This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.

Go to the old Top 300 charts



Empty Phrases -- Groundhog Day (single)

Empty Phrases' new single Groundhog Day is jam-packed with enough rockin’ riffs to get any indie-rocker up and dancing. The two songs included on the single, Groundhog Day and Captain, are part of a new record the band plans to be releasing this spring.

After listening to both songs, it is quite clear where the band gets many of its influences. Groundhog Day is reminiscent of Minus the Bear with its spacey effects and intricate guitar lines. One can hear a bit of Radiohead thrown into the mix as well. This is a track that can certainly get people up and moving on the dance floor.

The infectious lead guitar on Captain, accompanied by a pounding rhythm section, begs a comparison to Incubus, with lead singer Ben Raymond’s powerful voice blending well with the instrumentation.

Overall, this single was very impressive. If these two songs are any indication, Empty Phrases’ new album will be well-worth hearing.--Daniel McMahon

Surrounded by Holidays -- Sun Thief EP

Surrounded By Holidays’ latest release, Sun Thief EP, takes traditional ideas about pop-punk and garage rock and transforms them into its own unique sound. The opening track, Cerulean Skies, reminds me of Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, with its heavily effected instruments and reverb-soaked vocal melody.  However, that sound is not kept for long, as the second track, Backflips, bursts to life with a surge of energy. The driving force behind the track is an unlikely source for a traditional pop-punk style song: the synth. Catchy synth lines are peppered throughout the EP, adding a refreshing layer to the music.

The EP takes another sharp turn during Don’t Fall Again, starting off with a finger-tapping bass riff, then emerging into a Dinosaur Jr.-esque rock song.

Overall, I enjoyed Surrounded By Holidays’ new material.  My one major critique would be that the production and mixing seemed unbalanced at times, but for the most part this was a solid set of songs.  Not many bands are open-minded enough to experiment within a genre (or multiple genres) and I think this is a band that understands the importance of drawing on a multitude of styles to achieve a good sound.  The entire EP is available for download on their bandcamp site, so be sure to head on over and give it a listen.

Also, try to catch them tomorrow, Sat. Jan 7, at 3065 Live in East Wareham, MA. The show starts at 5, it's all ages and there are a bunch of other bands playing. For more details click here.--Daniel McMahon

The Doctors Fox, School for Robots, Daniel Harris -- Fri. Jan 6 @ PA's Lounge

If the week’s monotony has you feeling delirious, it would be a good idea to start the weekend off with an eclectic night of music in Somerville. PA's Lounge will be host to three Boston-area artists for a show this Friday, January 6th. On the bill are The Doctors Fox (pictured above), School For Robots, and Daniel Harris.

Opening act Daniel Harris -- who also provides glockenspiel, guitar, and vocals for The Doctors Fox-- plays experimental anti-folk and aims to create ambient soundscapes. Following Harris is School For Robots, a band that has been putting out material since the early 2000s. School For Robots play an experimental mix of upbeat, alternative rock with funk influences as well as occasional electro-mariachi tendencies.

Playing last are The Doctors Fox, a smorgasbord of bluegrass, rock, pop, klezmer, reggae, funk, and general whimsy. Expect violins and new material in addition to songs from their 2009 album, Plural Non-Possessive.

Both School For Robots and The Doctors Fox will be debuting new band members at the show.

PA's Lounge
Union Square, Somerville MA
9:00 p.m. (doors at 8:30), 21+, $10

--Sarah Ruggiero

Deli Best of New England 2011 -- Open Submissions Results

Our Deli jurors just finished rating all the New England artists that submitted to be considered for our Year End Best of New England Poll for Emerging Artists - and here are the results for you to check out! The artists in this list will qualify for the next phase of the poll, and will be added to the bands nominated by our jury of local scenemakers.

P.S. If you are interested in understanding how our Year End Poll for Emerging Artists works, please go here.


1. Night Fruit

night fruit

Boston's Night Fruit blew the deli editors away, this shoegaze trio came out on top in New England and it's no wonder why. With a dreamy ambience, their music drifts along pulling you into their undertow giving you just enough time to breathe before their music swells up again leaving you gasping for more. Check out their bandcamp for their latest release, Dark Horse.

2. Guillermo Sexo

Arty noise rock, alt-rock, psych-folk. All those terms have been used to describe Guillermo Sexo's sound and, to be honest, they're all appropriate. Having been around for several years and coming off the heels of just releasing their fourth album, Secret Wild, Guillermo Sexo know how to keep it interesting, maintain their own sound, and keep it fresh and exciting while doing so. Peppered with '90s influences, from the nitty-gritty likes of Sonic Youth to the ambience of Mazzy Star, this is one band we suggest you start listening to if you haven't already.

