Artist of the Month

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April 2015
"Skull Cauldron
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.

Go to the old Top 300 charts


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Al Lover Fryborg Vampire Slayer Rancho Shampoo and DJ Primo Play Milk Bar - 5/22

The Milk Bar in San Francisco is hosting a supreme night of experimental electronic music tomorrow, May 22nd. Local psych mixologist, Al Lover has made a name for himself by creating eclectic psychedelic soundscapes and curating the exclusive and official mixtapes for Austin Psych Fest.

Castle Face Records artist, Matt Jones of Male Gaze will be spinning analog synthesized audial creations, which will probably sound more odd than we can describe. Vampire Slayer and Rancho Shampoo are both electronic experimentalists who are based outside of SF and DJ Primo, another local DJ will add to the anticipated flavor of this line up.

This show is made up of an intensely atmospheric collection of talent. If you're a voyeur of strange parties where you'll have no idea what to expect, this is the event for you. All your creepy psych noise dreams could come true, so we recommend you attend this show at Milk Bar SF tomorrow night and have some fun. -je

Travis Hayes Supports Nathaniel Rateliff TONIGHT at The Chapel + Releases New Single

San Francisco based singer/songwriter, Travis Hayes has released a new single entitled, Follow Me Home. Hayes' raspy vocals and electro acoustic folk compositions are raw and honest. Follow Me Home is a catchy and penetrating track that displays touching narrative lyrics and well composed instrumentals. You can catch Travis Hayes tonight at The Chapel as he supports Denver based recording artist, Nathaniel Rateliff and shares the bill with the talented local alt folk artist, Carly Ritter.

This show at The Chapel is going to be packed with talent tonight. Do your best to support great local music. -je

This Weekend: The Acid Test Part II at SUB/Mission + Meatbodies Zig Zags & Male Gaze at Brick and Mortar Music Hall

There are a couple of events The Deli Magazine San Francisco would like to shout out: The Acid Test Part II at SUB/Mission and Fuzz Box SF Presents: Meatbodies, Zig Zag and Male Gaze at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. Both events are TONIGHT and we hope you'll make an effort to make it out and support homegrown independent parties.

Mod revivalist bands, TOY and The Electric Magpie will be playing The Acid Test Part II. Get dressed up in your fave 60s retro attire and dance the night away at SUB/Mission.

If you're into underground garage rock, you can make your way to Brick and Mortar Music Hall where local DJ extraordinaire, Al Lover will be spinning records while Meatbodies, Zig Zag and Male Gaze perform live.

We've given you a couple of great options, and both venues are in walking distance of one another, so we encourage you to go forth and party. -je


Music Premiere: Mark Nelsen Band - Screwball (Change The Weather)

San Francisco based psych soul musician, Mark Nelsen has been embarking on a unique musical journey with his new project, Mark Nelsen Band. Nelsen, who is best known for his work as the lead guitarist and vocalist for the San Francisco based heavy psych ensemble, Electric Shepherd has been celebrated for his stellar songwriting and potent psych soul riffs.

We're excited to premiere his new single entitled, Screwball (Change The Weather), which consists of two tracks: Screwball (Change The Weather) and Takes Two.

This single sounds a bit different from Nelsen's previous solo album which exuded a folk psych ambiance. Screwball (Change The Weather) is a heavy, almost rockabilly single, that is fast paced and resembles tones that borrow from AC/DC, with touches of pop, psych rock and metal within them. These songs should definitely be taken seriously because he has proven to be a great songwriter and arranger time and time again from his previous releases and live shows. Nelsen went down a new avenue compositionally, but it works and we like it.

You can catch Mark Nelsen Band live TONIGHT at The Deli Magazine Sponsored Event at DNA Lounge (upstairs) featuring headliners, The Dollyrots with local riot grrrl rockers, The Shanghais, and anti folk, singer/songwriter Whorhaigh Kayado. -je


Breakdown Valentine Drops New Single Teaser + Plus Plays DNA Lounge - 5/23

Breakdown Valentine is heading an earnest effort to bring electro pop to the Bay Area in a big way. This San Francisco based electro-shoegaze band will be playing a Deli Magazine San Francisco sponsored event with the likes of The Trims and Parallels at DNA Lounge May 23rd.

But before that happens, we would like to share a video teaser for Breakdown Valentine's newest single, Breaking Visions. Their 2014 EPK, produced by Aja Pilapil of AJAPOPFILMS, has an intimate feel as it cuts rapidly from behind-the-scenes shots to performance shots. The single, which proves to be a dance-inducing number with up tempo guitar licks and synths will surely be a go-to tune for the summer. The single, Breaking Visions, will be available on Bandcamp on May 27th. -Erin Dage



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