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Artist of the Month
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June 2016
Pinkwash
"Collective Sigh
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Solemn resonance slides the door open to “No Real Witness,” the opening track from Pinkwash’s debut album, Collective Sigh. The much-anticipated LP from the prog-punk combination of Joey Doubek and Ashley Arnwine is available via Don Giovanni Records, and takes little time to develop its emotively-charged release, as the unrelenting battering of percussion unites with those eerie key/synth tones, uncorking the aggression. And with a surge, “Metastatic” jumps out with a sense of controlled high-speed rhythm. The guitar riff and percussion weave in a tightly bound flow, giving way in moments to Doubek’s soaring, lingering vocal outcry. The deep stemming personal feel and weight of his lyrics are thrust forward as the instruments smash ahead.
 
The instantaneous groove of “Gumdrop” surrounds you in a steady power-exuding bounce. The kinetic energy is infectious as that locked-in guitar pattern and pummeling snap of percussion mesmerizes, and Doubek delivers a set of serious-toned yet matter-of-factly-delivered lines: “Feeling of going down, shot to the ground, you’ll have to put me down”. Keys slice through that hypnotic attack like a bright, omen-echoing light.
 
The album takes a moment to breathe as “inhale, exhale” is methodically repeated in “Sigh,” while anticipating the foreboding guitar that emerges gradually from the background, with an upper-cutting sledgehammer of sludgy instrumentation. “Walk Forward With My Eyes Closed” - much like the rest of album - appears to hit on the pain and grief of deep and profound loss. That musical push toward coping is surrounded by the encompassing walls of heavy sonics that gather momentum as Doubek musters up strength. “I’ll walk forward with my eyes closed.”
 

With a thunder-smashing yet deeply personal side, Collective Sigh etches its message at the core, transforming the power of grief into a heavy–hitting memorable display of emotion. - 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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