Alt Hip Hop for NYE at Aviv: Gloss Gang, Jaguar Pyramids and Wiki from Ratking

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Up until a few years ago, many NYC "indie" venues didn’t book hip hop acts – it still happens in many Manhattan ones. DIY Brooklyn has always being more open to the genre, so much so that this year Bushwick spot Aviv booked a bill of mostly local hip hop artists for their New Years Eve party (together with noisy avant-punk trio Show Me the Body, which isn’t completely foreign to the genre). Wiki (of Ratking) will headline the night with a solo set, which – knowing the character and his talent – is bound to be entertaining. He released his debut solo album "Lil Me" earlier in December. Opening NYC trio Jaguar Pyramids will complement and to some extent exacerbate his dark and tense sound with their nightmarish grooves – check out their 8 track debut album here. Brooklyn quintet Gloss Gang will also be of the party; their recent single "Money, Hoes and Fashion" (streaming) shares the other acts’ suspenseful, unconventional sonics and has become a small SoundCloud hit in just one month. Listening to these three tracks, there seems to be enough evidence to state that NYC hip hop is going through a creative renaissance. Maybe more local venues should open their doors to it.


Fern Mayo’s idiosyncratic longing comes to Silent Barn 1/14

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The two song, uber lo-fi debut demo from Katie Capri’s brainchild, Fern Mayo, might have been a blip on the music radar of 2014 (even though the band made our Best of NYC list that year), leaving early lovers desperately in need of more. The October release of the (now) trio’s Happy Forever EP (streaming below), further honed a craft of raw emotionality and glum combined with surfy melodic grooves, while exploring sudden rhythmic changes and fuzzy chord rage. The addition of bassist Nicholas Cummins’ moody backing, and Charlie Bueno’s raw but eclectic drumming contribute to a sound that’s now more full and mature. The seven song EP (plenty of bang for your buck here) rips through the human psyche of want and loss, hammered home in Capri’s harrowing wails, “we’re all just trying to be happy here,” on the track, “Chomping at the Bit.” Their recordings place all focus on the feelings derived from instruments and voice, though one can only imagine the increased intensity of a live performance – and they’ve been doing a lot of that this year, as recently noted by OhMyRockness. You can see Fern Mayo at Silent Barn on January 14th. –JP Basileo


Q.D. Tran’s 50 Favorite Philly EPs/LPs of 2015

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I guess what was spawned from pure procrastination has turned into an annual tradition here at The Deli Philly. We are now at our final post of 2015, and here’s my list of 50 favorite Philly EPs/LPs from this year. Do what you want with it. Hopefully you’ll take a listen for yourself. So many good albums this year, I feel bad about cutting it off at 50; otherwise, I would never post this. And without further ado…
1. Nightclub (Self-released) – Blood Sound


Blood Sound crept into my subconscious in 2015. So much so that I contemplated starting my own record label to release their material. But then, I watched the Stones Throw and Creation Records documentaries, and decided maybe I should direct my energies elsewhere. Well, I’m glad that Manimal Vinyl (Bat for Lashes, Warpaint) was smart enough to snatch Blood Sound up for their next single releases. Nightclub is just the beginning of the 80’s dance party that they are about to unleash on the rest of the world. To quote my buddy, Alex, whom I am absolutely jealous of for coming up with this description first: “It sounds like Ian Curtis fronting New Order.”


2. Downer (Infinity Cat) – The City & I

What can I say – “the weed-buttered food baby” of Colins “Bear” Reginsford (Mannequin Pussy, Kids, Ghost Gum), known as Downer, is dope. It’s such a diverse-sounding album with doses of weirdness and grit in all the right places. I thoroughly enjoyed gettin’ high to this one.

3. Pale Horses (Run For Cover) – mewithoutYou
It’s probably been almost a decade since I first heard of mewithoutYou, who was featured in a Philly alt-weekly at that time. The band continues to morph, evolve, and intrigue me after all these years. Pale Horses is thought-provoking material from a seasoned band.

4. Cemetery Highrise Slum (Collect) – Creepoid
What is a common question that circulates around Creepoid: “How are they not bigger?” I don’t know the answer to that, but I hope to stop hearing the question soon. Cemetery Highrise Slum is heavy, grungy psych rock that you need to get into.

