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The Deli Philly’s November Record of the Month: Maybe I'll Feel Better When I'm Dead - The Vernes

Maybe I’ll Feel Better When I’m Dead, the sophomore LP from The Vernes, is the band’s first official studio album, which was produced by Joe Michelini (American Trappist, ex-River City Extension) at Berlin Studios. Building off the skillful songwriting and lyricism, found on the project’s self-titled debut full-length (on which frontman Matthew Gragg also wrote and played all the instruments himself), this is the quartet’s first collaborative effort that features Fabian Mera (lead guitar), and Cole Berggren (bass), and Pat Degan (drums).

Its opening/title track is an ideal representation of Gragg’s songwriting style, as he tends to tackle shadowy themes amid the backdrop of rather upbeat instrumentation. That dichotomy finds a lovely balance between sadness and hope, making the deeply personal and introspective tales feel universal, while taking on struggles and thoughts that we all most likely have conjured up, at one point, in our minds. The themes of maturing and not exactly knowing where one belongs are reoccurring ones throughout the record. “Maybe I’ll Feel Better When I’m Dead” is followed by “1994,” the first song that was actually written for the LP. Inspired by a visit from his brother, while Gragg was living in San Francisco, and the positive changes that he had noticed in him during their time together at Big Sur, the guitars find a sweet spot between its textured layers and fiery conclusion that ultimately makes for the heaviest rocker on the album.

“Zurich 1953” is an acoustic instrumental that’s a fitting prelude to “Untitled, No. 2”. The songs seem to easily flow together on the album. “Some say that you’re the chosen one/But I don’t look at you that way/Say that you’re the only one/I’m sort of hoping that you go away” – that “chosen one” reference finds its way later on among the crunchy guitars of “Bug(s)”; however, “you are not the chosen one and I am not the chosen one” is realized, casting a melancholy that seems to blanket the entire collection. An ominous rumble introduces “Everything Goes Away,” before hearing the nostalgically poignant verse – “In this city that I call my home/Well they’re cutting down trees and they’re building new roads/And they name all the streets after all of the trees that they cut down to build all the roads that we see.” Change seems inevitable, though our protagonist refuses to give into it.

Closing out the album is “Tired Shoes,” with what sounds like a ballad being played on a lonely player piano to a melody reminiscent of “Auld Lang Syne”. Like the New Year’s classic (and the record's title track), there is a hint of sadness and hopefulness for the end. With that existential struggle rearing its head throughout the LP, we can only hope to be “proud of the roads that we choose.” The Vernes definitely have the right to be proud of the choices that they’ve made on their latest release. (Photo by Bob Sweeney) – H.M. Kauffman





New Laser Background EP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Co-produced by Michael Johnson (Ape School), Andy Molholt, a.k.a. Laser Background, has released a new EP, titled People Person, which is available on cassette via Endless Daze. Playfully twisted, there’s an airiness, steeped in liquid-pop magic. Those vibrant tones provide an accessible platform, as the mind mixes and meanders through thought. Supported by Sixteen Jackies and Cigarette, you can join them this evening for People Person's album release celebration at Jerry's On Front.





Record of the Month: Eyes of Love

In August, Eyes of Love put out their highly anticipated debut LP, End of The Game. Helmed by Brooklyn songwriter Andrea Schiavelli, EoL is a true meeting of the minds that brings together some of the New York underground’s most innovative musicians including Lily Konigsberg (Palberta, Lily and Horn Horse), Sammy Weissberg (The Cradle, Sweet Baby Jesus), and Paco Cathcart (The Cradle, Shimmer). End of The Game is an expansive--and impressive--debut of 14 tracks ranging from breezy pop to lush orchestral arrangements. Schiavelli’s vocals find the ability to make any turn of phrase sound instantly classic and accessible, reminiscent of the Magnetic Fields. Be sure to give their excellent album a listen below, and catch the band live this friday when they'll be playing alongside Straw Pipes, Sieve, and Inspect Element in a show put on by WNYU radio. - Sara Nuta





Video Premiere: "La La Oo" - OOLALA

Hop onboard a high-speed space-train in OOLALA’s video for “La La Oo,” which is the first of three singles that will be released via The Giving Groove. Bluesy space-rock seen through a kaleidoscope of ever-changing colors, the song provides whole lotta cosmic love (from below the beltline). Lean into those heavy riffs and commanding vocals, and hold on tight. OOLALA will be celebrating its arrival this evening at Johnny Brenda’s, along with their "forever boos" West Philadelphia Orchestra and NYC's Mother Feather. Half of the proceeds from the single will be donated to MusiCares. The footage was shot in NYC by Pearce Combest and co-directed by Max Margulies (a.k.a. Billy Cardigan from The Shy Boyz).





The Rassle Drop Anticipated Debut Album

The Rassle caught our ear back in 2011, when the two-piece was performing around Brooklyn and garnering attention for their excellent live shows and hybrid psych-noise-pop sound. We had lost hope to see a full-length release, but the indie rock duo--made up of brothers Blair and Reed Van Nort--is finally ready to deliver debut album Roll On.

The Rassle’s edgier sonic qualities are leveled out by their indie rock sensibility, mixing softer psych-inspired melodies with solidly catchy songwriting chops. It’s all topped off with a slick mastering and mixing sheen that makes for an effortlessly great rock record.The 9 tracks on this record gleam thanks to shiny production from John O’Mahony, but still manage to keep the band’s charming ramshackle sound intact. With everything from stadium anthems to hooky sing along choruses, there’s something for everyone on Roll On. Listen below and don't miss this band live when you get the chance. - Sara Nuta

 

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