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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 

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A trio of Data Garden artists is slated to perform this kinetically-concocted evening at Johnny Brenda’s. Jamey Robinson's (Man Man) experimental Moog synth trio, Buffalo Stance, crack open the door, rounded into form by bandmate Christopher Sean "Pow Pow" Powell and multi-instrumentalist Matt Gibson (The Extraordinaires, ex-Man Man). Buffalo Stance has new LP Drive To Dark Sky Dome on the horizon so expect new songs to be on display. Surely, playful, funky grooves will reign supreme allowing you to let go, get down and embrace those delightful unconventional sonic excursions. Powell will be working double duty with his electro-dance project Spaceship Aloha dropping you in the middle of an island, painting complex yet easily digestable sonic waves that refreshingly crash against you. Beep! (featuring Nate Brenner of tUnE-yArDs) headlines tonight inviting you onto their futuristic spacecraft of sound with its electronic free-from jazz meets extraterrestrial output. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., $12, 8pm, 21+ - Michael Colavita

April 18, 2015
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This evening at West Philly's Studio 34, there will be the Bicycle Art Benefit Auction (BABA), which will include bands, a vegan dinner, and upcycle bicycle art for sale and viewing! Local acts Pluto is a Planet, Snagwing, and Porn Cops (featuring Anne Marie Drolet of Mixed Signals) will be donating their time and talents. You should also bring a t-shirt to screen-print. All proceeds will go to support Neighborhood Bike Works, a non-profit organization dedicated "to increase opportunities for urban youth in underserved neighborhoods in greater Philadelphia by offering educational, recreational, and career-building opportunities through bicycling; it also promotes cycling as a healthy, affordable, environment-friendly form of transportation," and environmetally-friendly Earthship. Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave., 6pm-10pm, $5, All Ages - H.M. Kauffman

April 18, 2015
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Art-pop duo Pattern is Movement announced yesterday after 13 years and 4 full-length albums, the band will be going its separate ways. They'll be wrapping things up with a farewell tour in June that will conclude with their final show on Saturday, June 20 at Johnny Brenda's supported by pals Norwegian Arms and Dream Safari. They will also be featured in this upcoming season of Weathervane Music's Shaking Through, and have plans to release a new single via Joyful Noise's 2015 Flexi Disc Series. Obviously, we wish them all the best, and hopefully we'll see many friendly faces at their final show in Philly.

April 18, 2015
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While you’ll probably get your fill of purchasing new music this Saturday, why not check out some new music live tonight at Bourbon & Branch? It’s been a moment since Worshyper have performed in Philly, and they’ll have a bunch of new material for us this evening. Psych-pop outfit Weekender has been working on recording new tunes as well so expect to hear them intermingled with the band’s older favorites. And if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Suburban Living’s self-titled LP (PaperCup Music), which was our February Record of the Month, then you should definitely save some money out of your Record Store Day budget to get one. After all, you don’t really need a made-up holiday to give you a reason to purchase great music. Bourbon & Branch, 705 N. 2nd St., 8pm, $10, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman
 
Other places to get down this weekend…
 
Bourbon & Branch (705 N. 2nd St.) SAT Mercury Radio Theater, SUN Jesse Gimbel
 
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) SAT Spaceship Aloha, Buffalo Stance, SUN Spirit Haus
 
The Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.)  FRI Chris Fosyth & The Solar Motel, Aye Aye, SAT Upholstery, Starwood, Mt. Billions
 
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Little Strike, Shakai Mondai, Static Mountain, Bleu Velvet, SAT Nixon’s Head, The Bumsteads/The Chip Breakers, SUN Crack House, Traitor/Overholt, Howlish
 
PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th St.) SAT Miss Rose’s Sexploitation Follies: Terry Gilliam Burlesque
 
Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden St.) SAT Dreambook
 
Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) FRI Galvanize (“Projector” Record Release), Ill Fated Natives, SAT Voss, E-Hos, Beno Rides/After-party (DJ Sets) Architekt, Shizz-Lo
 
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) FRI Cayetana/(11pm)(Balcony) Willow Talk, SAT Swizzymack
 
World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.)  SAT Rockin’ Docs for Diabetes Cure
 
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.)  FRI The Fearless Fly, The Disgruntled Sherpa Project (CD Release), Shadow Souls, The Larry Lambert Project, SAT (5pm) The Sun Flights, ForeverinMotion, Saver/(9pm), E. Grizzly, Hyku, 9th Element, Robbie Casablanca, A Dot Wake, Darko the Super, Æquitas, Sin Marcellis, SUN QQQ, Ocean Spray, Warroom
 
MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Thee Idea Men, SAT Kiska, Night Trip, Cadet, SUN Marah
 
Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI Sonic Screemers, Howling Fantods, SUN Spot Collins, Proof and Proving, Matthew W Charles
 
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Mavis, Momma Hankston, SAT My Dog Bill, Bastards of Earle, Mesa Jane
 
Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St) SAT Leo Moran & Anthony Thislethwaite (Saw Doctors) with The John Byrne Band, SUN Leo Moran & Anthony Thislethwaite (Saw Doctors) with The John Byrne Band
 
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) FRI Keystone Mountain Boys, SAT Phonic with John Gilbride
 
