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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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Free Energy

New Track: "Dream City" (Bim Marx Remix) - Free Energy

It’s always interesting to hear a familiar song from an unfamiliar angle. Yesterday, DFA Records shared this previously unreleased Bim Marx (Duane Harriott & Jorge Velez) remix of Free Energy’s  “Dream City” off their 2010 LP Stuck on Nothing.
 

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Free Download: "Somebody's Baby" (Jackson Browne Cover) - Free Energy

Free Energy is doing a residency this month at The Echo in LA. To celebrate the occasion, the band will be recording covers of some of their favorite songs. Here is the first by Jackson Brown called "Somebody's Baby," which originally appeared on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack in 1982. You can listen to and download the track for free below.

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Free Energy Hosting Deap Vally at North Star Bar May 4

The aptly named Free Energy is bringing their guitar-driven power pop to the North Star Bar tonight. With upbeat rock that makes you want to groove, the band has toured with the likes of Mates of State and Weezer, now in support their latest LP Love Sign, which was released earlier this year via the group’s own label. There’s something about Free Energy’s carefree lyrics and punchy guitar riffs that make the music so much fun and perfect for this gorgeous weather. It doesn’t hurt that they know the cure for rock ‘n’ roll fever is more cowbell. Also featured is the LA-based duo Deap Vally, who Free Energy have been roaming the landscape of America with. These two ladies have their own energy to share with their grungy, blues rock ensuring the night to be a rollicking good time. Also ready to help the crowd freak out will be locals Prowler. North Star Bar, 2369 Poplar St., 9pm, $12, 21+ - Shaylin O’Connell

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New Track: "Love Sign" - Free Energy

Below is a previously unreleased B-side from Free Energy called "Love Sign." The band is beginning their tour this evening in Chicago, and will be joining The Darkness and Deap Vally later on down the road. They'll be performing next in Philly on Saturday, May 4 at the North Star Bar.

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New Track: "Wild Life" - Free Energy

Below is a previously unreleased track from Free Energy called "Wild Life." It appears on the B-side of the band's upcoming Record Store Day 7" single for "Girls Want Rock," which will only have 500 copies available. Free Energy will also be heading on tour with Deap Vally, and they'll be making a stop in Philly on Saturday, May 4 at the North Star Bar.

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