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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
mp3
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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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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