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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!


Brandy Zdan Releases First Single "More of a Man"

Brandy Zdan has an impressive resume thus far: she's been half of Canadian/Americana duo Twighlight Hotel, and was guitarist/utility player for all-girl Americana group The Trishas in addition to releasing a handful of solo EPs under her own name. So it goes without saying that her first full-length album is long overdue. Zdan teamed up with producer Teddy Morgan and cherry-picked pals Carl Broemal and Tom Plankenship from My Morning Jacket as her backup band for her self-titled LP. Her first single, "More of a Man" shares the same sunny disposition as some of Sheryl Crow's poppier numbers, but, like the album, has a streak of rebellion running through it. Zdan moved to Nashville from Austin to record the album, and immediately tweaked her creative style to run contrary to the traditional spirit of the city. Keep up with Brandy Zdan for tour dates and developments on the release date at www.brandyzdan.com. -Terra James-Jura

 

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Blank Range to Release "Phase II" 10" 4.10

Okay, so if you're a Blank Range fan, you might already have a cassette of "Phase II" kicking around in your car. The band recorded the 6-track tape back in April of 2013, an ambling testament to true garage grit that sparked enough momentum to won them a Bonnaroo set, sent them to SXSW, and lead them to record the 7" "Scrapin/Before I Go To Sleep" with a real engineer in a legitimate (read: non-basement) studio the following fall. The tape also wraps up with "Last Crash Landing," one of the most enduring gut-punchers of a song that we've come across thus far. Now the band is preparing to release a 10" pressing of "Phase II," lest there be an empty 10" space on their merch table on their upcoming 28-date tour supporting Two Gallants and Mountain Goats. Blank Range will be marking the occasion with a show at The Basement on April 10th with local bros Music Band and Joey Plunket. The show kicks off at 8pm and tickets are $5, so come on out and pick up the new format! -Terra James-Jura

 

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Catch Dustin Sellers at Acme Feed & Seed on Tuesday 3.24

This is a great show to catch if you find yourself at the end of Broadway tomorrow night or are just jonesing to see some talented bands for $0.

We’ve been tickled by Dustin Sellers and his reformed alt-rocker with an old-school soul visage ever since he won our Artist of the Month poll last fall. We’re excited for his upcoming album “Mint Market,” and are looking forward to hearing some cuts off of it tomorrow night when he and his Rat Pack play No Country for New Nashville’s weekly showcase at Acme Feed and Seed. We're especially digging the driving, Western vibe of "Mind at All" (check out the Shaker Steps video below.) Joining the lineup are Whoa Dakota, whose blues rock machine has been gaining steady momentum since their self-titled debut EP last year, and has been propelled in no small part to front woman Jessica Ott’s steamy dynamics. Rounding out the evening’s new traditional theme is Amanda Broadway, who is taking a quick step away from being part of Acme’s Funky-Tonk house band to belt out a set of solo material.

Catch Dustin Sellers, Whoa Dakota and Amanda Broadway at Acme Feed & Seed on Tuesday, March 24th.  The show starts a 7pm, and cover is free!

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