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October 2014
Mumblr
"Full Of Snakes
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mp3

The major takeaway for Mumblr’s new album Full Of Snakes (Fleeting Youth Records) is that it really takes balls to write songs that truly say nothing. As counter intuitive as it may sound, there really is something admirable in using music to not really express all that much. Any jerk with a voice and a few chords can say a whole lot about how their ex is horrible; what really matters is how much of that content is actually worth hearing. And brother, Mumblr has found a way to make saying nothing profound.

On the surface, the album initially sounds like some sort of early 2000’s generic pop-punk; the first song “Got It” opens with that familiar sense of vague, safe anger. It’s very “high school” reminiscent, right off the bat, with lines like “I got it if you want it” and “I’ll invite you to my room.” But as the song closes and we drift into “Sober,” the tone very gradually starts to feel off. It starts to feel a bit weirder, with this sense of reckless abandon that you only hear in a Violent Femmes song. And it’s not that one is true, and the others is not; this album is walking a razor’s edge between the most self-aware of indie post-punk and the obliviousness of adolescent guilty pleasures.

And while that may sound like a chaotic mess, the seventeen-track full-length really is the having-and-eating of one's cake. We get the indulgence of grandiose guitar riffs and over the top shrieks, but with just enough originality in the composition to give it a sense of being slick and even avant-garde. Don’t let the outward sense of crazy abandon fool you - this thing is airtight. And a lot of that can be chalked up to Nick Morrison’s vocals; he brings a real sense of cleverness to the whole thing, in no small part to the fact that he can turn his voice on a dime.

One endlessly fascinating reoccurring theme is the use of repetition in their lyrics, with phrases like the aforementioned “I got it” and “someone’s been sitting in my chair” echoed over and over again, beyond the point of simple parody. It’s that old artistic trope of repeating something until it becomes meaninglessly applied to lyrics, and it’s interesting to hear expressions of youthful angst to become so alien and meaningless.

They take these universal touchstones of adolescences, including the use of “shock” lyrics such as “if God is a woman I’m going to hell” and gleefully drive them into the ground while enjoying the ride. It’s fun, it’s cool, and will leave you thinking more than any other post-punk album in months. And it does so while still being a genuinely fun throwback to a sort of music that you don’t really hear in earnest these days. - Daniel Ludwig


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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!


Video: Dark Waves, "Echo"

Scott Leon of Dark Waves induces my music coma with every synthesized piece of pop on his EP. He's a lyricist that tells a story in every single track, and equally puts as much thought into his beats. A beautifully haunting video to his single "Echo", that includes Leon walking through the streets in a black and white scale, creates the ominous illusion that is an echo with breathtaking cinematography, “Every time I try to let go, you keep coming back like an echo.” Dark Waves does a powerful job at getting inside your head and igniting your soul, subconsciously making you want more. - Kayla Hay

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Spaceships Announce New EP, Out 11.4

Garage pop act Spaceships are known for their rough, yet sublimely melodic bedroom recordings. It looks like those days may finally be over for the prolific duo, who are finally taking it to the studio with their latest self-titled EP. The upgrade in sound quality is instantly apparent in new single "Good Gradez", an expectedly fuzzy number with harmonic "oohs" that's offset by a virtuous guitar lead. The EP is slated for a November 4th release via New Professor Records. 

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Woods and Glasser perform at the Joshua Light Show - NYC Skirball Center, 10/23-25

“Rolling Stone” magazine declared last year's Joshua Light Show at NYU's Skirball Center “the most psychedelic light show of all-time.” It doesn't mean we necessarily trust their judgment. However, the three-day music and light fest returns to Skirball this October 23-25th, where you can judge for yourself.

LA electro chanteuse Glasser and midwest free-jazz trio Bad Plus play opening night, where the latter is slated to perform Ornette Coleman's understated 1972 masterpiece “Science Fiction” in its entirety. Television, as well as J. Spaceman & Kid Millions, fill the Saturday night bill (10/25). But it's the middle show that “The Deli” is most interested in, where NYC psych-folk duo Woods bring their latest song cycle -- the appropriately titled “With Light and with Love” -- to glow beneath the shimmering colors on Friday the 24th.

For those unaware, “With Light” is Woods' eighth full-length since its inception in 2006. Mixing a steady diet of Grateful Dead-like jams with indie pop-vocals (think the Shins), the album spreads out into odd new directions this time around. From Bowie-like lyrical couplets to the occasional prog-rock trill, it is the band's crystalline effort to date. One which is sure to require more than a duo for the stage performance.

As to the Joshua Light Show, its most famous residency came at Bill Graham's Fillmore East rock club on “freaky Second Avenue,” where from March '68 'till it closed in June 1971, Joshua Light produced “Mondrianesque checkerboards, strawberry fields, orchards of lime, antique jewels, galaxies of light over a pure black void and, often, abstract, erotic, totally absorbing shapes and colors.” That's what the “New York Times” saw, at least. Founder Joshua White came to NYC after graduating from film school at USC in 1965. (Classmate George Lucas stayed on the West Coast and ran experimental light shows at Frank Zappa's Shrine Auditorium freak-outs of 1966-67.) White & co. re-emerged more recently as lighting designers for the 2008-11 Broadway revival of “Hair.” This latest fest showcases their ephemeral cinema with a well-deserved top-billing. - Brian Chidester

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Tennis System Stream New Album Technicolour Blind

Noise pop trio Tennis System are streaming their much-anticipated sophomnore full-length, Technicolour Blind, one full week in advance of its official October 21st release date. The follow-up to their 2011 debut, Technicolour Blind was recorded with Ulysses Noriega (of Wedding Presdent and Offspring fame) and mixed with highly-touted producer Drew Fisher. Listen to the full album stream below, and make sure to catch them play a hometown show at Los Globos on November 11th.

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