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Artist of the Month
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May 2015
The Weaks
"Bad Year
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mp3
On the heels of last year’s, debut EP The World Is A Terrible Place & I Hate Myself And Want To Die, The Weaks, led by a pair of former Dangerous Ponies Chris Baglivo and Evan Bernard, have released their full-length debut Bad Year via Lame-O Records.
 
The record wastes little time jumpstarting into the aptly titled “Kick It,” with its bass-thudding lines rolling into catchy, emotive power-pop mode, cleansed with a bit of synth before unleashing one of the album’s many blasts of guitar solos. “Nevermind” (an homage to Nirvana) reflectively takes the positive spin on a failed relationship, streamlining percolating instrumentation with stable yet aching vocals. The album’s title-track cracks through melancholy with a lyrical disposition harnessing polished twin guitar licks between trudging percussion-led transitions, destined for fiery flashes of solo prowess. With an aggressive, smashing instrumental storm, “Black Box” takes the ball and runs with its relatable crushing narrative, hooking you in as a silky synth slips in amid the treacherous landscape. 
 
“Dysania” is the cup of coffee that pushes the covers off. With its guitar-led jog, loosening into a bass-charging surge, it quickly reaches maximum speed. Tongue-in-cheek earnest yet humorous lyrical tones – “Too much blood for just two hands/and there’s so much shit we’re gonna need two vans” – set the mood whilst sprinkling in clean flares of guitar, maintaining that downhill thrust. The song contextually blends a pent up instrumental energy and memorable vocals to create a natural anthem feel. Turning a leaf, “I Don’t Wanna Be An Anarchist (Anymore)” melds percussion and synth, delivering a sincere yearning for change with that heart-throbbing, interwoven bass-drum combo, adding a real inside-looking-out perspective. 
 
Strumming acoustic guitar and a spacey synth serve as foils in “Welcome To Earth,” zooming in and then peering out in a battle of loneliness and self-exploration, once again enjoying a creative out there spin on a common searching topic. The closing track is another nod & wink to Nirvana and Hop Along frontwoman, “Francis Quinlan Will Have Her Revenge On Philadelphia,” embracing a snarky attitude with matching (rough around the edges) momentum-gathering guitar meets an avalanche of backend, delivering a mixed emotion-filled message “Who’s going to pull your weight if I leave you behind... Please stay with me. 
 
Bad Year embraces its Weezer power-pop influences, allowing listeners to join in on the emotionally personal ups and downs, while still coming away refreshed. It’s another great find for rising Philly indie label, Lame-O Records. - Michael Colavita

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Year Of Glad Makes Its Live Performance Debut at KFN May 20

Fledgling four-piece Year Of Glad makes its live performance debut tonight at Kung Fu Necktie. The band consists of Mimi Gallagher (ex-Nona) and Chris Diehm (ex-1994!) switching off on dual vocals, Mike Bell (of Mike Bell & The Movies), and Mike Harping (ex-Good Luck). They just shared their first single "Flowers," and announced that they will be releasing their upcoming EP on June 9 via Lame-O Records, with a full-length album soon to follow. This evening, Year Of Glad will be sharing the stage with locals Loose Tooth, The Cats, and Michigan's Jake Simmons. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., 8pm, $6, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman

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New Bryant Eugene Vazquez LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Singer-songwriter Bryant Eugene Vazquez just released his new LP All Damn Day/The Greatest Hits. Vazquez honestly states: "Philadelphia kicked my ass all over the place in 2014. This is the result of such a thrashing." Take a listen to what a difficult year in the City of Brotherly Love can draw out of a man. You can catch him performing this Sunday, May 24 at The Fire for the Sundrop Music Fest.

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Artificial Earth Machine Wins Artist of the Month on Strength of New Album, Live Show

It was a tight race, but thanks to a major last minute push, the close of the polls on our most recent Artist of the Month contest saw beatmaker Artificial Earth Machine take home the victory comfortably. While all of our artists were worthy of the nod, it's a well-deserved win by AEM, who rode into first place in large part due to the damned good new album he's just released, called Biosphere Simulator.

