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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.

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Projektfest '11 -- Saturday 11/12 @ Middle East Down.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, in conjunction with Projekt Records, the Middle East Downstairs will be host to the first darkwave/steampunk/cabaret music festival in the Boston area. PROJEKTFEST '11 will feature three national headliners from the Projekt Records label - WEEP (featuring Doc Hammer of "The Venture Brothers" fame); Black Tape for a Blue Girl (pictured above, the brainchild of Projekt Records founder Sam Rosenthal), and Voltaire (who has a massive cult following in the world of sci-fi conventions, comic book fandom, and is known for "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy").

Supporting local Boston acts will be: DJ Matthew Griffin, Sugar Snow (listen below), and Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling (Their music video Episode 1: Arrival was recently projected at The Deli's CMJ showcase in NYC). There will also be vendors of clothing, art, jewelry, etc.

Tickets are $20 adv/$25 door. 18+, 7pm.

--Chrissy Prisco

Erick Serna and The Killing Floor -- The Grip

It’s tempting, upon first impression, to write off the fiery grit of Erick Serna’s blues guitar stylings as simply another page from a dog-eared book, but there is something about The Grip, the debut effort from Serna (The Dear Hunter) and his super-tight backing band, The Killing Floor, that makes doing so impossible.

Blues rock and blues guitar are a lot like beer: the core ingredients have remained relatively static for ages. That’s because someone got that shit right the first time.

The Grip is, at points, reminiscent of classic Led Zeppelin; pentatonic pyrotechnics and swamped-out riffs abound. With a big assist from The Killing Floor, Serna proves to be more than up to the task of demonstrating what it is we all love so much about blues guitar to begin with. His slide-heavy and whiskey drenched sound is like a brutishly powerful sports car negotiating a serpentine mountain roadway: it seems as though every nudge of the pedal, every tilt of the wheel, will send car and driver careening off a cliff to certain fiery doom, but god damn it if that isn’t half the fun. The suggestion of impending calamity is a powerful force indeed, and one which Serna wields with aplomb on The Grip. His playing is as unhinged and immediate as a late night encounter with a dangerous lunatic—perilous, but well worth the price of admission for the thrill factor alone.

It is worth noting that Serna contributes vocals, guitar, bass and keys on The Grip, with Cliff Sarcona (As Tall As Lions), the only player on the record who isn’t a former member of the musician carousel that is The Dear Hunter—with seven ex-members in six years of life, adding raucous drums on three tracks. Sammy Dent (drums, percussion) and Josh Rheault (vocal harmonies), both former TDH bandmates of Serna’s, perform on the record as well, and both shine when called upon.

But the main focus of The Grip, the part which draws the ear, is Serna’s guitar work and dirty, gravel-strewn vocals. Recorded in Rheault’s family barn-come-recording studio, the album sounds like the back country into which it was born: raw and rowdy, bursting with tradition and pride.

The Grip goes from a brief intro right into the title track; a driving and deftly maneuvered blues guitar obstacle course, which certainly hints at the large preponderance of The Dear Hunter alums on the record. It’s indicative of what‘s to come, to a certain degree. Serna manages to recite the well-worn riffs that form the foundations of The Grip with enough individuality to prevent them from sounding canned or cliched. His virtuosity is beyond question, and he manages to avoid sounding like rehashed classic rock or venturing onto the suddenly well trodden folk revival path. Indeed, nothing on The Grip sounds anything other than contemporary, to the record’s great credit.

Closing with the ballad-ish Dear McKenzie, Serna displays a somewhat softer side, and in doing so, provides the thread which truly ties together the record. He succeeds in weaving his frenetic guitar style into the framework of the song without compromising its integrity as a ballad. A proper microcosm of the entire album. The Grip provides nothing new, nor does it come off as too derivative. Just genuine. That’s a virtue, in this case. It is clear Serna understands a fundamental truth about blues guitar: much like beer, they got it right the first time.

--Andrew Jeromski

Editor's Note: Stay tuned to the deli later this week, when we will offer an EXCLUSIVE download premiere of the track "Hey Sweet Thing," by Erick Serna and The Killing Floor.

Interview with the deli's Artist of the Month: Bear In You

deli: How did the band start?

Bear In You: A jam and game of Tony Hawk in Phil’s addition. Then two hot months of nonstop writing and recording. Then we played some songs. Then we didn’t play for two years. Then we got together and wrote and recorded a 12-song album of new originals.

deli: Where did the band name, Bear In You, come from?

Bear In You: We came up with it (obviously). There are two meanings-- the first is to implore listeners to get in touch with the carnal nature that comes with being human/animal. The second is an innuendo-- we (Clark, Phil, Avery) are bears, and we are INSIDE OF YOU.

Click here to read the rest of the Q&A with Bear In You.


Interview with the deli's Artist of the Month: Bear In You
- by Chrissy Prisco

deli: How did the band start?

Bear In You: A jam and game of Tony Hawk in Phil’s addition. Then two hot months of nonstop writing and recording. Then we played some songs. Then we didn’t play for two years. Then we got together and wrote and recorded a 12-song album of new originals.

deli: Where did the band name, Bear In You, come from?

