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December 2014
The Spirit of the Beehive
"The Spirit of the Beehive
"
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There is something rather dark and mysterious about a band that takes its name from a classic Spanish film that focuses on its protagonist, a young girl, who becomes fascinated by the 1931 horror movie, Frankenstein. And with an album cover that portrays a child in a bee costume positioned in front of a tombstone saying, “Here Lies Mom-n-Dad Now Their Gone Isn’t That Sad,” you can’t help but be intrigued, if not a bit disturbed. The Spirit of the Beehive is a local fledgling outfit who has popped up on my radar this past year, appearing on numerous bills, oftentimes at DIY spaces. The band has further grabbed my attention with its debut self-titled full-length album, which was recorded by The Weaks/ex-Dangerous Ponies, Evan Bernard and Chris Baglivo, and released via rising Philly indie label Ranch Records.  
 
The record’s opening track, “Roll Over,” begins with an eerie instrumentation before a languid female voice comes in with barely intelligible lines. “Cycles in and out of morphine hazes. Finding spaces between your floorboards. And I watch the dust move.” Thankfully the group provides us with lyrics on its Bandcamp page; otherwise, the beautifully poetic verses filled with drug-fueled imagery would be lost in the wash of power chords and feedback. “All lost in the black market. To wait in the fix aisle, I roll over.” You also get a sense of the band’s lo-fi, DIY aesthetic when you are abruptly taken out of the world, created by the album’s first, with studio chatter before moving on to the next track. With “Short Walk,” you can’t help but feel the influences of greats like Nirvana and more recently Creepoid with the hushed vocals and sonic bursts. These two tracks set the tone for the first half of the LP, where you travel in and out of the territories of dream pop and shoegaze when the female lead vocals grab a hold of you and then the grungier, harder-edged side takes over with the male lead. This juxtaposition provides quite an enjoyable balance that I actually wished went on longer throughout the record.
 
It’s not until “Ether,” where the two combine forces, changing the dynamic of their relationship. The title of the song suggests that you might be finding something more ethereal; however, the driving bass line provides a sense of urgency throughout the track. It also marks the point where the male lead begins to dominate the rest of the album, while taking on some of the characteristics of its counterpart. What remains a constant is a psychedelic, drug-filled angst full of guitar licks and distortion, giving off the vibe of a band that is here to rock, and they don’t care if you are ready for it or not.
 
The Spirit of the Beehive closes out their ambitious LP with the longest and cleanest sounding recording on the album, “Fever Dream,” demonstrating that they don’t need to hide behind studio effects, while making you wonder where their follow-up release will go next. It’s an eclectic and modern sounding record that also pulls from past genres I hold close to my chest. I highly recommend that you go download it ASAP. - Q.D. Tran

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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!


Debut: Old Wave Release New Single + Video

If you're a fan of the music by Adam Brock and his talented band of merrymakers as much as we are, you'll surely be excited about the quartet's reincarnation as Old Wave. Feast your ears and eyes on their brand new single "Indian Summer," accompanied by a playfully wacky dance video, off of their forthcoming debut full-length album out January 15th. An official release show is scheduled for January 18h at Mississippi Studios with Big Haunt and the stunningly beautiful (both physically and sonically) Luz Elena Mendoza (of Y La Bamba and Tiburones). 

- Travis Leipzig

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Preview: The Lower 48 at Doug Fir 12.19

It wouldn’t be wise to end the year without a solid night of rock and soul. This Friday, the Doug Fir hosts a pre-Christmas eggnogger with some of the hottest bands on the circuit. The night starts with Moon By Youand their psychedelic surf-soul then gravitates to some bluesy Motown soul with local nine piece Brownish Black. Continuing the festivus will be The Lower 48. Their sweet mix of folk and vintage pop combined with slightly grungy rhythms and soft vocal harmonies has come together to create the Lower 48’s own brand of soul. They are returning from a rainy California tour and are putting on a party to celebrate another rainy, Portland Christmas. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 9PM.

