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November 2013
Wooden Shjips
"Back to Land

Hailing from San Francisco, psychedelic group Wooden Shjips, has just released their newest album Back to Land. The album brings together a sound crafted from inspirations that range from psychedelic music to classic rock.

The album is an entire trip in itself.  One can hear hints of 80s music, classic rock, and modern garage rock styles in the record, but they always resolve back to their classic psychedelic sound. With tracks like “In The Roses,” which brings a very spacey, low volume vocals, and a lo-fi sound that is not too cheesy or under produced. to “Ghouls,” which is a much faster, much more psychedelic rock sounding song that takes influences from classic rock guitar chords, while still utilizing classic psychedelic synthesizers.

Most songs on the album carry a jam-band sound, without becoming too abstract or getting too carried away. And in some cases, the music is so vast in genre diversity, one is surprised at the resulting sound, such as in the track, “These Shadows”, which starts off with an extremely catchy intro guitar riff and carries a vague David Bowie meets Velvet Underground sound.

“Back to Land” is a great piece of work that utilizes the potential of each member of Wooden Shjips effectively and thoroughly.

Most importantly, “Back to Land” is an experimentation of how far the psychedelic genre can stretch while still successfully staying true to its roots.

This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.

Go to the old Top 300 charts


scene blog



Ellis Ashbrook -- Church Sept. 30, 2011
- by Andrew Jeromski

There was a time, largely consigned to memory now, when lead guitar players were not like the rest of us. They were gods; long-haired supermen who strode over the sod with giant platform shoes, despoiling women and melting faces with equal impunity. Thunder crashed in their wake and lightning burst forth from their guitars. The plucking of but a few mere notes by an experienced lead guitarist was enough to summon beasts to defy description, demons from the very banks of the River Styx, and, in some cases, The Devil himself.

In recent times, the role of the lead guitarist has dwindled in much of popular music. Pot-luck dinners and intimate evenings have taken the place of conquest and pillage, and a typical axeman these days is undoubtedly more comfortable ordering a cup of organic fair-trade coffee than shredding for the future of mankind, atop a snow-covered mountain peak somewhere deep in the former Soviet Union. It’s deplorable.

That’s where Ellis Ashbrook comes into the fold. The Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston based band seems to be on a crusade to bring guitar rock back to its former high place among the contemporary pantheon, and restore the lead guitar player back to his rightful Olympian perch.

Playing at Church on Sept. 30, the band shared the bill with three bands whom, not be a dick, I had never heard of. I arrived too late to catch the first two, and the third was about as fresh as the air inside any room containing Dick Cheney. Like a giant whiff from a freshly opened can of peas. Calling themselves Insigniya (misspelled for reasons I can never hope to comprehend), they were very tight and good at what they were doing. What they were doing, however, sounded like canned jam-band fare.

By the time Ellis Ashbrook took the stage, a little after midnight, I was thoroughly anxious to hear them play.

The band dropped a high-energy set that made me completely forget about the growing rainstorm outside and how I would likely end up walking home in it. Their sound is heavy and intricate, with liberally-used and masterfully-applied delay and the result is a sonic soup of groove-heavy, psychedelically-tinged music, that is accurately portrayed on the Ellis Ashbrook Facebook page as “exploratory rock.”

Lead guitarist and vocalist John Barber hammers and pulls his way through the band’s repertoire with a level of technical ability and flair that becomes ever more scarce with each passing year. Barber belongs to the guitar-god school of rock, a fact that is not difficult to spot when he’s onstage and during Ellis Ashbrook’s set at Church, it was easy to see why the electric guitar holds such a venerated position within the arsenal of traditional rock and roll.

As for the rest of the band, no less accolades are due. Natalie Lowe contributes vocals and keys, Jonathan Granoff lays the foundation on bass and Alex Major commands the drumming duties, and does so in an expertly frenetic fashion. After watching an Ellis Ashbrook show, it’s hard not to feel cheated by many of the other bands one has gone out to see. They make the other guys look like they’re just not trying very hard.

Another thing mentioned on the band’s Facebook page is that the group offers “original music that transcends trend.” Based on my experience at Church, I would have to agree. They put on such a technically proficient and high-energy show, offering music that appears to draw from such an immense pool of influence, that there really is something for everyone. And it’s all of the highest order.

