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best-emerging-bands-artists





Emcee/producer MIKE invites you to the psych-soul "Disco!"

It takes some cajones to use one of the most common names in the English language as your single-named moniker and then to spell it out in ALL CAPS no less, But MIKE owns it so convincingly that if your name is Michael now you'd best contact your local justice of the peace and apply for a new appellation at your earliest convenience.

Speaking of “ALL CAPS” if you happen to be into MF DOOM (RIP)—or Madlib or J Dilla or Ghostface or Action Bronson or Earl Sweatshirt or other emcees who spit virtuosic breathless bars over dusty soul samples and smooth grooves and hard beats alike—then you’ve in luck because MIKE’s most recent full-length LP (redundant, I know) called “Disco!” has got you covered with seventeen tracks chock full of these very qualities but still totally distinctive in its MIKEness.

Released one year to the date since his last album Weight of the World with production once again by DJ blackpower (rumored to be MIKE himself in alter-ego disguise but I’m not here to spread rumours) this is deeply felt psychedelic soul for Gen Z hip hop heads (plus broke-ass-but-not-broken Millennials and grateful Gen X old heads) full of spiritual blunted ecstatic vibes that’ll have you floating on cloud nine like a runaway child running wild in route to the psychedelic shack, well-articulated mumble rap for the 2021 boom-bap set. (Jason Lee)





Cookie Tongue bequeath a "Soggy Miracle"

I can't claim to know why Cookie Tongue are called Cookie Tongue. But in my imagination they took it from the title to an ancient fable, or a long lost Grimms' Fairy Tale, about a child granted three wishes with her first wish being for her tongue to be turned into a cookie because how great would that be. Except her wish backfires horribly because having a cookie in your mouth that you can’t swallow would be torture. Needless to say the girl nearly goes mad and ends up biting off her own tongue off to end the torment. So she can't communicate her next wish (“I’d like to have my old tongue back”) which is a pretty harsh way to learn a basic lesson like “be careful what you wish for.”

This is no doubt completely off base but much like a Grimms' fairy tales the Brooklyn-based combo are made up of equal parts playful/fanciful and twisted/demented. And it’s not an easy balancing act to pull off which is why not many people write good fairy tales and not many people are in Cookie Tongue. Another parallel is that Cookie Tongue clearly appeals to children and adults alike, a fact I can verify first-hand having just seen them perform live on the opening date of their upcoming (now ongoing tour) summer tour—SEE HERE for dates—because the adults at the show were rapt and the kids were losing their minds they were so into it.

The show was held outdoors on a perfect equinox evening with plenty of little rug rats running amok as their parents drank beer and cocktails no doubt happy to be given a break thanks to the Cookie Tonguers and their exquisitely ramshackle songs playing on a Ren Faire style stage decked out with flowers and mannequins and an array of glockenspiels and puppets and Casio keyboards and other implements of their trade. Rest assured Cookie Tongue know how to put the “freak” in freak folk with an extra helping of dollop of freak on top while providing suitable entertainment for the whole family.

A Cookie Tongue performance feels like if the roustabouts tied up the clowns and took over the circus; and then went on an afternoon-long drinking binge and raided the wardrobe/makeup cabinet and put on a crazy pastiche of stuff; and then went on stage and performed a surprisingly coherent set of calliope-inspired music with bizarrely poetic lyrics sung by a male-female combo in warbling, breathy tones that you're not sure if it's funny or disturbing or just different. But really that’s too easy an explanation, better to just go listen to their music like their last full length, Dream Seed Ceremony (2020), on which Omer Gal and Jacquelyn Marie Shannon inhabit a rogue’s gallery of vocal personas. So you can see why these two would be into puppetry with all the voices they clearly have trapped inside.

On their new EP from earlier this month, Soggy Miracle, Cookie Tongue continue to refine their quaint yet ornate junk store aesthetic forming a bed a sonic fertilizer for the lyrics and their sinuous twisty trains of thought and mantra-like repetitions--like the one sung from the perspective of a ten-year-old child tempted to eat his own baby teeth out of a cereal bowl with milk on them along with his friend but they don't know if they'll be soggy or crunchy.

