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Issue #30 Volume #2 Spring 2012
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J.Viewz Zambri Skaters spirit family reunion Tall tall trees apollo run Stephie Coplan Field Mouse The men Caveman Monogold A$AP Rocky Devin The Denzels Lissy Trullie Ski Lodge Lady lamb the beekeeper Cuddle Magic
Lucius Live at cameo, May 26
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The Deli’s NYC B.E.A.F.! [ Best
Issue #30 Volume #2 Spring 2012
of Emerging Artists Fest]
Williamsburg, May 23-26
Note from the Editor Dear readers, Another year goes by, and another, new generation of musicians is in to change the face of the NYC scene. Every spring, The Deli highlights the most promising local emerging talent in the “Best of NYC” issue that you are now reading. In this issue you may find the next Vampire Weekend, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, or Here We Go Magic, three of many artists who were featured in past “Best of NYC” editions well before they became commercially successful. Because of the sheer amount of names, we tried to make things easier for our readers by organizing things by genre (which is another entire challenge, requiring some kind of painful compromises). Hope this will help you navigate through the issue. And don’t forget that even the most sophisticated poll cannot tell the whole story of the NYC emerging bands – for that you need to head to our website: nyc.thedelimagazine.com. -Paolo De Gregorio
Editor In Chief: Paolo De Gregorio Founder: Charles Newman Executive Editor: Quang D. Tran Senior Editor: Ed Gross Art Director: Kaz Yabe (www.kazyabe.com) Senior Designer: Ursula Viglietta (www.ursulaviglietta.com) Cover Photo: Shervin Lainez (www.shervinfoto.com) Graphic Assistant: Kelly McDonough Web Developers: Mark Lewis, Alex Borsody Staff Writers: Bill Dvorak, Nancy Chow, Mike SOS, Dean Van Nguyen, Meijin Bruttomesso, Dave Cromwell, Ben Krieger, Mike Levine In-House Contributing Writers: Charlie Davis, Simon Heggie, Christina Morelli, BrokeMC, allison levin, Ed Guardaro, Amanda F. Dissinger, Chelsea Eriksen, Annamarya Scaccia, Tuesday Phillips, Christine Cauthen, Molly Horan, Corinne Bagish, Devon Antonetti, Jen Mergott The Kitchen: Janice Brown, Howard J. Stock, Shane O’Connor, Ben Wigler, Matt Rocker, David Weiss, Justin Colletti, Gus Green Intern: Mijhal Poler Publishers: The Deli Magazine LLC / Mother West, NYC The Deli Magazine is a trademark of The Deli Magazine, LLC, Brooklyn & Mother West, NYC. All contents ©2012 The Deli Magazine. All rights reserved.
Best NYC oF
Emerging Artists 2012 67. Pass Kontrol 68. Thinning The Herd 69. Xenia Rubinos 33. Brothers 1. Caveman 70. Fall of the Albatross 34. The Bottom Dollars 2. Lucius 71. Food Will Win The War 35. Field Mouse 3. Widowspeak 72. Chappo 36. MiniBoone 73. Sinem Saniye 37. Futurist 4. Friends 38. Merrily & The Poison Orchard 74. Mother Feather 5. Monogold 75. My Pet Dragon 39. Exemption 6. Ski Lodge 76. The Third Wheel Band 40. Mal Blum 7. Big Wilson River 77. Cuddle Magic 41. Deathrow Tull 8. Ava Luna 78. Himalaya 42. Snowmine 9. The Denzels 43. Clementine and The Galaxy 79. The Stepkids 10. Apollo Run 80. The Bandana Splits 44. The Sneaky Mister 11. Kung Fu Crimewave 81. Grace Weber 45. J.Viewz 12. Tall Tall Trees 82. Indyns 46. Reverend John DeLore 13. Ambassadors 83. Wazu 47. Robin Bacior 14. Fort Lean 84. In One Wind 48. Firehorse 15. ARMS 85. Oh Whitney 49. Brick + Mortar 16. Grassfight 86. Ex Cops 50. The Due Diligence 17. Body Language 87. Appomattox 51. The Courtesy Tier 18. Stephie Coplan 88. Blonde Valhalla 52. Bird Call & The Pedestrians 89. Twitchers 53. The Sway Machinery 19. Starlight Girls 90. Young Boys 20. Hurrah! A Bolt of Light! 54. DIIV 91. Nicholas Jaar 55. The Beets 21. Black Taxi 92. Fredericks Brown 56. Slowdance 22. A$AP Rocky 93. Gross Relations 57. Dead Leaf Echo 23. The Can’t Tells 94. Idgy Dean 58. Ice Choir 24. Yellow Ostrich 95. Psychobuildings 25. Spirit Family Reunion 59. French Camp 96. YVETTE 60. Lady Lamb The Beekeeper 26. The Men 97. OhNoMoon 61. Lissy Trullie 27. ZAMBRI 98. Aaron Roche 62. Caged Animals 28. Devin 99. Spanish Prisoners 63. Papertwin 29. North Highlands 100.Happy New Year 64. Penguin Prison 30. SKATERS 101.Motive 65. Superhuman Happiness 31. Hidden Fees 102.Bugs in the Dark 66. Tayisha Busay 32. Illumntr
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the deli_4 Spring 2012
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NYC : State of The Industry By Mike Levine & Paolo De Gregorio
Adaptive Evolution When The Great Recession hit NYC in 2007, the music industry was already dealing with the aftermath of two very serious sector crises: The revolutions brought by the advent of mp3s and home recording. These dual developments combined to deprive labels and studios of a previously reliable source of revenue. Due to this ongoing hardship, the music industry was more prepared to deal with the recession than any other field. By 2008, musicians had already adapted to the new times, abandoning hopes of lifechanging record deals but enjoying the advantage of being able to save big time on recording costs. Pretty much every NYC emerging musician not in school had a day job, which meant that those who were forced to leave town because of the recession didn’t necessarily have to do so because of a lack of income from their music careers. On the other side, the local businesses who survived the aforementioned industry crises were already operating in a mix of damage control/explore new possibilities mode and looking for ways to adapt to a shifting scenario. The strongest contenders “greeted” The Great Recession as a new opportunity to test their survival skills. Here’s a memory from Cameo Gallery’s Jify Shah: “A few weeks after we opened our doors, the economy crashed. I remember thinking we’d do $10 tickets for shows on weekends, but right away we had to settle for $5 - $8. Then we did a whole bunch of specials: like $3 beers and free wings for happy hour.” What Jify didn’t mention is that Cameo Gallery could also offset some of the venue’s losses through its popular front door restaurant, but nonetheless, it’s responsive thinking like this at the origin of any business’ successful change of course. Everywhere we looked, we saw this same kind of rewired thinking going on in response to economic hardships. If there’s one over-riding impression that we got from taking a look around and asking people what they thought about what was going on, it’s that there isn’t any single way working for artists anymore. Instead, there are a lot of different types of musicians trying out a multitude of ways to make it. Experimentation is key, and constant, perpetual evolution a must.
Olive Juice - One Man’s Adventures in Paying the Bills Matthew Roth embodies the hustle of a local artist fighting against an economic current. His group, Schwervon!, is that band you fall in love with without realizing you have. A noise-rock duo with the thrash of Sonic Youth, coupled with down-to-earth tales of love in the real world like Yo La Tengo. There’s a simple honesty to the group that’s instantly translatable to an everyday experience so vital to the makeup of any local scene. He’s also arguably been one of the hardest working artists around NYC over the past 15 years or so. Since 2001, Roth has single-handedly managed to set up and run a world-touring band, a local label (Olive Juice Music), a recording studio and a production company in Manhattan, while simultaneously working once a week at a neighborhood co-op.
“My days in New York were pretty varied. In the studios are definitely feeling the crunch in this area. morning I’d be processing orders, filling envelopes and going to the post office. Then maybe I’d have 2 Mastering Engineer Joe Lambert has a long and imporor 3 recording sessions a week… Then band practice tant role in mastering a lot of local heavyweights, from 3 times a week. I’d be constantly tweaking the OJ Eleanor Friedberger’s first solo CD, Last Summer, to The website, trying to blog and write reviews as much Dirty Projectors’s seminal Bitte Orca. So it’s of conas possible… Between my band and solo project I’d cern to him that “increased quality of at-home setups, probably gig an average of once every 2 weeks. In changes within the actual music industry and economic between all that I’d be working on mixing Schwerdownturn all seem to be factors as to why recording von! stuff or Major Matt stuff. I’d also moonlight as a studios aren’t booming like they used to.” live sound engineer so maybe one night a week I’d be doing that until 2am. I worked at the 4th Street But mastering studios have fared relatively well comFood Co-op receiving produce on Friday mornings. pared to recording studios. Although, as Jim Bentley Occasionally, I’d put on live shows so I’d be working from The Fort recording studio told us, there are also on booking and/or promoting those, making flyers, a lot of challenges when committing to lo-fi that many sending emails etc… Towards the end, it got really artists aren’t aware of at the outset, and this is causing crazy trying to make ends meet. I’d be selling stuff a reverse exodus back to the studios at some point in on Craigslist or going to these paid test-marketing the musician’s career. things. I’d do anything to pay the bills “When the economy shit and keep my sched“I’d be selling stuff on Craigslist or going the bed, everyone ran ule flexible for music. out to buy a $200 conto these paid test-marketing things. I’d probably also go denser mic and some see a show at least crappy interface for their I’d do anything to pay the bills and keep 2 to 3 nights a week laptop and thought they on average to either my schedule flexible for music.” were going to make check out a friend or magic. It’s like going to —Matthew Roth (Olive Juice Music) a new venue.” the chain music store buying an entry level Here’s a man who lived, breathed and ate music, and still guitar and amp… never played the thing in your life and had to do test-marketing to make ends meet. So if there’s bam you’re supposed to be Eddie Van Halen or someany reason an artist/entrepreneur like Matthew Roth was thing… it takes experience, chops… Nice gear helps, but able to make it work, it’s because he saw a demand, and understanding how to craft the way the music feels and figured out how to make that need work for him. technical skill (like knowing what mics sound like on this or that and how to move them around to get the sounds It’s also interesting to note that after 11 years of this you want) are the weapons of the “big studio sound”… hectic lifestyle, Matt finally moved back to his homeIt’s next level wizard shit…” town Kansas City in April 2012. All his struggle and hard work during the last difficult period was done almost as if to prove to himself that he could make it through the post recession years: Adapting your business to economic hardships is a challenge, and challenges are motivating.
