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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
mp3
There is something rather dark and mysterious about a band that takes its name from a classic Spanish film that focuses on its protagonist, a young girl, who becomes fascinated by the 1931 horror movie, Frankenstein. And with an album cover that portrays a child in a bee costume positioned in front of a tombstone saying, “Here Lies Mom-n-Dad Now Their Gone Isn’t That Sad,” you can’t help but be intrigued, if not a bit disturbed. The Spirit of the Beehive is a local fledgling outfit who has popped up on my radar this past year, appearing on numerous bills, oftentimes at DIY spaces. The band has further grabbed my attention with its debut self-titled full-length album, which was recorded by The Weaks/ex-Dangerous Ponies, Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, and released via rising Philly indie label Ranch Records.  
 
The record’s opening track, “Roll Over,” begins with an eerie instrumentation before a languid female voice comes in with barely intelligible lines. “Cycles in and out of morphine hazes. Finding spaces between your floorboards. And I watch the dust move.” Thankfully the group provides us with lyrics on its Bandcamp page; otherwise, the beautifully poetic verses filled with drug-fueled imagery would be lost in the wash of power chords and feedback. “All lost in the black market. To wait in the fix aisle, I roll over.” You also get a sense of the band’s lo-fi, DIY aesthetic when you are abruptly taken out of the world, created by the album’s first, with studio chatter before moving on to the next track. With “Short Walk,” you can’t help but feel the influences of greats like Nirvana and more recently Creepoid with the hushed vocals and sonic bursts. These two tracks set the tone for the first half of the LP, where you travel in and out of the territories of dream pop and shoegaze when the female lead vocals grab a hold of you and then the grungier, harder-edged side takes over with the male lead. This juxtaposition provides quite an enjoyable balance that I actually wished went on longer throughout the record.
 
It’s not until “Ether,” where the two combine forces, changing the dynamic of their relationship. The title of the song suggests that you might be finding something more ethereal; however, the driving bass line provides a sense of urgency throughout the track. It also marks the point where the male lead begins to dominate the rest of the album, while taking on some of the characteristics of its counterpart. What remains a constant is a psychedelic, drug-filled angst full of guitar licks and distortion, giving off the vibe of a band that is here to rock, and they don’t care if you are ready for it or not.
 
The Spirit of the Beehive closes out their ambitious LP with the longest and cleanest sounding recording on the album, “Fever Dream,” demonstrating that they don’t need to hide behind studio effects, while making you wonder where their follow-up release will go next. It’s an eclectic and modern sounding record that also pulls from past genres I hold close to my chest. I highly recommend that you go download it ASAP. - Q.D. Tran

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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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