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Artist of the Month
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April 2015
Sandcastle
"Skull Cauldron
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Skull Cauldron, Sandcastle’s latest LP, is a sojourn into a dimly lit wilderness. Recorded as a quartet (with the group moving forward without Micah Edwards) at West Philly’s Sex Dungeon, these songs pull you ever deeper into the thick of it with their hauntingly infectious sense of urgency and balance.
 
Album opener, “Atlantis Trance,” percolates as the guitar, bass, and drums tightly co-exist in a relaxed yet spring-loaded groove that is reminiscent to classic Talking Heads, while the quick-paced, tongue-twisting vocals run through a hypnotic, mythical tale. Continuing in a similar vain, “Wolf With No Eyes” is led by a spiraling guitar riff, reinforced with acoustic strums and low end that conjures ups an atmosphere of danger, climbing into the chorus: “Think I’m obsessive compulsive/I think I’ll think myself to death/Need a therapist or an alchemist to toxify my mind I guess.” This subtle searching of mental anguish grabs a hold of the listener, cautiously traversing the exploratory musical terrain. Casually, one slips into “Datura” as Sam Kassel’s secretively whispered vocals gain a foothold amid an up-tempo guitar-percussion combo that runs forward in fits and then lays back before a guitar burst leads you through the finish line.
 
“Wonder Where She Goes” has that catchy, restrained guitar plucking that lays down the foundation of its composition. As Kassel contemplates, “Am I too late for the ghost train? Am I too dumb for another plane?” The song appears on the cusp of breaking loose, but then steps back for a moment, until finally the pressure boils over. “And I can’t find, I can’t find the way/the way she walks when she walks away…”
 
“Evergreen” is a multifaceted tune that initially rides its acoustic guitar riff as Kassel prophesizes, “If I were a knight, I would be the Green Knight, I would be the Green Knight, and you’d be my Green Lady,” before it lands in a full stable of smoldering instrumentation. Then, the song transitions into a higher gear, led by the quickened pace of the guitar running anxiously ahead, while being propelled forward by the bass before falling back to that almost blues-rock zone with the thudding bass invigorating the track into an open-field mad dash. “Pterodactyls” sits in the shadows, marinating in an ominous tone of preparation for battle. It’s a clear yet heart-racing endeavor as bright injections of acoustic guitar serve as glimpses of daybreak.
 
“Medicine Song” creates a stir with its immediate fresh out of the blocks surge, dashing ahead for an abbreviated sprint, tempering off and then throwing caution to the wind when the final stretch is in sight. “Souls” puts the understated spoken vocals to prime use, developing a ghostly creeping self-aware vibe as the instruments tightly pulse around the unrelenting bass. The song takes turns jolting forward while refueling with reflective cool-down breaks as the song deals with the distance game of a relationship. “Yeah, sometimes she goes far away/Sometimes I get in her face/Yeah, even though we’re jaded/I still wanna play the game.”
 
The final chapter of the record, the adventurously forest-wandering instrumental “Drink Deep of the Skull Cauldron,” quixotically bookends the album. It’s an intoxicating concoction as Sandcastle marches forward as a four-piece beyond the menacing tree line. - Michael Colavita 

This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.


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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!


Album Review: Sun E-Shea

Sun E-Shea's debut self-titled album sounds like it should be blasted from a cassette in a Sony boom-box rather than played through an internet link, but I guess that's why the duo proclaims they "are stuck in the past and...are staying for the music." The release boasts twenty tracks, with influences clearly rooted in late 80s/early 90s hip-hop. While they touch upon a variety of different artists' styles, I felt an A Tribe Called Quest vibe the strongest. Some of you may think that's ultra-high praise, but take a listen to Sun E-Shea's songs and you'll hear exactly what I mean. The samples, beats and lyrics are all super-smooth and well-written, with the Quest sound coming through particularly strong in their choice of bass lines and drum tracks.

One of my favorite lines from the record comes from the track "Clive": "More times than often, well-skilled and clean, learned how to rhyme from Shel Silverstein." I think I'll go home after work, listen to a few more of these tracks and try to find a copy of The Giving Tree on ebay.

For more info about these two seemingly unknown MCs, check out their (apparently) new Facebook page.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

  

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Miss Geo Release New EP, Shapes

Boston’s favorite electro-pop duo Miss Geo recently unveiled their newest EP, Shapes, and unsurprisingly, it’s definitely worth your time--trust me. Even if you don’t trust me, listen to it--it’ll be the best twenty minutes you spend all month. It may only be four tracks long, but Shapes crams enough synths, pop hooks and dance-worthy drum beats to keep you dancing for the next month.

 "Dancing After Dark" was the standout track in this collection. The infectious synth and smooth, almost sultry vocals grab your attention and lead you through to the end of the song--kind of like when you’re out at a club and you catch someone giving you “the eyes” from the other side of the room, drawing you closer for some inexplicable reason.

For more info about Miss Geo, check out their website.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)
 

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Show Alert: Arielle Vakni, Box of Birds, Arms and Ears, Sister Speak @ TT the Bear's Tonight

Lysten Boston invites you to relax and unwind at TT the Bear’s tonight with a night of folk-pop that will give you that extra boost to carry you to the weekend. Arielle Vakni, Box of Birds (previous nominee for The Deli New England’s Artist of the Month) and Arms and Ears will provide a warm welcome for Sister Speak (CA). Bring a friend (or two) and get nice and introspective about your life for a couple hours before heading back out into the “real world.”

 For more information about the show, check out the Facebook event.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)


 


Deli Video Premiere: Get "Hot & Heavy" with Molasses Jones' New Video

Boston-area blues rockers Molasses Jones have released a new video into the vastness of the Internet and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll watch it, listen to it, and tell all your friends about it. Shot in-studio at Ugly Duck Recording Studios in Allston during the recording of their new single, “Hot & Heavy”, the production quality of both the song and video are extremely well-done. Carried by a ridiculously catchy main riff and strong, smooth vocals from lead singer John Zapato, this song is the perfect soundtrack for a warm-weather BBQ, lounging in your backyard, or cruisin’ down the highway to nowhere in particular.

 For more info about Molasses Jones, check them out here.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

Photo credit: @bengebo
  

Live at Ugly Duck: Molasses Jones - "Hot & Heavy" from Corey Fein on Vimeo.

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