3. Radio Control

It's hard to believe that the huge sound of Radio Control comes from just two people, but maybe that's why it's so great; there's not much getting in the way of this duo's natural talent. A self-proclaimed "punk rock pop" band from Somerville, their sound is raw and energized. The best part is, they're not trying to rip off other famous duos (White Stripes). No, they're doing their own thing and we only expect them to get better. Catch them on their Northeast tour this month with Thick Shakes, dates are listed here.

4. Dirty Bombs

This Boston-based electro-rock band sure knows how to have a good time all the time. A "supergroup" of sorts, (the members are comprised of ex-members of Televandals, The Luxury, and Conservative Man) they've taken their talents and combined them into synthpop beats that will find you out on the dance floor going berserk. They're not the cheesy kind of dance music, they're the kind that are the whole package: good vocals, great lyrics, and a synthesizer that will make you want to dance for days. Overall, this band is a hell of a lot of fun.

5. I Kill Giants

This four-piece math/jazz-rock band (all students at Berklee College of Music) reigns from Boston. They blend genres seamlessly, but at the core of it, one can’t help but rock out to the captivating hooks and bellowing chants. Although we feel the best is yet to come, what they've given us so far is pretty damn irresistable.

6. Il Abanico

The core of Il Abanico are native Columbians Juliana Ronderos and Nicolas Losada who met in Boston. Their music is a refreshing conglomerate of worldly rhythms, indie rock guitars, and lightly accented vocals. The sound is at once familiar and exotic, combining for a sprightly, whimsical treat of an EP.

These artists had outstanding ratings from our editors (they all shared a final score of 7.75 out of 10) but won't qualify to the next round of our poll based on this round. They are all really good though, so we recommend you check them out!

Movers & Shakers

This rootsy Americana band packs a punch. If you think "Americana" isn't your thing, you'll be singing a different tune once you give Movers & Shakers a listening to. With garage rock organs on some tunes and country-tinged slide guitar on others, there's something refreshing and uplifting about this band.

Sore Eros

Dreamy, fuzzy, warm and hazy psychedelia. Sore Eros have the ability to put the listener to sleep, but in a good way. It's music to drift off to, whether you absorb it or it absorbs you, it's a pleasant, blissful feeling.

The Suicide Dolls

This Connecticut-based trio draws on influences from bands like Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and The Pixies. Now, you might think a lot of bands cite those same influences, and you're correct. However, the Suicide Dolls turn their influences into some major inspiration. With their searing lyrics and heavy hooks, this band is running full steam ahead, never stopping to look back.

The Great Western States -- Strange Day

Strange Day, the EP by Jared Mann’s project The Great Western States, contains five songs of emotionally-charged, angst-ridden lo-fi. The collection of demos (all songs that Mann had created within the last year) was released by Providence label Blanketfort Records on December 7, 2011.

Mann’s vocals on Strange Day demonstrate bipolarity throughout, as he jumps back and forth between tense, whispery singing and outright screaming. But these extremes come together to form a sound that is vulnerable and honest. Mann ropes the listener in with his sweet, gloomy lyricism as he takes a forlorn look at the tolls of love and loneliness and combines a lo-fi style with experimental, ambient, and indie rock.

Coming Home sets up the EP’s moody vibe with overtones of regret, and Mother (pride) begins quietly, simply, and with tenderness, full of swelling emotions and just enough ambiguity. Gravitational Diseases opens with acoustic strumming and glowing background noise which leads into lofty, echoing voices. The song soon picks up pace, adding drums and more ambience, followed by Mann wailing “Where the hell am I going? Where the hell am I going?”

The changing beat patterns and breaks make Physical stand out, along with lyrics like, “There’s only so much I can do for you physically / Tomorrow when you wake, this will wash away.” On this track, Mann’s vocals go from muffled lo-fi to clean just in time for him to straightforwardly outline his misery. Finally, with its slow piano and murky vocals, Resignation times out at just over a minute, closing the set with just as much disconsolation as it started with.

It seems that part of Mann’s pain comes from the pain of those around him, and not being able to completely heal anybody, including himself. Strange Day explores these complex feelings without wallowing and without feeling contrived. Mann’s efforts as The Great Western States are perfect for a Debbie Downer mood, but Strange Day also makes hints at finding hope somewhere along the way.--Sarah Ruggiero


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