Bear In You: We came up with it (obviously). There are two meanings-- the first is to implore listeners to get in touch with the carnal nature that comes with being human/animal. The second is an innuendo-- we (Clark, Phil, Avery) are bears, and we are INSIDE OF YOU.

deli: What are your biggest musical influences?

Clark’s influences -- Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Spoon, Kings of Leon, Curren$y and Nas’ Illmatic.
Phil’s influences -- Third Eye Blind, Kid Cudi

deli: What artists are you currently listening to?

Phil -- Modest Mouse, Morning Teleportation, Odd Future, Pink Floyd
Clark -- Sleigh Bells, The Dead Weather, The Horrors, MuteMath’s Odd Soul, N.E.R.D.

deli: First concert attended? First album purchased?

Bear In You: I (Phil) saw Weezer and Foo Fighters together for my first concert. Weezer has always been a favorite band of mine, and Dave Grohl is one of our band's biggest influences. My first album purchased was Room on Fire by The Strokes, although my parents bought me tons of N’SYNC and Backstreet Boys prior to that, which I cannot deny I enjoyed thoroughly.

The first album I (Clark) purchased was Nelly’s Country Grammar. The first concert I ever attended was Jammin’ 94.5’s SummaJam, and all I really remember from it was getting a picture taken with a bunch of well-endowed models wearing matching t-shirts. I was in 6th grade and it was awesome.

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

Bear In You: The variety. I (Phil) am going to college here in Boston, and the number of local bands that I’ve seen and met has been awesome. Every type of music, from hip-hop to jam bands, can be found here, and they know how to throw a great party too.

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

Bear In You: The past couple decades have introduced this huge DIY mentality when it comes to creating music, if you haven’t noticed... This is really great for music everywhere, but it has also caused for a lot of repetitious music to come out that’s all been done before. We definitely hope this mentality continues to spread, but hopefully people will start to get really creative again. There’s never been a better time to make music, so I have faith that that’ll happen.

deli: What are your plans for the year?

Bear In You: Education... The three of us have been split-up geographically because of our education, but this Summer more writing, recording, (and hopefully performing) is in store for us.

deli: What was your best live show?

Bear In You: The only one we’ve played thus far: Avery’s surprise going-away party in 2009, when he moved away. It was pretty awesome, considering it was a surprise...

deli: Who has helped our band grow, through support?

Bear In You: Our Parents-- We spent over 200 hours, at the very least, in the Jacobson/Ward residency. Most of those hours were loud, and some of those hours were spent engaging in activities of questionable decency. Our parents were more than tolerant of the goings-on upstairs, all of which were necessary to our success this Summer. And they even let us drink beer! Thanks, Mom(s).

deli: Is there a piece of equipment we couldn’t live without? Why?

Bear In You: Phil’s Macbook Pro. Sweet, sweet Jesus, Phil’s computer. ‘Nuff said.

deli: Why do you read the Deli?

Bear In You: Who isn’t always looking for good new music? Considering how many bands are putting out damn tasty originals from their garages, apartments, etc, the Deli is probably the best place to find eargasmic tunes that you couldn’t find with ease if it weren’t for this site.



Bear In You



                                                 Bear In You

                                            Iller By The Second

 Bear in you




Mother Brother -- Purdy

Who knew a three song-EP could be so satiated in genres? Moving from moment to moment through influence to influence, listening to Mother Brother’s EP Purdy was like watching a smooth-jazz caterpillar groove and shimmy his way into a funky cocoon, only to be hatched as a drifting psychedelic butterfly dripping with color.

By the time I was listening to the third and final track, Strange Girl, I was wondering what happened to the experimental jazz fusion I heard on the first track, Hate Song. Showcasing the soft voice of Amanda Bloom, Mother Brother weaves in and out with eclectic drum lines reminiscent of those of Flying Lotus over a stripped-down sample of a shaky jazz synth. Spanning only a minute and forty-five seconds, the song acts as a short-lived calm before the storm, instrumentally and lyrically. Hate Song spills over into the middle track Rainbow Ride; a mix of funk, jazz, and rock. The track is a structured bowl of sound containing glockenspiels, vinyl scratches, beat boxing, and French horns. The song rocks like a smoother hybrid of RHCP and Gorillaz. The verses come in with a monotonous yet fun faux-rap with lines that seem like they were taken from the likes of Anthony Keidis himself such as: “Well, everything’s normal when you’re talking to the toads/And the continents are pushing toward the carrot on their nose/While the basket case eyeballs are going through their books.”

Finally, we move into the third phase of Mother Brother, the beautiful butterfly that has come to be: Strange Girl. A combination of modern-psychedelic rock makes me feel like I’m listening to MGMT, yet the catchy ambient chorus and the fluidity of the vocals give off the sound of Radiohead-brand experimental rock. It’s a perfect end to the 12-minute trip that Purdy will take you on. Only time will tell what is next to come and what style it might be.

--Mike Giordano

Editor's note: This article incorrectly identified vocalist Amanda Bloom. Bloom, a resident of Danbury, CT runs the publication The Mercurial, in addition to singing in Mother Brother.



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