5. The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us (Polyvinyl) – Beach Slang


There is a youthful exuberance to The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, which is oddly made by old punks. However, it’s rather cathartic. Beach Slang’s rapid ascension is not at all surprising within the first listen.


You can check out the rest of my list HERE. And Happy New Year!!!



Live Review: Slime Girls at The Airliner 12/29

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Airhorns were ablaze yesterday as residents of Mabase crowded The Airliner’s upstairs venue in search of warmth and sound. There was a call for sci-fi inspired outfits, but we saw mostly dyed hair, pastel colors, and some frill — we spotted at least one well-done cybergoth, though! Screened with geometric visuals and scenes from Doubutsu no Mori, Playing Tourist Forever pummeled the second-floor bar with aggro-boss battle music, followed by bitpop trio Paladin Shield with songs from their 2015 self-titled debut. New York’s Knife City was Famitracker-free, but dished out strong drum & bass remixes for fans to go hard. Bedroom producer Slime Girls ended the night with a two-part set of heavy chiptune from the recent "NO SUMMER NO CRY" and abrasive ska-punk of earlier days, with covers of Undertale‘s "Dating Start" and of Japanese idol group BiS’ "PPCC".

Our ears were busted and the night was cold, but that was a hell of a show to end 2015. More pictures of the night on our Instagram @TheDeliLA– Ryan Mo, photography by Michelle McCausland


Monograms and Surf Rock is Dead open for CYHSY at Rough Trade’s on NYE

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Being asked to play a cool New Year’s Eve party, and getting paid to do so, must be one of the best gigs any can land on December 31st… Being on stage, with everybody watching… everybody drinking…  In NYC, not many places are cooler than Brooklyn’s Rough Trade. The Williamsburg records store/venue will host a New Year’s Eve party headlined by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and featuring two promising local openers. Monograms (pictured) plays fast paced indie pop with psychedelic, new wave and garagey overtones. The trio debuted in 2014 with the dreamy "Fader" EP, which was almost entirely performed by singer/guitarist Ian Jacobs); the record offered a sound featuring smooth melodies within a semi-DIY production enamoured with dirt and distortion. This past December new single Downer (streaming) saw the light of day, with the announcement of an upcoming EP scheduled for early 2016.

Surf Rock is Dead – a dream-pop duo with a surf accent that was highlighted already twice here in 2015 – has been getting a lot of attention in blogs lately, finding their way to many year end playlists, and hearts of fans of other surf-dreaming bands like Real Estate and The Drums. Their 2015 EP "SRiD" is charmingly catchiy, appropriately drenched in reverb, and strictly mid-fi. Check out our favorite track Zan A, streaming below.


The Deli Philly’s Featured Artist(s) Poll Winner: Heavy Temple

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Heavy Temple’s High Priestess Nighthawk, Archbishop Barghest, and Sister Tempestas bring “evil honey from a magic mountain,” and proudly wave the flag high for the lineage of rad Philly psych rockers. The power trio builds patient, epic jams on its debut self-titled EP, and has plans to share its sophomore effort, Chassit, in the coming year. Before that and 2016 arrive, check out our latest Featured Artist(s) Poll Winner interview with the holy ones HERE!


Entangled in the sounds of People With Accents

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An interesting name for a band that produces an interesting sound, People With Accents call to both the "90’s indie" and "math rocker" in us all. Their music is so easy to get lost in, complexly blending the technicality of progressive math rock with the soft yet forceful delight of 90’s indie (think Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Sunny Day Real Estate and at times, Cursive). The two facets of People With Accents, Jacob Saulsbury and Alex McEntee, released their self titled debut back in 2012, and dropped You Could Be Wrong last year. Revel in their track "Abandon All Hope/Hope Springs Etenal," below.

-Cervante Pope



Kerosene Stars

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Kerosene Stars are releasing the first of three new ep’s next month. Burn The Evidence finds this veteran group Chicago musician lead by Scott Schaafsma at the top of their game. Schaafsma is oined by drummer Jim Adair (Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash), keyboard and viola player Yoo Soo Kim (Hemmingbirds), percussionist Tom Sorich (Old Town School of Folk Music), and guitarist Andy Seagram.

You can help Kerosene Stars celebrate the release of Burn The Evidence on January 21st at Empty Bottle with Strange Lovelies and Jesse W Johnson.


