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


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Charts are messed up again!

Deli Readers,

Apologies for our charts' recent problems, there are works in progress to make the system more reliable, changes coming soon!

The Deli's Staff


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!


Artist to Watch: Dinosaur Parade

A calm, sedate frame of mind is imbued in Dinosaur Parade, a folk quartet from four different parts of the world who now proudly call Los Angeles their home. They first met when lead guitarist James Ruvalcaba, the band's only LA native, was seeking a number of musicians to form an "indie project" without any clear notion of how it would sound. He enlisted Americans Brittany Riffe-Ries and Anthony Prochaska (from West Virginia and Texas, respectively) and England native Michael Hardman on lead vocals, though their breezy, easygoing songs suggest Southern California informed their overall approach to songwriting. "Driving out/I'm leaving town", sings Hardman on lead single "El Camino Road", a strummy, gentle number accompanied with clucking pelican sounds and beach waves that demonstrates a candid naturalism. 

Dinosaur Parade will be releasing their debut EP, Reading Clouds, on April 7, which they'll be celebrating with a release party at Hotel Cafe on April 17. 

 

 

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Big Harp releases new single, preps full-length

After settling down and finding joy in a home and family, married duo Big Harp has released a new single offbeat from their past endeavors. In 2012, Stefanie Drootin-Senseney and Chris Senseney recorded a song and directed a video called “Everybody Pays” for the Showcasing Artists at SXSW. The newest single, “It’s A Shame”, is something much more charismatic and upbeat, a song for the era. Their indie-pop feel brings back guitar strums from the 60’s and 80’s, creating a hard-hitting, melodramatic power-pop single. The quick lead into the chorus amps up your adrenaline, to jump on tables and windmill whatever length hair you have and just let loose. It’s not very often that married couples (with kids) can find energy or time to have dinner together let alone release a full-length album. But later this year, Big Harp will be doing just that; the couple hosted two invite-only release parties held earlier this month to set their new album in motion. Stefanie and Chris Senseney, with help from Fat Possum Records and producer John Congleton, will be furthering the pattern of their unique, contemporary material for the new album later this year. - Kayla Hay

 

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Upset unveil first single off new EP, details spring tour

 Pop punk quartet Upset are releasing a new EP, '76, on March 31st via Lauren Records. The first unveil off the EP, "Glass Ceiling", is a fuzzed out rocker with a hooky melody and jerky punk rhythms. In other words, business as usual but nevertheless great. 

The band will also be supporting Colleen Green on an upcoming tour throughout the month of April. 

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