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November 2013
Wooden Shjips
"Back to Land
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mp3

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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philadelphia

The Deli Philly’s October Album of the Month: Blessed Suffering - Pill Friends

With warmth reminiscent of bedroom cassette tapes and the later days of summer, Pill Friends’ latest effort Blessed Suffering is adequately named. Lyrical narratives conveyed by heartfelt vocals indicative of the aftermath of being alive, Blessed Suffering casts Ryan Wilson as a proselytizing prophet with poetic diction, reviving adolescent longings in listeners still tempted to lose themselves in reveries and reflections.
 
“Rituals,” the album’s opener, is somber but captivating. Highlighted by driving chords, humming strings, and an overall lush emotional soundscape, Pill Friends’ depth rests in their ability to create anthems that effectively captures the poetry of life’s contradictions of mortality. As Wilson croons, “Forgive me for nothing/Forgive me I’m nothing.” “Rituals” progresses towards its end, characterized by Wilson’s candid lyricism and gradual static evocative of anxious lethargy. In its final moments with sparse yet articulate instrumentation, the namesake of Blessed Suffering’s first bears its fullest meaning. Kicking off with a muffled laugh, the cinematic start of “Parking Lot Graves” brings to mind similarly somber optimists like Happy Birthday or The Babies. Melodic with heartfelt riffs and a memorably buzzing chorus, Wilson’s diction devolves into shouts towards the track’s end. Affirming listeners that “You can’t be saved,” Wilson’s aesthetic resembles that of a younger Conor Oberst circa ’98 (A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded or Letting Off the Happiness) but less a coy demeanor and with more decisive precision.
 
“Forget Me” is a morbid love song depictive of lovers or close friends. Filled with latent longing and doom, the song, despite its bleak outlook, exudes a bittersweet sentiment towards fear and suffering, viewing both as legitimately intimate and plausibly meant to be a shared experience. It is difficult not to feel minimally hopeful as Wilson croons, “I’ll wipe the blood from your tears/through your pointless suffering.” With a similarly emotive tone, “Satan Is Your Master Now” is warm with jangly riffs and hissing cymbals. Seemingly upbeat instrumentation paired with gloomy lyrics again proves Pill Friends’ penchant for juxtaposition in regards to their instrumentation and relatively dark yet endearing lyricism. Ending with fuzzy dissonance, “Satan Is Your Master Now” fades out like a dream upon waking, easing into the opening notes of  “Wearing My Dead Dog’s Skin.” Wilson’s sincere delivery pairs well with initially mellow guitar and a hypnotic yet steady backbeat. As “Wearing My Dead Dog’s Skin” progresses, the track’s serene attributes evolve into a more pronounced anxiety covertly as Wilson repeats “I trust in hell.”
 
“Not Here” is an undeniably garage-pop influenced anthem full of feedback and fuzz fostering a caustic energy similar to that of contemporary garage gurus like Ty Segall (pre-Sleeper) and Terry Malts. Ending with a re-visitation of the album’s fourth track, “Not Here” gives way to “Mall Goth,” a relatively more reserved cut with intimate vocals that serve as a symbolic farewell to adolescent martyrdom and a sincerely acknowledged awareness of whatever comes next.
 
“Prayers” and “Suffering” are lastingly cathartic, the latter of the two (much like many instances throughout Blessed Suffering) strikes a nostalgic chord in listeners through earnest lines like “Love evades every thought/and pills nullify my restless mind/I hate myself but I couldn’t hate you / even if I tried.” Like the perfect revamp of an early 90s B-side by a Saddle Creek wunderkind, Wilson’s “Suffering” feels universal. It feels true. Extending religious imagery from beginning to end, Pill Friends’ triumphant but modest exit is marked by “I’ll Rise To Die Again.” Highlighting the paradox of resurrection and the complications of mortality, Pill Friends’ benediction to Blessed Suffering is affective with few (if any) flaws.
 
The production quality of their latest LP makes leaps and bounds past the group’s previous releases, taking them further away from something just between college friends after the bars are closed to a band refining their craft before just being discovered by the rest of the world. - Dianca Potts

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Music Video Premiere: "Speckled Hawk" - Aunt Dracula

A few years back, Scott Daly caught the local media's attention with his way-out-there psych-pop project Aunt Dracula. But then, there was radio silence (figuratively, of course). Now, he's back ready to take us on another tripped-out musical journey once again. This past summer, Daly posted his eight-song album Face Peel, which he originally planned to be release in 2009. He is currently working on a new full-length album with local producer extraordinaire Jeff Zeigler, and there is also a release of remixes waiting in the wings. Well, until all that comes to fruition, we'd like to premiere his new music video for "Speckled Hawk," a kaleidoscope of colors and imagery that was created by Logan Owlbeemoth. You can catch Aunt Dracula performing live in Philly the day after Halloween at Ortlieb's sharing a bill with Zeigler.

