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Artist of the Month
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May 2015
The Weaks
"Bad Year
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mp3
On the heels of last year’s, debut EP The World Is A Terrible Place & I Hate Myself And Want To Die, The Weaks, led by a pair of former Dangerous Ponies Chris Baglivo and Evan Bernard, have released their full-length debut Bad Year via Lame-O Records.
 
The record wastes little time jumpstarting into the aptly titled “Kick It,” with its bass-thudding lines rolling into catchy, emotive power-pop mode, cleansed with a bit of synth before unleashing one of the album’s many blasts of guitar solos. “Nevermind” (an homage to Nirvana) reflectively takes the positive spin on a failed relationship, streamlining percolating instrumentation with stable yet aching vocals. The album’s title-track cracks through melancholy with a lyrical disposition harnessing polished twin guitar licks between trudging percussion-led transitions, destined for fiery flashes of solo prowess. With an aggressive, smashing instrumental storm, “Black Box” takes the ball and runs with its relatable crushing narrative, hooking you in as a silky synth slips in amid the treacherous landscape. 
 
“Dysania” is the cup of coffee that pushes the covers off. With its guitar-led jog, loosening into a bass-charging surge, it quickly reaches maximum speed. Tongue-in-cheek earnest yet humorous lyrical tones – “Too much blood for just two hands/and there’s so much shit we’re gonna need two vans” – set the mood whilst sprinkling in clean flares of guitar, maintaining that downhill thrust. The song contextually blends a pent up instrumental energy and memorable vocals to create a natural anthem feel. Turning a leaf, “I Don’t Wanna Be An Anarchist (Anymore)” melds percussion and synth, delivering a sincere yearning for change with that heart-throbbing, interwoven bass-drum combo, adding a real inside-looking-out perspective. 
 
Strumming acoustic guitar and a spacey synth serve as foils in “Welcome To Earth,” zooming in and then peering out in a battle of loneliness and self-exploration, once again enjoying a creative out there spin on a common searching topic. The closing track is another nod & wink to Nirvana and Hop Along frontwoman, “Francis Quinlan Will Have Her Revenge On Philadelphia,” embracing a snarky attitude with matching (rough around the edges) momentum-gathering guitar meets an avalanche of backend, delivering a mixed emotion-filled message “Who’s going to pull your weight if I leave you behind... Please stay with me. 
 
Bad Year embraces its Weezer power-pop influences, allowing listeners to join in on the emotionally personal ups and downs, while still coming away refreshed. It’s another great find for rising Philly indie label, Lame-O Records. - Michael Colavita

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The Deli's SXSW Issue 2014 is online!

Read it digitally here.

P.S. 10k free copies of this issue hit the street of Austin during SXSW Music week!


Feeling Great About the Release of "Cheerlessness" by Institute

Oh yes, new Institute day is a good day. I've been wanting to post the heavy jangle, effects-lite post-punk shit that is Institute since I became editor of the Austin Deli, but their (no-holds-barred good) last EP Salt came out in October of 2014, which was just barely, annoyingly out of the range to be considered "news."

Today though, with a fist-shake of gritty happiness, I'm here to say that the wait is over. There is new Institute, and it's them at their fuckitall best. The new track from Sacred Bones Records is thoroughly appropriately titled "Cheerlessness," and as opposed to Salt, which often had Institute sounding like a band made up of people each about to fall apart at the seams in a really good and satisfying way, this new track is tighter and more determined.

The singing, or whatever you'd call that nicely out of it noise they're making, still seems like it's coming from a depressed drunk who stumbled upon a microphone just after getting hit in the head by a large human, but now he's in his third song and just doesn't even care enough to put energy into his shit until he just loses it at the end. There's true emotion of the kind the title espouses here, something you really get with the exasperated breath into the mic at the end, and that they layer that whole modern malaised man sound over a non-stop breackneck, clenched-asshole beat and wails from a guitar that sounds like it's dying is just damn good fuck the world punk. Listen below y'all, and get you a beer and a good brick wall alley slouch goin' to make it feel right. The rest of the album, called Catharsis is out June 9th, and you can get tour dates here.