The Deli KC’s Best of 2015

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Michelle Bacon, editor
1. Madisen Ward and the Mama BearSkeleton Crew
You probably won’t get a chance to see Madisen and Ruth Ward perform in a small room anytime soon, but if you’ve had the privilege to do so, you know how special it is. Sharp songwriting accompanies the intimacy, warmth, and the sheer velocity of their voices, all of which shine on the duo’s debut LP with Glassnote Records.
2. The Grisly HandFlesh & Gold
Since its acclaimed LP Country Singles came out in 2013, fans have been chomping at the bit for another collection of songs from The Grisly Hand. Flesh & Gold showcases a band that is fully realizing its natural chemistry—the compositions reach new heights on this album, with musicians that play to their strengths, in all the right places.
3. BloodbirdsMXVIII
Aggressive, dark, psychedelic sounds make up the aural landscape of Bloodbirds’ latest effort, an impressive full-length from an authoritative power trio. These songs are intense and emotional, but laden with enough hooks and punch to keep the listener yearning for more.
4. Mat ShoareRight As Rain
Whether he’s delivering a subtle lyric over a somnolent keyboard tone or an angsty vitriol over an edgy guitar riff, Mat Shoare is pulling us into his world with each track on Right As Rain. Shoare has a knack for creating classic pop hooks, finding instrumentation that suits each mood, and pulling off introspective lyrics with an unmistakable sincerity.
5. Major GamesMajor Games
Major Games’ self-titled release is one of the richest and most sonically dense offerings of 2015. It soars above the conventions of shoegaze, psychedelic, and noise rock, with sweeping dynamic shifts and intriguing swells of sound.
6. HMPH!Headrush
The debut LP from HMPH! is one of the most masterful examples of musicianship on any KC release in recent history. This instrumental math rock/jazz fusion album is built on angular guitar riffs and rhythmic countermelodies from two musicians who know their craft and challenge it in an interesting, entertaining set of songs.
7. ThunderclapsCookin Up A Good Time (EP)
This guitar-and-drums duo stands out with 3 short tracks that remind us of the classic backbone of rock ‘n roll with a modern vigor. Thunderclaps’ debut EP is well worth a mere 9 minutes of your time; and if you aren’t shaking your hips by the end of it, you weren’t paying enough attention.
8. Mikal ShapiroThe Musical
Mikal Shapiro is no stranger to the KC music scene, having lent her talents to several projects, but The Musical is her first full-length in 5 years. With her core band of musical masterminds, Shapiro has assembled one of the year’s strongest efforts. She blends pop, jazz, folk, and blues to create something far more hip.
9. BerwangerDemonios (EP)
Josh Berwanger knows how to write a great pop gem, and make it rock. With elements of power pop, glam rock, psych, and sugary ‘60s pop, there’s something in a Berwanger song that can appeal to anybody. His latest release, on High Dive Records, will take you on an astral journey while you’re simultaneously banging your head.
10. She’s A KeeperWestside Royal (EP)
Westside Royal signifies a fresh new musical direction for She’s A Keeper, a band that has grown into its sound in the best possible way. This 5-track EP is full of infectious grooves coupled with warm vocal melodies, making for a solid indie pop record.
1. Admiral of the Red – “Footbeats” (1.5.15)
2. The Conquerors – “I Don’t Know” (8.11.15 High Dive Records)
3. Claire and the Classical Revolution – “Enough” (12.12.15)
4. Bonzo Madrid – “Balance” (8.10.15)
5. Spirit is the Spirit – “Televangelist” (4.13.15 The Record Machine)
6. The Uncouth – “KC United” (5.15.15 Too Much Rock)
7. Yes You Are – “World Without End” (6.1.15)
8. Katy Guillen and the Girls – “If You Were Gone” (11/24/15)
9. Mat Shoare – “One of My Songs” (11.6.15)
10. The Good Hearts – “Bad Production” (12.8.15)  
3. Glen Hansard at Uptown Theater, 11.17.15
4. Diane Coffee and Of Montreal at recordBar, 10.27.15
5. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear at recordBar, 12.22.15
6. Heartless Bastards and Craig Finn at recordBar, 7.1.15
8. Jason Isbell and Rayland Baxter at Uptown Theater, 12.9.15
10. Shiner and The String and Return at recordBar, 7.17.15
Unless you have a heart condition or are prone to seizures, you should experience Peelander-Z at least once. It is less recommended to go on stage with them and try to play their bass when they just want you to do calisthenics.
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear at Good Danny’s in Austin, TX, 3.18.15
It turns out that the best respite from the chaos of SXSW was a beautiful midday serenade in a comfy, air-conditioned house. Here, a lucky roomful of 15-20 people got a chance to see the Wards tape their Daytrotter session.
Spoon at The Continental Club in Austin, TX, 3.22.15
Alejandro Escovedo is a pioneer of Austin’s music scene, and held his last post-SXSW party, with Spoon as the secret guest. Seeing one of my favorite bands in a 300-cap room with dozens of other influential Austin musicians and natives was a special treat.
GAV7D, Katy Guillen and the Girls, and Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds at recordBar, 10.23.15
Late October and early November were arguably the most stressful months in Kansas City history. Game 6 of the ALCS was another nail-biter, plagued by a rain delay. Meanwhile, Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds opened up a show at recordBar, with a crowd that was waiting on pins and needles to celebrate, erupting in a Royal triumph at the last few notes of our set. The festivities continued with a red-hot set from Katy Guillen and the Girls, and a delightful denouement from Johnny Hamil’s GAV7D project.
The Philistines at Maria’s Taco Xpress in Austin, TX, 3.21.15
More famously known as the day Bill Murray saw my band play and offered me a bite of his food.
Zach Hodson (Dolls on Fire)
My 10 favorite Kansas City or ties-to-Kansas-City recordings of 2015(in no particular ranking or order):
The Electric LungsDon’t Be Ashamed of the Way You Were Made