The Legendary Dobbs (304 South St.) FRI Duffy’s Cut, Dive In the Box, SAT (1pm) Patrick Heilmann, Eye On Attraction, Furthermore, Feet Rite Audio, (7:30pm) Signal to Noise, Mesmeria/Kill The Broadcast, Independence Drive, Sex with Rollercoasters, SUN Next To None A.D.D., Cause of Affliction, Smacking Madison
 
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St) FRI Makhaira, Stealing Fame, Conscience Whispers, SAT Allie Carroll & The Heroes, Laura Cheadle Family Blues Band, Bong Hits For Jesus, I Yahn I Arkestra, Pool of Thorns
 
Voltage Lounge (421 N. 7th St.) SAT Hy Deff, SUN Amg 1
 
Frankie Bradley’s (1320 Chancellor St.) FRI Disco Hootenanny, Manterial Girl, The Soft Spots
 
The Grape Room (105 Grape St) FRI The Wondershop Showdown, Jack Lite Move, SAT Muscle Tough, Cookie Rabinowitz, The Funky T, Rick & MC, SUN Parliament Funkadelic Tribute: Mike Tyler & friends
 
Ardmore Music Hall FRI Tweed, SAT (10pm) Splintered Sunlight
 
Everybody Hits (529 W. Girard Ave,) FRI Forever Lesbians, Tribute, Time Hitler & The Assholes From Space, Krispy Kareem, Blue Smiley, SAT Ratburn, 3 d'Andrea
 
Studio 34 (4522 Baltimore Ave.) SAT Pluto is a Planet, Snagwing, Porn Cops
 
Wolf Cycles (4311 Lancaster Ave.) SUN The Bad Doctors, Blank Spell
 
Gray’s Ferry Skate Park (3600 Grays Ferry Ave.) SUN Drugstore, Sour Spirit, The ATM Machines, Beer Me, Dead Suits
 
Repo Records (538 South St.) SAT Girlpool, Sad Actor, Cheerbleeders, Easy Creatures, Tough Shits, Gondola, Witch Fist
 
Creep Records (1050 N Hancock Street, Suite 76) SAT DRGN King, Pine Barons, Roses, Laser Background
 
a.k.a. Music (120 N. 3rd St.) SAT Nothing (Acoustic)
 
Long In the Tooth (2027 Sansom St.) SAT No Summer, The Rentiers
 
Philadelphia Record Exchange (1524 Frankford Ave.) SAT Aye Aye, Sean on Drums
 
Barn On Baltimore (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI See Through Girls, Crime Hands, Jonagold
 
Lavender Town (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Jet Set Sail, Sovereignties
 
Great Indoors (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Blank Spell, Haldol
 
Girard Hall (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Jennifer Pague, Matt Holden
 
The Sound Hole (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT El Malito, The Shithawks
 
Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen (2370 E. Norris St) SUN Three Man Cannon, Ma Jolie, Ruby Buff, The Cats
 
West Philly Retirement Center (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SUN Cool Points, Shannen Moser, VVeed VVolf
 
Cha-Cha'Razzi (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT Drums Like Machine Guns 
April 17, 2015
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Satellite Hearts just released a new music video for their single “Doing Things Right,” which was co-produced by Joe Bisirri (The Lawsuits)-co-produced. The footage captures the trio performing the melodic head-bobbing rocker live. Utilizing trippy camera work, spins, varying angles and dimensions, not to mention that blond wig, the song has a way of creeping into your head, and shaking stuff up.

April 17, 2015
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Ok, so we haven’t been too keen about Record Store Day ever since the year that we got wind of its organizers trying to exclude certain stores from the celebration because their owners hadn’t “officially” signed up with them to participate, which is total bullshit to us. However, we do support bringing in business to our favorite local shops, grabbing some sweet, new vinyls, and checking out free live performances while doing so. If you’re looking to do that tomorrow, check out our list of spots where you might have the best possible time doing that.
 
a.k.a. Music (120 N. 3rd St.): (2:30pm) Nothing (acoustic); open at 10am – complimentary Narragansett beer. 50% off CDs & non-RSD releases.
 
Repo Records (538 South St.): (12pm) Girlpool, Sad Actor, Cheerbleeders (acoustic), Easy Creatures, Gondola, The Tough Shits, and Witch Fist; open at 9:30am.
 
Philadelphia Record Exchange (1524 Frankford Ave.): (8pm) Sean McGuiness (of Pissed Jeans), Aye Aye (members of Bardo Pond).
 
Long in the Tooth (2027 Sansom St.): (7pm) The Rentiers (members of Plow United); open at 9am.
 
Creep Records (1050 N. Hancock St.): (9am) Mikey Erg, Vahe Sarkissian. DJ Aaron Ruxbin, Cayetana DJs, DRGN King, Pine Barons, Roses, and Laser Background; open at 8am.
 
Main Street Music (4444 Main St.): (1:30pm) Adam Weiner (of Low Cut Connie), Cliff Hillis, Anthony D’Amato, Shark Tape, and Twin Peaks
 
Sit & Spin (1346 S. 9th St.): Underground Arts ticket giveaways; open at 9am.
 
Milkcrate Café (400 E. Girard Ave.): Coffee and food specials available all day; open at 8am.
April 17, 2015
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