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Artificial Earth Machine Wins Artist of the Month on Strength of New Album, Live Show

It was a tight race, but thanks to a major last minute push, the close of the polls on our most recent Artist of the Month contest saw beatmaker Artificial Earth Machine take home the victory comfortably. While all of our artists were worthy of the nod, it's a well-deserved win by AEM, who rode into first place in large part due to the damned good new album he's just released, called Biosphere Simulator.

As you might guess from the name of both artist and album, AEM's music has a strong current of scifi running through it, full of weird sounds that sound like they were recorded straight from alien sources. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if AEM claimed to be piping the inspiration for this starmusic straight from another corner of the universe through some sort of musical telepathic pipeline, taking in the weird signals and processing them through a beatmaker’s mind. That last part is what elevates this music to truly impressive heights of goodness; AEM corrals all of the weird, space chaos through an obviously keen head for song structure. The repetitiveness and rigidity of hip-hop and other beats provide the perfect counterbalance for all of the odd sounds from the outer reaches, and the result is instant grin-inducing. It’s the perfect music to put on while watching a space documentary or a film like “Aliens” or “Sunshine” on mute, and it’d be even better for soundtracking a stoned solo trip to the planetarium (an activity we highly recommend).

In addition to this solid, thoroughly enjoyable album of space songs, many of you who voted AEM into the winner’s spot made note of the musician’s live show as a major reason you gave him your vote, or as poster “aa” put it, “amazing live and is like a magical synth spa for your brain.” That show (you can watch a bit of it from a few years ago below) features AEM bathed in a sea of projected colorscapes, with just the man, his beatmachines and a mic producing these many-layered, highly thought-out tracks. That he does use a mic is one thing that separates AEM from much of the beat scene, especially here in Austin, where the tendency is mostly to use pre-recorded vocals by someone other than the artist in live shows, or to use none at all. AEM’s aesthetic is made even more unique by not shying away from injecting his own equally alien live vocals into his spacey beats, and it makes for quite an arresting live experience.

In all, Biosphere Simulator is a thoroughly excellent nearly mid-year album and one of the best so far in 2015 from the musicmakers of the city. You can listen to the whole thing here, and we’d like to beam out a heartfelt congrats to Artificial Earth Machine from our communications array at Space Station Deli. Stellar stuff, in every meaning of the word.

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COSMS Releases EP "Arteria"

A while back yonder, we brought you some sweet preliminary sounds from Austin post-rock duo COSMS then-upcoming EP. That EP has done gone and come out, and we've got the whole thing for you here today! Arteria expands on the sound from pre-release, Asian-influenced instrumental track "Pagoda" with five total tracks of contemporary two-musician post-rock experimentation.

It's a little weird to us who remember when Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky and the other post-rock of the 2000s was a wholly new sound, as now the genre is in a very different place. Most "indie" fans have moved to a pretty heavily psych-rock, indie-folk, synthy pop zone, and the massive underculture (does that even exist anymore?) attention has shifted away from genres like post-rock (you could include a lot of other genres like doom metal in there too). Personally, I think that's a great thing for bands like COSMS, because it allows them space to do whatever they want, to work on subtle changes and enhancements to their genre and to really get the sound they want down on record. The result is lovely gems like Arteria, with its Shanghai-meets-American post-rock sound, and its ultra pared-down two musician format that allows for each piece of their songs to be prominent, allowing the listener to really see how each part contributes to the whole.

That's an approach that is quite nice in post-rock, especially when you think back to those 20+ piece tracks that Godspeed used to drop. As awesome as those were, they were going for something very different, something rougher and louder and more urgent, almost desperately so. That was great for the time, but that COSMS has found a space to do something very different, and very lovely, in post-rock that's shows that the genre has much still to offer.

In all these are some fresh-layered tracks with delightful complexity in the song structure from but two musicians, and you won't find tighter instrumental music coming out of Austin. Listen to all of Arteria below y'all.

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