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August 2014
A Sunny Day in Glasgow
"Sea When Absent
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Sea When Absent (Lefse Records) opens like a shoegaze-y car crash. The latest album from A Sunny Day in Glasgow doesn’t bother gradually layering melodic elements; they get right to business from millisecond one, hitting you with reverberating electronic tones, orchestral violins, and the crooning vocals of Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson. It’s a weirdly aggressive move for such an intensely soulful LP, but it’s pretty emblematic of how the record works as a whole. For an album as focused at creating moments of subtle beauty, Sea When Absent doesn’t have the time to let you gradually pick up on it on your own. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is the rare type of band that takes beauty and emotional resonances and waves it around like a chair in a bar fight.
 
In the strictest possible sense, this is a shoegaze-psychedelic-electronica album with a particular emphasis on vocals. But the more you listen; the more you start to discover what a diverse series of musical influences are rattling around in there. Mixing the electronica stylings of Flying Lotus and Saltillo with the indie-pop elements of bands like Death Cab and Phantogram, the basis is a percussion of grungy electronic tones, topped with a combination of guitar and synth, adding just the right balance, while being mixed in with a cavalcade of classical instruments and outlandish effects.
 
But the crown jewel of the album is Goma and Fredrickson’s understatedly gorgeous vocals. They play off, sometimes bizarre, instrumentations perfectly, complimenting them while also adding a fulcrum of relative normalcy to Sunny Day’s outside-the-box compositions. This is what really gives the album its sense of slick melancholy, creating an ambience of stylish vulnerability in tracks like “Byebye Big Ocean (The End),” where there is a sense of crooning sorrow, while “Oh I’m A Wrecker” sees them go much farther into the indie-pop paradigm.
 
While this record maintains the complexity and delightful weirdness of past A Sunny Day in Glasgow albums, it also comes with a newfound sense of clarity, in great part due to the outside production of Jeff Zeigler (of The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile fame). Zeigler is able to successfully piece together the moving parts of this bi-continental band, with mastermind Ben Daniels orchestrating things from the other side of the world in Australia, making the album’s abrupt left turns from spacey psychedelics to grounded punk-pop a little easier to digest. The wealth of ideas rarely feels busy or forced. Sea When Absent is ultimately proof that weird doesn’t necessarily have to mean messy. 

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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!


Field Mouse Warm-up at Bourbon & Branch Aug. 22

Philadelphia/Brooklyn four-piece Field Mouse roll into Bourbon & Branch for a pre-tour show tonight with Heavy Lights. And it’s sure to be good warm-up for the band, who is still riding high from the release of their debut full-length Hold Still Life, which has recently climbed up to the 12th spot on the latest CMJ Music Poll. It was co-produced by band members Andrew Futral and Rachel Browne, and channels fond memories of Juliana Hatfield with a shoegaze element. So tonight will be a good time to familiarize yourself with the group before they play the Barbary on September 19th as part of the Topshelf Records tour. Bourbon & Branch, 705 N. 2nd St., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Bill McThrill

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Final Summer Show w/Pattern is Movement & Moon Bounce at Spruce St. Harbor Park Aug. 21

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New Music Video: "Under The Pressure" - The War on Drugs

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New Videos: "Coast to Coast" (Live) & "Wrong Star" (Live) - Waxahatchee & White Lung's Mish Way

Check out the collaboration from Waxahatchee (a.k.a. Katie Crutchfield) and White Lung's Mish Way for Noisey Acoustics Session! The two performed each other's songs "Coast to Coast" (from Cerulean Salt) and "Wrong Star" (off Deep Fantasy) atop the roof of a building in NYC's LES. Enjoy!



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