Record Making and Wizardry In the past decade, NYC has suffered unspeakable losses in the recording studios department. Roth ran with this need for low-priced, “ok quality” recordings: “I started recording people because there was a real need for it. The Internet was just catching on and not a lot people knew very much about recording outside of 4-track cassette. I was fortunate enough to work in a studio at the time that had Pro Tools. I saved up some money and got a 001 system for myself and started recording bands in my apartment in the L.E.S. for cheap. It was better than a 4 track and cheaper than a studio.” Many more musicians followed this path in the following years, so much so that today, recording engineer might as well be the most widespread (non-paying) job in the Big Apple. The older and better-established
the deli_8 Spring 2012
The Textured, Dancey Sounds of the Bedroom
An obvious consequence of the bedroom recording phenomenon is that NYC has experienced an explosion of lo-fi, electronic and/or semi-electronic artists who perform music that lacks the live “oomph,” choosing to focus instead on other production values like danceability, texture and/or the most important of all: songwriting. While there’s no need to write the obit just yet, there doesn’t seem to be nearly as many straight-ahead quality rock bands coming out of the city anymore. Even Long Island, once a well-cultivated home for East Coast-grown hard rock, has largely abandoned its radio stations and is known more today for their Cabernet than hardcore groups like Dead Superstar and Powerman. Nowadays, you may have to take the Path down to Jersey to check out what’s new in this genre. With Glen Rock’s Titus Andronicus and New Brunswick’s Screaming Females representing from across the Hudson, that’s quite
a bit of pressure for any scene. But maybe the 2nd decade of the 21st century wasn’t meant for rock anyway. Bands like Rubblebucket, for instance, are taking the freakdom of Brooklyn’s psychedelic scene, and finding a new place for their flags to fly – built on top of the noodling rhythms of Afrobeat. This is similar to what Spanglish Fly is doing for a little-known sub-genre of soul-infused salsa music called Boogaloo. With this revival genre picking up steam, the 13-piece ensemble is electrifying alt-jazz clubs like Nublu and SOB’s with their live shows. In a “market” where recorded music isn’t paying the bills, probably many musicians are – again – adapting by creating a music that, through the seduction of danceability, has the potential to attract more people to the live show experience. Or maybe it’s an unconscious process: survival of the fittest?
Bring It to the People This brings us back to live venues, a sector which, in NYC, has actually been thriving in the aughts, and which has also recently undergone some of the largest changes of any institution. The introduction of many “multi-tasking” spaces betrays the effort to improve the classic business model (consisting of one room with stage AND bar) which has too often proved fragile: hence the proliferation of venues which – like Cameo, Pianos and Cake Shop – host a restaurant, a coffee place or a record store in a separate room – often including a recording studio somewhere in the basement. “Right when the recession first hit, there was a notice-
the deli_10 Spring 2012
“I think it’s a lot harder now for bands to get noticed or to get label support. But I think that’s good. You really have to love what you’re doing.” —Matthew Roth (Olive Juice Music) able dip in attendance and sales at the venue, but things pretty much leveled out really about three months later. Attendance now is actually better than before the recession,” says Zach Dinerstein from Spike Hill, another venue with a separate bar and restaurant right on Williamsburg’s Bedford Ave. Dinerstein is almost institutionalizing experimentation by allowing it in the small room he books, which gives artists an opportunity to grow in front of an audience, while finding alternative sources of revenue to keep the mission alive: “Like most places in the city, we rent our venue out to events, like film shoots, catered parties, private film screenings, things like that. After working in the industry for a few years, I honestly don’t think anything will keep people from pursuing music. If it’s your passion to create music, you’ll find a way to do it, even if that means music alone won’t cover your bills.”
Making the Dream Happen So, whether you are in a band or in a business, even if “making it” in the music industry hasn’t become any easier, this city offers quite a few ways (many probably unexplored) to get to the same goal – i.e. sustainability.
“Economic downturns typically bolster creativity. A poor economy often forces us to look inward, and in doing so, we turn to the arts.” —Arien Rozelle (Feeling Anxious PR) For Matthew Roth the changes in the music industry are two-fold. On the one hand, there’s less money going around... but on the other, there’s a lot more going on nowadays than there used to. “I think it’s a lot harder now for bands to get noticed or to get label support. But I think that’s good. You really have to love what you’re doing. I think Brooklyn is still a fantastic place for bands in the early stages just because you have so many places to play and stuff to inspire you.” Arien Rozelle from Feeling Anxious PR is helping artists do exactly that. “New York will always have amazing musicians. It’s where you go when you want to pursue your dreams. And I don’t see that going away – ever. Additionally, economic downturns typically bolster creativity. A poor
the deli_12 Spring 2012
economy often forces us to look inward, and in doing so, we turn to the arts.” That’s something to think about: What if a bad economy is actually good for the arts? Is it possible that there is an inverse relationship between the health of a local scene and the health of the economy at large? After all, the last wave of big NYC indie bands (Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio) happened right after the recession following 9/11…
Music Is for Lovers Although all musicians naturally hope to get to a point where music will be their full-time job, true artists make art because they need to, in some kind of spiritual way. The creative process might not bring food to their table, but it does feed them spiritually: Artistic creation generates feelings of joy and euphoria, makes people feel alive and gives a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It takes more than a bad economy to dissuade lovers from pursuing their love, dreamers from chasing their dreams. And if the best love stories are the ones that overcame the hardest of obstacles, a bad economy may as well be the best premise for a music renaissance.
n the following pages you’llfind all the 102 emerging local artists who made it into our Best of NYC Emerging Artists Poll. For links to each band’s music and a break down of the vote, please go here: thedelimag.com/nyc2012. “Best of” lists are music publications’ bread and butter, but sometimes we all wonder what the rationale behind them is. The peculiar thing about our Best of NYC Emerging Artists list (see it on page 4) is that it’s not something compiled by our staff, but rather the product of a complicated system mostly based on the opinions of local, competent “scene-makers”. These jurors who follow and work with emerging bands on a daily basis – comprised of local talent buyers, music bloggers, writers, etc. – have the most influence on the final result, and this is why our Best of NYC has always produced reliably amazing new artists.
List of Jurors Alex Rossiter (Webster Hall), Andy Bodor (Cake Shop), Billy Jones (Pianos), Bowery Electric bookers, Brandon Haas (BMI), Carlye Wisel & Donald Rasmussen (Big Yellow Couch), Chris Diaz (Knitting Factory), Christopher R. Weingarten (The Village Voice), Claire McNamara (OhMyRockness), David Teller (Bird Dog Productions), Douglas DeFalco (Southpaw), Heath Miller (Excess db), Heather Dunsmoor (The Bell House), Jamie Dominguez (SESAC), Jennifer Gilson (The Living Room), Jify Shah (Cameo), John J. Hagan (Sycamore), Karen Soskin (Other Music), Katherine Coates (Delancey), Marc Emert-Hutner (ASCAP), Matt McDonald (CMJ), Max Brennan (Lit Lounge), Paolo De Gregorio (The Deli), Rami Haykal (Popgun Booking), Sebastian Freed (Bowery Presents), Steve Trimboli (Goodbye Blue Monday), Zack Dinerstein (Spike Hill).
#1 Caveman By Paolo De Gregorio
e praised Caveman’s wonderful mix of psych rock and mellow pop numerous times: The band was featured on the cover of our summer 2011 issue, and that’s the reason why, even though they won our Best of NYC Emerging Artist Poll, they are not featured on the cover of this issue.
Caveman won this poll with a record number of votes from our jury of local scene-makers, and inherit the crown of Best NYC Band from last year’s number one, Twin Shadow, and previous editions’ winners Talk Normal, Chairlift, Yeasayer, The Big Sleep and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Yet, for some rather mysterious reasons, the Deus Ex Machina of music sites (Pitchfork.com) has not even bothered to review their debut album – maybe because it was self-released? The band is doing great – recently performing at BAM Theater in a festival curated by The National – but it’s reasonable to wonder what kind of parameters the Pitchfork staff uses to decide which records to review and which not. Hopefully their new record label Fat Possum – home to The Walkmen and Unknown Mortal Orchestra among others – will be able to give these guys the extra push that they deserve. In the meantime, we warm-heartedly recommend that you take a listen to CoCo Beware before the entire world finds out about it. RIYL: Belle & Sebastian, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest
#2 Lucius Looking Through The Telescope “Our career has been an evolving, living thing…” (Holly Laessig)
here are many reasons why artists release EPs mid-stream through an album cycle. For some, they have an excess of material left over from the previous record. Others write too many songs to support a single release. For Lucius, neither of these reasons quite explains the unexpected sound and power of their latest self-titled EP. For this group, we’re instead presented with what could amount to an entirely new mode for the Brooklyn band.
When their debut Songs from the Bromley House hit two years ago, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig approached things with a simple, but effective formula: Take their powerhouse harmonies, add 1 part playful hook, 1 part 1921 Steinway piano, and stir until ready. In lesser hands, this straightforward approach might not have worked, but for the project that they called Lucius, Jess and Holly proved that they had a
the deli_16 Spring 2012
RIYL: Feist, Joni Mitchell, Iron & Wine
By Mike Levine (@Goldnuggets) / Photo by Shervin Lainez
knack for imbuing otherwise simple ideas with elevated meaning. Jess and Holly (and six of their closest music buddies) happened to be the first residents of an otherwise boarded up music school and recording studio in Ditmas Park. They’d come here all the way from Boston where they first met in 2005 while studying music together at Berklee College of Music. While at school, Jess and Holly took an immediate liking to one another while collaborating on a Beatles’ White Album cover show, and listening to some of the more intimate material from Bromley House, like “Shenandoah” and “If I Were You,” it’s obvious not only how good they sounded together, but also how far they’ve both come in a short period of time.
