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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The Deli’s July Album of the Month: Punishment Cookie - Hair Rocket

The Deli’s July Album of the Month: Punishment Cookie - Hair Rocket

The band from the Philly ‘burbs Hair Rocket has taken a Cheap Trick-gone-to-etiquette-school route in their newly released debut LP Punishment Cookie. Out on collective indie label Mountebank Records, the follow-up to 2009’s Novelty EP is an energized collection of greaser punk glam rock power pop. The threesome, whose band is named after the act of launching locks of hair into the sky for a “subversive enlightenment through cathartic art,” has created an album far easier to grasp than their thought-provoking alias. The 11-track recording is downright catchy without compromising the band’s significant sense of distinctiveness. Hair Rocket tactfully lets loose keyed-up rock inspired by the ghosts of 60s mod (as in clap-ridden, Strokes-inspired, pop-hook laden lead single “OK Alright”), 70s punk, 80s pop and 90s cheese…without rubbing your face in it.
Opening track “Eyes” takes classically riffed bluesy rock hitting it with heavy low-end blows and gives it a pinch of reggae punk optimism. “Motorcycle” reminisces combat boot punk with a Tokyo Police Club poppiness where harsh, growling vocals and a shrill, distorted electric guitar make for a satisfying hit-worthy track. Yes, Punishment Cookie rocks, but it is also not void of emotion. The song that started Berklee dropout and mastermind Chris Blassucci down this path of enlightenment, “Hair Rocket,” receives a revamping for the album, but still stabs sharply with its hard-earned life lesson from his real life bizarre love triangle (though I admittedly will always favor the original demo version and its strangely sadistic video). “Home” and the early Beatles-esque “Imagining,” which made their debuts on Novelty, also linger with the emotional remnants from that painful but musically productive time period. With Punishment Cookie, Hair Rocket neatly colors outside the lines of indie pop with an eagerly creative but well thought out approach to rocking your socks off. You can purchase the full-length album HERE.
You can download the track “Motorcycle” below and come out to their Philly Release Party next Friday, July 8 at Bookspace with Mammal of Paradise, An American Chinese, Meddlesome Bells and Bambara which The Deli will be presenting. - Jules Friedland



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