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Artist of the Month
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April 2015
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 

This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.


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NYC artists on the rise: Chancius

Brooklyn's own Chancius Drzewuck is a guy who keeps at it, and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty - specifically, on the platforms of the NYC subway, busking. After years of struggling with his early solo releases and with his previous band Automatic Duo, the man seems to be finding his own audience, after gathering a series of positive reviews and interest for his new project simply called Chancius, which mixes new wave sensibility with his rather dead pan vocals, partly reminiscent of early Brian Eno. His latest and second release, entitled "Bando," came out about a year ago, and it's filled with gentle songs full of peculiar melodies and early '80s attitude. Check out the record's opener "Hold On."

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Miss Geo Release New EP, Shapes

Boston’s favorite electro-pop duo Miss Geo recently unveiled their newest EP, Shapes, and unsurprisingly, it’s definitely worth your time--trust me. Even if you don’t trust me, listen to it--it’ll be the best twenty minutes you spend all month. It may only be four tracks long, but Shapes crams enough synths, pop hooks and dance-worthy drum beats to keep you dancing for the next month.

 "Dancing After Dark" was the standout track in this collection. The infectious synth and smooth, almost sultry vocals grab your attention and lead you through to the end of the song--kind of like when you’re out at a club and you catch someone giving you “the eyes” from the other side of the room, drawing you closer for some inexplicable reason.

For more info about Miss Geo, check out their website.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)
 

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Doomgazers Crisis Arm performing at The Echo with Creepers, Dirt Dress on 4.26

Crisis Arm is really loud. I saw them at a house show once. Everyone who didn't wear earplugs seemed to be thrown into a stupor. The ones who did had trouble getting to the door. The sound guy broke down in tears. It was beautiful.

This homegrown fuzz outfit from Riverside County has been responsible for widening fault lines and caving in cochleas since 2009. Most of the members live and raise 10 cats together in Hemet, and share a strong love for anime and video games; RPG fans might trace their name to a weapon in the legendary Square title Chrono Trigger. The band's humble beginnings eventually lead to underground acclaim with their 2014 LP Rend (via Mayfly Records): a collection of diffuse, lo-fi dreamscapes that merged sounds of My Bloody Valentine, loveliescrushing, and Spacemen 3. On stage, Crisis Arm roars with the strength of several fullstack amps, channeling their melancholic guitars through infinite muff and reverb pedals. In the past several years, Crisis Arm has played out DIY shows like the Blood Orange Infoshop (Riverside), dA Center For The Arts (Pomona), Dynamite Vinyl (Fresno), and White Oak Music and Arts (Van Nuys). 

Crisis Arm will be touring California for the next few weeks with their other half, San Francisco punk/gaze project Airs. This Sunday, they're playing a Part Time Punks show at The Echo with Creepers, a psychgaze band cofounded by members of Deafheaven, and veteran LA psych/post-punkers Dirt Dress ($8a/$10d). Listen below to "resemblance," the first song off Rend. - Ryan Mo

 

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Free Download: "Love My Way" (The Psychedelic Furs Cover) - Beach Slang

Beach Slang spent a day at Converse Rubber Tracks in Brooklyn, while on tour with Cursive. They ended up recording a cover of The Psychedelic Furs's "Love My Way" with help on keys from Jordan Geiger. You can stream and download the track for free below.

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April Artist of the Month Poll: Shook, Halfways, THREE BONES, Xetas

Well y’all, the bell rung on the epic bout that was our last Artist of the Month poll about a week ago, and heavyweight hip-hoppers LNS Crew found themselves the last men standing in the ring to take the title. Many congrats to LNS on their win!

For this next bout, we’ve got a hip-hopless roster for the first time in a while, with a singer-songwriter-producer, two psych bands and some damn fine Austin punk slugging it out between the virtual ropes for the completely imaginary but nonetheless glorious Deli Austin Weekly Champion Belt.

We’ll do a deeper post on each of these guys over the course of the contest, but for now, here’s a little on our current contenders and why they particularly caught our ear this month:

 

Abram Shook

Sound: Indie singer-songwriter with quite high production value

Qualifications: Lovely little single “Understood” and its equally pleasurable music video were just released as a preview to Shook’s sophomore album and are making noise around town, earning Shook KUTX’s Artist of the Month. Perhaps more importantly, recent photos of Shook reveal that he is almost definitely Austin’s premier wizard in training, what with that peppery hair/beard combo.

 

The Halfways

Sound: Psych pop straight out of the era that birthed it, but with a dab of the new post-Fleet Foxes psych sound

Qualifications: A string of recent shows coupled to new output from the band, who has been doing hard work in the studio. Track “I Don’t Mind” bodes quite well for the rest of the new stuff coming from this group, which has certainly become a pillar of the ATX psych scene in the last couple of years.

 

THREE BONES

Sound: Psych blues with soul to spare and a riveting lead singer/lead guitarist duo in Victoria de Benedicty and Dalt Jacob

Qualifications: Only one of the oddest, strongest, 60s-est music video ever to come out of the local psych scene, plus the promise of more music and some big-time shows (including one with fellow nominees The Halfways at Scoot Inn not long ago). The vid for triumphant, soul-packed track “Hold On to Ya” is exactly what you want out of retro psych, in that its influences are obvious (that projection is pure 60s), but it’s very self-aware and thoroughly fun. These dudes also just won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for a Valentine’s Day love song for other new track “Love is the Only Way,” which is some pretty major shit.

 

Xetas

Sound: Punch-em-up, no stops, unfuckwitable contemporary punk

Qualifications: This is a band everyone in Austin should know, even though they themselves probably don’t give a shit if you do or don’t. This is as close as Austin gets to a supergroup, with each member an undoubted veteran of the Austin music thing, but even though we’d nominate these guys just about anytime for the quality shit they’ve consistently been producing in their relatively short time together, they particularly make the cut for this month’s poll on the utter, pounding strength of their new single “The Point,” released as a lead up to soon-to-come LP “The Redeemer.” They also just wrapped one big-ass, quick-ass tour all over the nation, which is more’n enough to get them the nod in our poll this month.


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