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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!


Pale Hands gets in the "Spirit" on forthcoming LP

Ahead of its debut LP, Spirit Lines, Somerville duo Pale Hands has released three groovy bits of dance-pop that will appear on the album. The dreamy “Fanatic” mixes sweeping synth chords and pulses with stuttering drums, while “No Stars” channels the synth-obsessed dance-pop of the 80s through the lens of modern alternative-R&B production. The latest, “Juventud,” combines the best parts of each track before it. While Spirit Lines won’t get dropped until October 28, you can check out Pale Hands at Boston En Masse on September 20. – Jake Reed (@jakejreed)

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Free Pizza finds summer love in "Net Babes"

By now I’ve heard about Free Pizza quite a bit (probably because they’ve played in my friend’s basement a few times this summer) and now I know what the hype’s all about. Premiered over at Impose Magazine, the band’s video for “Net Babes” is the perfect representation of broke 20-something romance in Boston: backyard bonfires, 40s in the park and outdoor jam sessions. The sparse, catchy bop is a great, albeit short, summer love anthem. Download it now on Bandcamp for $1 – or score a deal on the band’s Boston, MA album for just $5 – and check out the video below. – Jake Reed (@jakejreed)

Free Pizza // "Net Babes" from BUFU Records on Vimeo.

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Sundog gets "Superstitious" in new live video

Sundog may be based out of New Orleans, but it only feels appropriate to feature the one-man show on The Deli New England while he spends some quality time in Boston this summer. Alex Stein, whose songs and performances rely heavily on his loop pedal, recently premiered the live video for “Superstitious,” a track from his latest album Space Criminal. The funky track features piano, synth chords and layered bass lines that weave in and out of one another, and the video offers a look into Sundog’s process of laying down each looped track on stage. Watch the video below and download Space Criminal for $3 on Bandcamp. – Jake Reed (@jakejreed)

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THE DELI TORONTO IS ON!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

today's the day when The Deli goes international, eh! Please allow us to introduce you to... The Deli Toronto!


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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