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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

Nightlands

New Music Video: "So Far So Long" - Nightlands

Below is a new music video from Nightlands, a.k.a. Dave Hartley, for the track "So Far So Long," off his latest album Oak Island (Secretly Canadian). It premiered yesterday over at Noisey, and was directed by David S. Kessler, who filmed the footage in northern Iceland as part of the international exhibit, "Due North," opening January 2014.

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Nightlands Supported by Ape School & Our Griffins at JB’s May 31

This upcoming Nightlands show should require a pillow to enter. The multi-talented Dave Hartley transports listeners to the place just between dreams and sleep with free-flowing choral effects with ambient noise. In fact, that’s where he came up with most of the ideas for Nightlands’ tracks: recording inspiration that came to him in REM cycle. However, his most recent release Oak Island finds him wandering a poppier side of music, but it still feels like poppy fields are scattered throughout the landscape. (BTW: I heard that there might be some live choral arrangements this evening.) Opening for Nightlands is Ape School, a solo(ish)-project from Michael Johnson. The band gives an oft tongue-in-cheek experiment in lyricism, resulting in a truly fun musical experience. Also taking the stage is Our Griffins, fronted by Dennis Joseph “DJ” Brown, who provides a gentle and soft-spoken sound that packs an emotional punch.  Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12, 8pm, 21+ - Shaylin O’Connell


New Music Video: "Born to Love" - Nightlands

Below is a new music video from Nightlands, a.k.a. Dave Hartley, for the track "Born to Love" off his latest release Oak Island. It was directed by She Policeman (who was inspired by Andy Warhol and the song, itself), using footage from another video filmed with an old VHS camcorder. Nightlands also just announced a string of headlining dates that will make a local stop on Friday, May 31 at Johnny Brenda's. BTW: Send out some good vibes to Hartley this weekend because he'll be competing at the Professional & Amateur Pinball Association's 2013 Match-Play Championship in Pittburgh, alongside four-time world champion Bowen Kirens and pinball champion/former '76 Todd MacCulloch, who both personally invited him.

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Congrats to Nightlands' Dave Hartley & Luke Bonner for Their Successful #LetBonnerShoot Campaign!

Congrats to Dave Hartley, a.k.a. Nightlands, and Luke Bonner on their successful #LetBonnerShoot campaign! The San Antonio Spurs announced yesterday that Matt Bonner will be competing in the Foot Locker Three-point Contest (which will be taking place on Saturday, February 16) at the 62nd NBA All-Star Game weekend. The guys ran a brilliant grassroots social media campaign that garnered support from high-profile folks like Arcade Fire and Eva Longoria. The people have spoken, and we were heard - cheers fellas!

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New Track: "Nico" - Nightlands

Nightlands, a.k.a. Dave Hartley, recently premiered the track "Nico" from his latest record Oak Island. You can listen to the album version below, and check out Hartley's interview with ARTINFO as well as the vocals only and instrumental version of the song HERE. He'll be heading on tour next month opening for Efterklang.

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