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EP Review: The Phantom Kicks

Short, to the point, and swimming in reverb, the Phantom Kicks' first EP concisely demonstrates the promises of their sound. Fusing electronic concepts with the looped and layered melodic tendencies of post-rock, the Phantom Kicks have created a soothing and fascinatingly intricate soundscape.

“Cut From a Different Clay” opens the album with a hypnotic driving high-octave guitar melody - a feature of each song on the album – supported by an unobtrusive electronic drum track and omnipresent synthetic bass tone. As the layers of the song build it’s almost two minutes before any vocals are heard. Distant and charming, it’s as if the singer is calling from another plane, perhaps the one the music is building towards. Crescendoing and abruptly ending this ascension, the song makes an abrupt change to a brief and more abrasive rock sound, before dwindling out in delicate vocal harmonies.

Rapidly building back out of the brief lull, “Eyes Familiar” bursts open with a second wind of energy. Powerful syncopated guitar strikes bolster the melody lines as the song takes a sharp turn dragging the listener on its ride. As with the song before, and the one after, the Phantom Kicks’ music is defined by its dynamic richness. Tempos and environments change rapidly and there is a rich texture to each of the song’s compositions.

Lyrically the songs on this EP live in a space of blissful innocence with amenable differences, late nights transforming into tender mornings and peaceful inquiries into another’s patience become song topics. Juxtaposed against the complexities of the music, this functions as a welcome foil. The vocals serve as an additional instrumental layer instead of a competing distraction, and with such awe-inspiring harmonies their function is well served.

“Coming Home” closes out the EP building yet another hypnotic set of melodies. For a song built around the patience of waiting for someone’s return, it is fitting that with a little patience comes the most stunning portion of the album. The song reaches its peak and with a temperate reverence; a beautiful set of harmonies float the ears out of the album.

All in all as debuts go, Phantom Kicks’ EP illustrates a great amount potential. It ebbs and flows in intricate and captivating motions that maintain attention throughout. It will be interesting to see how they develop their electronic-infused muted post-rock sound in what I’m sure will be a successful full-length release.

 

-Ada Lann

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Nathan Xander & Witchouse

Nathan Xander & Witchouse have released a new 7" single which can be streamed and purchased here. The single contains the smooth and creeping "John Wayne" and "Darkness". There has always been an element of storytelling in Nathan's that I appreciate and he doesn't disappoint with these two tracks.

The band is celebrating the release of the single on Oct 16th at Schubas with The Kickback and The Migrant.

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Weekend Warrior, Oct. 8 - 10

We are proud to present at Johnny Brenda’s tonight with Dock Street Brewing Co. one of Philly’s best kept secrets. Join us as we celebrate the long-awaited release of Grandchildren’s buzzworthy debut LP Everlasting! They will be showcasing their stellar album with what is sure to be an inspired performance of precision, collaboration, and good time vibes. Those vibes will get kick started by Philly retro-pop heavyweights The Armchairs, who seem to play every release party under the sun. We here at the Deli are not complaining though, because since much of the Elephant Six collective have retired/given up, it is nice to have these hometown boys keeping up the tradition. The show only gets stranger with experimental folk popsters Hermit Thrushes, who recall Pinback without a need for song structure, and special guest Absolutely Koshers’s Little Teeth, who will be coming in from San Fran for the festivities. It’s about to get awesomely weird very soon! Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ (Photo by Tiffany Yoon)
 
Other things to do when you are not watching the Phillies…
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI The Young Werewolves SUN King Kong Ding Dong
 
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Bleed Radio Bleed, The Silence Kit, The Last Barbarians
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI (Early) When I Was 12 and Slutever, (Late) El Fuego, SAT The Jean Marie and The Fleeting Ends
 
M Room (15 W. Girard Ave.) FRI The Sideshow Prophets Album Release Party
 
Tritone (1508 South St.) SAT Prowler and Sunny Ali & The Kid, SUN Fill Catalogue
 
Danger Danger Gallery (5013 Baltimore Ave.) FRI Doctor Scientist and Extra Tongue
 
Millcreek Tavern (4200 Chester Ave.) FRI Razorblade Skin
 
Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St.) SAT Ben Arnold
 
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) FRI La Violencia and Jill Jacobs and The Know How
 
Highwire Gallery (2040 Frankford Ave.) SAT Eric Carbonara
 
JR's Bar (2327 S. Croskey St.) FRI Ganto Barn, SAT Invisible Friends and The Midnight Beat
 
Greenline Café (4239 Locust St.) FRI Your Children is Beautiful and Shannon Pelcher
 
World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) SAT Big Terrible
 
The Ellen Powell Tiberino Museum (3819 Hamilton St.) FRI Carnivolution Finale
 
The Blockley Pourhouse (3801 Chestnut St.) SAT The Fractals and Dukes of Destiny
 
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Weekly Special #221b: The Depreciation Guild

Two Japanese school girls are filmed meeting up for a day out together throughout the city of Tokyo. As the gentle-yet-sonically-powerful keyboard synths begin, two friends greet each other and head out to explore the city. The gorgeous clarity of at times super slo-mo camera imagery shows the girls with their pink earmuffs and headbands, sharing an iPod headset (listening to The Depreciation Guild's "My Chariot", of course) as they put on makeup, brush their hair and eat ice cream. Kurt's vocals provide the perfect soundtrack for this delightful and intoxicating travelogue through a magical city of Tokidoki and Hello Kitty dolls. “The hope you feel, it will gratify you instantly,” Kurt sings. However, it is tempered by a fear that one may “wake up obsolete.” Thematically the lyrical content, with its references to “data” and things being “digital” more closely match the images of a cutting-edge electronic Japan. In fact, perhaps the song title itself refers to some kind of space chariot, rather than the ancient vehicle one might initially think of. The song and video climax together in an uplifting blend of new discoveries, wonderment and that magical feeling of shared experiences. - Read Dave Cromwell full feature on The Depreciation Guild here.

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Weekly Special #221a: Wakey!Wakey! - Live at Bowery, 10.22

Wakey Wakey! sounds like an indie-pop musical. Front man, Mike Grubbs has been rocking out on the piano since choir practice as a little kid. He fosters his roots in classical music, but also has a strong affinity for the indie sound. His first full length album, “Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You” is dynamic and theatrical. The piano and strings driven title track begs for Broadway choreography, while tunes like “The Oh Song” sounds like MGMT. Grubbs has been a regular face in New York for years performing at Bar4 and Rockwood. Ever since his songs were featured on the show “One Tree Hill” the outside world has been getting a taste of Wakey Wakey! Grubbs just spend two weeks touring solo all over the southern states and only has a short stint back in the city before heading west again, this time with his full band. He'll be back in NYC for a CMJ show at Bowery Ballroom on 10.22. - Read Jenny Luczak Q&A with Mike Grubbs here.

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