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Album of the Month: Laughing Man - The Lovings ('63-'69)

Laughing Man

Low fidelity swagger. That's what Laughing Man's debut album, The Lovings ('63-'69), exudes. It's a short album that spans only seven tracks, but it is dense with artistic potential. The first thing you will notice when listening to this album is the unique sound of the production. The vocals of singer Brandon Moses are quivering and distorted, hiding just below the surface in a way that convinces your ears they are listening to antique vinyl. The guitar and drums manage to be both tastefully understated and sonically raunchy. The song structures are simple but based around the sophisticated voices of jazz chords and a wide range of tonality.

I feel tempted to write about this album in a way that suggests that its very genius is founded on a perfectly balanced merge between classic blues and soul and the leading edge of rock music; that the juxtaposition between post-modern soundscapes (such as the lovely minimalist droning on "Swirl") and dripping-with-attitude blues manages to adeptly cross musical boundaries in style as well as in the audience that appreciates and supports it. I'd like to go on and on about those things - about how a whole history of music that has thrived in D.C. is somehow apparent in seven short songs. I'd really like to point out that the last track on the album, "Mood and Dress," manages to consolidate all of those points the strongest. This is possibly the most self-aware track on the album with Moses's emotion filled vocals ringing in the fuzzy background as bubbly supporting voices are brought to the very front of the song in perfect clarity.

However, I feel pretty sure that the band would cringe at reading that sort of review. Getting back to my original thesis, I'm reasonably confident that Laughing Man really just took all the music that they grew up loving and stirred it up into a really great debut. It's lo-fi without pretention and an homage to the early days of soul without sounding geriatric (despite what the album's aging title may imply...) 



Scattered Trees "Sympathy"

On April 5th, Scattered Trees will release their full-length record, Sympathy, via Roll Call Records/EMI. In anticipation of the early Spring release the band has released a new track from Sympathy called “A Conversation About Death on New Years Eve”.

The band will also be performing on January 21 at Schubas.


Deep Heaven Now is This Saturday, 1pm, Union Square

Starting at 1pm on Saturday, Union Square's PA's Lounge and Precinct host Deep Heaven Now's triumphant return!

The storied festival began in the early 90's, spotlighting some of the best East coast psychedelic bands of the time.  It was often held in private loft spaces, and was a merging of auditory and visual arts, augmented by projection videos and lights.  It carried with it a strong sense of artistic community - not just by nature of the festival, but, in many ways, inherent to the genre itself.

"I think it's one of the more charming aspects of the ambient/psych/experimental scene," says Jinsen Liu, singer/guitarist for 28 Degrees Taurus, one of two headliners for this year's reboot.  "It's timeless and there's far less ageism and boundaries within it.  Everyone has something to offer each other."  

Liu attended Deep Heaven Now back in its heyday in the late 90's.  He was a musician at the time, and the festival was an inspiration for his own music's direction.  Now, his band is one of the hardest working acts in Boston, self-funding records and tours, playing out constantly in Boston, and, as individuals, reaching out to collaborate with other local acts.  

More than a decade after he bought his first ticket to Deep Heaven Now, he's reaching back to that golden age of psychedelia and bringing the festival back.

"It all started with a conversation at a bar when the idea hit me," he explains.  "I think it was just a joke at the time, but the more I thought about it, I felt I could actually make it happen."  

"Make it happen" may prove an understatement; the 2010 installment carries the tradition with it, but stands also as a re-imagining.  The all-day event, held in Union Square, is a double-venue spectacle.  Nineteen bands, from as far as Minneapolis, will contribute their voices, their sets strategically staggered at half hour intervals, so the (rightly) ambitious in attendance can hop back and forth and catch music by every band.  One $10 ticket buys you access to both clubs for the entirety of the event, assuring fans get their money's worth and discover some new music as they go.

"The timing was right," Liu says of bringing the festival back.  "The scene here in Boston is vibrant and electric enough right now and there's a deep core of talent here within the ambient/psych/experimental genres.  But it's still very fractured. [...] I felt I was in the perfect position to bring back the community that was so exciting and cohesive back then. [...] I had trust and familiarity with the veterans and people already established but I also had close ties to the younger kids in Allston coming up.  I felt I could be a good bridge."  

This year's Deep Heaven Now, with a line-up ranging from days-of-yore psych vets like Abunai! and Bobb Trimble to relatively new acts (did we mention there are nineteen bands?), certainly highlights the overlap between disparate but relevant circles within the scene.  What's more, it's also bent on raising awareness of the varied community and bringing new music to new listeners - it's sponsored by Narragansett, it's gotten as much press as anything in recent memory, and it coincides with the annual Rock and Roll Yard Sale.

"When most people look at the line-up, they'll list their top three or four 'must-sees,'" Liu continues.  "But I am confident that if people hang around they'll walk away with some favorite 'new' bands they like as well."  For those on a schedule, though, Liu points out that a handful of the bands are out-of-towners swinging through for the festival.  "Give them a nice warm Boston welcome.  Show them where the party is. [...] I'd say see the Roh Delikat and Abunai reunions, too, as you don't know when they'll play again."

Despite all the sex, drugs, and rock and roll, despite the free beer, despite the inevitable after parties - leave it to a psych rocker to get philosophical.  "What are we bringing back?" Liu mulled.  "Bringin' back some excitement, electricity, community, interesting new and evolving textures, redefining and remaking old established ideas, bringin' back a universal genre.. we're doing this for ourselves and for each other but just also hoping that maybe what we do will attract and inspire some new people too.  I was one of those new wide-eyed people back in the late 90's when I attended my first Deep Heaven 5.  Now look where I am!"

1pm / PA's Lounge & Precinct, Union Square / $10 / 21+

- Cullen Corley


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


Pardon our appearence

Deli Readers,

We are having a few problems with our server which are precluding the correct functioning of our charts and open blog system. We are working on it, and everything should be back to normal soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.

The Deli Staff.


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