- Colin Hudson 


Sama Dams 'Comfort in Doubt'

Boldly striking out into the gray terrain of potential copyright infringement is local avant-indie act Sama Dams. However, if it comes down to it they have a good shot of sidestepping the issue, not only because the inventive post-rock pearls they compose could make even the most protective Samuel Adams employee raise their pint glass in repect, but also one of the dudes in the band is legitimately named Sam Adams.

Sama Dams’s new release, titled Comfort In Doubt, is a testament to what the band is capable of when bandmates Lisa Adams and Chris Hermsen unite with Sam and displace that sneaky ‘A.’ CID showcases the band’s incisive awareness of compositional, rhythmic, and tonal elements, and their execution situates them among bands such as the Dirty Projectors or St. Vincent. These mavericks of their genre share a common mindset in their attempts to push the boundaries of alternative music, shoving off from the cruise liner that alt-rock has become in their tiny musical dinghy, with just their unorthodox sensibilities to guide them through a turbulent and unforgiving seascape of creativity.

That was dramatic. But seriously, Sama Dams certainly does deliver some refreshingly unpredictable musical tasties that’ll knock that Big Data song out of your sorry head. CID starts with “My Ears Are Ringing,” a tune illustrative of the band’s typical sound. It begins with sustained vocal harmonies (a la Dirty Projectors) between Sam and Lisa before Sam takes us aside to tell us the verse. His dry-throated, emotive voice falls somewhere between Dan Auerbach and Nate Reuss (that will be the only Fun. reference in this article thankfully), and fluctuates seamlessly between loud and soft, high and low, passionate and aloof. The instrumentation is sparse, syncopated, and can seem disjointed at times--but in the most musical way of course. The drums seem to do everything in their power not to intrude on the delicate magic at play between vocals and guitar, making themselves as spare as possible. Near the end of the song, a fuzzed out guitar tumbles out onto the musical canvas and screams through a solo that moves between melody and atonal noise. It’s like a noise solo you would hear coming from the likes of Billy Corgan, but with an emphasis on the noise. Not to disparage Sam’s guitar playing… we just can’t all be Billy Corgan, you’ll understand.

Throughout the album you will see these motifs arise--the jagged vs smooth textures, disjointed and sparse instrumental punctuation, the anything-but-a-standard-rock-beat drums, the noisy solos--along with some other surprises including a few startlingly pop sensible melodies (chorus of “Maggie” or “Ton Weight Down”), which stand as beacons through the avant-haze. If you have an ear for bands that gracefully break the mould of indie, are sick of hearing standard bom-ts-kah (to use a technical term) drum beats, or just want to put another feather in your esotericist cap, Comfort In Doubt is worth a spin. 

Catch Sama Dams live Wednesday, December 17 at the Doug Fir Lounge for their official hometown release of Comfort in Doubt along with the support of psych pop savants Grandparents and dream pop charmers WL.

- Bryce Woodcock

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Live Review: Ladywolf at The Know

Sunday night began with fire-gazing and considering a million things I couldn't shake from my thought process: why are yoga moms on my neighborhood street at this hour? How long am I going to feel out of place in this cruel world?

I had no idea how much I'd be satisfied with the opening act at the Know, Ladywolf. Three-piece baby faced musicians, from beginning to end, raged in their subtle yet effective way through the medium of garage rock. Silly lyrics involving babes, goth babes and beyond weren't off-putting in the least. In fact, as a straight woman, I appreciate them knowing what they like and expressing themselves in this specific way without disrespect. Lead guitarist and vocalist Nik Barnaby's got a way with his oooh's and wails, inserting into songs just at the right moment. All three dudes were together enough, yet still getting it out in their own way to amuse anyone watching. Though most audience members kept their distance, it felt warm and friendly in the venue. 
 
Ladywolf was the figurative fire to end my evening and it couldn't have been done any better. 
 
- Colette Pomerleau 

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