THE DELI DELIVERS: New single by Shybaby drops alongside apartment-dwelling music video

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Cover image by Kelsey Wagner. Music video directed by Molly Mary O’Brien

Hot off the record presses, Shybaby’s “For Rent” is about a rent boy in the literal sense—a term traditionally used for young male prostitutes who occupy a strata of sex work that’s a couple rungs below being a high-class escort or an aspirational hustler; think Dee Dee Ramone trying get picked up on 53rd and 3rd to support his smack habit—but the rent boy at the heart of “For Rent” is instead your everyday low-level drug dealer with striking blue eyes and cool tats who’s prone to texting at 3am with invitations to share his bed in Bed-Stuy and not even paying for your Uber over…

…cuz when you think about it “rent boy” as commonly used is a bit of a misnomer given that most financial-sexual exchanges with literal streetwalkers are one-time only transactions whereas being a renter is to take part in an ongoing if explicitly impermanent series of exchanges—like renting a room or an apartment on a short-term lease—without owning or being invested any further and that’s the situation at the heart of Shybaby’s “For Rent” a song that takes the term much more literally…

…with our song’s narrator entering into a more literal rent boy relationship that no less intense or seemingly even more intense that a more officially committed relationship (no full-on “I love you, you pay my rent” dependency à la the Pet Shop Boys here) with the only promise made being to promise nothing which may spell "trouble" but our narrator doesn’t seem to "mind it" or at least that’s our reading of the lyrics which are delivered something like Kat Bjelland covering Bob Dylan’s "Talkin’ World War III Blues"

…or better yet in Shybaby’s own words: "’For Rent’ used to be called ‘Drug Dealer (For Rent).’ It’s the fun, more oblivious part of a two-song arc ending with an unreleased song that used to be called ‘Drug Dealer (Kicked Out).’ He was a drug dealer but not mine. He described himself as ‘For Rent,’ as in he was so scared to love someone after being hurt that he flat out let me know he didn’t want to care about me, while in the same breath telling me he cared about me; it’s less about him than how I’ve allowed myself to be cared for…”

 going to explain how “the song and video are dramatic and unserious” where the song’s “bridge is unhinged from the rest of the song in a way that makes me laugh – but also in a way that feels as abrupt as how he’d contradict himself, and how I’d go from so obsessed to so hurt. I liked that he called me pretty, and I’d gloss over the part where he also made me feel not-so-nice (very bad)" and the bridge does indeed sound like they turn into a Primus cover band for a minute…

…which is the reason “For Rent” pops for this reviewer is how it locates a comfort zone within these contradictions and unhinged shifts as put across with what sounds like unmitigated glee and a fit of bad temper at once perhaps provoked by emotionally investing in rented spaces whether physical or emotional…

 …as conveyed in the discursive lyrics (see below) and maybe even more so in the sing-spoken-shouted vocals and the careening buzzsaw guitar riding over a galloping beat with an elevated heart rate like a bunch of kids hopped up on Blue Maui Punch Pixy Stix in a bouncy castle and it’s nearly impossible not to get swept up in the song’s sweet ‘n’ sour flavor-crystal energy even as it leads our narrator down the path of declaring “I’m in for trouble now” while admitting the rush of “wak[ing] up in a room shifted two feet to the right"…

…but where it’s highly likely you’ll be taking this physical dislocation to the next level by moving into a new place entirely (part II of the original song?!) but not before crawling and shambling across the soon-to-be-vacated dwelling wearing a wide smile and clothes borrowed from one of Madonna’s backup dancers circa 1983 during that liminal, magical moment when you’ve finished cleaning out the old place moments before moving into the new one which is exactly what Shybaby does in the video for “For Rent"…

…or as Shybaby puts it in regards to the Molly Mary O’Brien-directed video: “The video was filmed in [my] apartment the day after moving out (rent went up by 40%). It felt like a perfectly timed opportunity to make something out of a shitty situation. It’s grey, washed out, and a little grimy, but it’s still fun” which sounds like a good description for NYC in general and also for the renter’s mindset of making unlivable spaces livable and even appealing and really more love songs lost should evoke real estate seeing as residential well-being is key to most any Gothamite’s mental health more so than dating or relationships…

…which is a very New York-based state of mind we realize but it’s makes sense for a city with over 8 million people to choose from romantically or otherwise (good odds even with 40% of adults being married tho’ who knows how many happily) but with only about 2 million rental apartments to choose from, with the overwhelming majority already occupied, so it’s no wonder many singles in the city would deem it a bigger deal landing an ideal apartment versus going on the perfect date or finding an ideal mate except for where two birds can be killed with one stone via strategic cohabitation…

