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September 2014
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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Smoking White play Beerland 9/17

Wednesday is the rebel of the week. Right smack in the middle it can be the turning point that leads to an epic week ahead or just another day to tick off the calendar. Get out of a mid-week slump and head to Beerland and check out Smoking White. The Austin foursome’s shoegaze-psychedelic sound is every bit present on their early summer release, Soft Chains.  Available on cassette, yes a cassette tape, the distorted guitars and subdued vocals of Soft Chains will sound great as you contemplate life while listening to your Walkman. Go get your copy September 17 at Beerland, 9 p.m. There is also a digital version, but where’s the fun in that? -Allison Mayoral

 

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Lia Ices releases "ICES" + plays Mercury on 09.17

Lia Ices, one of our favorite NYC chanteuses (featured on the cover of the 25th issue of The Deli in 2011) is finally back with her long awaited sophomore album, and, well... it sounds nothing like the debut one that grabbed our tortured hearts. But change and experimentation are necessary in music, and in this record - entitled simply "ICES" - Lia abandons the spare, deeply intense ballad format that characterized her early career in favor of more lighthearted, lo(wer)-fi pop tunes that embrace many world influences, Caribbean ones in particular - we are thinking more about Calipso than reggae. The vacation related imagery in this new video for single "Higher" confirm how "ICES" can be filed under the 'beach pop album' category. Since it's dropping at the end of the summer, it might help us extend the perception of the warm season through sound induced nostalgia, or maybe even make us dream of that trip through exotic lands we never took. Don't miss her live tomorrow (09.17) at The Mercury Lounge.

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New Vita and the Woolf EP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Vita and the Woolf just released their debut eight-song EP Fang Song. You can stream and purchase it below. Led by the confident, sultry vocals of Jennifer Pague, the group will be honoring its release this Saturday, September 20 at Ortlieb's with Bondage & Discipline and Canon Logic.

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Ryan Powers and The Secret Weapons

The latest single, "Mr. Sunshine", from Ryan Powers and The Secret Weapons is super catchy and is accompanied by a well-shot video.

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Synth-pop from NYC: Una Lux plays Glasslands on 09.18

Led by singer Kelso Norris, NYC emerging synth pop quartet Una Lux constructs dark melodic songs that land somewhere between Depeche Mode's digestible industrial pop and Goldfrapp's lush and layered romanticism. They released their first single 'Simon' in mid August, and just unveiled its video (streaming below). The band is scheduled to play Glasslands Gallery on September 18.

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Congratulations to Earl Burrows, Our New Artist of the Month!

Earl Burrows may be one of Nashville's most under-the-radar supergroups. Founded by Mark Watrous as a vehicle for the songs he had been banking while working as a touring member for acts including The Shins, Racounteurs, Karen Elson and Brendan Benson. Backing him is a crew of musicians with similarly impressive resumes: guitarist Carson Medders is a member of The Non-Comissioned Officers The Medders and Fox Bear Snake, drummer James Freshwater played for Lovedrug, and brother/bassist Joel Watrous played for DC's Dance Imperative and Mu Meson. Together they perform what the band describes as "music for thinkers by thinkers;" ie: impeccably executed compositions with decidedly left-of-center origins. They're sharp and intelligent, but don't let their wit get in front of the 70's-flavored pop fun or ability to spin a yarn. True to their dark horse nature, Earl Burrows has been appearing as a supporting act on consistently great bills for the past year they've been together, and are building up to an early 2015 release of their debut full-length album. For the interim, check them out live at The Basement on October 2nd, and dig into their available music online here. -Terra James-Jura

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Video Release: Sound & Shape, "Venus"

Eight years is just drop of pig’s blood in the bucket, and this September is prom night for Sound and Shape. The band’s fourth album, “Bad Actors” will be released the 23rd of this month, and signifies a band weathering several years to hit their stride. They’ve teamed up with accomplished prodcers Matthew MCauley and Casey Wood to create something with such abnormally high levels of prog that it would be a disaster in less accomplished hands. Luckily the band’s tendency to temper some of the heavier thrashing with a sense of urgency and a very rock’n’roll bird-flip to tradition makes it very easy to listen through an album and reach for the next. There’s little doubt that "Bad Actors" will be more of the same. Artistdirect premiered their video for single “Venus” this Tuesday, and while we would have loved to see vocalist Ryan Caudle’s vision for a “three-part space opera” executed, watching the misadventures of a fallen angel was still pretty entertaining. The Sound & Shape’s next Nashville show will be at The End Sept. 26th. -Terra James-Jura

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Stream: Girlpool, "Jane"

Minimalist garage duo Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have a cautionary tale for all of us through the vague, yet felt message lying within their cryptic track "Jane". The vocals are as clear as they can be and with good reason - these two have a story to share and they want you to hear every single word, built around a steady guitar line and a slinky bass throb that keeps the tension high as they hone in on their message: "girls and boys if you are listening/if you feel imprisoned/feeling like your mouth is glued tight shut/you were born for a reason/share all your feelings". The screeching cries that accentuate each verse seem to imply some sinister wrongdoing, which makes it all the more effective. Girlpool are officially releasing their self-titled debut EP on November 18th through Wichita Recordings. And make sure to catch their hometown residency at the Echo this coming December. 

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