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The Fader: Milan's Not Dead

February 2015
Suburban Living
"Suburban Living
"
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Suburban Living’s self-titled debut LP (PaperCup Music) is a memorable showcase of moody dream pop and lush emotives. The anticipated follow-up to the well-received Cooper’s Dream EP and 2013’s “Always Eyes” 7” single, Suburban Living enhances a sound familiar to fans of Beach Fossils, while channeling the percussive pulse and melancholy of post-punk legends like Joy Division. 

Opening with “Faded Lover,” the album’s first track unfolds with guttural riffs and an unrelenting backbeat that perfectly frames frontman Wesley Bunch’s emotionally wrought yet controlled vocals. The song falls somewhere between the driving tempo of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Stars Are Stars” and The Cure’s “Primary,” making it a suitable metaphor for willing romantics. A crystallization of everything quintessential about the dissonance of post-punk and the catchy melodics of shoegaze, “Faded Lover” lingers like a ghost with its listener, dissipating into a silence that begs for subsequent returns.
 
“New Strings” impresses with cinematic reverb and percussion that gradually swells into a melodic narrative that proves to be just as upbeat as it is brooding. Bunch’s knack for crafting duality and juxtaposition keeps tracks like it from becoming merely sentimental. The sincerity of Bunch’s diction is one equally fostered by disenchantment and passion alike. As if tapping into the emotional core of what made fellow shoegazers The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart so relatable, Suburban Living’s “New Strings” manages to tug at the heartstrings without playing puppeteer. 
 
“Wasted” kick-starts with beach-y chords and mellow diction that intensifies midway through the song’s duration via shouts that seem to beckon a sense of urgency in Bunch’s audience. With ease, it signals a shift in the album’s tone preparing listeners for the more subdued yet earnest “Dazed,” whose instrumentation embodies the state evoked by its namesake. As if it were a millennial epilogue to the sentiments of Psychocandy, the song proves to be just as pensive in its own rite. With jangly hooks and introspective vocals, it feels synonymous with early cuts by Real Estate or a kindred spirit with the unabashed sincerity of the Stone Roses. Here, Bunch is anything but withholding.
 
The dance-y synth and cadence of “No Fall” perfectly compliments the track’s energy. Suburban Living’s sixth track is a probable favorite for fans. “Hotel Unizo” serves as an instrumental prelude to the album’s closer, “Different Coast,” which is similarly orchestrated in the sense that it captivates. Fashioned by straightforward feelings that confess of vulnerability and modes of coping, “Different Coast” is deliberately constructed to mesmerize its listener towards catharsis. 
 
In the end, it is clear that Suburban Living’s latest release is the beginning of something monumental. - Dianca Potts

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Album Review: We’re Here to Help - Notekillers

Album Review: We’re Here to Help - Notekillers

Listening to an instrumental outfit can sometimes seem off-putting. There’s a certain tedium that most fall to - a recurring loop of indistinguishable murmurs, buzzes, and kicks that drone on into oblivion. Really, it can get pretty damn boring if you’re absolutely restless and need some type of vocal interaction - or if you’re just not into musical circle jerks. Fortunately, though, instrumental avant-rock trio the Notekillers fails at the ennui and mundane on their first full-length, We’re Here to Help.
 
We’re Here to Help was over 30 years in the making. The dual-habituating Notekillers (they’re from Philadelphia and Brooklyn) thrashed it out with the superlative no-wave instigators in late ‘70s New York City, only officially dropping the self-released 7-inch, The Zipper. The record unknowingly culled major players as fans for the trio. Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore cited the Notekillers as a “big influence” for him and others in his evolving music scene in an interview with Mojo Magazine (the trio eventually made an archival release on Moore's Ecstatic Peace! label).
 
We're Here to Help, released on Prophase Music, is both an extension of and break away from The Zipper. Its erratic behavior is more developed, but still has that experimental free-spirit which helped to shape a generation and music genre. There's chaos and there's refinement, zeal and calm. We're Here to Help is a multi-layered and complex album made up of star-burst moments that fly every which way in bright spurts, but there's still a very distinct pattern. While fierce, wild arrangements are always present throughout this nearly 40-minute effort, not every song is a sonic freak-out like the album's definitive track, "Flamenco" - a raucous number where the guitars shred furiously to the point of a high-pitched fever and havoc is unleashed on the skins. "Eyelash" curls to the surf rock mystique that the Notekillers might be best known for, with rumbling guitars and rolling drums powering into a catchy, rhythmic melody, and if this track strikes your fancy, then face-melter "Papers" may have the angular riffs and walls of distortion that are here to help make your day. We're Here to Help proves that the stigma of instrumental rock is something to be defied. - Annamarya Scaccia

Eyelash by Notekillers 

Flamenco by Notekillers 

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