…so hopefully “For Rent” will spark a trend towards more rental-based love songs which despite spiraling rents in NYC (the median rent in Manhattan recently breaking the $4K threshold) still represents a better option than owning that is if you get creative and/of lucky enough in your search for rental spaces cuz who wants all the extra work and worry of owning or the attendant risk of such a major commitment—whether romantic or real-estate based—so why not stay up for rent indefinitely? (Jason Lee)

Shybaby’s next show is March 29th at Ethyl’s in Brooklyn, with more TBA soon…

Lyrics courtesy of the artist:
Been 2 years since you first stayed
In my bed with me you were so skinny jaded

didn’t realize it was you again
Til you said "oh hey how have you been"
Since then you’ve inked up all your skin
Grown your hair out even longer put some meat on your you bones, I…
…you’ve still got those blue blue blue blue eyes
God damn you couldn’t be a more delicious sight

I know you’re trouble boy
I’m in for trouble now

You say you’re for rent you’re for rent you’re for rent
But then you call me a babe and i don’t mind it
But when you say you’re for rent you’re for rent you’re for rent
So you’ve been through it well, who hasn’t?

The next night after we’d stayed up playing dice
N woke up in a room shifted two feet to the right
I was out proving i don’t need no concrete
When you texted me the name of your bedstuy street
Three in the morning 15 dollar car
My second of the night but you didn’t even care
Walls painted peach and covered in leaves
I don’t wanna leave, i don’t wanna leave

I know you’re trouble boy
I’m in trouble now

You say you’re for rent you’re for rent you’re for rent
But then you call me a babe and i don’t mind it
But when you say you’re for rent you’re for rent you’re for rent
So you’ve been through it well–who hasn’t?

You can say i give you these looks
It’s cause I could get hooked

You say you’re for rent you’re for rent you’re for rent
But then you call me a babe and i don’t mind it
But when you say you’re for rent you’re for rent you’re for rent
But then you call me a babe and i don’t mind it
You say you’re for rent you’re for rent you’re for rent



Crowning Split 7″

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Crowning has released a new split 7" with Baltimore’s Eyelet through Zegema Beach and The Ghost is Clear.

The two tracks Crowning contributed are the blistering fifty second song called "Mu" and "Hy-Brasil".

You can catch both Crowning and Eyelet as part of ZBR Fest May 6th and 7th at Subterranean.



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Post-Doom metal group ARRIVER recently released the lead single, "Only On", from their forthcoming album, Azimuth, which is due out on March 4th.

This is the work of Joe Kaplan (drums, percussion), Dan MacAdam (electric guitar, 12 string electric guitar, backing vocals), Dan Sullivan (vocals, electric guitar, baritone and acoustic guitars), and Rob Sullivan (vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer).

You can catch ARRIVER at The Burlington on March 11th with Doom Flower and Black Cross Hotel.


Aux Blood: New single released and Turkey/Syria charity show tonight

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To be honest we hardly know a damn thing about Aux Blood except they’ve put out some cool songs lately (that’s enough!) plus they have a cool name that that makes us think of plugging in digital peripherals (auxiliary ports a.k.a. aux ports) directly into one’s body and bloodstream and Aux Blood most definitely make music to get jacked up to and jacked up by…

…music described on the band’s own Bandcamp as “hardcore shoegaze noise” so that’s a whole spectrum of noise right there with a cryptic addendum that “collaboration is essential” and they do have as knack for sounding doom-laden/depressed one minute and enraged/infuriated the next in a seeming bid to be deemed the Auguste Rodin of sculpted noise…

…a title Aux Blood makes some progress in earning on their three latest singles—"Carcrash” (shoegazery á la Jesus and Mary Chain), “No Marks” (distorted melodic postpunk), and “Graveyard” (punky-grungy primal scream therapy) the latter of which dropped just a few days ago—not to mention their eponymous 2021 LP and a couple cool numbers found only on their Bandcamp page

…and when it comes to doomy and infuriating world events of late requiring massive infusions of auxiliary energy and resources to attempt to counteract the recent Turkey-Syria earthquake surely tops the list which we realize must come off as a flippant transition to make but we’re making it because Aux Blood is headlining a benefit show tonight at Brooklyn’s Gold Sounds Bar with 100% of door and bar proceeds going to charities working on relief efforts in the region…

…an effort that will require a span of who knows how many years with the death toll now having crossed 50,000 not to mention widespread loss of shelter and livelihood for many survivors in a region already beset by challenges and calamities now looking at a whole new level of sustained hardship and lingering trauma to a degree impossible for most reading this to comprehend and if there’s a moment when collaboration is essential this is one of them so come on out to the show if you’re inclined or look for other ways to chip in… (Jason Lee)


Power of the purse: OOMAN drops new single “NEW PURSE” on the Deli with exclusive interview

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A native to the Bronx NYC, OOMAN (they/she), is a Kittitian-American songwriter, producer, MC and DJ whose music sits at the intersection of electro house and alternative Hip-Hop.

