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The Deli Philly’s February Record of the Month: Johnny Utah – Johnny Utah

Johnny Utah’s limited edition self-titled cassette is quintessential listening for fans of bedroom pop, earnest lyricism, and melodies that feel like the soundtrack to your favorite early aughts indie flick.

Available via Slovakian cassette label Z Tapes, the six-song EP opens with “Angst,” which unfolds with melodic licks of guitar and the distant trill of birds. The hushed yet cinematic intro gradually blossoms into a satisfyingly more pronounced and rhythmically memorable ballad that asks a timely question: “Is it time for the world to see?” Heartfelt yet far from coy, “Angst” feels genuine, nostalgic, and fervent. It’s a suitable preface to “Gentle Boy,” which begins with the definition of its namesake, setting the stage for an unabashed and tender anthem that pays homage to vulnerability and emotion, while resulting in a realistic portrait of masculinity. The song ends with a heartwarming voicemail message that gives a vivid glimpse into the would-be biography of man not afraid to give a shit or say, “I love you.” It’s a refreshing meditation on human closeness and self-actualization.

The lullaby-esque start of “Elliot’s Song” echoes the beginning of “Angst” in its earliest moments, before evolving into a catchy confessional about intimacy and an inability to let go of a romance. Reminiscent of the raw truth at the center of bygone LPs by Drug Rug and The Babies, the track transforms its narrator into a believable apologist. It’s difficult to listen to this song without seeing a bit of yourself in it. Rather than mere desperation, “Elliot’s Song” is a sincere proclamation, while “Her Bangs” is a brief yet swoon-worthy offering that hums with yearning. A perfect song to be listened to again and again due to its brevity, “Her Bangs” illustrates Johnny Utah’s lyrical precision and the longevity of being concise. Within the span of barely two minutes, listeners are captivated by the clarity of the track’s narrative and sentiments. “Nvrllyrlly” is an undeniably smooth, pop cut. A testament to the persistence of desire, the urgency of the song is amplified by repetition and the pulsating thumps of a drum machine.

Johnny Utah’s final track, the aptly titled “A Song to End It All,” begins like a trippy, psych-drenched, fever dream in slo-mo, before bursting into a tambourine-filled hymn of sorts. A seamless end to a gratifying cassette, “A Song to End It All” and all that precedes it are well worth listening to on repeat. Each track will feel just as riveting as it did the first time you heard it. – Dianca London





New Palm LP Available for Streaming

Ahead of its February 9th release date via Carpark Records, Rock Island, the sophomore album from Palm, is now available for streaming, courtesy of NPR’s First Listen. The band playfully experiments with traditional sonic structures, often spinning expectations on their head. Establishing a melodic ease and accessibility and then abruptly shifting gears, that controlled, chaos approach makes one envision some mastermind (i.e. Willy Wonka or the great and wonderful Oz) is calling the shots and pulling the levers behind the curtain. On Monday, March 26, Palm will be seting up shop at First Unitarian Church, supported by The Spirit of The Beehive and Old Maybe.





New Track: "More to Love" - Queen of Jeans

On March 30, Dig Yourself, the debut full-length album from Queen of Jeans, will be released via Topshelf Records. Its lead single, “More to Love,” finds a blissful balance. The assertive elegance of its lead vocals are reinforced by the polish of a harmonious backing chorus. Simmering in smooth rhythms, the song opens lines of intimate communication. Catch Queen of Jeans' record release show on Saturday, March 31 at Underground Arts, where they'll be supported by Katie Ellen and Harmony Woods!





Milk For The Angry release video for "Upside 85"

There’s a certain cosmic energy that strings together the scenes of the newest music video for the track “Upside 85” (streaming below) by Oakland trio Milk For The Angry; the randomness is reworked into a psychedelic reality quite easily, through flashing images of thrashing, glitter-soaked bodies, a live performance, and lone motorcyclist on the freeway. The grunge-soaked garage rock is heavy with psychedelic influences, riffing off of the surf-sensibilities of the scene. Listening to “Upside 85”—or frankly, any track by the Cali natives—feels like stepping into a wonderfully gritty postcard of the Golden State. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the band, founded by Dana Windstorm and Matt Kerslake after a chance encounter in a Bay Area drum shop, is essentially a living mythologization of what it means to be a musician in California. Or maybe it’s just something about the reverb. Regardless, it’s difficult to listen to this track without stepping back afterwards and thinking, “there’s something special here.” Milk For The Angry is playing a string of local shows soon, with the next announced date being February 28th at Bottom of the Hill. - Lilly Milman





Wet Leather releases new track "I Was Wrong", plays Elsewhere 02.02

Though they identify their genre of indie music as "anxiety pop", Wet Leather return with confidence as they drop their newest single, "I Was Wrong". Drawing from '80s influences (Prince's ghost often dwells in their recordings) and indie elements of the '00s such as CHVRCHES' synths and poppy hooks, the group once again makes their mark in the NYC scene. Last week, they released another new song called "IWMU"; both that and "I Was Wrong" (streaming below) will appear on Wet Leather's upcoming EP, Present Lives. The group will release the EP and perform on February 2nd at Elsewhere's Zone 1. - Will Sisskind

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