“We’ve had so many interestingly synchronized experiences, so it’s been almost therapeutic to be able to guide each other through them together.” (Jess Wolfe) As intimate and sensual as their music feels, their background in Berklee hails from a very competitive community. Boston’s music scene has its own rich history to be sure, but for whatever reason, many of Berklee’s alums moved down to New York a couple years ago in droves. So many in fact, that today a fair share of the better-known indie artists playing gigs around Manhattan’s Lower East Side are transplanted graduates from the school (Adam Tressler, Jennifer Hirsh and Emily Greene can be
If Bromley House presented the listener with a sound that feels rooted in folk traditions and melodies floating in the air since time eternal, their latest self-titled release takes their mission entirely in the other direction. With Lucius’ EP out everywhere now, coupled with the band finally being signed to a label (ok, their own label: Wildewoman Music), the girls seem to have a lot more up their sleeves than first thought. Not only this, but they’ve grown a bit since 2009. Lucius isn’t just Jess and Holly anymore. The project has now blossomed into a full-fledged band with Dan Molad (drums), and Peter Lalish (guitar/ bass) rounding out the ensemble with anything from Nord Leads, to all manner of percussions, and even a lap steel when necessary. Does this mean their songwriting process is any different now than it was back in the day?
“When Holly, Jess and I began recording 2 years ago, it started as an experiment of sorts, just trying things out. As the record evolved so did the band until we reached our current configuration. We eventually began ‘learning’ the record and overtime ended up in the setup we have now.” (Dan Molad) Some songwriters tend to get weighted down by large ensembles; finding their voice lost amid the bells and whistles of a backing band. For Lucius, their new band has given Jess and Holly an altitude of sorts that allows them to transcend many of the limitations of their peers. It’s one thing to play dress up and flirt with other influences (though the girls do look fantastic in giant bows and shudder shades). It’s another thing to allow yourself to truly magnify your sound through these forces. If anything, Lucius is fast maturing into a great group because of how much they challenge themselves. From writing an album about an old music school/living space, to trying out for American Idol, to donning glittery rhinestones, these ladies aren’t afraid to see what they sound and look like in unfamiliar environments. Perhaps that’s what they’re talking about with lyrics like “she’s looking through the wrong end of the telescope” from “Turn It Around” off their self-titled album. There’s nothing wrong with the view, it’s how you approach things that makes all the difference.
counted among the alums). A tight-knit bunch – most of the graduates still support each other in performance and recording. But most of these graduates’ main course consists of a diet of John Mayer-style blues and twangy coffeehouse Jazz styles. Listening to some of Lucius’ earliest material, you can still hear many of these trademarks (check out Jess’ fantastic cover of “People Get Ready” or Holly’s breathy airs in Chris Ward’s “Wind in the Trees”), but something must have happened while staying at the Bromley House, as the music that came out of it transcended both Jess and Holly’s individual backgrounds, as well as many of the trends that their Brooklyn peers have been re-treading over the past couple years. At a time when MGMT style party rock and beachy summer jams were all the rage, Lucius took a step back instead and approached their sound from another place. Just listen to “For Loves Lost,” the final track from Bromley House. Here’s a song that doesn’t offer the listener a place to settle in and get too comfortable. Instead, the tune reveals itself measure by measure, building slowly and taking its time, and rewarding the listener to no end for the effort. This is what makes Holly and Jess such a pleasure to experience. The more you listen to them, the less you seem sure of having their music pegged. You’re left wondering how they’re able to achieve such soaring magnitudes while remaining so openly vulnerable, and this only makes you want to explore more of the band. While a lot of local groups indulge in the somnambulance of dreamy shoegaze, Lucius achieves their peculiar mystery just by being their own quirky selves.
For such a young group, it’s anyone’s guess where Lucius will go to from here, but it’s hard to hear their EP as anything but a prelude to the next step. When Jess and Holly were first raising funds for the recordings from their Kickstarter campaign, the original idea was a full-length album titled Wildewoman. After raising almost two times as much money as expected, the project seems to have taken on a life of its own. But the recent release certainly won’t be the last stop either. Yesterday I listened to an acoustic recording of “Sit There,” where Jess and Holly put the sunglasses and Mad Men-era dresses aside for the performance, and found that I immediately understood why these ladies have been working so hard at their music. This is truly a great song, and their painstaking passion has made it that way. In fact, every detail of this group is meticulously thought out and delivered in the largest way possible. Lucius is just waiting for the rest of us to notice. Now, with their backing band, increased touring schedule, and yes… giant sunglasses, Lucius has created a world that matches the size of their spirit.
Artist Equipment Check!!!
“We don’t have a bass player, but Pete splits his guitar signal to his guitar amp and to a bass amp with an A/B switch. The bass amp signal has an Electro Harmonix POG 2 on it before hitting the amp which puts the guitar down an octave and makes it sound like a bass.”
Morricone Inspired Mysticism
idowspeak emanates a strangebeautiful mysterious nostalgia that only lingers deep within old souls. Their music is unobtrusive – it takes its time and slowly Molly Hamilton’s vocal melodies seep through Robert Earl Thomas’ searing leads and Michael Stasiak’s steady groove.
the deli_18 Spring 2012
RIYL: Mazzy Star, Cowboy Junkies, XX
By Ed Guardaro / Photo by Danny Krug
Old musical acquaintances from Tacoma, Washington, Michael and Molly decamped to New York after a label that they contributed to fell apart. Many moons later Michael urged Molly – who had little faith in her electric guitar skills and showmanship – to acquire a used Danelectro and start writing songs. Through mutual friends, Rob was called in to a living room practice session, plugged his guitar into Molly’s stereo, and the band was born. The three, who were still searching for an appropriate name, began to write a large amount of music.
For most songs, Molly writes the lyrics and vocal melodies, while Rob and Michael tinker with the canvas that she lays down. Other tracks, like “Gun Shy,” come from a “kind of backwards process,” says Molly. “Gun Shy,” a song that began as only a chord progression the band liked, features a subdued lead in the chorus that Molly thought, “was intimidatingly suited to the song,” and struggled to create a vocal melody that complimented such an intriguing instrumental track. “After procrastinating for a while, I finally had something, and we recorded it. But then I was worried it wasn’t exactly perfect, and wrote a completely different set of lyrics and a different melody.” Later on, as they listened to the two versions, it was clear. “The first version was the definitive version. It just felt right.” On the recordings and at numerous stand out performances at CMJ and SXSW this year, Widowspeak – a band that is still finding it’s footing as a group of people coming together through sound – demands your attention and enchants your soul. Their sound is a mixture of ’90s angst, early ’60s pop, and contemporary urban alternative. It is reminiscent of so much in American music over the last 60 years that their songs seem to emanate from a place that is all too familiar, yet in reality is all their very own.
One would think Widowspeak’s lack of a bassist would provide a problem of groove. The sound is raw, high frequency and strippeddown. However, utilizing a utilitarian amount of clean Fender overdrive and reverb, Molly and Rob hold an interesting dynamic that doesn’t feel lacking in the least bit. In fact, somehow even to trained musical ears, one forgets there is nearly no bottom end whatsoever. Widowspeak’s recent rise to fame is a Cinderella story amongst the throngs of talented troubadours trying to make it in New York. Just after the band’s sixth live performance, their self-released, GarageBand produced October Tape had fallen into the hands of Brooklyn indie label Captured Tracks. Their subsequent shows were energetic – played with a passion and precision that made their ambitions clear. In keeping with the public’s demand of something more than a couple bootlegged iPhone-recorded live shows, Widowspeak laid down “Gun Shy” the aforementioned 7” cut that showcases their postmodern Wild West sound. In August of 2011, Widowspeak released their self-titled debut LP via Captured Tracks. The album’s opener, “Puritan” is an energetic romp down memory lane and is followed up by “Harsh Realm” and “Nightcrawlers,” which were also previously released as 7” singles. Thematically, the full-length album remains consistent throughout. Robert Thomas’ guitar work proliferates a lonesome sense of desperation, complimented by Molly Hamilton’s haunting vocals that come in and out of the sonic spotlight at all the right moments.
“Some try to love you, but it’s never long before you shake them off.”
Robert Earl Thomas is a nuage pastiche of all that was wonderful before samplers and synthesizers binarily deconstructed human ears. In all analog glory, Rob lets his lines rip, with a refreshing twist of the old and new. Part spaghetti western – in the vain of Enrico Morricone – and a little Link Wray – who used to poke holes in his amp’s speaker cones – Rob connects the bands irksome charisma to posterity. His tone – that of a dusty Fender reissue turned up beyond its means – calls to former Cold War Kid guitarist Jonnie Russell, and a stripped-down Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. Molly’s swooning timbre is the kind that sends shivers down your spine when you see it live. What you hear is what you get with Molly. She does not hold back when she performs live, and the result is a refreshing reminder of what a unique and talented performer can do with a little bit of guts and organization. Widowspeak has a noteworthy presence well before they start to make loud noises together. This fall, playing in front of the haute, so hip-it-hurts crowds, A&R reps and music industry peeps at CMJ, Widowspeak took the stage at Ace Hotel with the same timeless cool that hooks you on “Gun Shy.” Setting up in a basic power triangle, Rob and Molly command a large amount of space – both physically and sonically – while Michael is the thread that weaves their sound together and keeps it moving – at just the tempo that titillates you enough to get your feet moving.
The finished product is a psych pop masterpiece with cathartic lyrical passages like “Some try to love you, but it’s never long before you shake them off.” Molly’s lyrics tell a tale of unhealthy devotion, to the point of obsession all in the guise of love. Rob’s lead lines make it clear that whatever Widowspeak is sonically and thematically after, it feels so good, but hurts just the same. Widowspeak, since CMJ, has continued to gain buzz, and it’s suffice to say that we are all a little excited to see what this Brooklyn (by way of the West) trio can do in the not so distant future.
Artist Equipment Check!!!