As you might guess from the name of both artist and album, AEM's music has a strong current of scifi running through it, full of weird sounds that sound like they were recorded straight from alien sources. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if AEM claimed to be piping the inspiration for this starmusic straight from another corner of the universe through some sort of musical telepathic pipeline, taking in the weird signals and processing them through a beatmaker’s mind. That last part is what elevates this music to truly impressive heights of goodness; AEM corrals all of the weird, space chaos through an obviously keen head for song structure. The repetitiveness and rigidity of hip-hop and other beats provide the perfect counterbalance for all of the odd sounds from the outer reaches, and the result is instant grin-inducing. It’s the perfect music to put on while watching a space documentary or a film like “Aliens” or “Sunshine” on mute, and it’d be even better for soundtracking a stoned solo trip to the planetarium (an activity we highly recommend).

In addition to this solid, thoroughly enjoyable album of space songs, many of you who voted AEM into the winner’s spot made note of the musician’s live show as a major reason you gave him your vote, or as poster “aa” put it, “amazing live and is like a magical synth spa for your brain.” That show (you can watch a bit of it from a few years ago below) features AEM bathed in a sea of projected colorscapes, with just the man, his beatmachines and a mic producing these many-layered, highly thought-out tracks. That he does use a mic is one thing that separates AEM from much of the beat scene, especially here in Austin, where the tendency is mostly to use pre-recorded vocals by someone other than the artist in live shows, or to use none at all. AEM’s aesthetic is made even more unique by not shying away from injecting his own equally alien live vocals into his spacey beats, and it makes for quite an arresting live experience.

In all, Biosphere Simulator is a thoroughly excellent nearly mid-year album and one of the best so far in 2015 from the musicmakers of the city. You can listen to the whole thing here, and we’d like to beam out a heartfelt congrats to Artificial Earth Machine from our communications array at Space Station Deli. Stellar stuff, in every meaning of the word.

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The bludgeoning swagger of Crazy Eyes

The streets are alive tonight with cacophonous bursts of jazzy cum and mangled Rock and Roll. A lonely neighborhood cool cat starts off the jam with a scratchy guitar, while a homeless dog plays the honky-tonk piano with a percussive fervor. Trash can fire vocals (sparked by the Mael brothers) howl at the moon, and soon a small audience of stoned Rock and Roll addicts surround the fire while Crazy Eyes feed it with their bludgeoning R’n’B stomp. With enough hooky noise and jumble jangle rhythms to hold up a small convenience store, Crazy Eyes toss swagger thoughtfully throughout the street; sometimes they throw in a pretty little ditty too, shedding sarcasm and spreading goo all over the city wherever they may go. While all the denizens of trash city chime in on the choruses and ring in the new era of grimy rock and roll prosperity.

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Parlor Walls adds saxophonist to the mix and announces summer shows

Eula’s magnetic front woman Alyse Lamb and her musical partner/illustrator Chris Mulligan have added kickass avant-garde saxophonist Kate Mohanty to their project Parlor Walls. As great as their self-titled EP is to enjoy at loud volumes (not to mention free to download off Bandcamp), this is a band you really must experience live. Aside from rocking our favorite stages, they played a live score to a screening of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari in March. Their songs navigate through tense, distorted worlds with a driven voice, colorful brass howls and hiccups, and bouts of enthusiasm. Even if you hate moving your feet, don't be surprised if you've caught yourself with a case of bobble-head syndrome. Parlor Walls is playing a slew of shows this summer, beginning with: 6/2 at Shea Stadium, 6/5 at Big Irv's (381 Hooper St., BK), 6/10 at Alphaville, 6/25 at The Cake Shop, and Alyse's birthday show on 7/2 at Alphaville. Eula is playing Palisades 6/13 with Xiu Xiu. - Leora Mandel

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