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Artist of the Month
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July 2016
The Retinas
"chaba
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Post-garage rockers The Retinas' new EP chaba is an unexpected essential for surviving the dog days of summer. Chock-full of lo-fi backbeats and skull-buzzing riffs, the five track stunner transforms the grit and grime of urban summers, late nights, and complicated feelings into memorably evocative songs worth dancing to alone or with friends.

 

Opening with the trippy hiss of “Accident,” chaba’s first track is seeped in xanax-coated romance and the sort of self-awareness that made great’s like Daniel Johnston iconic. The song's lyricism hums with recognizable disenchantment that is bound to resonate at an instant with listeners. Tom Mchugh’s diction brings to mind the cinematic apprehension of Andrew Bujalski’s mumblecore masterpiece Mutual Appreciation meshed with the emotional imprint of “Tame the Sun” by Male Bonding. “Accident,” much like it’s namesake, ends abruptly without warning, leaving its listener to cope with its passing before “Aries” begins.

 

chaba’s second anthem paints a familiar portrait of the post-adolescent malaise of cynical dreamers with earnest hearts. Lo-fi in all the right ways, “Aries,” like a mirror, reflects reality without pretense. Like the less anxious version of Happy Birthday’s “2 Shy,” the charm of “Aries” is undeniably sincere. The oscillating intro of “Cheesepuffs” quickly evolves into a surf-pop banger - reminiscent of The Jacuzzi Boys; the track’s fervent riffs and fuzzed-out screams serve as the perfect preface to the notably catchy “Beat It Out”. The energy of the song doesn’t falter, keeping the momentum of chaba as cymbals crash and Mchugh croons - “Cause you chew my bones, acid soul/I've been off time with myself, I don't mind” - a sentiment that is echoed in the EP’s final track “Hey Julia.”

 

After listening to The Retinas' latest record, you will find yourself hungry for more. - Dianca London

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scene blog

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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