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Artist of the Month
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April 2015
Sandcastle
"Skull Cauldron
"
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Skull Cauldron, Sandcastle’s latest LP, is a sojourn into a dimly lit wilderness. Recorded as a quartet (with the group moving forward without Micah Edwards) at West Philly’s Sex Dungeon, these songs pull you ever deeper into the thick of it with their hauntingly infectious sense of urgency and balance.
 
Album opener, “Atlantis Trance,” percolates as the guitar, bass, and drums tightly co-exist in a relaxed yet spring-loaded groove that is reminiscent to classic Talking Heads, while the quick-paced, tongue-twisting vocals run through a hypnotic, mythical tale. Continuing in a similar vain, “Wolf With No Eyes” is led by a spiraling guitar riff, reinforced with acoustic strums and low end that conjures ups an atmosphere of danger, climbing into the chorus: “Think I’m obsessive compulsive/I think I’ll think myself to death/Need a therapist or an alchemist to toxify my mind I guess.” This subtle searching of mental anguish grabs a hold of the listener, cautiously traversing the exploratory musical terrain. Casually, one slips into “Datura” as Sam Kassel’s secretively whispered vocals gain a foothold amid an up-tempo guitar-percussion combo that runs forward in fits and then lays back before a guitar burst leads you through the finish line.
 
“Wonder Where She Goes” has that catchy, restrained guitar plucking that lays down the foundation of its composition. As Kassel contemplates, “Am I too late for the ghost train? Am I too dumb for another plane?” The song appears on the cusp of breaking loose, but then steps back for a moment, until finally the pressure boils over. “And I can’t find, I can’t find the way/the way she walks when she walks away…”
 
“Evergreen” is a multifaceted tune that initially rides its acoustic guitar riff as Kassel prophesizes, “If I were a knight, I would be the Green Knight, I would be the Green Knight, and you’d be my Green Lady,” before it lands in a full stable of smoldering instrumentation. Then, the song transitions into a higher gear, led by the quickened pace of the guitar running anxiously ahead, while being propelled forward by the bass before falling back to that almost blues-rock zone with the thudding bass invigorating the track into an open-field mad dash. “Pterodactyls” sits in the shadows, marinating in an ominous tone of preparation for battle. It’s a clear yet heart-racing endeavor as bright injections of acoustic guitar serve as glimpses of daybreak.
 
“Medicine Song” creates a stir with its immediate fresh out of the blocks surge, dashing ahead for an abbreviated sprint, tempering off and then throwing caution to the wind when the final stretch is in sight. “Souls” puts the understated spoken vocals to prime use, developing a ghostly creeping self-aware vibe as the instruments tightly pulse around the unrelenting bass. The song takes turns jolting forward while refueling with reflective cool-down breaks as the song deals with the distance game of a relationship. “Yeah, sometimes she goes far away/Sometimes I get in her face/Yeah, even though we’re jaded/I still wanna play the game.”
 
The final chapter of the record, the adventurously forest-wandering instrumental “Drink Deep of the Skull Cauldron,” quixotically bookends the album. It’s an intoxicating concoction as Sandcastle marches forward as a four-piece beyond the menacing tree line. - Michael Colavita 

This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.


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scene blog

Asaad

New Track: "Blue Note Entendre" - Asaad

It feels like it has certainly been a minute since we revisited music from Asaad. That's not to say that we weren't feelin' him. It just seemed like the madness of the music industry had finally gotten to the boisterous emcee who is prone to controversy, and he decided to take down most of his recordings. Well, he's been back for a bit now, and on his latest single, "Blue Note Entendre," the jazz instrumentals hint at an artist possibly coming closer to some inner peace (as well as being influenced by the iconic record label); however, you can still feel the flames from Asaad's diction. There is the sound of a young man maturing on this one.

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Asaad Album Release Show at Silk City March 26

Asaad (born Saayid Asaad) has been one of the most prolific and controversial artists in the local hip-hop scene. Since dropping his debut mixtape Flowers in 2009, the North Philly emcee/producer has released seven other albums and nearly a hundred tracks. He first caught our attention with 2011's #DIRTYMIDDLECLASS, which helped to get him nominated for The Deli's annual year-end Best Emerging Artists Poll, where he won Philly's Readers'/Fans' segment of the competition. 2012 proved to be his most productive year to date with the release of New Black History Month, #WHITE, and #TROY, as major music media outlets began to take notice, but the venomous tongue of the brash, young talent and an album cover that depicted Tupac having sex with Notorious B.I.G. seemed to alienate him from the rest of the hip-hop world. An artist, who once thrived on the controversy, began to show signs of wear in 2013. Asaad surprisingly changed his stage name to Saudi Money, attaching it to a handful of releases, and then, after showing great dissatisfaction with the music industry (there were rumors of him being "blackballed" by the hip-hop community), he attempted to delete the existence of himself and his music from the internet. Well, it seems that the time out of the public's crosshairs has helped to rejuvenate the Philly-bred talent. He'll be returning this evening at Silk City under the name Asaad, once again, with a new record, Flowers II, in tow. Come out tonight and experience his rebirth! Silk City Diner, 435 Spring Garden St., 9pm, $10, 21+ (Photo by Snaps NY) - Q.D. Tran

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New Track: "Horror Film" (Feat. Saudi Money) - Reap Howard

Ha...in preparation for last night's Halloween festivities, we admittedly took it pretty easy yesterday as we donned our costumes and make-up with alcoholic beverage in hand, so we're playing a bit of catch up with releases in honor of the beloved holiday. After needing a break from the hustle and social media, Saudi Money, a.k.a. Asaad, provided us with a few bars on Reap Howard's track "Horror Film," reminding us that the controversial emcee is still alive and angry.

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Free Download: Black History Month II - Asaad

While Asaad continues to tease the release of his upcoming EP 006, the prolific North Philly emcee dropped a new mixtape Black History Month II to keep us entertained. You can pass the time today until your weekend starts with his latest below, which is also available for free download HERE.

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Free Download: "AK47" (Feat. Grande Marshall & Wyo) - Asaad

Below is a new track from Asaad called "AK47" that is available to be downloaded for free. It features verses from fellow local natives Grande Marshall and Wyo and production work from Nascent and QB. The nearly ten-minute single is the first offering from his upcoming release, 006, and premiered earlier today via Complex Magazine.

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