Soggy Miracle closes with “Orange Sky” which is centered around a rousing yet doom-laden melody that'll make you wanna raise your mug in the air and toast the impending end--a song about taking “the back road out of here / away from the orange sky” which certainly sounds more than a little apocalyptic--especially at the end when the song turns into a swirling miasma of breathy vocalizing and megaphone man ranting and rat-a-tat snare drumming before concluding with a dramatic almost a cappella epigram or epitaph take your pick. (Jason Lee)

n.b. Credit must be given to Michele With One 'L' whose weekly Tuesday afternoon WFMU radio show called "Feelings" first turned this writer on to Cookie Tongue and to several other artists featured on this blog.

 

 

 





Trace of Lime Reminds Us to Live in the Moment with New Video

            I remember seeing Trace of Lime for the first time several years ago and being blown away by the energy and explosiveness packed into each song. Their latest single, Good Ol’ Days, encapsulates that exact feeling. The song features witty vocals, catchy guitar rhythms and a wildly entertaining music video that utilizes stop-motion stylization. They undoubtedly have their own defined sound that can be categorized as upbeat and cheerful, yet at the same time they express a straightforward rock n roll sound that induces involuntary headbanging. 

When asked about some of the band’s biggest influences, lead singer Jordan ironically listed Rod Serling, Mozart and Mystery Inc. After listening to Trace of Lime, it would be difficult to guess that these are some of the artists who inspire the band. But perhaps, this is one of the reasons why Trace of Lime has such a unique sound that is incomparable to any other band. That being, they don’t try to sound like anyone else. They are who they are and they own it. Jordan elaborates on their effortless ability to solidify their own style, saying “It’s definitely more natural when it comes to the sound... We aren’t married to a specific genre so influence from anything is on the table and everyone is willing to give anything a try.” Though they channel many different influences, their music doesn’t come across as experimental necessarily. You can tell that they incorporate many different ideas, but they always just sound like Trace of Lime, and that is a testament to their creativity. 

The music video supposedly took several years to complete and it’s totally understandable why. Stop motion videos normally take a considerable amount of time to complete, but the final result made the process very much worth the wait. Jordan provides some backstory of the production process, stating “The first verse alone was a picture a day for over a year. Conceptually, The song is saying that the good ol days are currently happening, and to live your life in the day. That’s where the photo a day concept came from. Every day is a piece of the story.” The video was filmed, scripted, directed, and edited by Jordan and his partner, Dusana. I already admired the video before hearing about the ideas that went into it, but now I admire it even more so. The fact that they used stop-motion to accentuate the meaning of the song highlights the band’s artistry. All of their creative decisions are purposeful and impactful, resulting in consistent, high-quality art. 

The four members of Trace of Lime certainly don’t lack any artistic integrity. They make music that satisfies them and it bodes well for their listeners as well. The band mentioned that they have an upcoming record to be on the lookout for, and it supposedly is meant to capture the energy of playing live. If that’s the case, anyone who has ever seen them perform would know that they are in for an absolute treat.

 





Yaya Bey releases The Things I Can't Take With Me

Queens-bred and Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter/storyteller/poet/producer/multimedia artist and record cover artist Yaya Bey is a one-woman art-generating army whose EP The Things I Can’t Take With Me (released in April on Big Dada Recordings) is comprised of six songs of resilience, defiance, and solidarity with “Black women just like me” that addresses the relatable theme of “all this shit I gotta let go of, just the things I can’t take with me” quoting directly from Ms. Bey’s Bandcamp page—the things to be left behind ranging from childhood trauma to addictive-but-ultimately-unhealthy relationships to music industry fuckery. But most of all the record seems to be about gathering the strength to persevere and flourish.

This latter emphasis comes across not only in the lyrics but also in the sonic textures and warm enveloping production full of gently jazzy guitars and baselines and horn loops and funky drums played with a light touch, plus all sorts of no doubt lovingly assembled sonic details like the layers of mouth percussion and luminous self-harmonizing heard on “We’ll Skate Soon” or the snatches of studio chatter/laughter and the warm surface noise of vinyl records heard on other tracks. The EP’s advance single and mini-manifesto “Fxck It Then” is a perfect example of all of the above employed in support of its opening declaration: “Fxck being good now I’m a bad bitch / Fxck staying down now I’m a savage / I ain’t average.”