To skip straight to the Deli’s exclusive interview with OOMAN—conducted on the occasion of their brand new single "NEW PURSE" released just today—scroll down past the jump below just after the video for "MISS GOT ROCKS" or by all means continue reading directly below if you’re interested in purses and handbags in addition to OOMAN


Whether serving as an accessory to an outfit, an accessory to self-empowerment, or even an accessory to crime, purses are powerful symbolic totems in our society. Purely in terms of fashion, the right handbag can make or break an outfit while also making or breaking one’s image—just ask Young Jeezy who once made it known that “all I ever want’s a bad b*tch in a Chanel bag” or LL Cool J who loves ladies known as “around the way girls” prone to carrying “a Fendi bag and a bad attitude” with purses on the whole, and certain brands of purses in particular, serving as shorthand for specific personality types, overall attitude and power as in rap/dance/pop songs where something or someone is deemed “Gucci” meaning that the entity in question is good or even great (or chill, or dope, or illin) just ask Gucci Mane

…with the power of the purse only being enhanced by so readily crossing and blurring all kinds of lines and social boundaries with handbags being in essence the ultimate luxury item of the street whether found at upscale boutiques or hawked right off from city sidewalks, a portable status symbol that’s at once exclusive and accessible and highly functional as well, used to carry money and cosmetics and other can’t-do-without personal items especially when wearing an outfit too sleek or too chic to have pockets (no wonder purses are closely associated with nightlife and club culture) and while the earliest handbags were the sole province of men (it’s true!) once women started carrying them they came to be seen as a marker of liberation, part and parcel with expanding freedom of movement outside the domestic sphere…

…not to mention how purses and handbags have established connotations within hip hop culture (many a handbag brand has been made mythic thru hip hop lyrics) and in drag culture and on the dancefloor too—for one example of the latter consider the genre of EDM known simply as handbag house (aka “diva house”) defined on Wikipedia as an “anthemic sub-genre of house music that became most popular in gay clubs during the second half of the 1990s”—and when it comes to queer hip hop Purse First is the name of preeminent podcast covering queer rap artists with a name taken from the expression “purse first, ass last,” a Black queer colloquialism referring to taking care of business before pleasure, a key life hack for marginalized populations in particular, which all goes to show the power of the purse with purse here used as a double signifier for handbags and for socio-economic power…

…and if there’s one notion that queer-identifying KittitianAmerican songwriter/producer/emcee/deejay/electronic artist OOMAN gets across clearly on their brand new track “NEW PURSE” debuting right here and right now on the Deli Mag it’s the power of the purse in all of the various respects discussed above with “NEW PURSE” likewise serving as the perfect sonic accessory to introduce a talented young artist with a brand new bag who rightfully demands respect for “putting in this work” over “a beat that’s hot and wet” declared in a voice dripping with attitude all over this down ’n’ dirty bop designed for dancefloors and headphones alike (whatever your bag may be!) because “NEW PURSE” is a straight-up club banger whose two-minute duration is stuffed with enough sonic nuance to be appreciated by shut-in audiophiles as well…

…but that’s quite enough from me, your dedicated musical correspondent, seeing as The Deli was lucky enough to converse telephonically with OOMAN just the other day and you’ll be better off hearing all about what their bag is straight from the source so let’s get to it with no further ado with some comments from OOMAN excerpted from our highly captivating conversation. (Jason Lee)


On musical roots…

My father is a musician. It’s his lifestyle. We share this in common. He’s been in bands for 40 years, playing bass and steel drum for different genres, calypso and afro jazz to name a few. At a young age I started going into my dad’s home recording studio, I wanted to be a singer. He let me record my voice. I also studied piano into my late teens. In school I always wanted to be aligned with music, I’ve always had a deep desire to be a recording artist and performer.

Another early influence was the trips we took to Saint Kitts. My family would visit there every other year. I’ve been there a bunch of times. There’s a carnival every year and a big annual music festival.I’ve been to Carnival a couple times, once in SK, many times in Brooklyn and once in Boston. The way Caribbean people go hard for music at Carnival -It’s adjacent to punk in a way—people "jump and wave” in the street together. Parallel to the hype at any function. It’s in my blood.

