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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 

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scene blog

Mohican

Follow Mohican at Boot & Saddle April 14

Instrumental soundscapes will be in full bloom this evening at Boot & Saddle. The trio of Mohican pushes their sonic tools; stretching over the long haul, that journey results in a crisp and at times heavy sound. The band works in and out of defined areas often changing tempo, slowing down, and allowing a pensive tone to ruminate or progressively build, gaining traction so that it can rain down upon reaching the summit. There is definitely an expansive vibe, but it’s delivered by precise hands. So, although it may be appear easy to get lost in the musical scenery, the group knows exactly where it’s going. The duo of Jeff Lucci & Josh Aptner, a.k.a. Air is Human, continues to explore the stratosphere with their latest EP EQ1, whose wandering ambient songs will be performed tonight - a captivating series of twists and turns that gravitationally draw one in allowing them to ever so briefly shed that earthly weight. Endor Endor allows your thoughts to marinate in the sonic ventures of Matt Weber (Young Statues/Bacio) and Tom Ryan (Young Statues/Atomic Square) to start things off. Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Michael Colavita


New Mohican EP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Below is the latest EP from instrumental rock outfit Mohican entitled The Abuse Is Character, the follow-up to the band's debut Honest Red. Captured live on a snowy winter day and during a sweltering summer heat wave in a Philly warehouse space, the album was recorded and mixed by Brad Wallace. The Abuse Is Character was released via Parts Philly/Swamp Youth Collective, and is available for purchase. Enjoy!

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Weekend Warrior, January 17 - 19

The Boot & Saddle will be going out there this Saturday night as it welcomes three unique bands, who are known for the elaborate and transcendental soundscapes that their instrumentals create. Notorious for their “metal for astronauts,” Rosetta creates a programmatic soundtrack of pulse pounding drums, thrashing yet vibrant guitar riffs, ambient electronics, and sludge vocals that transport the listener on an otherworldly flight through time and space. From their epic debut The Galilean Satellites to their first totally independent release The Anaesthete, they have delivered riveting performances all across the globe, and their first Philly show of the year should be no exception. They are no strangers to sharing the stage with electronic virtuosos Grimace Federation, and heavy, apocalyptic instrumentalists Mohican will be in their element as they play in support of their newly released EP The Abuse Is Character. The Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St, 9PM, $10 21+ - Bill McThrill
 
More places to be this weekend…
 
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI Haggard, SAT Geology, Oldermost
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI (Early) Strength For A Reason, Rock Bottom, Heathen Reign, (Late) Rockers Galore, SAT Killer Bangs, SUN The Rivals, Younger Me
 
Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) FRI Sunburster, Serpent Throne, SAT West Philadelphia Orchestra
 
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) SUN Our Waking Deception
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) SAT Tungsten Album Release Party w/Power Theory, Mistress
 
MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Vertical Current, SAT Our Griffins
 
Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI Big Plastic Finger, Curandoros, NoiseMan
 
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI You Do You Release Show w/Tin Horses, The Great Vibration, Song Dogs, SAT Johnny Flynn, The Melodic
 
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) SAT HOSER, Snoozer, Village, APE!, the Cloth
 
JR’s (2327 S. Croskey St.) Benefit for Project MEOW FRI Nightfall, Spent Flesh, Retreevers (Tape Release), Janelle (Tape Release), SGNLS, Population Zero, SAT Plague Dogs, Casket, (Record Release), Alement, Occult 45 (Record Release)
 
M Room (15 W. Girard Ave.) SAT True Will, Plantation, 20til8, Pravda, Starskream
 
Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St.) SAT Bees In A Bottle
 
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) SUN Rusty Cadillac
 
The Legendary Dobbs (304 South St.) FRI Ill Doots, Ashley Leone, Supreem and The New Experience, Platinum Mustache, SAT John The Conqueror
 
Voltage Lounge (421 N. 7th St.) FRI Lamplighters, SAT Reality Childs, SUN All Shepherds We Shall Be, Panic Sets In, Lower The Standard, Hansford, Winderemere
 
The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) FRI Sacred Cube, The Madeleine Haze, Fate 88, SAT Leo Minor, Funky T, Moonshine Heather, Hardwork Movement
 
Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave.) SAT Rolling Stones Tribute Night w/The Jesse Lundy Band: Mach 4, Brown Sugar, North Lawrence Midnight Singers and Friends
 
Little Berlin (2430 Coral St.) SAT Jesse Spearhawk, Mitch Esparza
 
Golden Tea House (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Crybaby, Endless Mike and the Beagle Club, Pocket, Marge, SUN Kids, Sore Saints
 
Great Indoors (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SUN The Ambulars, Heavy Bangs
 
Freedom 75 (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SUN Cut The Motor, Eyeshock Swelter
 

Mohican Taking Over at KFN Jan. 7

Instrumental rock trio Mohican is quickly becoming a favorite in Philly among its musicians and bookers/promoters. It’s quite understandable as their emotive jams wax and wane from beautiful, airy strolls to epic crescendos. The band is getting ready to release their next album The Abuse Is Character on January 16. They’ll be taking over Kung Fu Necktie tonight when the group headlines its main stage with support from D.C.’s Myrrh Myrrh, Village and Timbers. But the night won’t end when the bands unplug because Mohican will also be hosting an after-party where they’ll be spinning tunes to keep everyone warm. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Alexis V.

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Free Download: "SELF-PROPELLED ORGANISM" - Mohican & Debut Release From New Local Indie Label Parts Philly

Check out and download for free the new epic jam called "SELF-PROPELLED ORGANISM" from instrumental four-piece Mohican! It's the inaugural release from Parts Philly, a new local indie label from Creepoid's Pat Troxell and Bonfire co-worker Kevin Horn, which was created to be a jump-off label for local bands to help expose the killer music coming out of Philly. Troxell and Horn became big fans of Mohican after catching them live at a house show. Be on the look out for more releases from Parts Philly coming in the near futture!

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