As I walked home later that night, in the howling rain, I was almost impervious to the cruel deluge I had thrust myself into. After all, I had seen the gods of old return. Nothing could ever harm me again.

Anyone who wishes to bemoan the death of rock and roll, would be well served to check out Ellis Ashbrook before making any such rash declarations.

Flowers may be premature.




ellis ashbrook



                                              Ellis Ashbrook


 ellis ashbrook




Q&A with the deli's Artist of the Month: Baby Barnyard

deli: How did Baby Barnyard start?

Baby Barnyard: I started this project almost exactly a year ago (it's a solo project) and I guess I really started it out of a sense of frustration with the music projects I was working with at the time. I played the flute for several years with two different bands (Trials and Tribulations and World's Greatest Dad) and while I loved playing with both bands, they weren't really creative outlets for me because I had very little involvement in the songwriting process, so I started writing songs on my own. I think I just needed the space and privacy to prove to myself that I could actually do it. .

Click here to read more of the interview with Baby Barnyard.

--Chrissy Prisco


Interview with the deli's Artist of the Month: Baby Barnyard
- by Chrissy Prisco

deli: How did Baby Barnyard start?

Baby Barnyard (Amanda Freeman): I started this project almost exactly a year ago (it's a solo project) and I guess I really started it out of a sense of frustration with the music projects I was working with at the time. I played the flute for several years with two different bands (Trials and Tribulations and World's Greatest Dad) and while I loved playing with both bands, they weren't really creative outlets for me because I had very little involvement in the songwriting process, so I started writing songs on my own. I think I just needed the space and privacy to prove to myself that I could actually do it. .

deli: Where did the band name come from?

BB: I'd like to say there's some deep esoteric meaning behind the name, but it's actually the name of the petting zoo at the Tri-County Fair that happens in Northampton once a year, which also happens to be my favorite petting zoo.

deli: What are your biggest musical influences?

BB: This is a really hard question for me. I know the bands that I've listened to in the past that actually sound like they're influences on my music (Portishead, Mazzy Star, Galaxy 500, Luna, etc.), but it makes a lot more sense to me to say my influences are the bands that I've listened to my whole life that are still in heavy rotation. The records that spend the most time on my record player are Creedence Clearwater Revival, Donovan, Fleetwood Mac,The Beach Boys, CSN&Y, early Pink Floyd, Genesis, and The Cars. When I listen to my own music I don't really hear a lot of these bands in what I'm doing, but I think these are the bands that have influenced me the most, musically.

deli: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?

BB: I've already mentioned a lot of the bands that I listen to regularly, but as far as new stuff is concerned, I've been listening to The Vliets, Trouble Books, Tundra Toddler, Sore Eros, and I've also been on an ESG kick lately (I know they're not new but I actually had never heard them until about a year ago).

deli: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?

BB: The first concert I ever attended was Bush, The Goo-Goo Dolls, and No Doubt (Please don't judge, I was 13). The first album I ever owned was Thriller, but my parents bought that for me. The first album I ever spent my hard-earned allowance money on was Cypress Hill's Black Sunday.

deli: What do you love about Boston's music scene?

BB: I don't know a lot about the Boston music scene, living way out here in Western Mass., so I'll talk about the Northampton music scene. We have a lot of great musicians living in the area and a lot of collaboration and meshing between the different “subsets” you normally see in a local music scene. You might meet someone who plays with a noise project, a metal band, and an indie pop band and I think it's really neat to see that kind of overlap -- it's something I haven't experienced a lot of in other music scenes.

deli: What would you like to see change in the local music scene?

BB: We have a ton of really great bands in Northampton that have been around for years, but there are also a lot of really great newer bands that sometimes get overlooked and I think it would be sweet to see these new musicians be more motivated to put themselves out there and also getting more support by the local “big wigs” in our music scene. For example, our local independent newspaper has a "battle of the bands" every year where people nominate and vote online for their favorite bands in about 20 different genres. The results from this year's contest just came out and there were a lot of bands that were nominated and/or won the contest in their genres for two, three, or even more years and while I think that's great for the individual bands and artists, I also think it indicates a little stagnation in our scene.

deli: What are your plans for the upcoming year?

