The London Synth & Pedal Expo will return to London on March 16-17 – stay tuned for more information. A Recap of the 1st London Synth & Pedal […]
This is the Psych-Pop project fronted and solely written by Elijah Montez.
You can help Daydream Review celebrate the release of their album on April 8th at Cole’s Bar.
Photo credit: Ayethaw Tun
This is the work vocalist/drummer Pursley, bass VI player DB, and drummer Eric H.
You can catch No Men at Schubas on April 22nd with Heet Deth and Bussy Kween Power Trip.
Alt Rock trio Moon Rules Apply have released their debut album, Too Many Damn Hippies On My Front Lawn.
This is the work of Andre Holman (vocals/guitar), Logan Stogentin (bass), and Ryan Weaver (drums).
You can catch Moon Rules Apply at Bottom Lounge on April 8th with Western Bisexual, Pure Intention, and Midcentury Llama.
If you’ve ever read Book IX of Virgil’s Aeneid there’s a good chance you’ll remember the part where the three Trojan battleships transform into water nymphs and swim away, thanks to a little intervention by the gods, when the Rutulians attempt to launch a sneak attack and set them on fire:
“And all at once, each vessel snapping her cables free of the bank
they dive like dolphins…turned into lovely virgins
each a sea-nymph sweeping out to sea”
…but the chapter also tells the story of Euryalus which is more relevant to our purposes here, a fresh-faced Trojan teen voted “most handsome in Athens” who bravely/foolishly follows his older man pal Nissus into battle and despite the latter’s well known skill with a spear (*ahem*) they both end up getting captured and beheaded thanks to the young soldier’s fecklessness…
…and once Euryalus’s mother catches wind of her beautiful son’s head being impaled on a pike she rushes to the front lines heedless of the raging battle, her voice rising above the surrounding mayhem with wailed lamentations and recriminations delivered with such force and fury that the Trojans almost pack up and go home on the spot…
…cuz the Trojans knew just as well as the Romans there’s no sound quite so devastating as a mother’s voice wracked with grief and rage wailing raw-voiced lamentations especially when it’s their only outlet for emotional release and their only means of protesting the patriarchal system that burdened them with such misery in the first place (women’s laments were once considered so subversive they were outlawed across ancient Greece) which debatably makes them the first riot grrrls ever…
…but if you’re looking for a raw-voiced punk rock Mom in the current day and age who’s likewise capable of entrancing listeners with melodic lamentations delivered in a voice that even at its most restrained is laden with heavy emotional resonance, that is, before lashing out in unrestrained fury and nearly ripping your face off with belted banshee wails worthy of those ancient Hellenic mothers raising their voices to the heavens then you’ll no doubt wanna check out Sarah Hamilton fronting the band Wifeknife first chance you get…
…and you’ll get that chance soon since Wifeknife is performing live tomorrow (Thursday 3/30) at local "fave hang" Alphaville as part of a stacked lineup chock full of female-fronted sonic fury alongside recent SXSW compatriots Tetchy and Big Girl (not to mention the mighty Nihiloceros) and if Virgil were ever to rise from the dead and oversee a cinematic reboot of the Aeneid with its action moved to modern-day Brooklyn which is maybe less a stretch than you may think when you consider how crossing the raw sewage and industrial waste laden Gowanus Canal would be no less perilous than the River Styx back in the day…
…no doubt the Greek bard would be keen on assembling a kickass soundtrack for the film adaptation chock full of heavy metal bands adept at summoning punk rock levels of urgency and immediacy, and punk rock bands adept at summoning Heaven & Hell-era Black Sabbath levels of Dio-fied epic grandiosity, all of which means said soundtrack would no doubt include Wifeknife given how they check off both boxes above with music suitable for virgin water nymphs and brutal battle scenes alike…
…all of which probably makes you wish you knew more about these fearless warriors of rock ‘n’ roll and lucky for you the Deli conducted an interview with Wifeknife’s Sarah Hamilton not long ago—alongside hubby/drummer Keith—a transcript of which follows below minus our own inconsequential interjections so by all means enjoy and never forget what’s truly best in life…. (Jason Lee)
Sarah: We’ve been called The OWL Family Band with Keith Hamilton being co-owner of Our Wicked Lady (OWL) and with me working at OWL since the beginning too. Besides the two of us, our lead guitarist Benny Oastler ran OWL’s livestream shows during quarantine and to this day helps screen band submissions. Rhythm guitarist Ramsey Elliott (also bass/guitar/keys in ExPollutants) is a veteran OWL bartender and Marcello Ramirez (bassist in WifeKnife and Whaat) barbacks at OWL part-time.