And in the unlikely event you should question Yaya Bey’s “bad bitch” credentials consider the album that launched her recording career and the circumstances around it, quoting again from the Bandcamp page: 

Yaya Bey’s 2016 debut, The Many Alter-Egos of Trill’eta Brown, was an ambitious project that included a dreamy, largely acoustic mixtape, book, and digital collage inspired by her front-line activism as a street medic in Ferguson. “You spend two years of your life protesting and getting assaulted and arrested—you got a lot of shit to say after that,” Bey said.

And if should you need some more Yaya you can check out the 2020 quarantine-recorded follow-up LP Madison Tapes, and we also recommend this recent in-depth interview and DJ set she performed, broadcast live on The Duane Train radio program which goes out weekly on WFMU a/k/a "The Freeform Station of the Nation”--a station based out of Jersey City, a/k/a "Chilltown"--hosted by legendary DJ/selector Duane Harriott who assembles some the grooviest mixes of vintage and brand new soul, funk, disco, electro, and hip hop anywhere that I’ve heard. And then finally, or perhaps first of all, you're also advised to check out Yaya Bey performing live (yes, that's right live!) tonight alongside some friends at a Juneteenth celebration being held at Brooklyn’s Sultan Room (the livestream will still be available for a couple days after the show) with guests including Boston Chery and Run P. (Jason Lee)





Dead Tooth head on down to the "Hell Shack"

We here at DeliCorp Enterprises would like to wish a happy two-week songaversary to “Hell Shack,” Dead Tooth's latest single and their disquieting but not at all quiet answer to the B-52's "Love Shack." And since two-week anniversaries are known as the aluminum foil anniversary (editor's note: there is no known evidence this is true) we hope that they enjoy the tin foil hats we just dropped in the mail for all the band members because judging from their latest song it seems they've maybe been receiving some alien transmissions lately.

On "Hell Shack" the Dead Toothers continue to refine their post-punky trailer-parky electric blues psychedelic electro-rock sound and no I don’t get paid by the word. Speaking of words, band frontman Zach James describes the song as an “almost dumb and brutish voice of a self deprecating ephemera addict who's trying to find words for indescribable feelings of anger, hurt, mistrust, doubt and shame [and] it’s about setting fire to what was and being at war with the id [and] it’s the destructive and creative forces working together to build my heaven like I built my Hell Shack” and well hell he took the words right out of my mouth.

But damn if "Hell Shack" doesn’t live up to this hype because it's a pretty epic piece of music squeezed into three minutes and seventeen seconds--starting with a minimalist guitar/keyboard backing which sounds kinda like the B-52s in a rare funk (see what I mean) but then vocally you've got more of a “Subterranean Homesick Blues” vibe with stacatto verbiage and mashed-up imagery and rhyme-schemery (opening lines: “a terse versed vulgar purse snatching witch / I’m on the back of the bottom of your itch”) that hooks the listener from the get go (editor's note: no listeners were consulted for this write-up) and builds in intensity before a runaway Beastie Boys riff enters the picture about a minute in and then it’s straight into some techno-phallic guitar riffage and lyrics about “fight[ing] fire with fury and full choir” and “tell[ing] that fat headed pig we want out tomorrow.”

So you're thinking "OK Dylan meets Zeppelin it's been done before" but halfway through the song drops into an ambient "Kid A" style K-hole for a short spell before launching into an extended outro over a groovy syncopated beat and ghostly reverb slow-motion melody with a vocal line that becomes increasingly chant-like unleashing who knows what malevolent forces with lines like “the idol kills, the idol grows.” But in the end its Dead Tooth who kills it with a nicely vibey final minute that builds in intensity riding off into the sunset or would that be the sulpheric flames of Hell? Needless to say wherever you end up it was a journey getting there.

 

Oh and there’s a video too which you may have noticed up top, but if you prefer your music remain unvisualized check it out directly above. In the music video for "Hell Shack" people chase each other around a lot (mostly members of the band I think) but it's definitely not the screaming teens of A Hard Day's Night chasing after Dead Tooth's limo. There’s a kidnapping or something involved and maybe some gangsters and definitely a skateboard theft. So hey maybe it doesn't set a very good example for the children but it’s fun and there's some slow motion parts but be forewarned it gets a bit violent at times—like when Zach gets bashed across the face apparently right after he just ingested a bunch of tator tots because he spits ketchup everywhere all over the pavement. It happens. And while I'm forced to dock the video one star for not including any Trans Am sports cars (plus no cameo by Nathan Wind) it's still a fairly entertaining piece of work. (Jason Lee)

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