Molly used a second-hand Danelectro guitar to write most of the songs in the album.
n an era when zealous music blogs compete to be the first to unearth potential new stars, the spotlight often seems to fall on young musicians who’ve done little more than strum a few simple guitar chords in their bedroom and upload the recordings to Bandcamp or Soundcloud. Take Brooklyn band Friends. Having not yet put out a release longer than a single, the five-piece has still garnered much positive attention from seemingly every online music resource, as well as mainstream press exposure from The New York Times and The Guardian among others. The group was even named one of NME’s Top 50 Artists of 2011, and was nominated for BBC’s “Sound of 2012” poll. Having captured the imagination of critics and fans despite a limited output, Friends have actually moved beyond the whispers of being an Internet buzz band to one riding a huge wave of excitement and positivity.
It’s been a dizzying rise really. The band only formed in 2010 when bass/percussion player Leslie Hann and drummer RIYL: Santigold, Neon Indian, Luscious Jackson Oliver Duncan moved into Samantha Urbani’s apartment to escape a bedbug attack and discovered the singer’s treasure chest of solo recordings. This revelation sparked the trio to collaborate. Later adding guitarist Nikki Shapiro and multi-instrumentalist Matt Molnar to the line-up, these “Friends” (they’re actually named after Brian Wilson’s favourite Beach Boys album, and not the relationship that they share with each other or a bizarre mutual love for the former NBC sitcom) very quickly snapped into tandem, and the sparkling arrangements on their early singles have defied their relative inexperience playing together as a band. Each track would fall under the loose description of indie pop, with the band incorporating everything from Spector-produced sixties girl pop to seventies disco beats and hot Sly Stone-esque funky guitar riffs. Consider the sinister but danceable groove of “I’m His Girl,” the sultry “Friend Crush” and disco-funk jam “Mind Control” – it’s a wicked concoction of influences. But despite the candy shop of styles, Friends actually encompass this wide variety of genres into their sound quite naturally – they’re more hattippers than straight revivalists. What each single does share, however, is a lack of wasted space as the unit has already demonstrated an expertise in crafting tight, catchy, pleasure-crammed pop delights. Think Talking Heads at their most playful, and you’re some of the way there. Friends’ debut album Manifest! drops this summer via Fat Possum in the US and Lucky Number in the UK, and is surely one of New York’s most hotly anticipated upcoming debut records. Unfortunately, with hype, comes added pressure, of course, and a dip in quality would be deemed a disappointment to the same musical press that has given their young career a serious boost. But let’s dare to dream. (Dean Van Nguyen)
ne of The Deli’s oldest “friends” (their EP We Animals was a Deli CD of the Month back in 2009), Monogold has developed its current sound and scene status through a relentless artistic growth. Born as a rather shoegazey act in the midaughts, the band showed a deep evolution towards a sound more ambient and “avant,” which relies on haunting melodies that could easily interchange as the score for a children’s movie or a horror flick. This maturation is on full display in their latest album The Softest Glow. From shorter songs like “Whippoorwill” to longer numbers like “Spirit or Something,” their tracks feature an almost tribal, exotic component that can provoke dreams of sunny escapes, but also a cerebral attitude that calls for winter chills and being bundled up in coats. Rather than the confused music that comes to mind with these descriptions, Monogold instead achieves a level of absolute versatility, combined with noteworthy songwriting. Their newest release is definitely something worth picking up. (Christine Cauthen)
RIYL: Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Beach House
the deli_20 Spring 2012
focus bviously referred to melodic music with a “solo” to only apply ’t doesn genre this , lyrics on the projects, but also to bands that seem to serve musical vision of one person.
Stephie oplan and The Pedestrians
#18 Stephie Coplan and The
Perhaps one of the most exciting things along the artistic journey of self-discovery and creative expression is the moment when you stop trying to be like everyone else, and embrace who you truly are. Such was the case for Stephie Coplan, singer-songwriter and frontwoman for Stephie Coplan and the Pedestrians, a dynamic, bold new band bursting through the New York music scene and into the hearts of fans all over the country. Channeling the energy of Gwen Stefani blended with keen piano chops and empowering lyrics, Stephie and the boys lure crowds with the perfect balance of mischievous fun and a scintillating sound. (Christina Morelli)
#38 Merrily &
The Poison Orchard
With their musical inspiration stemming from an emotional promise, Merrily & the Poison Orchard are impressing audiences throughout the New York and Brooklyn music scene. Their healthy integration of folk, pop, rock, and a hint of country makes for a well-rounded and entertaining live performance. Their tunes have the lightness of Feist with a twisted edge, and are richly orchestrated. (Christina Morelli)
#40 Mal Blum
Mal Blum’s whimsical, melodic songs have been garnering her a devoted group of followers over the past several years. Like many songwriters of her caliber, Blum’s strength lies in her
the deli_22 Spring 2012
Robin words. She’s willing to name-drop Harry Potter, toss a nod to vegans, or place her characters in the throes of seafood poisoning – always with engaging lyrical imagery. While the songs themselves rarely address gender empowerment issues in an overt way, the discerning listener can pick out the themes. Blum’s shows often serve as bonding experiences for fans with similar social concerns. And of course, everyone is there to hear a ton of great songs. (Ben Krieger)
and The Galaxy
In recent months, you’ve probably seen your fair share of the Clementine portion of Clementine and The Galaxy, but you may not have realized it. Properly known as Julie Hardy, the group’s frontwoman has made television appearances backing St. Vincent on David Letterman and Ellie Goulding on Saturday Night Live, using her light, ethereal vocals to accent the singers’ performances. Now with two EPs released under Clementine and The Galaxy, which includes producer Michael McAllister, Hardy is truly unleashing her powerful voice while soothing with a Florence Welchlike enchantment. (Devon Antonetti)
#44 The Sneaky Mister
Light and airy – original enough to stand out but familiar enough to share sonic space with greats like Feist and Regina Spektor, The Sneaky Mister a.k.a. Judith Shimer bares her honest lyrics and clever hooks with the current Brooklyn scene. The seven tracks off her most recent EP, Joyce, fills listeners with entertaining commentary about everyday life and the human
Photo: Michael Popp
condition. Shimer has a seamless way of keeping spring and summer musically permeating in the air all year round. (Christina Morelli)
#47 Robin Bacior
Robin Bacior’s intimate, candid lyrics and complex, ever-evolving orchestral arrangements show us a musician whose maturity is well-beyond her twenty four years. Her comforting folk tunes are perfect for the winter season: a time of nostalgia and self-awareness yet utmost beauty. (Amanda Dissinger)
Leah Siegel has taken her songwriting to an entirely new level with her new project Firehorse. The force and precision behind the band’s music team up to create a powerful and heartbreaking sound. The group takes listeners on an ethereal journey through an angst-driven eerie universe on their debut album And so they ran faster… In her single “Our Hearts,” the sparse electronic arrangements, the synthetic piano sounds, the mechanical electronic drums, and the strong, sad melody line confer to this melancholic song an existential quality reminiscent of the slower material by Radiohead and Peter Gabriel. (Chelsea Eriksen)
#52 Bird Call
Singer/songwriter Chiara Angelicola a.k.a. Bird Call stuns with an intense level of vocal control. Sultry whispered, sometimes ghostly soft folk breaks into full-bodied warbling without a hitch. It really seems like she can make her voice do anything – think a throatier, pleasantly weirder Regina Spektor. Chiara, based in Brooklyn and
lementine and The Galaxy
Songw rite Top 2 rs 0
lady lamb The Beekeeper
Photo: Jamie Philp
hails from the sunny Bay Area, is currently collaborating with producer Joel Hamilton (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits) and Bryan Senti, composer behind acts such as Mark Ronson and Rufus Wainwright, on her upcoming full-length scheduled for release this summer. (Corrine Bagish)
#60 Lady Lamb The Beekeeper
Pieces from various places and parts of Aly Spaltro’s world exude throughout the colorful lyrics and retro tunes that spawn from her moniker, Lady Lamb the Beekeeper. A southwest-meets-northeast history and a current Brooklyn base gives way to the whimsical language, imagery and tone of much of Spaltro’s music. She has engaged audiences with her original approach to songwriting and sound, as well as offered them an artistic outlet to share their creativity through their visual artwork, a unique concept found in the indie music world. This artist/fan connection is evident in any Lady Lamb performance, as she thrives off the energy and feedback that she receives while performing for her loyal and loving fans. (Christina Morelli)
#73 Sinem Saniye
Reminiscent of Corinne Bailey Rae and Norah Jones, the sultry, smooth vocals of
Turkish-American singer-songwriter Sinem Saniye are capturing hearts nationally and internationally. Her debut album can be heard on Delta Airlines, and her music video is now playing on MTV Europe. The album is saturated with rich pop, jazz tunes laced with Latin and Turkish influences, and Saniye’s commanding stage presence makes her live performance even spicier. (Christina Morelli)
#80 The Bandana Splits Retro girl groups of the ’50s have made their resurgence in Brooklyn, as seen in the catchy harmonies and sweet sounds of The Bandana Splits. Comprised of three ladies who met in Brooklyn, The Bandana Splits bring audiences back to a time when music was lighthearted and fun, bringing life and entertainment to even the most unimaginable situations. Annie, Dawn and Lauren have found a niche in the contemporary New York music scene that makes everything old seem new again. (Christina Morelli)
#81 Grace Weber
Bright, airy and full of emotion, Grace Weber’s latest album Hope and Heart encompasses both sentiments beautifully. Since its September release, Weber has received a significant amount of press, including being listed as Billboard’s “Artist To Watch” and
The Deli’s Web Buzz Charts 1. Norah Jones 2. Regina Spektor 3. Ingrid Michaelson 4. Cat Power 5. Sharon Van Etten 6. Jenny Owen Youngs 7. Rachael Yamagata 8. Ron Pope 9. Mike Wexler 10. Josh Rouse 11. Jaymay 12. Adam Green 13. Hugo 14. Mike Doughty 15. Khaled 16. Charlotte Sometimes 17. Jolie Holland 18. Dawn Landes 19. Brendan James 20. JBM Check out our self-generating online charts: thedelimagazine.com /charts
holding tight to a top ten spot on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts post-release. Grace Weber will be heading to the UK in June for a brief tour. (Christina Morelli)
#92 Fredericks Brown Deva Mahal, Stephanie Brown and Michael Taylor make up the NYC-based “Pacifika” soul sound of Fredericks Brown. The three Kiwis debuted their first EP, Out of the Rain, after meeting in New York two years ago. Though pursuing individual careers, the band found that they were bringing such original and powerful talents together to break barriers of traditional jazz and soul. They have since opened for the late, great Etta James and toured in support of Taj Mahal. (Christina Morelli)
#98 Aaron Roche
If you’re a fan at all of Beck’s Sea Change, you’ll no doubt find a familiar place with Aaron Roche’s string arrangements and hypnotic croon. But what you won’t be prepared for is how many instruments and textures Roche brings to the table. Elevating pop tricks to a high art sensibility, tracks like “Cyclocardorary” and the haunting murkiness of “Death is all Around” from his new record !BlurMyEyes place Roche in the company of John Cale and R. Stevie Moore – artists raising the usual pop canvas to a spiritual dimension. (Mike Levine)
Tall Tall Trees
lmost perceived as “reactionary” genres, early Country and Americana were shaken in the olk, anti-f called ment move NYC aughts by a s committed which has caused a sprawl of young artist to bastardize traditional American music.