BB: Right now, I'm recording an album which will hopefully come out in one form or another some time early next year. I also plan on doing some “mini-tours” in the next few months and hopefully a bigger tour next summer.

deli: What was your most memorable live show?

BB: I guess it would have to be my first show this past January at The Happy Valley Showdown. I had never played guitar or sang in front of a large group of strangers before and there were probably 100+ people there so I was pretty nervous. That kind of nausea tends to be pretty memorable! Afterward, though, I got a lot of positive feedback that really helped encourage me to continue.

deli: Is there someone who has helped your band grow through support?

BB: Ryan Crowley and Steve Yarbro, former band mates from WGD and two of my best buds, have been incredibly supportive -- they help me out sometimes when I'm stuck on a new song and challenge me to become a better musician in general. My best friend Dani O'Brien is amazing and is the person who put the idea in my head to take a year off of my teaching career so I could spend most of my time focusing on Baby Barnyard and taking myself more seriously as a musician. And also all of the guys in Sore Eros are really supportive and helpful in a multitude of ways.

deli: Is there a piece of equipment you couldn't live without and why?

BB: My Holy Grail reverb pedal because I'm really picky about how the reverb on my vocals sound live.

deli: Why do you read The Deli?

BB: I really want to support the local music scene and I'm a really big fan of the lo-fi DIY sound that you hear with bands that are just starting out and you guys do a really good job of putting those bands out there. It's also a great way to find bands to network with in the area.




Baby Barnyard



                                          Baby Barnyard

                                         Home Recordings

 baby barnyard




Il Abanico "Keep Calling" Live Session Music Video

Above is the live session recording of Il Abanico's single, Keep Calling, off their EP Crossing Colors. The video was recorded in August 2011 at Berklee College of Music.

Il Abanico has just come back from a national tour. Their next local performance is Sunday, Oct. 30 at Yes.Oui.Si. (19 Vancouver St. Boston, MA 02115) with Tan Vampires and Little Jesus, $5 suggested donation.

--Chrissy Prisco

I Kill Giants -- Let it Out

The painstakingly adorable artwork scrolled across their banner, the references to comic book series and anime in the band name and song titles (the song Appa referencing the hybrid buffalo-manatee from Avatar: The Last Airbender); what was I getting into? I expected the music to go straight over my head when I first visited the Bandcamp of I Kill Giants. Instead, what I got was a catchy fast-paced EP that rocks and entertains like Trees, Houses, and Swallows, by Maps & Atlases, and lyrically cuts to the core like their prevalent influence of the experimental spoken-word styling’s of La Dispute.

The four-piece math-y jazz-rock band reigns from Boston. All members are students of Berklee College of Music and under twenty years of age. The band blends genres seamlessly, but at the core of it, one can’t help but rock out to the captivating hooks and bellowing chants. The changing time signatures, sporadic hits, and rhythms made me think critically about what I was listening to and did so with flying colors. It was the most fun I’ve had listening to an EP in a long time.

Covaleski may be the strongest track on the EP and certainly makes for a great intro with an instrumental blend math-pop guitar doodling, a few jazzy breaks, and a punk breakdown as the band chants the title of the EP, “Let it out!” Covaleski is then followed by the most exciting and accessible song, I Believe in Technology, A single-worthy song that I can see blowing up (if only they believed in singles), with a chorus that has been stuck in my head for weeks: “She holds the gun to my head/ And then she asks me/What do I do next?"/ But darling, I don't know./ She pulls the trigger back / "You'd better tell me"/ I sigh and take a breath,/ "Darling please go home."

The album ends with the powerful track Balance, and right back where the EP started, with the band chanting, “Let it out,” as the raw sound of the tapping guitar riff slowly dies. With the band's best work yet to come, one can only marvel at the sound I Kill Giants were able to
achieve with limited resources and funds. For now everyone should go download their album on Bandcamp. It’s free, but of course gives you the option to give them some cash to help support their music so they won’t have to “get through the week on twenty bucks.” Make sure to catch their show this Sunday, Oct. 23 at the Audio Jungle at 18 Pratt St. Allson, MA with the band Deadhorse starting at 6pm.

--Mike Giordano



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