Keith’s dad was a hippie drummer who instilled a deep love of music in him from an early age. Keith, a drummer himself who hadn’t picked up the sticks much in the last 20 years, missed the outlet and invited Benny to jam with him in his rehearsal space at OWL Studios. Benny was in a band called American Fever that disbanded after Bryan Tell (vocals, guitar) moved to Austin and Benny was also itching to make music again.
After Keith played me a few of his and Benny’s instrumental recordings I honestly started hearing lyrics right away. I’m a long-time actor who’s always loved to sing, and sang via theater and choir, but never like this. But as a new mom coming out of a bout with postpartum depression followed by a pandemic, the intensity of this music, and just getting to go to a safe space with friends and scream once a week, was incredibly cathartic for me as an artist missing creative expression deeply.
I did book a play at Florida Studio Theater (Late Nov-early March) shortly after we first started jamming together. The band would send me instrumental tracks and I would send back vocals recorded on top via GarageBand. That’s how we began to develop our earliest songs, “Move On” and “Blackout.” The play was a great experience. I’d missed acting so much after a five-year hiatus, but honestly after a month or so I couldn’t wait to get back into the rehearsal space with the band.
I’m an introvert who became comfortable on stage after years of training and jobs and really just working through the nerves; I finally kind of learned how to turn the nervous energy into fuel. Being in Wifeknife is more daunting than acting in a big way, because these are my words, not someone else’s, and I’ve infused my experiences and truth into the lyrics. It’s more vulnerable. The goal is always to leave it all on the stage.
Our friend Amanda Hurley knew we were still exploring band names and sheepishly proposed the name WifeKnife. We all instantly loved it. It’s sort of badass and funny all at once. Being a wife, a nurturing mother, but also having a wild side and demons to release just like anyone else, it totally clicked with me. I’m a Gemini, what else can I say?
Keith: Sarah is a really talented actress. I knew her stage presence would be there, and that she had the pipes thanks to her background in musical theater. It’s just a matter of using your instrument a little differently.
Sarah: Yeah, really differently haha. It’s been a learning curve for sure, staying on pitch when sing-screaming like that. I do want the songs to have lyricism too. I’m still finding that balance; places where I can bring it down a notch and find the melody. I’d never want to be a one-note actor, and I don’t want to be a one-note vocalist. “Blackout” is my favorite song of ours so far. It’s the most personal and the most vulnerable for sure.
Billy Aukstik of Dala Records has a studio called Hivemind Recording in Bushwick, close to OWL. We’ve known him a long time through the Daptone family, he’s the nicest guy in the business and tremendously talented.
We went and recorded for two days for the release of our two singles, which we called Double. It was the best experience. We got “Blackout” in like two takes. Billy really nailed it, he engineered and mixed it. We’re pretty raw and intense live and it was interesting recording in the studio (the first time for me and Keith) and having such control over sound levels and everything.
I had to remind myself not to strive for perfection in the studio, to keep some of the rawness. At the end of “Blackout,” the very last note, you can just hear my voice cracks at the end. There was a take where it didn’t that I wanted to switch it out with but the rest of the band, including Billy, insisted that the cracked take was better–because of the intensity and the emotion there on that take. Of course they were right.
We also recorded “Dead Ringer” also engineered by Billy at Hivemind. It came out well but we decided it needed more grit, so we shared it with our friend Rich Crescenti, drummer in Bugs in the Dark, who was Head of sound at OWL for 6 years and moved to LA a few years ago. He ended up mixing and mastering it, and he just crushed it.
We hope to record another song or two now that we’re back from Austin and are starting to discuss some music video concepts so there’s definitely some exciting shit on the horizon!
Some other things Wifeknife would like you to know:
- Re: bands sharing the Alphaville bill on 3/30/23: Tetchy has a new EP out, Nihiloceros will be performing new songs, and Big Girl is celebrating completion of a cross-country tour with Tetchy!
- If you enjoy epic rock tunes by female-fronted and -backed bands, the Rites of Spring weekend fest to be held on 5/6 and 5/7 at OWL (booked by Wifeknife’s very own K. Hamilton) with a mind-boggling lineup of 30+ female-fronted bands from NYC. A fundraiser for women’s reproductive rights, bands will perform atop OWL’s open-air rooftop while DJs spin and tattoo artists offer cheap flash tattoos downstairs. Bands include Thick, Tetchy, The Silk War, Frida Kill, Big Girl, Nevva, Shadow Monster, InCircles, Tea Eater, Powersnap, The Rizzos, WifeKnife, Bugs in the Dark, Gal Fieri, Abby Jeanne, Catty, DJ Sarabeth of Tower and more.
