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Artist of the Month
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April 2015
Sandcastle
"Skull Cauldron
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mp3
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.


Go to the old Top 300 charts

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chicago

August 2013
Running
"Vaguely Ethnic
"
mp3

This album is a blur, but a blur that you don't want to miss. It's a car crash that you want slow down to catch, possibly even circle the block to take a second look. The new album, Vaguely Ethnic, from Running is a blurred car crash filled with squealing, screeching, and screaming. It is the kind of gore that is thrilling at first blush, but makes you feel guilty as you gawk. This is punk rock as it was meant to be, raw, wild and relentlessly aggressive. The nine track effort clocks in at less than 30 minutes, but you will find yourself getting lost in the layers of noise and feedback. Vaguely Ethnic was released this week, August 6th, via Castle Face Records.

J Fernandez "Fading Out"

While listening to an advance copy of the new album, Many Levels of Laughter, from J Fernandez I realized that I slept on his 7" "No Luck" on Chicago's Lake Paradise earlier this year. The video for "Fading Out" came out in January. A full review of the album will be coming soon, the album will be released this month through the UK label Morning Ritual Recordings.

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Russian Circles "Deficit"

Russian Circles have released the first single, "Deficit", from their forthcoming and fifth album Memorial (Sargent House, Oct. 29th).

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Into It. Over It "Spinning Thread"

Evan Weiss (aka Into It. Over It.) has released a new track from the forthcoming album Intersections due out Sept. 24th via Triple Crown Records.

You can catch Into It. Over It. at Schuba's on October 25th.

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On an On "Unison"

On an On will be touring the country through out the month of September and to kick the tour off they are releasing a cassette (available digitally on Aug. 20th) featuring covers of Bjork's "Unison" and Hot Chip's "Boy From School".

The tour kicks off at Lincoln Hall on August 30th with Supreme Cuts.

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