $5, 21+ - Bill McThrill
 

 

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