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April 2010
Maus Haus
"Winter/Zig Zag and Sea Sides
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mp3

It seems uncanny that Maus Haus (a large group of musicians) can maintain staying power without crumbling under the weight of their own eclecticism; most other groups with similarly eccentric sound have very few members. Yet Maus Haus seems to have found a way to push onward and upward defiantly, following last years strikingly unique Lark Marvels, born out of living room musings, with an equally impressive collection of tracks built around the 7-inch EP Winter/Zig Zag. For all of Lark Marvels' cavalier creation, and any aloofness that may have permeated those recordings as a result, Maus Haus’ latest recordings reveal a band further coalescing and maturing their sound.

With something of an eerie feel, “Winter” on Side A of the 7 inch, descends on you like a heavy blizzard in a swirl of bass-y synthesizer sounds and mono-syllabic vocal harmonies -- certainly a staple of music with a heavy psyche influence. With the air of a dispassionate homily, “Winter” creates the feeling of a cold deserted street complete with a disembodied voice advising us to “look at the mess we’ve made." A part of me wants to think this is the band telling us to pay close attention to the mess of sounds we’re about to be thrown into. If I had to guess I'd say these boys have been listening to a lot of Syd Barrett, as the lyrical style of “Winter” (and many of these new tracks as well) implore the somewhat syncopated rhythmic singing style that owes a lot to Syd’s influence.

Kicking off like a fall down a deep hole, Side B’s “Zig Zag” thunders along like a demented fun-house ride. Contrasting “Winter’s” trundle, “Zig Zag” is driven by an upbeat tempo, a powerfully forceful bass line, and a cavernous layer of vocals. Certainly the more complex of the two (if its feel is not apparent in its title) “Zig Zag” changes rapidly, jerking the listener along it’s intricate journey.

Though these two songs make a brief and very dense 7-inch, it seems Maus Haus was not entirely done, releasing these two songs along with an additional three as the digital EP Sea-Sides. Sounding like it could very well have been left off Lark Marvels “Skyward Housing,” the first of the remaining digital tracks is a well-earned bit of levity from the darker tone of the 7-inch. True to its title, “Skyward Housing” builds a rising crescendo of synthesizer sounds in an electronic whirlwind. With a driving siren like melody, "Skyward Housing" builds up the movement towards the more ambient plateau that closes out the EP.

Creating a subdued mood with a more cavernous electronic soundscape, the final tracks "Sunshine" and "Sneaky Feelings" come well-versed in the lessons of Brian Eno circa Another Green World. The tones of these tracks carry less of a punch then the preceding ones, relying instead on a fuller more ethereal construction with multiple layers of synthesizer sounds. There is a nice calmness at work in these two that function as a soothing dénouement from the more intense moments earlier in the EP.

A fantastic follow up, Maus Haus’ latest recordings carry themselves with the gravitas of a band really getting comfortable in their own groove. Thematically there is something much darker at work in these new recordings, but the chills instigated by the eeriness of the sounds are exciting to experience nonetheless. Let’s hope for a full-length in the near future.

 

-Ada Lann

The 7-inch Winter/Zig Zag can be purchased here from Rocinante Records. Download cards for Sea-Sides are available free with the purchase of a 7-inch.





New Single From Burbank International - "2034 (When Machines Start Eating People)"

If you remember, way back many moons ago, there was this little folk outfit, Burbank International, that put out this beautiful album City of Burbank that, as well as being worth much attention from your ears, was made The Deli SF's Album of the Month in November of 08. Well it had seemed, without so much as a peep from them for so long, that San Francisco had succumbed to a tragic loss with the dissolving of H.A. Eugene's folk project; however, with new evidence to contrary, it seems that in fact Burbank International had just gone into to an extended period of dormancy. This week they just announced a new single "2034 (When Machines Start Eating People)," now for sale on iTunes, as well a video to accompany it. If you haven't heard them before you should definitely check out City of Burbank, but for now enjoy the video for this somewhat tragic and immensely beautiful song.  A nice and tender way start to your weekend.

 

 

-Ada Lann

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Social Studies sign to Antenna Farm Records

It was announced this week that San Francisco band Social Studies has signed with Oakland's Antenna Farm Records. This west bay / east bay marriage will consummate with a honeymoon tour of the West Coast in May and the birth of the bands first full length LP Wind Up Wooden Heart due in late July. Antenna Farm Records also represents Bay Area artists The Dry Spells, Bart Davenport, Sugar & Gold and The Papercuts, amongst others.

The tour stops in Oakland on May 14th and San Francisco on May 27th at the Rickshaw Stop.

Wind Up Wooden Heart is the follow up release to 2007's first EP out of wedlock, This is the World's Biggest Hammer.

 "Time Bandit"

-Nicole Leigh

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The Deli SF's Weekend Highlights For 4/15-4/17

Sitting restless two days into the work week, we have much hope that it will not require a boat to traverse the city this coming weekend (much as it was last), and while we await the final verdict on that there are a few shows that are worth adding to your calender coming up in the next few days.

Should you find yourself out and about this Thursday night make your way deep into the Mission to El Rio where Tokyo Raid will be playing with shoegazers Foreign Cinema, 9pm.

For something perhaps a little more upbeat and electronic, head over to the Rickshaw on Friday the 16th where Butterfly Bones (who recently played one of Epic Sauce's Milk showcases) will be laying down grooves with Princeton and the Swedish band Love is All, 8:30pm.

If nothing else, Hemlock should once again be your Saturday evening destination where psyche rockers Paranoids will be playing with Pets and Midnight Strangers, who are celebrating their CD release, 9pm.

That should about cover it for this week. Let's hope it stays dry otherwise, screw it, show up drenched. Otherwise, check back again next week.

 

-Ada Lann

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Album Review -The Northern Key

We are all moving at a breakneck pace. Our calendars are overflowing with events, we’re constantly running late for work and always attempting to catch up on sleep. However, on a occasion something will come along and make us stop and take a breath. Enter The Northern Key.

The Northern Key's self titled album is the ultimate companion to San Francisco’s recent stormy days. Their perfectly stark, indie folk is meant for hibernation. Listening creates that satisfied calm that only happens when rain falls softly outside your window and the city grows quite. Singer Andrew Galluccio’s voice lingers on your ears like a crush’s whisper as each violin string is played at an octave that could break our heart.

Produced by Chris Chu of The Morning Benders, the album feels as if it was created with gentle care. Nothing is rushed or forced, each note feels right. Even down to their album art, the Northern Key convey a feeling that is beautiful and organic.

This album could easily be the soundtrack to a Sophia Coppola movie or the backdrop to a Cormac McCarthy novel. Opening track “Proof” eases you in with its bittersweet sound of somber lyrics over electric organ and gentle strumming. “Cowboy and Indian” grows a bit darker. “I just need to flush it from my system, toss the photos and soft copies of you,” Galluccio croons. The stronger “Spaced Out” takes you to the end of the road, gingerly shaking you from a melodic haze.

Do you self a favor and take this 40 minute mental health break.

- Alex Scioli

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