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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!


Alexa Melo shares "Still Right Here", announces new LP

Twenty year-old singer-songwriter Alexa Melo held a major label deal from the age of 14, but refused to settle for any direction they tried to put her on. Finally parting ways last year, she’s teamed with producer Christian James Hand, best known for his work with rambling pop squad The Mowglis. Melo's debut single, “Still Right Here,” represents the partnership well: she’s got a dark pop vibe, but more dusty southwestern guitars than trendy cold electronica. Her organic sound is only polished by Hand’s familiarity with making catchy sense out of a rollicking band’s madness, and he succeeds at balancing Melo’s passion with a controlled edginess. Think original Charli XCX goes cowgirl, or Florence and the Machine with a twang. The whole situation lends a lot of potential to Melo’s forthcoming self-titled LP, out on June 2nd.

Stream “Still Right Here” below and check her out at downtown venue The Smell on 5/8. - Brian J.K. Regan

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The Cutting Room on 4.25: Experimental music, live visuals, and haircuts

Internet Radio show Culture Remixed and hairstyle team SUMO Hair are coming together this Saturday evening to present The Cutting Room, an intersection of avant garde music, real time visuals, and haircuts. Culture Remixed DJ/ Subsuelo VJ Julián Félix and seasoned hairstylist Nectali Duran provide an intimate setting for Angeleans to absorb new currents of sound in and around the Los Angeles area. For those feeling particularly adventurous or in need of a trim, Vidal Sassoon/Toni & Guy alumnus Nectali Duran can whip up a fresh look at the event.

Lounge around and take in the sounds of up-and-coming electronic acts. Lawrence Lindell and Gypsy Eyes of DIY art/music collective NoiseMetSound present their own interpretations of futurebeat along with IDM warrior Repeated Measures (New Los Angeles), ambient DJ/singer Lola la Showgirl (Space Circus), and abstract hip hop producer headband (Humble Weight). Experimental musicians/heavy scene contributors Kelly Coats and Kathleen Kim will also be performing a set as the eclectic SheKhan with a variety of instruments.

21+ / Free Admission

Check out footage from the first session below. - Ryan Mo


The Wild Young Hearts pound out the power pop on latest full-length

It doesn't take much effort to figure out a power pop band when you see one. The name just has to click, and with The Wild Young Hearts, you immediately know what you're going to get: rugged guitar riffs, plenty to hooks, and a seemingly unending cheerfulness. The tracks off the trio's latest full length, Feel Good, flow from one song to the next with a proper dosage of intensity, vintage-inspired rock n' roll anthems that will never become obsolete. There's a good amount of disaffected ballads, of course, an empowered sensitivity that couteracts those amped-up moments of release. 

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Doomgazers Crisis Arm performing at The Echo with Creepers, Dirt Dress on 4.26

Crisis Arm is really loud. I saw them at a house show once. Everyone who didn't wear earplugs seemed to be thrown into a stupor. The ones who did had trouble getting to the door. The sound guy broke down in tears. It was beautiful.

This homegrown fuzz outfit from Riverside County has been responsible for widening fault lines and caving in cochleas since 2009. Most of the members live and raise 10 cats together in Hemet, and share a strong love for anime and video games; RPG fans might trace their name to a weapon in the legendary Square title Chrono Trigger. The band's humble beginnings eventually lead to underground acclaim with their 2014 LP Rend (via Mayfly Records): a collection of diffuse, lo-fi dreamscapes that merged sounds of My Bloody Valentine, loveliescrushing, and Spacemen 3. On stage, Crisis Arm roars with the strength of several fullstack amps, channeling their melancholic guitars through infinite muff and reverb pedals. In the past several years, Crisis Arm has played out DIY shows like the Blood Orange Infoshop (Riverside), dA Center For The Arts (Pomona), Dynamite Vinyl (Fresno), and White Oak Music and Arts (Van Nuys). 

Crisis Arm will be touring California for the next few weeks with their other half, San Francisco punk/gaze project Airs. This Sunday, they're playing a Part Time Punks show at The Echo with Creepers, a psychgaze band cofounded by members of Deafheaven, and veteran LA psych/post-punkers Dirt Dress ($8a/$10d). Listen below to "resemblance," the first song off Rend. - Ryan Mo

 

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