#7 Big Wilson River
Reaching instant intensity with the dual night and day vocals of Darrin Bradbury and Emma McLaughlin, Big Wilson River have charged up thrash folk streaming through their veins. The band released Octopus in 2011, showcasing their ’90s alternative influences and blues sensibilities in a major way. Tunes like “Hemingway Had a Cat” and “Dandelion” highlight the band’s ability to engage listeners with screams and punches - both literally and sonically. However, through their seemingly aggressive sound, true fragility emerges on songs like “River Boat” and “Backyard Passout Fest” - releasing a powerful combination of folk and heavy hits. (Devon Antonetti)
#12 Tall Tall Trees
Tall Tall Trees may have long hair, beards, and a natural, earthly charm, but they also have the musical chops to back it up. With jazz, bluegrass and world music backgrounds, the band recorded their selftitled debut in 2008, instantly gaining popularity after getting placed on MTV, Animal Planet, and several other channels. For their second offering, the Tall Tall Trees quartet hit the Alaskan wilderness for some much-needed time with Mother Earth. The experience resulted in what would become Moment. Recorded in a church, the album conjures the image of a giant glowing moon over the Alaskan woods that the band claims as inspiration for much of the record. (Devon Antonetti)
#20 Hurrah! A Bolt of Light!
Fronted by former Paper and Sand leader Wil Farr, Hurrah! A Bolt of Light! is teeming with anxious anticipation. Farr and Bridget Buscemi share vocal duties, belting out gushing harmonies over loud alt-folk guitars and energetic beats. Hurrah! A Bolt of Light! released a selftitled EP in 2010 to a positive post-Sand and Paper response, followed by last year’s similarly well-received full-length Hello!, which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Both albums are thick with Americana roots and infectious melodies. (Devon Antonetti)
#25 Spirit Family Reunion
Spirit Family Reunion is one of those bands seen playing in the subway, in the back of noisy bars, or on busy street corners, going unnoticed to bright lights and mobs of listless pedestrians with their earbuds at full blast. Or at least, that’s what their cracked and weathered sound would make you believe. Their songs are drenched in soul and the twang of the banjo, taking the Brooklyn band far beyond the ordinary bluegrass rock group. (Devon Antonetti)
#34 The Bottom Dollars
With not much more than a four-song EP to their name, The Bottom Dollars used their debut effort The Halcyon Days to launch themselves into an already successful series of performances at SXSW and CMJ Music showcases, and are now gearing up for their own Daytrotter session. With heavy blues vocals and an Old West appeal, The Bottom Dollars (formerly known as ANAL06UE) continue to feed their growing buzz with energetic live shows and a constant presence in the New York music scene. (Devon Antonetti)
#46 Reverend John DeLore
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Reverend John DeLore brings his down-home folk melodies from the heartland, accenting his country sound with poetic prose and pop-infused hooks. Now based in Brooklyn, the Reverend, who was ordained online “after a night of whiskey,” released his debut album Ode to an American Urn in 2009, in addition to two self-published books of poetry. Ode to an American Urn is a focused and poignant exploration of the past, much like fellow songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, whom he covers with “Iodine” on the album. (Devon Antonetti)
the deli_24 Winter 2012
A Bolt of light!
Rootsy Top 20
Photo: Lauren Slusher
Spirit Family Reunion
#50 The Due Diligence
Armed with more than just a catchy roots sound, The Due Diligence is largely reminiscent of The Band, with frontman Isaac Gillespie’s sincere vocal deliveries and the group’s drawn out harmonies. The Brooklyn-based trio, which started out as simply Isaac Diligence, released I Will Wreck Your Life in 2011, an album that instantly satisfies with rich, soul-infused rhythms and earnest energy while combining folk and some punk along the way. (Devon Antonetti)
#71 Food Will Win The War
The Deli’s Web Buzz Charts 1. Theophilus London 2. CocoRosie 3. Devendra Banhart 4. Punch Brothers 5. Antony and the Johnsons 6. Deer Tick 7. Citizen Cope 8. A.A. Bondy 9. Daniel Merriweather 10. The Felice Brothers 11. Phosphorescent 12. Langhorne Slim 13. Titus Andronicus 14. Akron/Family 15. Kevin Devine 16. Nickel Eye 17. Gregory and The Hawk 18. Warren Haynes 19. Sam Amidon 20. Jeffrey Lewis Check out our self-generating online charts: thedelimagazine.com /charts
Walking the thin line between mystical and haunting, Food Will Win the War is a Brooklyn pop and folk ensemble with raw, yet still embellished melodies, sounding almost like a Neutral Milk Hotel cover band fronted by Bon Iver. Their LP A False Sense of Warmth, which saw help from members of Freelance Wales, uses accordions, fiddles, and almostwhispered vocals to show vulnerability and longing. Food Will Win the War is not only musically diverse on the album, but also smart and engaging. (Devon Antonetti)
#76 The Third Wheel Band
The thought of a trio of teachers grabbing some instruments and taking the stage has never elicited an entirely thrilling response. However, The Third Wheel Band is a different story. Comprised of New York early education music teachers, the bluegrass outfit mixes children’s songs and folk classics, creating universally appreciated material on their two full-length albums. Songs like “Skip to My Lou” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” sound just as enjoyable to adult ears as they do to their young pupils. (Devon Antonetti)
The Bottom Dollars
#85 Oh Whitney
Oh Whitney, named in honor of lead singer Pete More’s mother and the band’s general caretaker, includes musicians from Los Angeles, Spain, France, Mexico and Texas, with their sound taking elements from each region. Blending folk, flamenco guitars and Philosophy degrees, the band released their self-titled debut in 2011, and has since been toiling away in Brazil on a follow-up. For as scattered as Oh Whitney could be, at one time even featuring a rapper, the band is a subtle meshing of all members giving them their rootsy, inspired sound. (Devon Antonetti)
Food Will Win The War
By Sam Taylor (Southside Guitars)
Twang: Is That Tremolo or Vibrato? Duane Eddy In the mid-50s, great guitar innovators like and echo started playing lead riffs drenched in tremolo the bass-y in the lower registers of the guitar, creating with sound that since then has become synonymous which “twang.” Tremolo, a regular change in volume often can be varied in speed and intensity, is an effect the pitch. confused with vibrato, which similarly affects manufacturThe confusion is due to the fact that guitar the ers used the terms interchangeably. Most notably was marFender Stratocaster came out in 1954 and tremolo” keted with what they called a “synchronized
lly Magnatone Custom 280 amp actua affects both picth and volume. a vibrato arm (or tremolo arm), which was really than the volume. since it affected the pitch rather the first amplifiIt was still Fender that introduced
the Tremolux. er with a tremolo circuit in 1955: with the That same year Gibson came out -in vibrato,” GA-55 twin twelve amp, with “built lo. but – again – this was really a tremo selling amps Danelectro and Premier were also as “elecwith tremolo in 1956 – advertised interesting and tronic vibrato.” Things got more ct manufacconfusing when in 1956 now defun Custom turer Magnatone came out with their as “True 280 amps and their effect marketed both pitch Vibrato,” which actually affected Duane Eddy and volume. That model is what g sound. used to create his signature twan change Once guitarists realized they could was ever the their sound with effects nothing modifying same, and many of them started usly moditheir own gear. In 1958, Eddy famo speaker fied his Magnatone 280 with a 15” water tank and brought along a 2000 gallon breakout as an echo chamber to record his Hazelwood. hit “Moovin ‘N’ Groovin” with Lee The rest, as they say, is history.
