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Seagulls
"Great Pine
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With spindly strings horning in the opening instrumental, “Dragoon” awakens Seagulls' debut LP Great Pine, seamlessly transitioning into “Swimmin’,” a song that is initially given a steady-footed beat around which a more intricate and illuminating composition is built generating a peaceful yet purposeful layered sound, setting the tone for what lies ahead. “You and Me” plays like a surf-folk love letter, developing a warm, earnest vocal confession, while fitting nicely with the tug and pull groove of the scratching guitar and persistent bass. The vocal harmonies provide a sweetness accompanied by reserved bursts of trumpet and accordion-like effects offer a tease of nostalgia.
 
“Love, Give” follows a similar theme as vocals, strings, and snap-percussion set a pleasant, pensive, strolling pace as echoing harmonies and backing vocals reinforce, “Love give your hands to me, for someday I’ll be on bended knee.” “Old Habits” maintains an up close lo-fi aesthetic and underlying 8-bit accents, but the perspective has changed, shining a light on the dark side of relationships and a groove that has a somewhat worn and dusty ascetic, enhancing the lyrics meaning - “Old habits, die hard or they never do/so keep lying til they all catch up to you.” A well-placed take on Big Star’s “Thirteen” incorporates the honest-loving sentiments of adolescence, falling neatly inline with the group’s heartfelt vocal honesty, while simultaneously acknowledging one of their potential influences.
 
The record’s title-track “Great Pine” serves as a breath-catching ambiance builder before the turbulent “Holy Smokes” emerges. Enlisting peaks of aggressive kick-in-the-door instrumentation - particularly percussion between smooth stretches of vocally dominant valleys - in essence, layering pieces of clear skies between moments of violent storms.
 
“Distracted” concludes Great Pine with an uplifting blanket of vocals, allowing the guitar to stretch its sea legs as the backend force steers the musical ship; holding the course. This album starts on the shore, and while there are moments where it seems destined to searchingly drift out there, Seagulls appropriately demonstrate an ability to reel it in, taking a beautiful inaugural voyage. - Michael Colavita

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We have a last minute ticket giveaway for tonight at Underground Arts with Tennis and Pure Bathing Culture. Now, if you fancy upbeat electro-pop, fronted by charming female vocals, then this evening's bill will be worth struggling through the rest of your workweek. To enter for a chance to win a pair of tix, just send an email to thedelimagazinephiladelphia@gmail.com with the subject line "Tennis & a Bath, Anyone." Please also include your cell number in the body of the message (in case of an emergency). Good luck!

September 30, 2014
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Krust Toons: "D'OH - Band Practice" by Teddy Hazard - please feel free to drop him a line at teddandthehazards@gmail.com if you dig or have any funny ideas. You can also check out more of his illustrations HERE.

September 29, 2014
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Relatively new outfit, South Philly’s Sheer Mag, fronted by The Shakes’ Christina Halladay, wastes no time with filler on their debut 7”. The four-track release is equal parts garage and punk bravado.
 
“What You Want” kick-starts the record with jangly percussion and pristinely fuzzed-out riffs. As the song’s melody unfolds, Halladay’s screamed-out, heartfelt vocals recount and flawlessly capture the dissonance of romantic antics and their aftermath. Guitar-drenched interludes and buzzing drums reminiscent of Colleen Green, circa Cujo, and early demos by Bleached render the piece memorable, while noisy shreds near the three-minute mark bring to mind the lo-fi glory of the Useless Eaters’ Daily Commute.
 
Sheer Mag’s “Sit and Cry” is bittersweet and abrasive. Opening with crisply executed riffage, the second track off the band’s EP audibly embodies the malaise of its namesake. Halladay’s vocals, coupled with trippy distortion, amplify the emotional nuance of the release as a whole. As “Sit and Cry” nears its end, chords morph into reverb as she croons “cry, cry.” Soon after, the satisfyingly moody “Point Breeze” begins. Starting off with a rhythmic drive evocative of Cousin Brian or Throwing Up, the undertone of “Point Breeze” captivates listeners nostalgic for Slutever’s Pretend to Be Nice.Crisp with caustic yet earnest diction by Halladay, the song is energetically catching from start to end.
 
The album’s closer, “Hard Lovin,” is gritty, like a mellowed-out Bobbyteens’ B-side. Shaking tambourine and whining guitar lines perfectly compliment her rowdy vocals as the song progresses. Thematically, “Hard Lovin” is a kindred spirit to acts like No Bunny or Hunx and His Punx. It’s a song for romantics with a penchant for rock ‘n’ roll. It’s an anthem.
 
Overall, Sheer Mag's debut release is brief. Despite this, the four-song EP is more than enough to wet the appetites of their soon-to-be adoring fans. - Dianca Potts

September 29, 2014
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The origin of Forever Lesbians seems rather natural for this day and age - a connection via social media and a gifted 4-track recorder. And if the tale of the band finding its name in a fortune cookie at a Philly noodle bar holds an ounce of truth, then we have the beginnings of a good ole rock ‘n’ roll story. The group recently dropped its latest EP Love, Respect and Wisdom earlier this month, and won our Featured Artist(s) Poll so you can learn about the quirky, fledgling, lo-fi indie outfit by taking a listen to the quartet’s new album below and reading our interview HERE.

September 29, 2014
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With a storming, full-speed-down-a-steep-hill approach, meshing an overtly layered, lyrical agitation, which fits crisply into a nonstop bombardment of instruments, heavy-pounding blow after blow of the one-two punch of backend artillery, reinforced with volatile torch guitar that assert authority, Dopestroke hovers the line, reeling in the sound as a unit while still maintaining a loose, free-flowing, uninhibited sound. Tonight, they set the stage, opening for a pair of legendary punk outfits in Reagan Youth and GBH at Underground Arts. Get there early, and finish off your weekend the right way. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., 8pm, $25, 21+ - Michael Colavita

September 28, 2014
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Former Clockcleaner and Puerto Rico Flowers frontman, John Sharkey III, came up with the concept for his latest album, Pure Reality, when he was working the graveyard shift as nightwatchman at a university in Canberra, Australia while his wife was giving birth to their daughter. When faced with the “pure reality” that Australia was a temporary move, they headed back to Philadelphia, and realized the significant differences bewteen down under and Kensington. Upon settling in, he linked up with former Puerto Rico Flowers bandmates Andrew Mackie Nelson and Mike Sneeringer (who have also collaborated with the likes of Ceremony, Paint It Black, The Loved Ones, Strand of Oaks, and Purling Hiss) to form Dark Blue and work on their debut album, which was recorded by Jeff Ziegler and will be available via Jade Tree starting October 7. Dark Blue will be having an early celebration for its arrival this evening at Boot & Saddle, where they’ll be joined by Melbourne, Australia’s Dick Diver. Rounding out the lineup will be the dark and enchanting synth-driven musings of Shari Vari’s Void Vision, whose upcoming full-length Sub Rosa will be coming out mid-fall. Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad St., 8pm, $10, 21+ - Bill McThrill

September 27, 2014
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