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New Track: "Voting Early" - Modern Baseball

Modern Baseball recently premiered a new song called "Voting Early," which is exclusively streaming over at Property of Zack. The track appears on Soft Speaks Records' Fest 12 compilation, which was pressed on limited editon Halloween orange vinyl (400 copies). All proceeds from the release will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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October 2013
Pill Friends
"Blessed Suffering
"
mp3
With warmth reminiscent of bedroom cassette tapes and the later days of summer, Pill Friends’ latest effort Blessed Suffering is adequately named. Lyrical narratives conveyed by heartfelt vocals indicative of the aftermath of being alive, Blessed Suffering casts Ryan Wilson as a proselytizing prophet with poetic diction, reviving adolescent longings in listeners still tempted to lose themselves in reveries and reflections.
 
“Rituals,” the album’s opener, is somber but captivating. Highlighted by driving chords, humming strings, and an overall lush emotional soundscape, Pill Friends’ depth rests in their ability to create anthems that effectively captures the poetry of life’s contradictions of mortality. As Wilson croons, “Forgive me for nothing/Forgive me I’m nothing.” “Rituals” progresses towards its end, characterized by Wilson’s candid lyricism and gradual static evocative of anxious lethargy. In its final moments with sparse yet articulate instrumentation, the namesake of Blessed Suffering’s first bears its fullest meaning. Kicking off with a muffled laugh, the cinematic start of “Parking Lot Graves” brings to mind similarly somber optimists like Happy Birthday or The Babies. Melodic with heartfelt riffs and a memorably buzzing chorus, Wilson’s diction devolves into shouts towards the track’s end. Affirming listeners that “You can’t be saved,” Wilson’s aesthetic resembles that of a younger Conor Oberst circa ’98 (A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded or Letting Off the Happiness) but less a coy demeanor and with more decisive precision.
 
“Forget Me” is a morbid love song depictive of lovers or close friends. Filled with latent longing and doom, the song, despite its bleak outlook, exudes a bittersweet sentiment towards fear and suffering, viewing both as legitimately intimate and plausibly meant to be a shared experience. It is difficult not to feel minimally hopeful as Wilson croons, “I’ll wipe the blood from your tears/through your pointless suffering.” With a similarly emotive tone, “Satan Is Your Master Now” is warm with jangly riffs and hissing cymbals. Seemingly upbeat instrumentation paired with gloomy lyrics again proves Pill Friends’ penchant for juxtaposition in regards to their instrumentation and relatively dark yet endearing lyricism. Ending with fuzzy dissonance, “Satan Is Your Master Now” fades out like a dream upon waking, easing into the opening notes of  “Wearing My Dead Dog’s Skin.” Wilson’s sincere delivery pairs well with initially mellow guitar and a hypnotic yet steady backbeat. As “Wearing My Dead Dog’s Skin” progresses, the track’s serene attributes evolve into a more pronounced anxiety covertly as Wilson repeats “I trust in hell.”
 
“Not Here” is an undeniably garage-pop influenced anthem full of feedback and fuzz fostering a caustic energy similar to that of contemporary garage gurus like Ty Segall (pre-Sleeper) and Terry Malts. Ending with a re-visitation of the album’s fourth track, “Not Here” gives way to “Mall Goth,” a relatively more reserved cut with intimate vocals that serve as a symbolic farewell to adolescent martyrdom and a sincerely acknowledged awareness of whatever comes next.
 
“Prayers” and “Suffering” are lastingly cathartic, the latter of the two (much like many instances throughout Blessed Suffering) strikes a nostalgic chord in listeners through earnest lines like “Love evades every thought/and pills nullify my restless mind/I hate myself but I couldn’t hate you / even if I tried.” Like the perfect revamp of an early 90s B-side by a Saddle Creek wunderkind, Wilson’s “Suffering” feels universal. It feels true. Extending religious imagery from beginning to end, Pill Friends’ triumphant but modest exit is marked by “I’ll Rise To Die Again.” Highlighting the paradox of resurrection and the complications of mortality, Pill Friends’ benediction to Blessed Suffering is affective with few (if any) flaws.
 
The production quality of their latest LP makes leaps and bounds past the group’s previous releases, taking them further away from something just between college friends after the bars are closed to a band refining their craft before just being discovered by the rest of the world. - Dianca Potts

Bad Braids Opening for Angel Olsen at JB’s Oct. 2

If you had a chance to catch my guest DJ spot on XPN last night, then you might have heard one of the loveliest voices coming out of the local music community. Megan Biscieglia, a.k.a. Bad Braids, is a Brooklyn transplant, but with her latest LP Supreme Parallel (Haute Magie), the petite songbird carries on the respected tradition of freak folk in Philly that seemed to flourish in the aughts with acts like Espers leading the way. On tonight’s bill at Johnny Brenda’s, there will be union of truly impressive vocals when Bad Braids opens for Chicago-based indie-folk darling Angel Olsen, who captivated the blogosphere last year with her release Half Way Home (Bathetic). Yeah, this is a pretty big show that you don’t want to miss. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $12, 21+ - Q.D. Tran

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