ones he Deli’s staff relates “alt rock” bands to with rock r guita hy punc and ht straig play that ach appro y blues or dic melo more a no frills and scene. than indie rock. LA is this genre’s flagship
#10 Apollo Run
Mixing orchestral pop with progressive indie elements, Brooklyn-based trio Apollo Run enjoys giving birth to musical babies named Here Be Dragons. They just released their second EP with such title… Multifaceted musicians with a knack for memorable and mesmeric melodies, the band showcases their pitch perfect vocals and orchestral dynamics on highlights like opener, “City Lights,” sultry “Fireman,” and spooky “H B D” - with a surprise ending. (Meijin Bruttomesso)
A band with serious potential that we’ve abundantly covered in past issues, Ambassadors can be described as an art soul-rock act crafting short, catchy yet rockin’ tracks with strong melodies and hooks. Their gospel and blues influences are propelled by heavy percussions and vocalist Sam Harris’ powerful pipes. They also have one of the grooviest and most energetic live shows in town! (Amanda Dissinger)
#21 Black Taxi
Kind of dirty, a little poppy and VERY danceable, Black Taxi fashions catchy, punchy songs of unmatched addictiveness. This band can deliver awe-inspiring shows – at which you’ll invariably find Deli “Alt Rock” chick Meijin Bruttomesso, who one day will write a book about them. The quartet is coming off an important year, which raised their profile and increased their audience. (Paolo De Gregorio)
#26 The Men
Rock ‘n’ roll is like flair. You can’t try too hard to get it out there. It must be evident – from the rockers’ music and attitude – that it runs deep in their blood and that they just “have it.” Pitchfork-blessed The Men “have it” indeed, and so much of it that they can be considered the flagship rock ‘n’ roll band of NYC. These guys took Sonic Youth’s noise-rock lesson, stripped it of anything unnecessary, and delivered an album that rocks in ways that we haven’t heard in a long time. (Paolo De Gregorio)
Spring has sprung for well-coiffed 23-yearold Devin. Unlike the majority of today’s Brooklynites, he’s not about being aloof – and nothing about him is understated. His boisterous rock n’ roll features very NYC garagerock influences, but retains an old school charm. His dapper wardrobe plus the aforementioned hairdo evoke some sort of young Elvis persona. (Corinne Bagish)
Though not all members of Brothers are actually related, the Brooklyn-based band is nonetheless carrying on a rock ‘n’ roll fraternal tradition. Old school rockers who look like Motorhead and sound like The Allman Brothers riding motorcycles, these guys basks in their hard edge sound, stylized with leather, cigarettes, tattoos and fishnet-clad ladies nearby. (Devon Antonetti)
#51 Courtesy Tier
Having performed in bands together for the last seven years, Courtesy Tier have since pared down their act standing by a lone guitar and drum kit. But this doesn’t mean their sound is minimalistic. Rather, it seems like they’ve found a way to hone in on bluesy echoing rock with honest, often somber lyrics. Whether their tunes are constructed via seemingly generative guitar, intricate distortion, or grunge-y overlays, the duo gets the point, and more importantly the feeling across. (Corinne Bagish)
#74 Mother Feather
This lady-led, glamorous Brooklyn troupe Mother Feather let fly a very promising fourtrack EP in the fall, highlighting flight motifs and their spirited, charismatic and danceable personality. The record is a whirlwind of genres and indefinable subtleties, spanning from punchy dance tunes to old school Blues Rock. Singer Ann Courtney and bandmate Lizzie Carena, with their fearless style and unapologetic attitude, are like a modern day Joan Jett and Cherie Currie. (Jen Mergott)
Alt Ro c Top 20 k
The Deli’s Web Buzz Charts
1. Screaming Females 11. Steel Train 2. The Pretty Reckless 12. Wakey!Wakey! 3. Brand New 13. Rhett Miller 4. Taking Back Sunday 14. Semi Precious Wea pons 5. We Are Scientists 15. Jennifer Warnes 6. Skaters 16. Stereo Skyline 7. Devin 17. Morningwood 8. The Bouncing Souls 18. Alberta Cross 9. The Hold Steady 19. Ted Leo and 10. Straylight Run the Pharmacists 20. The Parlor Mob
Check out our self-ge
nerating online charts:
the deli_28 Spring 2012
indie pop P
tradition op music will never die, and has a strong Might Be They and nna Mado ie, Blond k (thin in NYC ’s surely Giants). If a song can lift your mood, there a pop element in it.
#6 Ski Lodge
The band name Ski Lodge evokes what it is meant to – a wooden cabin on a mountain, a place of warmth and protection from the outside elements. It is not garish and plastic, with whitewashed walls and chrome fixtures; instead there is a hardwood floor with thick rugs and a warm fire, keeping the atmosphere subdued and natural. Andrew Marr’s pleasant vocals present complex ideas about change and the inherent exclusion of conformity while intertwining delightful, grounded indie pop compositions. For the group’s next release, the recordings will include contributions from on stage members Jared O’Connel, John Barinaga and Tim McCoy for the first time, which will certainly be a new direction in the band’s evolution. (allison levin)
#9 The Denzels
Formerly called The Goods, The Denzels, invigorated with the name change, are ready to kick some ass with their dangerously addictive tunes. The songs are absolutely pop at heart with endearing hooks and jangly guitars, but there’s an edge that makes them emanate a New York cool that is by no means a daunting or pretentious hipness. It is actually rather astoundingly accessible. The band’s latest EP, Easy Tiger, is a clarified, upbeat amalgamation of delectable pop and rock music from the ’50s to the present day. (Nancy Chow)
#11 Kung Fu Crimewave A quintessential expression of the recently deceased Manhattan label/studio Olive Juice, Kung Fu Crimewave is a band of brothers (and sister) featuring the Kelly family of Brooklyn – “Kung Fu” Luke, “Tae Kwon” Jo and Neil Kelly. Rounding out the five-piece is Deenah Vollmer on electric mandolin and Preston Spurlock on keys. Charming male and female vocals twinkle on the band’s 2011 effort Capitol Punishment, a record filled with unpretentious melodies, crooked guitars lines and imaginative lyrics – in the best lo-fi pop tradition. (Corinne Bagish)
#19 Starlight Girls
Spooky, sexy, at times psychedelic, Starlight Girls imposes a carefully constructed facade built from French cabaret, soulful ’60s nuggets and downtempo sultriness. Their songs are invitingly simple, but hold you fast until you’re caught up in the depth of their sinister, artful dance party. Vocalists Christina B and Karys may have adopted their name from the band featured on the ’80s cartoon Jem, but their sound is built from another place entirely. (Mike Levine)
#29 North Highlands
Named after lead singer Brenda Malvini’s hometown, North Highlands manage to reconcile the distance between their west coast roots and their current east coast-based lives with Wild One. Carefully constructed and arranged, the record drifts between the impeccably melancho-pop melodies of “Bruce” and “Benefits,” and otherworldly, gently textured mid-tempos like “Lion Heart” and “Fre$ca.” Brenda’s thoughtful, innocent sounding soprano can simply make you fall in love with her band’s music. (Jen Mergott)
Though Skaters may be the new kids in town they’re hardly giving off the newbie-vibe. In fact, members of Skaters have already been around the block a few times, just in different bands. Their debut EP Schemers is a lot of fun — good old-fashioned leather jacket sporting, skinny jean wearing, punk-tinged garage pop-rock. Punchy, power chord-laden romps with sing-
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along choruses are elevated to anthems with generous reverb. If you weren’t already drinking a 40-ounce, you will be once you give them a listen. (Corinne Bagish)
With concerts that astonish audiences like the Flaming Lips but on an indie budget, Futurist draws a cult-like following with their fantastical and always unique performances. However, the collective doesn’t really need the added theatrics to draw attention to their music, but it is a well-executed bonus. On their debut War Is Yesterday, the band constructs a colorful, vivacious musical terrain filled with good vibes. (Nancy Chow)
Slowdance extracts the sweetest nostalgia as listeners look to the past with rose-colored glasses. The dreamy, pastel-painted tracks on the Light & Color EP evoke chic French pop and ’80s New Wave.
Indie P op Top 20
The Deli’s Web Buzz Charts 1. Lana Del Rey 2. fun. 3. Santigold 4. Here We Go Magic 5. MGMT 6. Vampire Weekend 7. Beirut 8. The Pierces 9. Class Actress 10. The Drums 11. Rufus Wainwright 12. Cults 13. Sufjan Stevens 14. Broken Bells 15. Oh Land 16. St. Vincent 17. Chairlift 18. The Bravery 19. Julian Casablancas 20. Ra Ra Riot
#72 Chappo Ski l odge
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Do you believe in doppelgangers? Alex Chappo does. In his band’s zonked out debut Plastique Universe, Chappo embody sci-fi bandits that screw with their doppelgangers and rock out the way Wayne Coyne fights aliens. These guys are on a mission to make sure you visit their dimension and eat their hard-rocking acid while you’re out there. (Mike Levine)
#75 My Pet Dragon
While many bands out of Brooklyn, Bushwick in particular, relish the DIY sound of buzzy amps and crunchy distortion, My Pet Dragon decided to go in the opposite direction. Presenting a sound so polished that you can see your face in it, their songs are meant to fill grandiose open arenas rather than dark art spaces. (allison levin) Photo: Harry McNally
Vocalist Quay Quinn-Settel effortlessly flits between French and English lyrics poured smoothly over charming melodies. The band artfully waltzes the line between melancholic bliss and a saccharine shower creating an infectious sense of longing. (Nancy Chow)
#67 Pass Kontrol
Framing themselves via a back story that pits pirate radio against corporate media and big oil dominance, Brooklyn’s Pass Kontrol set the stage for their arty funk-pop. The band’s best songs employ occasionally filtered falsetto vocals, funked out drum patterns and a clean, rhythmically-driven bass with textural atmospherics provided by the guitar and keys. But Pass Kontrol is way more than that, and browsing through their catalogue will reveal a kaleidoscope of influences from punk to doo-wop. (Dave Cromwell)
#93 Gross Relations
Gross Relations is a new band from Brooklyn that is, indeed, pretty sick. These four dudes rock the lo-fi guitar/bass/distorted vocals thing. You know that thing I mean; the music sounds all fuzzy and messy and, well, lo-fi! But Gross Relations also rock some surprisingly happy sounding keys over all the controlled melodic clutter. And those keys are key indeed bringing the POP out and making things sound more interesting. Gosh, pop rules, doesn’t it? (OhMyRockness.com)
#94 Idgy Dean
Listening to just “Show Me All The Sounds You Know,” you might mistakenly think Idgy Dean’s only weapons are her positive energy and beautifully sultry voice. However, stick around for harder-hitters like “Bang Bang Sun” and “Lung,” and you’ll soon discover some of the depths to this roaring personality. Dean’s vocals soar over a backdrop that can include anything from her tympani drum and electric guitars, to double-tracked vocals that pulse through your skin with an energy too dynamic to ignore. (Mike Levine)
Danelectro U2. Use your bridge pick up or single coil, which have a softer attack. Ditch anything related to boost and distortion in your pedal/amp chain. Turn your bass EQ all the way down, the treble up just before it starts sounding too brittle, and keep the mids also very low - but make sure they give the tone the right amount of body if necessary. Chorus and reverb are pretty much a must - don’t exaggerate though. Apparently Johnny Marr used to tune his guitar UP 1/2 or 1 whole step, which slightly affects the guitar tone, so you can experiment with that too.
