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August 2014
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
"Sea When Absent
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Sea When Absent (Lefse Records) opens like a shoegaze-y car crash. The latest album from A Sunny Day in Glasgow doesn’t bother gradually layering melodic elements; they get right to business from millisecond one, hitting you with reverberating electronic tones, orchestral violins, and the crooning vocals of Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson. It’s a weirdly aggressive move for such an intensely soulful LP, but it’s pretty emblematic of how the record works as a whole. For an album as focused at creating moments of subtle beauty, Sea When Absent doesn’t have the time to let you gradually pick up on it on your own. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is the rare type of band that takes beauty and emotional resonances and waves it around like a chair in a bar fight.
 
In the strictest possible sense, this is a shoegaze-psychedelic-electronica album with a particular emphasis on vocals. But the more you listen; the more you start to discover what a diverse series of musical influences are rattling around in there. Mixing the electronica stylings of Flying Lotus and Saltillo with the indie-pop elements of bands like Death Cab and Phantogram, the basis is a percussion of grungy electronic tones, topped with a combination of guitar and synth, adding just the right balance, while being mixed in with a cavalcade of classical instruments and outlandish effects.
 
But the crown jewel of the album is Goma and Fredrickson’s understatedly gorgeous vocals. They play off, sometimes bizarre, instrumentations perfectly, complimenting them while also adding a fulcrum of relative normalcy to Sunny Day’s outside-the-box compositions. This is what really gives the album its sense of slick melancholy, creating an ambience of stylish vulnerability in tracks like “Byebye Big Ocean (The End),” where there is a sense of crooning sorrow, while “Oh I’m A Wrecker” sees them go much farther into the indie-pop paradigm.
 
While this record maintains the complexity and delightful weirdness of past A Sunny Day in Glasgow albums, it also comes with a newfound sense of clarity, in great part due to the outside production of Jeff Zeigler (of The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile fame). Zeigler is able to successfully piece together the moving parts of this bi-continental band, with mastermind Ben Daniels orchestrating things from the other side of the world in Australia, making the album’s abrupt left turns from spacey psychedelics to grounded punk-pop a little easier to digest. The wealth of ideas rarely feels busy or forced. Sea When Absent is ultimately proof that weird doesn’t necessarily have to mean messy. 

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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!


Bishop and Rook, Mutiny on the Microphone to Host Press & Media Meet n' Greet

This coming Tuesday, July 23, Boston music blog Bishop and Rook (in conjunction with Mutiny on the Microphone) will be hosting a local music press & media meet n’ greet at Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge, MA. The event is scheduled to last from 7-9PM and is FREE. I’ve been told that registration for the event has reached capacity, but you can still sign-up here for the waitlist. For those of you that have already secured your spot, this will certainly be a great opportunity to get to know other members of the Boston-area music press scene. I love seeing events like this pop-up around the city. It’s great knowing that so many people are interested in supporting the awesome local music scene. Commiserating with other people about meeting deadlines and editing content isn’t bad either.

For more information, check out the Bishop and Rook website.

 

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)
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Vundabar embarks on ambitious U.S. tour

Boston’s Vundabar is surfin’ the USA with its brand of chilled-out summery rock. After a nearly two-month trek in Europe, the guys will kick off their latest tour with a hometown show at Great Scott in Allston tonight, July 22. New Englanders can also check the band out at Modern Gypsy in Manchester, NH, on July 23; Woodbury Music Shop in Woodbury, CT, on July 24; and The Space in Connecticut on August 8. Or, if you happen to find yourself in Brooklyn, peep them alongside Perennial Reel and Morus Alba on July 27 at Muchmore’s. – Jake Reed (@jakejreed)

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Boston Calling Announces Blank Canvas Contest

A little over a week ago, the organizers of Boston Calling announced the launch of Blank Canvas, a contest inviting all interested artists to create a concept for a 36 x 60” mural that will then create and put on display during the fall festival session (September 5-7). Five winners will be chosen from the submissions, receiving $1000 cash (including $250 for supplies) and four 3-day VIP tickets to the Boston Calling, in addition to the vast exposure their designs will receive at the festival.


According to a press release, the idea for this contest came about after brainstorming different ways of trying to utilize the talents of all artists (not just musicians) in the activities at Boston Calling. “We are always seeking ways to extend our connection to the community and further celebrate the talents of the people that make Boston, and the entire region vibrant,” says Brian Appel, co-founder of Boston Calling, in the release.  “At this past May’s festival, every time we saw a blank wall, we felt we missed an opportunity to have an artist display their work.”


All interested applicants must submit their designs via an 8.5 x 11” digital document no later than August 5, 2014. A full list of contest rules and regulations--and info about September's concert lineup--can be found here.


-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

 

 

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Review of The I Want You at TT The Bear's (July 2, 2014)

 I was invited to a show a couple weeks ago by a band member from The I Want You. I like Boston-area nightlife, I like music and I like beer--all of which were coincidentally at TT’s the Bear’s in Cambridge that night--so I figured I’d go check it out. The band played an eclectic mix of pop tunes peppered with multi-part harmonies and keyboard melodies. I could vaguely detect hints of an R.E.M. influence (meant as a compliment, though I’m not sure how the band will take it). The highlight of their set for me was their song "Drifting". Full of energy and well-timed backing vocals, it was my favorite song of the evening by far.


For more info about The I Want You, check out their Bandcamp page.


-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

 

 

 

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We Were Astronauts "Keep It Together" on new single

Following its poppy lead single “Golden,” We Were Astronauts have premiered the second single from its forthcoming Artificial Light EP. “Keep It Together” follows in the footsteps of melody-driven rock radio giants Kings of Leon, with catchy vocals and a thoughtfully pieced-together array of guitar pedals carrying the track from start to finish. Look for Artificial Light on September 9 and get your tickets to August 23’s album release party here. – Jake Reed (@jakejreed)

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Black Beach, Neutrinos, Black Beach and Grave Ideas join forces tonight in Jamaica Plain

Four great Massachusetts bands – all for only five dollars. If you’re in the Boston area tonight, July 13, head over to Jamaica Plain’s Midway Cafe at 9 p.m. to catch Amherst surf giants Sexy Girls, the dark and dingy punk of Middleboro’s Black Beach, Boston garage rockers Grave Ideas and the high energy of Attleboro’s Neutrinos. See you there. – Jake Reed (@jakejreed)


People The Kangaroo drops great hits on "Greatest Hits Vol. 3"

People The Kangaroo’s Greatest Hits Vol. 3 is not a greatest hits collection at all – rather, it’s the band’s first EP, following last year’s single “We Can Still Say I Love You.” The album starts with a swelling synth and a spoken word sample, a brief detour from the music that follows. First up is the poppy “Blue Filter (Clicking Clicking),” a fair example of the band’s knack for a good hook and Pablo San Martin’s slick production, but “Time is Running Faster” is even better. With extraterrestrial backing vocals, synth and guitar riffs that twist and turn around one another and drums big enough to fill a stadium, the EP’s second track is also its focal point. Next, “Hit You” careens on the line between cheery and dissonant, fitting its creepy lyric – “I’m in the back seat, I’m gonna hit you if I can,” vocalist Alan Wurman sings. Grab Greatest Hits Vol. 3 for free on Bandcamp now and see the guys play it live at T.T the Bear’s in Cambridge on July 23. – Jake Reed (@jakejreed)

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