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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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Black Thought’s Let’s Move It Philly! Charity Concert at Sigma Sound Feb. 18

Black Thought’s Let’s Move It Philly! Charity Concert at Sigma Sound Feb. 18

Sigma Sound is opening its doors for very special occasion this evening. The RootsBlack Thought a.k.a. Tariq Trotter will be rallying folks for the Let’s Move It Philly! charity concert, which is held annually to raise funds for his GrassROOTS Community Foundation to benefit poor women and girls. According to AllHipHop.com, this year’s event will also help to bring awareness to childhood obesity in the African American community. Black Thought is scheduled to perform sets with his music brethren ?uestlove and Money Making Jam Boys. Pals Nikki Jean, DJ Rich Medina, and DJ Diamond Kuts (Power 99’s Nikki Minaj) will also be donating their time and talents. The Carson Valley Children’s Aid will be providing additional health services with free HIV testing and other health-oriented activities happening throughout the event where you’ll find participation from State Representative Tony J. Payton Jr. and Mayor Nutter (who most likely will bust-a-move or a rhyme to “Rapper’s Delight” before the evening is over). It’s a good time for a good cause! Sigma Sound, 212 N. 12th St., 8pm, $30 adv/$40 door, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman

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