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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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The Spinning Leaves

Lovers League Album Release Show at JB's June 26

Head on over to Johnny Brenda’s this evening to celebrate the debut release and witness the collaborative musical union of Reverend TJ McGlinchey and Dani Mari with Christopher Davis-Shannon and Dean Gorfti completing the quartet known as Lovers League. Melding their vocals, McGlinchey and Mari create a smooth yet earthy, enriching texture with a folk-oriented acoustic country-blues foundation that provides a natural heartfelt penetrating sound on their promising self-titled debut LP. However, the lineup tonight is chock full of excellent local talent. In fact, the Raph Cutrufello-led creative folk collaborative known as Hezekiah Jones will headline the bill, taking the concepts of folk and reshaping them via unexpected, slightly twisted maneuvers, generating an excitement and energy in the process. The Spinning Leaves, whose members share strong ties within the bill, help to make it a family & friends affair. Wilmington-based indie folk-rock five-piece New Sweden, whose latest EP Fabric Room is due out July 15, will kick off the festivities that is presented by the Philadelphia Folksong Society. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Michael Colavita


The Spinning Leaves 7” Release Party at Underground Arts April 27

For their latest album Head Aglow, the Spinning Leaves recorded with Henry Hirsch (Lenny Kravitz, Madonna) from Waterfront Studios inside a 19th century church in Hudson NY. If you’ve tuned into the bands website over the past few days, then you’ve most likely already streamed the soulful acoustic melodies of their latest 7”, which is being released today on vinyl (digital May 1) by Drexel’s Mad Dragon Records. And when James Michael Baker and Barbara Gettes play at Underground Arts tonight they’ll be backed by the likes of Ross Bellenoit, Jonas Osterle, Phil D’Agostino and an array of special guests. Just 2 months ago Lightninging celebrated the release of their EP in the very same building, so they’ll be right at home when they open the evening. The album release celebration will also feature the latest project from The Weeds' Emily Ana Zeitlyn called Divers and the humorous storytelling of Juliet Hope Wayne. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., 9pm, $10, All Ages - Bill McThrill

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The Spinning Leaves New 7” Available for Streaming

The Spinning Leaves are releasing a new 7” record entitled Head Aglow on April 27 (digitally May 1) via Mad Dragon Records. You can stream the album HERE. They’ll also be celebrating its release this Friday at Underground Arts with Lightninging, Divers and Juliet Hope Wayne.

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