By Paolo De Gregorio
The Jangly Guitar Sound of The ’80s The ’80s weren’t just about electronic music, ya know? That decade also produced some of the most influential indie pop bands of all times - for example: The Smiths. At the time, the band’s guitarist Johnny Marr was regarded as highly as Morrisey for his inventive parts but also for a sound which was as simple as it was unique, and which made The Smiths the jangly band par excellence. If you want to get a similar tone from your guitar, try this: assuming you don’t have a Rickenbacker, try a Telecaster or
Johnny Marr mostly used a ’54 Telecaster for The Smith’s self-titled debut album.
But of course, the performance is what conveys most of the jingle-ish feel. It’s really about playing the electric like you would play an acoustic, with rapid/jumpy but gentle strums, only hitting the thinner strings.
avant indie + noise rock F
to Dirty Projectors, the rom The Velvet Underground to Sonic Youthforward-looking tendenNYC scene has always been known for its imental NYC artists. cies. These two genres group the more exper
#8 Ava Luna
In One Wind
Led by ex-Deli aspiring intern Carlos Hernandez (he showed up one day!) avantsoul six-piece Ava Luna, after their first full-length release in March 2012, found themselves literally “pasted” on the cover of The Deli’s winter 2012 issue. Often described as “nervous soul,” the band’s music brings together opposites from the sonic spectrum: gritty sounds, distorted parts and menacing arrangements keep things tense and edgy, while pitch perfect three-part harmonies from their stellar backing singers sooth your ears. Call them a NYC paradox. (Paolo De Gregorio)
“Crash, bang, thud” go experimental pop outfit Zambri’s loud arrangements. The sisters Cristi Jo and Jessica Zambri surely spent many a rainy afternoon as children drumming incessantly on anything around them as their music is partially defined by their large scale percussion sections. Underneath the punishingly thumped drums lie dark, sinister synth arpeggios and wicked pop melodies, which blend together beautifully on their debut album House of Baasa, an accomplished and truly original piece among the recent flood of New York electronic records. (Dean Van Nguyen)
Photo: Chris Becker
Av /Noise ant Indie Rock T op 20
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XeNia R ubinos
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Illumntr exists (mentally and audibly) on a different planet. Like a tripped out sonic loom, their combination of sounds and ideas produces a multicolored patchwork where vocals weave in and out, mingling with echoes, bells and jangles, timpani and synths. These are not songs with hooks, meant to be easily digested and regurgitated. Instead, they are carefully constructed suites – pieces melding into one another with orchestral grace. (allison levin)
#69 Xenia Rubinos
Studio magic was not necessary to reveal Xenia Rubinos’ talent on her debut album Magic Trix. The record is charmingly do-it-yourself, and Rubinos proficiently and seamlessly bounds from genres and styles as she does from English to Spanish – sampling soul, funk, hip hop, rock, pop and Spanish folk. The eclectic songs effectively display the range of her pliant voice as she sweetly croons one moment and spits out blasting rhymes the next over minimalistic instrumentation. (Nancy Chow)
#77 Cuddle Magic
Composed entirely by classically trained musi-
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1. Animal Collective 2. Black Dice 3. Sonic Youth 4. Grizzly Bear 5. Dirty Projectors 6. Yeasayer 7. Yo La Tengo 8. Department of Eagles 9. Gang Gang Dance 10. A Place to Bury Strangers 11. Thurston Moore 12. Kaki King 13. The Fiery Furnaces 14. Rasputina 15. Avey Tare 16. Son Lux 17. Mice Parade 18. Zs 19. Rubblebucket 20. Marnie Stern
Photo: Shervin Lainez
cians (6 of them) Cuddle Magic has been spreading their fascinating music through the world since 2008. Their latest release, Info Nymph, is a piece of art full of stories, literature and artwork, wrapped into an unusual take on traditional songwriting. The band is both intense and soft, wrapping you snuggly with their mellow vocals while keeping you interested and connected through their quirky orchestrations. (Christina Morelli)
#84 In One Wind
Blending and often juxtaposing elements of pretty much any genre out there, from pop to doo-wop jazz, from Americana to math rock, and using all sorts of instruments to do so, Brooklyn’s In One Wind can be described as a big musical carousel. This is obviously a group of musicians, who are trying to find new sonic paths within the pop realm, and their compositions succeed in being at once entertaining and interesting, which both pop and experimental music often fail to achieve. (Mike Levine)
Marrying the rediscovery of ritual music with noise rock, industrial duo YVETTE carves out their tribal energy with religious devotion and knife-stabbing intensity. Their debut selftitled EP is a primal meditation without all the psychedelic trappings. Making no apologies to analog originalists, their construction of LOUD, grinding, sawtooth synths is all digital. However, I doubt anyone will mind how they’ve built their saturated, washy textures. In a town blanketed in beach bands, YVETTE is a much-needed wake-up call. (Mike Levine)
#100 Happy New Year Happy New Year doesn’t worry about making a noisy mess; things will work themselves out eventually. In the opener to her two-track EP Twins, singer/songwriter/noise-maker Eleanor Logan allows a deep bed of noise to envelope her airy vocals entirely for a good minute and a half prior to the drums kicking in. But once things get going, her works take on a life all their own. (Mike Levine)
Metal Top 20
par he genre of the suburban teenager , metal excellence, in the last few yearsin NYC has been growing in popularity to it by – also because of the coverage given local indie rock blogs like Brooklyn Vegan.
METAL SCENE IN NYC
2011 proved to be a productive and lively year for the heavy music scene in the NYC area. Clubs such as the newly opened St. Vitus in Greenpoint, the tried and true Trash Bar, the charming subterranean vibe of The Charleston in Williamsburg and the triad of The Delancey, Cake Shop and Fontana’s in the L.E.S. graciously hosted shows for the wide array of artists who fit the hard and loud tag. Hard work paid off for hometown acts such as Hull, Primitive Weapons, Mutilation Rites, and Hung, who made enough noise on stages across Brooklyn and Manhattan for indie labels like The End and Prosthetic to take notice and snatch them up. Bands such as the recently revamped Thinning The Herd (#68), the modern metal juggernaut Fall of The Albatross (#70) and the dearly departed Exemption (#39) raised the bar of musicianship in the scene with every performance while local faves Killcode, Anaka, PUI, Charetta, and Panzie flirted with breaking down doors to the mainstream by packing the larger venues in Manhattan with their anthemic hard rock and Big Apple attitudes in check and in full effect. Precious Metal Monday celebrated its sixth year as the staple at Lit on Monday nights, hosting the best of the underground’s buzzworthy national acts as well as local metal bands Tiger Flowers, Alekhine’s Gun, Flourishing, and Irony of Chaos, steadfastly shaking foundations of every building within a three-block radius. The hardcore and punk scene also experienced a strong year – thanks to performances
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Thinning The Herd
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1. Thursday 2. Type O Negative 3. Baroness 4. Liturgy 5. Dub Trio 6. Made Out of Babies 7. Early Man 8. Brutal Truth 9. Dillinger Escape Plan 10. A Storm of Light 11. Winter 12. Car Bomb 13. Hull 14. Acrassicauda 15. Batillus 16. ELKS 17. Hung 18. IKILLYA 19. Exemption 20. Borgo Pass Check out our self-generating onlin e charts:
both on stage and behind the scenes from bands such as Abject, Yo! Scunt, On the Offense, Straphangers, and A Truth, working together to maintain genuine DIY ethics and sensibilities by putting together kick-ass shows anywhere and everywhere across the boroughs. Other notable acts that made waves in 2011 include grimy metal mavens Doomsday Mourning, hardcore mainstays The Last Stand, the crushing extreme metal of Thorn Constellation, throbbing industrial rockers The Amatory Murder, hard rock chameleon Kore Rozzik and dirty groove metallers Cousin Sleaze that make this scene both diverse and vibrant. (Mike SOS)
no he electronic scene has been expanding like it’s use beca ly most – nnium mille new the other in a with n perso one by ed creat be music that can st endless... laptop. The sub-genre ramifications are almo
Jonathan Dagan – a.k.a. J.Viewz – doesn’t do things by the book. He writes the book. And after watching his Grammy-nominated project for his second full-length Rivers and Homes unfold before our eyes, we see why. The album was 100% powered by fan love and funds. The end result is a seamless surge of eclectic electro-moods infused with immediacy and flowing with euphonious ease from breakbeats to trance, to funk and reggae. (Dean Van Nguyen)
#58 Ice Choir
Do I detect a slight English-twang in Kurt Feldman’s voice on “Two Rings”? It’s hardly surprising. Judging from the track’s complex array of keyboard riffs and dramatic synth swoons, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s drummer is clearly a major New Wave enthusiast. And if you’re going to try to emulate genre heavyweights like Duran Duran and The Pet Shop Boys, why not sing like them too, right? Released as a single, the track and its B-side are thus far Feldman’s only ventures as Ice Choir, but still deserving of a mention because, originality be damned, “Two Rings” is absolutely brilliant. (Dean Van Nguyen)
#59 St. Lucia
Jean-Philip Grobler rejects the idea that he is a synth-pop artist, citing his equal use of electronic and non-electronic instrumentation to support the claim. There are prominent piano chords, wandering guitar riffs and the odd sax solo littered throughout his sound, but with programmed beats providing the heart and earthly synths bringing the soul, the South African – who releases music under the moniker St. Lucia – does create instrumentals of great electronic beauty. (Dean Van Nguyen)
#62 Caged Animals
Originally the solo project of Vincent Cacchione, Caged aged Animals Animals evolved from a handful of rough, acoustic recordings to the beautiful, synthetic soundscapes so lushly laid out on their recent album Eat Their Own. The pulsating beat of “Teflon Heart” scores the tale of a modern romance, while “Piles of $$$,” draws on what made Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak such a daring pop record. It also goes some of the way to explaining why The New Yorker so excellently described the band as sounding “something like a hip-hop-influenced Velvet Underground.” (Dean Van Nguyen)