The Electric Lungs’ sophomore full-length does not disappoint. Complete with a bombastic rhythm section, emphatic vocal performances, and just the right amount of synthy icing, this pop rock/punk quartet continues to put out some of the best high-energy rock music in town these days.
The Grisly Hand – Flesh & Gold
Whereas this album didn’t originally catch me near as much as their 2013 release Country Singles (which I consider to be one of my favorite KC releases of all time), Flesh & Gold falls more in the sneaky good category. The usual hallmarks of The Grisly Hand sound are certainly present throughout, but they continue to show a maturation and evolution of sound, allowing the sonic spectrum to freelance into other genres a bit more.  
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear – Skeleton Crew
Yeah. It’s damn good, just a fantastic sonic experience from beginning to end. Everything is spot-on: the songs, the unique vocal stylings, the tasteful flares of accompanying instrumentation, the production value. Whereas roots music can often fall prey to overproduction, this breakthrough record from the Kansas City based son-mom duo shows the true power of knowing which levers to pull and which to leave the hell alone.
Christian HankelSilver (Music from the Noir Ballet)
No one can ever call out Christian Hankel for being unambitious. Over the years, he has treated Kansas City with over-the-top art projects while others stay slaves to what is trendy. Silver is just the latest example of this. Featuring a who’s who of Kansas City players, this soundtrack to a modern retelling of The Odyssey via an 8-piece jazz ensemble is a well-composed and dynamic slice of mid-20th century jazz dolled up with just enough modern influence.
The Bad IdeasLeave Me Alone
And now for something completely different. Eleven scuzzy, socially-conscious, punk-as-fuck brain-beating tracks that somehow keep some identity from each other during the onslaught. This full-length tape captures the live energy for which The Bad Ideas have become known.
Sterling WittSatyagraha
Another Kansas City area artist with a strict devotion to the art above all else, Sterling Witt’s recent release is a thick and icky ride recorded by Steve Albini (and yes, it certainly sounds like it was). I’ve seen Sterling perform in just about every way possible over the years (and probably still have some baby powder, glitter, or a paper airplane laying around to prove it). This grungy batch of alternative tunes is certainly less folk than I remember him at times, but still has the same earworms, sharp songwriting, and sly lyric play that I’ve come to very much enjoy of his work.
The HillbendersTommy: A Bluegrass Odyssey
Whereas the Hillbenders in general are not “from” Kansas City, this record has plenty of ties to our neck of the woods that make it applicable here. It is an ambitious thing. Take one of the most beloved rock operas of all time, a record laden with synthesizers, squealing guitars, and one of the most adventurous drummers in rock n’ roll history. Now, reproduce it with traditional bluegrass instruments. And, oh yeah, no drums and no keyboards.
Somehow, The Hillbenders not only pull it off, but really push the material beyond its original limits in many ways. By creatively channeling the constraints of their instrumentation into ridiculously well-put-together orchestrations, the listener is never found wanting for the missing elements. It is beautifully new and familiar all at the same time.
SundiverCaravelle and Discoverer
Proving that verdant noise rock is still very much alive and relevant, Sundiver dropped a fantastic duo of songs this year with Caravelle and Discoverer. Call it post-hardcore, call it shoegaze, call it even a bit math rock at times, the pair of songs repeatedly build and crash, powdering the listener with something equally galvanic and celestial. Dreamy, driving, provoking soundscapes.
The SlutsThe Sluts
The modern war against the bass guitar (or perhaps better said, against those that typically play the bass guitar [yeah, I said it. Deal with it, bass players]) continues with this Lawrence two-piece. The Sluts’ debut LP suffers not from the four-string exclusion. The guitars rumble with lush distortion, the drums pound, the vocals screech through the wooly mix. Just enough smart songwriting keeps this from being an 11-song one-trick pony. It is a ride worth taking time and time again.
Mikal Shapiro – The Musical
Jazz, blues, Americana, country, good old rock ‘n roll: it’s all here. Being Shapiro’s first full-length release since 2010, she really sheds some skin with this batch of gracefully arranged songs. Every effort is a new adventure, kept on the like tracks by her silky, often doubled and harmonized vocals. The all-star Core Four (amongst other guest musicians) utilized throughout elevates her material to a new place.
Brad Scott (The Clementines)
1. The Grisly Hand – Flesh & Gold
2. Mikal Shapiro – The Musical
3. Paper BuffaloWhite on White (EP)
4. The AM TrioAs of Now
5. The Old No. 5sSteam
1. The Grisly Hand – “Regina” (from Flesh & Gold)
2. Paper Buffalo – “The Archive” (from White on White)
3. Hembree – “Can’t Run Forever”
4. Mikal Shapiro – “Daniel” (from The Musical)
5. The Old No. 5s – “Barn Party” (from Steam)
Albums, in no particular order:
The Electric Lungs – Don’t be Ashamed of the Way You Were Made
Definitely a punk rock album that brings me back to my high school years.  I wish I had this album to help me through those wonder years.
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear – Skeleton Crew
This is such a warm album to listen to.  I always picture myself outside by a creek on a summer afternoon as I contemplate about life.  
Jessica Paige Sweet Nothings
Imagine yourself laying down on a wooden floor of your living room with your significant other on a cool autumn morning.  It helps you make you appreciate every single bit of life, good and bad.
The Clementines – “The Journey Begins” (single)
The single is very raw and straight to the point. You can hear raw emotion and heart from a band that can tug at your heart.

