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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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Friend Roulette

Friend Roulette brings their chamber pop to Palisades and Pianos on 3/20 and 4/12

Brooklyn chamber-pop group Friend Roulette’s 2014 EP “Grow Younger” is a victory in synchronicity. The band, comprised of multiple singers and drummers as well as featuring a string section, EWI, and bass clarinet, could be a mess of a lunch date, but the record never feels like a crowd. Lead singer Julia Tepper marches through proclamations of magic and dawdles into meditations on mortality. With influences like early 2000’s Vanessa Carlton, a pack of dogs, and space travel, Friend Roulette has managed a unique cohesion. They will be playing shows at Palisades on March 20th and Pianos April 12th. - Leora Mandel

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She Keeps Bees, Luke Temple, Friend Roulette, Teletextile and Edan play Braincave Series tomorrow (05.03)

Saturday night, Baby’s All Right will host the first installment of BrainCave Series, hosted by Paper Garden Records.  In the past few years BrainCave has brought us some truly memorable weekend-long festivals that included NYC artists like Peelander-Z, Shilpa Ray, Hooray for Earth, Caged Animals, The Suzan, Black Cobra and more, alongside live art and DJs. Saturday’s stacked bill promises to be just as exciting, and includes Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic, Friend RouletteTeletextile, Edan and She Keeps Bees (pictured), among others. Check out under-appreciated Brooklyn/D.C. alt folkers She Keeps Bees' latest single "Counter Charm" - after this show they'll be touring with Sharon Von Etten in May. - Bill Dvorak


Friend Roulette releases "Grow Younger" EP

Here at The Deli NYC we like bands that don't think "straight" - maybe because our scene has a tradition for rewarding acts with a unique vision. Friend Roulette definitely doesn't lack this feature, as testified once again by their new EP "Grown Younger," out today on Goodnight Records. The band plays a rather loud brand of orchestral/synth pop, where the aggressive wall of sound created by drums, horns, guitars and keys is only partially tamed by violinist's Julia Tepper's oblique vocal melodies. Check out preview single "I Guess" below, and stream the entire EP here.

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Friend Roulette unveils gorgeous new video for "Lie" + plays Mercury on 10.02

Friend Roulette, probably the most unusual chamber pop band in NYC, has just released with very cool video of their single "Lie" - enjoy on your monitor now, or live at Mercury Lounge on October 2.

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Friend Roulette, Xenia Rubinos, Blanche Blanche Blanche at Union Pool on 09.05

Union Pool on September 5th will host a perfect show to indulge your musical ADHD. With tribal sounding percussion, reminiscent of earlier Local Natives or Wild Beasts, Friend Roulette (pictured) mixes a plethora of genres, from pop to psych to folk, without ever sounding like a forced fusion. The band just released a new single entitled ViVa ZyPreXa (streaming below), belonging to the sparser and more experimental side of their repertoir. They’re playing with Xenia Rubinos, an eccentric and sultry vocalist who crafts jagged jumpy rhythms into danceable avant-pop tracks. Obscure post punk group Blanche Blanche Blanche will be joining the set as well, adding a dark flavor to this eclectic show. All bands are based in Brooklyn! - Paul Jordan Talbot


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