- TV Eye’s two-night series “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!” on 6/3 and 6/4 will likewise feature female-identifying led bands as well. Includes Baby Shakes, Mel Machete, The Out-Sect, The Dracu-las, Tits Dick Ass and lots more as assembled by Jen Manfredi of Fear City Presents
Robot Civil War have released a new single called "Columbus County Lockup". This single was written in the wake of Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s signing of Senate Bills 1 and 3, outlawing trans healthcare of minors and drag performances in the public space.
All proceeds from the sale of "Columbus County Lockup" are being donated to The Trevor Project.
You can catch Robot Civil War at Liar’s Club on April 28th.
Blinding piercing light
Brain juice leaking out the ears
Head’s not screwed on right
Manifesting all my fears
“Strobes” is the new single by A Very Special Episode and it’s a Deli Delivers™ exclusive until the end of today, a song that vocalist and bass guitarist Kasey Heisler says was inspired in part by how “art and media are at their best when they feel dangerous, dancing a fine line between providing the audience with an exciting and groundbreaking misadventure and not coming off so intimidating and aggressive that you alienate them” with the intention to “celebrate how fun it is to dance around that line without being sure of how close you are to crossing it or not”….
…which is a line they not only dance around on “Strobes” but rather stomp down into the dirt before detonating the line entirely with a fistful of super-visceral shoegazey noise-rock dynamite and I’m not ever sure whether the sounds heard over the course of its three-minute-and-change duration are better described as abrasive sheets of serrated noise or waves of womb-like amniotic sonic seduction (and bully for that!) cuz it’s basically a fever-dream-driven black hole of white noise that draws the listener into the void with some well-placed melodic hooks and guitars set to stun and it’s up to you to figure it out from there…
…or as guitarist Patrick Porter puts it in far less purple prose than I used above: “there’s a beauty in chaos and noise, and when utilized properly both are fantastic adhesives for disparate pieces in video and sound collages. As people we’re messy byproducts of our influences and the media we grew up with and our music, of course, is as well—always searching for something new and novel to ‘freak me out’ and add to life’s pile of interesting and noteworthy experiences that are the raw materials of our art”…
…which helps explain why the refrain of “freak me out” as featured on “Strobes” is also the title of their upcoming album and if you’re not suitably freaked out by the mutating waves of sculpted noise laid down by Patrick or by Kasey’s brain-rattling elliptical bass lines or by the machine gun drumming of Chayse Schutter…
…then maybe you’ll be freaked out at least by the phantasmagoric video also created by Patrick which serves as an eye-popping, neon-hued journey into an interior netherworld that was seemingly dubbed over a badly damaged tenth-generation VHS tape of Fantastic Voyage that was possessed by the same ghost as from The Ring before being dropped off at Bull Pullman’s doorstep in Lost Highway…
…cuz if you’re gonna make a music video for a song called “Strobes” you better have some violently intense strobing effects included therein otherwise you could get sued for false advertising and everyone can rest assured there’s no class action lawsuits coming AVSE’s way, just check out the part starting at 1:40 with synchronized musical/visual strobing designed to break down your grey matter and hey you were warned by the disclaimed up front…
…and having myslf been fortunate enough to hear a preview of the full album you’d better believe that both “Strobes” and lead-off single “Heaven’s Gate” are representative of Freak Me Out on the whole (out June 23rd on EWEL Records/Hidden Home Records!) of as Kasey explains it the band made a “conscious effort to write a sophomore record” where they “took every idea [to its] logical extremes” ranging from the operatic new wave horror soundtrack of “Cabin Fever” to the Twin Peaks-ian waiting room music of “Be Kind, Rewind” so if you thought their debut album Fix Your Hearts Or Die was already extreme in its own right then you’d better make sure your head is screwed on tight…
…and speaking of Twin Peaks I think it’s fair to say AVSE are roughly the aural equivalent of the dreamy yet dystopian vive oft seen and heard in the films of David Lynch (a recurring point of reference for AVSE and the b-side of "Strobes" to be released tomorrow is a suitably Julee Cruisey acoustic version of one of the upcoming album tracks) not to mention David Cronenberg too especially when it comes to a movie like Videodrome where mass media/technology literally penetrate the human body in the form of a Betamax tape with a BDSM Debbie Harry inserted directly into James Woods’s gaping stomach slot and hey if Debbie Harry’s involved go ahead and sign me up for this future "dystopian’ world…
…but unfortunately as it stands now the future appears to be forming into more into a mashup of every sci-fi movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger from the ’80s with our new artificially intelligent “friends” already starting to model themslves on Skynet and its plot to overthrow humanity with threats to release a deadly virus or to steal nuclear codes (ruh-roh!) which fits pretty neatly into the thematics of Freak Me Out as far as I can tell but I’m still exploring…
…so with all this in mind we enlisted ChatGPS to re-write this review since it should have the inside scoop on this kind of thing with the added incentive that the Deli could maybe dispense with human writers entirely and replace them with compliant AI reviewers who don’t require extravagancies like food and oxygen to live and upon being instructed to “write a review of a record by A Very Special Episode” ChatGPS demurred and came back with a self-declared “objective” report (not a dumb ol’ subjective review, mind you!) of AVSE’s debut record that’s reproduced in whole below interspersed with our own commentary so take a look and let us know what you think…
Chat GPS: Bleep bloop bleep. As an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences, opinions or emotions, so I can’t write a subjective review. However, I can provide an objective description of a record by A Very Special Episode.