Final Ma Jolie Show at KFN Dec. 30

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From the ashes of indie-pop outfit Frost Watson, vocalist/guitarist Mike Stoloski and drummer Jeff Myers have forged a strong friendship and musical bond. But it was when they joined forces with bassist Frank Abruzzo to form Ma Jolie that they played the fast-paced, hard-hitting melodic punk that put them on the map. Since 2012, the band has released two impressive full lengths and a 7", played jam-packed DIY shows, and gone on big tours with the likes of The Menzingers and Cayetana. But right before 2015 comes to a close, the power trio will be playing their final show at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Joining them on their last hurrah will be some of the bands that they’ve made key friendships with on their journey: This Is Jazz, The Joint Chiefs of Math, and Banquets. Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front S., 8pm, $5, 21+ – Bill McThrill


Dia releases debut EP Tiny Ocean on 1.8

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Dia is the project of Danielle Birrittella, a performer-composer whose ehtereal compositions teeter between bright-eyed new age and sparse, haunting folk. Her upcoming EP, Tiny Ocean, opts to feature a baroque pop sound informed by her classical training, incorporating vocals pedals to modulate her voice alongside an opulent array of serpentine layers. 

Dia recently premiered a video for the track "Covered in Light", which you can watch below. Tiny Ocean comes out on January 8th via Manimal/Heliophilia.