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Artist of the Month
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April 2015
Sandcastle
"Skull Cauldron
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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.


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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!


Sinister Haze prep new EP, tour.

 Richmond's metal scene is already legend, and it just keeps gettiing better. Case in point: Sinister Haze. The members have been around the scene for quite some time, but Sinister Haze itself is relatively young, having dropped their first demo in 2013. It promised something for old and new fans of metal alike, digging deep into classic heavy psychedelia to mix with the Doom. They've kept us waiting for more, and they're finally releasing an EP, Betrayed By Time, through Heavy Stab Records on vinyl next month you can pre-order it now at the link). 


Check out the track below, "Change My Ways," premiered on Noisey, and catch them on their national tour, starting Tuesday April 28th at Strange Matter in Richmond.   

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Expert Alterations change cassette EP to 12", tour.

In early 2014, Expert Alterations self-released a self-titled cassette EP. Now they've teamed up with Slumberland Records for a limited edition vinyl release. It's as solid a collection of contemporary post-punk as you can hope to hear. It's got jangle and drone, energetic guitars and lackadaisical vocals. The low-fi sound and vocal delivery are reminiscent of Sebadoh, but the songs are quick, their structure and the rhythm section, alternately bouncy and insistent, channel punk like Minutemen and Wire. They jam econo, and the EP is over much too fast, prompting repeated listens.  

You can pre-order now for a June 1st release. In the meantime, Expert Alterations are going on a short tour, starting April 18th at Baltimore Soundstage (where they will be opening for The Buzzcocks--Yes!). You can also catch them April 21st at Metro Gallery (w/ Peach Kelli Pop--also Yes!--along with Baltimore's Boy Spit and Moist--mmmmm), before they head to the boroughs of NY for some Fests.  --Natan Press

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Integrity Reeves drops EP, sings for Billie Holiday's 100th.

 Integrity Reeves brings an invigorating new voice to both the local and national jazz scene. Her EP Stairway To The Stars is described as "modern vintage," inspired by Ella Fitzgerald, Feist, and The Bird and the Bee, and presents interpretations from classic Joao Gilberto bossa nova to The Cardigan's "Lovefool." Indeed, Integriti's light, bright, twee voice is reminiscent of contemporary indie-pop vocal tones, but she sings in a fiercely classical style. The combination is both technically impressive and stylistically refreshing, and is sure to appeal to both fans of classic jazz and neophytes eager to hear what a fresh young voice can do. Delightful through and through.    
You can grab a copy of her EP on itunes, and catch her live at the Kennedy Center's Millenium Stage on April 7th as part of the Center's tribute to Billie Holiday in honor of her centennial. --Natan Press

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Dr. Neanderthal Celebrates Women's Day With An Experimental Cover of Annie Lennox's "No More I Love You's"

 

"I always like it when a male artist covers female songs and female artists cover male songs, it's always fun" says Chang Won Chang, known by his musical moniker Dr. Neanderthal. Just a month after dropping his sophomore EP, Dr. Neanderthal is back to honor women around the world. Reconstructing "No More I Love You's" bright 90's pop ballad for a hushed and abstract take. With echoes and falsettos included, the doctor has made the track all his own.

On Choosing "No More I Love You's:" I guess I covered the song because I always loved the song and always wanted to cover it.

On His Sophomore EP "Body:" I felt like this was the first EP where I used a lot more instruments, like the human body... there's less computing.

The Sound of "Body:"  It sounds like bodies of water, mountains...very earthy, like rocks and dirt. Like visiting Patagonia.

Fave Track: "We Are Stardust." It was inspired by scientist Carl Sagan. He said we are all made of stardust - like from the cosmic bang. So I wanted it to sound like stars.

On Self-Indulgence: I also really like "Where Do Our Bodies Go." It's a bit self-indulgent (laughs) but I do like a three minute guitar solo, so it's cool. (laughs)

Check out Dr. Neanderthal's "No More I Love Yous" Cover and EP "Body" below. --Sade A Spence

 

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