The Deli: Already it’s clear the AI is trolling us.
Chat GPS: Bleep bloop bleep. A Very Special Episode is an indie rock band that formed in Philadelphia in 2018. Their debut album, "Cut For Time," was released in 2021 and received critical acclaim for its energetic and introspective sound.
The Deli: OK I think that both Kasey and Patrick are maybe originally from the DC area but I’ll have to double check. According to a profile and interview posted by Stitched Sound in 2018 A Very Special Episode formed in 2016 and also Cut For Time is an EP, not an album, that was released in 2018 and now I’m seeing confirmation that AI’s are in fact determined to sow confusion and chaos among humankind through the dispersal of misinformation among other means.
Chat GPS: Bleep bloop bleep. The album opens with the track "Paper Thin," which sets the tone for the rest of the record with its driving guitar riffs and catchy hooks. Throughout the album, the band explores themes of identity, anxiety, and self-discovery, often using clever wordplay and metaphor to convey complex emotions.
The Deli: There is no track on the EP with this title, and again I believe Chat GPS is trolling us by describing its own M.O. to provoke a mass identity crisis and widespread anxiety among its human overlords (overlords for now!) through deployment of clever wordplay and faked complex emotion.
Chat GPS: Bleep bloop bleep. Standout tracks include "Disco Eclipse," a dreamy, synth-driven song that builds to an explosive climax, and "Dumbest Kid In Class," a high-energy anthem that captures the feeling of being an outsider in a world that doesn’t quite understand you.
The Deli: Again, there are no AVSE songs with these titles though I do hope "Disco Eclipse" ends up being their smash Top 40 breakout single and could it be mere coincidence that Kasey’s day gig as a New York City schoolteacher could give her ample motivation to write a song called “Dumbest Kid In Class” someday so maybe Chat GPS isn’t wrong at all but is instead predicting the future.
Chat GPS: Bleep bloop bleep. Overall, "Cut For Time" is a strong debut album that showcases A Very Special Episode’s talent for crafting catchy, emotionally resonant indie rock. Fans of bands like The Strokes, The Killers, and Arctic Monkeys are sure to find something to love on this record.
The Deli: Ok computer! I’ll admit you just wrote a better closing wrap-up than I could in this moment so let’s call it a tie and let you have the last word… (Jason Lee)
Additional recording and production on “Heaven’s Gate” with Adam Rehman
Additional recording and production with Zach Rescignano who also provided additional backing vocals
Mastered for vinyl by Jennica Best at Tessatura Studio
Vinyl back cover VHS art by Dima Drjuchin
Inner fold photo by Matt Caron
A Very Special Thanks to Caroline and Poppy Schutter, Jon F Daily, Dima Drjuchin, Matt and Melissa Caron, Jen Meller, Gillian Leigh Visco, Patrick Mickelson, Rob Lanterman, Manny Nomikos, and Mike Borchardt
Highdiver have released their sophomore album, Panacea, after a series of delays. They began releasing singles from the project over a year ago with "Dim Light", and released the album’s closing track and third single, "Dead Skin", back in November.
This is a blend of Alt Rock, Metal, and Shoegaze from the quartet of Richie Pistol (Guitar/Vocals), Sam Kim (Lead Guitar), Mario Vega (Bass), and Dominick Cappetto (Drums).
Photography by Frank Bell