On developing as an artist…

As a teenager I was obsessed with MCs and singers. 

I always wanted to be a popstar when I was little, but it evolved into a desire to write songs. I didn’t realize how much goes into following this path. In my teens, I started rapping and writing songs with the idea of being a ghostwriter for other artists. By 18 I was learning to record on my own. At first I was more writing slower ballads, synth bass ballads. It took a few years to find my own sound but I would write songs all the time. My first release across platforms was “On 10.” It’s a low tempo synth-based song. By that time I was using GarageBand and taught myself to produce by experimenting, playing around and seeing what would come out, until I was happy with the sound. I’m still working on developing my craft as a producer and writer.

At the same time I was getting more and more into deejaying, going to sets and teaching myself how to mix. I was looking up to DJs like Tygapaw, LSDXOXO and Byrell the Great, to name a few. I love their styles. I played a few gigs at a couple venues, which exposed me to so much music and I really just loved all the separate elements that made the song. I never stuck with DJing but it definitely had an impact on the way I was teaching myself how to produce, create and think about songs. I have a few of my early mixes on Soundcloud. Maybe I’ll return to it.

On bridging the DJ/songwriter gap…

In trying to achieve that goal I started making songs to create the same feeling you get from being at a party, at the pinnacle of the night, when everyone’s dancing and it feels like the whole room’s moving in sync. It was a process of figuring out how to match the two things I was doing, DJing and songwriting. The experience of going to the club was so important to me, especially at that time. Those DJ sets were the only place I could go to be in a predominantly black and queer space. I’d come back home inspired, ready to write and respond to what I’d experienced and how true it felt. 

On emceeing/MISS GOT ROCKS

I’m drawn to MCs and the power in their words. It’s an affirmation practice. And there’s a connection between dancehall MCs and MCs in hiphop. As I’d listen to Caribbean DJs speak on the track, I’d feel inspired to tap into that same power when experimenting on the early demos I’d make. [most accounts of hip hop trace its beginnings back to Jamaican-American DJ Kool Herc, with hip hop/rap music sharing a similar emphasis on verbal dexterity, mastery of rhythmic flow on vocals, use of linguistic wordplay, humorous double entendre, and strategic use of signifyin’ speech–remarkably like various genres heard across the Caribbean from calypso to dancehall]. I produced MISS GOT ROCKS with the intention of stating an affirmation over a high energy synth bass. And I feel like the conception of that track challenged me to step into my truth as an MC. Like yes I’m vers, I can go between ballads and bops. 

On Performing..

Last year I did my first string of live performances as an MC, performing a lot of unreleased music that will be coming out this year. It was like a workshop to me, to see how my music affects people at a live set. That kind of emotional experience on stage, the intimacy, it’s so real. Seeing people experience my music for the first time, seeing people go crazy over it, it’s exciting and inspiring. I’m a new artist and performing feels like its own practice within this universe that I’m creating through my sound. 

On “New Purse” and other new material… 

I created the demo for “New Purse”

last year using GarageBand, put the stems down and everything, then tapped my co-producer and friend Max Rewak and asked him to work on an arrangement of the stems. I wanted him to take my demo and make it more dimensional. We sat in the studio together with it— he played around a lot with delay to give it dimension, to where my voice is morphing all the way through the track. I feel like I’m listening to an entity rather than myself when I hear it. It’s OOMAN on the track. I’m excited to release it.

On making music videos…

The video for “Miss Got Rocks” [the follow-up to “On 10”] was shot right around my neighborhood. I’m based in Brooklyn now but went back to that street where I grew up [in the Bronx]. It was my debut video so I thought go big or or go home and actually did both! It was self-funded.

The director Sokhna Samb was super open to my ideas and visions. Her own creative direction is what took it all the way there.

She’s from the Bronx too, so she really understood what I was trying to convey. I told her this is for Bronx b*tches, and that was our mantra. The Bronx gets hate but it’s a hub of the best NYC talent and that’s fact. Everything about it stands on my experience in my hometown – the video reminds me of a time in my life when I’d jump on the train from my parents house in the Bronx to parties in Brooklyn all dressed up for the function, like a picture of my life.

My next music video will be for “Berlin” [the follow-up to “Miss Got Rocks”] after “New Purse” is released.


AWEFUL “Open Heart”

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Post-Punk trio AWEFUL has released a new single and video called "Open Heart". This is the second single from the group’s forthcoming self-titled album which is due out this summer via What’s For Breakfast?.

You can catch AWEFUL at Reggie’s on March 24th with Bat Hearse and Royal Son of a Guns.