Artist of the Month

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November 2015
Alex G
"Beach Music
Amid increasingly high/steep expectations, Alex Giannascoli, a.k.a. Alex G, released his latest full-length album Beach Music via Domino. After a jarring, noise-laden percussive “Intro,” “Bug” crawls under your skin and skillfully into your head as its crisp guitar lays the foundation for the song’s mesmerizing tone, stripping down temporarily instrumentally - “and when you go there/you stay there/bug in the crosshair/you stay there.” A momentary electric guitar swell marks the return to movement.
The scratch of acoustic guitar chord changes, and a gloomy organ develops the rained-in, haunting sound of “Thorns.” Conversely, to the weathered weary sound of its predecessor, “Kicker” immediately jumps into action as advancing percussion/guitar dictates a forward blitz of lyrically rhymed oppositions - “White bird in a black cloud… big fight for a small right.” Wrapping tightly woven imagery into a steady downhill stomper, the track sits smooth, whilst retaining a gritty after bite.
“Salt” returns to that head-in-the-clouds, daydreaming ethereal bedroom vibe. Soaked in keys and accented by electronic percussion, the scene is set. “Into my big cloud, I’m flying all the time.” As he watches, opposing deep and child-esque soft vocals stir in a chanting manner, Alex questioningly reemerges - “Did you hear what I said? I’ve got salt in my head,” resolving his issue in a calm yet despairing manner. “Today I washed my hands, I want to be alone, I want to fry.” “Brite Boy” lifts with light-as-a-feather percussion, and its innocent beach-strolling instrumentation is underscored by a playful call-and-return vocal dialogue. Ushered in by the tandem of dashing trumpet and dreary keys, the artist tears himself open, and is left emotionally exposed. “Crying I’m running in love/losing in love/scratching in love/wired in love.”
Alex G continues to evolve, creating songs that aren’t afraid to expose life’s knack for pulling one individual simultaneously in multiple directions. That’s why Beach Music thrives in its ability to paint grey clouds within a sunny landscape or a ray of light bursting through a downpour. His honest, hypnotic melodies and its murkiness pull you in. - Michael Colavita

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Album Review: Science & Advice - The Armchairs

Album Review: Science & Advice - The Armchairs

It should be readily apparent to anybody with a working set of eardrums that The Armchairs fall firmly in the same camp as a handful of other 60s-esque pop acts cropping up. But where exactly they draw inspiration from is somewhat more of a mystery, because this certainly isn't the simple pairing of Beatles and Beach Boys that we've come to expect. Instead, we're treated to an odd menagerie of Zombies, Kinks, and earlier, goofier Floyd (you know, before the rest of the band decided not to pickup Syd). This is a slight, but welcome, change of pace, and what's even more welcoming is the way they throw it all together. It seems that most bands, when under these prestigious influences, would either a) condense it all into pure power-pop confectionery or b) partake in the more indulgent qualities of psychedelia, to the point of tedium. The Armchairs manage to land it somewhere right in between, a sweet spot of controlled lunacy.

Opener "Grampa Yells Portents at Strangers" starts things off right with crazily shifting time signatures and vocal harmonies. It kind of feels like four songs in one, which proves representative of the album's feel as a whole; tracks are short, almost fragmented, but still intense and fully realized. If there's any obvious single, it's "Little Sammy Ghetz" which begins and ends with an irresistible interlocking guitar riff that makes it hard not to get some muscles twitching.

But The Armchairs seem to know better than to trifle with too many obvious hooks. Why do it the easy way when you can do it the fun way? This is an album populated by guitars, alternately crunchy and spacey, awesomely analog-sounding synths, and joyous harmonies. But it's also populated by mind-melting freakouts like "What For My Cow Eating There?" and tracks like the forty-nine second punk explosion "Harrison Ford". So, to get to the heart of it, Science & Advice is a record that manages to do all of these things with such panache making the album an impressive debut by the oddball but loveable quartet. You can stream and download the album here or purchase it at Punk Rock Payroll where it will come packaged in a handmade travel pillow - perfect for those partiers who never know where they’ll pass out at. (Cover art by Vincent Finazzo) - Joe Poteracki



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