While limited budgets push many synth-propelled indie bands to utilize the pocket technology in creating minimalist arrangements and compact beats, Papertwin’s recordings are closer to stadium rock histrionics. Singer Max Decker’s evocative vocals float over lush instrumentals tying everything together and helping Papertwin stand mighty tall among their peers. The band’s career may just be a single five-track release deep, but the Brooklyn four-piece’s EP Porcelain is about as fully-formed as any electronic band’s debut in recent memory. (Dean Van Nguyen)
#64 Penguin Prison
Chris Glover cracks me up. He releases music under the ridiculous moniker Penguin Prison. His lyrics are often wryly comic, and he has an affinity for the sardonic, as evident on the single “Don’t Fuck With My Money,” an anthem for the 99%. At his best, Glover’s funky grooves, passionate falsettos and clean production methods equate to some incredible jams, 11 of which are compiled on Penguin Prison’s self-titled debut album. It’s a party record if ever there was one. (Dean Van Nguyen)
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Electro nic Top 20
#66 Tayisha Busay
The Deli’s Web Buzz Charts
Currently on a hiatus, Williamsburg hipsters’ favorite party band Tayisha Busay has proven, with their new album Focus/ Virus, that they are much more than just some kind of weird, hilarious cabaret act. Songs like “Nothing’s Happening” and “Heartmeat/Lovemuscle” are pure electronic pop gems from a record that’s as consistent as it is varied. (Mike Levine)
1. Twin Shadow 2. LCD Soundsystem 3. Sleigh Bells 4. Scissor Sisters 5. Blood Orange 6. Penguin Prison 7. Ratatat 8. Neon Indian 9. Tanlines 10. VHS or Beta 11. Battles 12. Amon Tobin 13. St. Lucia 14. Caged Animals 15. Lemonade 16. El-P 17. CREEP 18. Sepalcure 19. Hooray for Earth 20. Com Truise
Straight out of Australia, Wazu duo Matt and Rizz make vicious glam jams propelled by murky, grating synths and ground-moving guitar riffs that equate to an absolute horror show of dark electronica. Having cut their teeth performing in other groups in their native land, the band now resides in New York, and locals have embraced their homicidal sound after the pair released a series of self-produced singles last year. Their debut album is due to drop this summer with Titus Andronicus producer Kevin McMahon at the helm. (Dean Van Nguyen)
St. l ucia
Check out our self-generating online
#88 Blonde Valhalla
Coming together just last year, Brian Aiken, Andrew Owens and Birdie Aiken – collectively known as Blonde Valhalla – very quickly put together Dance of Youth, a Flock of Seagulls-esque five-track collection of retro synth-pop tunes. Predominantly written by Aiken (a former member of the excellent indie rock band Suckers) and built on cheap keyboard licks, the EP is a rough but bright first offering. (Dean Van Nguyen)
#91 Nicholas Jaar
Ridiculously young New York-born, Chilean-bred producer Nicholas Jaar was just 20 years old when he dropped his critically-acclaimed debut album Space Is Only Noise. The sultry record drew from the softest reaches of techno, incorporating jazzy piano chords, soul samples and other wellchosen flourishes. This tantalizing concoction mesmerized music critics, and the record drew praise from all quarters including a four-star rating from The Guardian. As the world waits for a follow-up, Jaar has been a busy boy, running his own label Clown & Sunset, as well as currently studying comparative literature at Brown University. (Dean Van Nguyen)
Standing out from the crowd of eighties dance music revivalists, Brooklyn trio Psychobuildings pull from the darker side of the New Wave genre. Their music is a psychedelic blend of heavy basslines, synthetic beats, funky guitar licks and leader Peter LaBier’s vigorous vocals. Sometimes sinister, but always danceable, the band has been showcasing their six-track selftitled EP with an energetic live show that highlights not only their music, but LaBier’s impressive dance moves. It’s something he’s not afraid to speak about on the record. (Dean Van Nguyen)
Photo: Billy Kidd
placements, or as random “melody generators” if you slow them down a lot.
By Paolo De Gregorio
Fun with Arpeggiators Arpeggiators are one of the most fun and “ancient” electronic music tools, and consist in editable algorithms that play the notes of a chord following a regular sequenced pattern. Like anything trendy in the 80s, arpeggiators are coming back with a vengeance these days. If you are not into their very mechanical “feel,” you can try and use them to build textural backgrounds, using more than one of them in different stereo
7 Aliens Catanya Arpeggiator VSTi plug-in features 1200 built-in patterns capable of transforming simple chords into complex MIDI phrases in real time.
In the last few years, most DAWs have introduced very useful simple MIDI arpeggiators, which can apply this effect to any VST or MIDI instrument you own. But if you are looking for something a little deeper and more involved, you should check out the 7 Aliens Catanya Arpeggiator VSTi plug-in, which features 1200 built-in ready-to-use patterns capable of transforming simple chords into complex MIDI phrases in real time.
psych rock + dream pop P
communal spirit of the ’60s sychedelia can embody the sound of the free, and dream pop movements, aze shoeg the of or the more private dreaminess for quite some time. which have been staples of the NYC sound
#14 Fort Lean
Fort Lean conceptualizes sonic escape in a parallel utopian world where you can still see the skyline but not hear any cars, and the weather is always perfect. Isn’t that Portlandia? Their lead single “Sunsick” off their latest 7” builds on a tom tom heavy drum pattern as single stroked guitar chords chime down over distant synthesizer pads. Passionate vocals give way to atmospheric lead guitar figures, while its b-side “The Precinct” is delivered with measured pacing by way of a deceptively calming descending chord progression, until the big coda crashes you over the head with layers of guitars, cymbals and voices. (Dave Cromwell)
#35 Field Mouse
Emotionally engaging, carefully crafted dream pop is the appealing sonic domain of Field Mouse. The formidable songwriting/recording team of Andrew Futral and Rachel Browne create aural landscapes that can melt the hardest of hearts. Having expanded to a four-piece with bassist Danielle DePalma and drummer Geoff Lewit, the group has been playing numerous live shows and steadily building a loyal fan base. (Dave Cromwell) Ex
#54 DIIV (formerly DIVE)
DIVE, who recently changed their name to DIIV, plunges into an aquatic soundscape of blur-soaked loops and echoing underwater vocals. Initial band member Zachary Cole Smith was the guitarist for Captured Tracks labelmates Beach Fossils, who certainly share a similar aesthetic. Their vocals unwind into themselves – male and female voices come together and fall back apart – like jellyfish in a twilight tide. (allison levin)
#55 The Beets
At first glance, The Beets evoke ’90s nostalgia: The Beets were The Beatles-esque group on the show, Doug, with hits like “Killer Tofu” and “I Need More Allowance.” The (nonfictional) Beets do touch upon the ‘90s, wrapping themselves in layers of reverb and droning guitars – joyfully discordant like early Pavement, whom they’ve opened for. However, it is the ’60s in which they truly dwell, albeit somewhat anachronistically. (allison levin)
#57 Dead Leaf Echo
Dead Leaf Echo fashions ethereal music in the spirit of ’90s dreamgaze bands like Chapterhouse and Ride with its emphasis on atmospheric guitars, distinct percussive momentum, cathedral-inspired vocal harmonies and dramatic build-ups. This is also in part due to legendary 4AD producer John Fryer (Depeche Mode, Cocteau Twins), who added his mixing touch to the group’s latest recordings. (Dave Cromwell)
With their deep, droney psych rock, Himalaya reference ’90s era artists like Spaceman 3, Spiritualized and the Brian Jonestown Massacre as kindred spirits. Having just released their debut The Reason We Start Fires, lead single “Day 6” sets a deep slow groove, like lazy waves rising and falling on the ocean. Softly sung verses give way to big choruses of “ahhhhhs.” There’s an oddly nostalgic feel to it all – coupled with psychedelic vibes that mirror Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. (Dave Cromwell)
Indyns makes dancey music for people who like spending time alone in their bedroom. Moody and atmospheric, singer/songwriter Adam Jones and
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bandmates produce a dream state formed from the simplest of elements: synth, beats and reverb-drenched guitars. Somehow these elements come together to produce catchy fog machine dance anthems perfect for your next pillow party. (Mike Levine)
#86 Ex Cops
Brooklyn duo Ex Cops plays music that some have categorized as devotional tropical goth, however, a thorough listen to their material reveals a more complex sound. Older songs like “Broken Chinese Chairz” point towards the
minimalistic New Wave stylings of the late ’80s. The mysteriously titled “S&HSXX” clacks with a percussive force reminiscent of Brian Eno’s “In Dark Trees.” Their latest tracks also differ greatly from one another. “You Are a Lion, I Am a Lamb” revisits the dreamy, uptempo melodies of the Madchester era and dips them in a mid-fi sonic context, while “The Millionaire” is an arresting dream pop gem which halves the bpm and doubles up in reverb. (Dave Cromwell)
Psych/ Dream Top 20 Pop
The Deli’s Web Buzz Charts 1. Frankie Rose 2. Bear In Heaven 3. Suckers 4. Woods 5. Widowspeak 6. Real Estate 7. TV on the Radio 8. The Antlers 9. The Raveonettes 10. School of Seven Bells 11. Panda Bear 12. Crystal Stilts 13. Asobi Seksu 14. Psychic TV 15. Ducktails 16. My Best Fiend 17. Amen Dunes 18. The Big Sleep 19. Minks 20. The Depreciation Guild Check out our self-generating online charts: thedelimagazine.com /charts
“A good band is hard to find” is not how the saying goes, but it is the philosophy that Twitchers have wholeheartedly ascribed to. Their website (www.bloodofjesusrecords.com/twitchers) cannot be found on the main page of their label. There is no bio, no photo, no links to social media, and no direct email. Music videos are collages from vintage films (coulrophobics should avoid “Loco”). Like any good mystery, Twitchers are dark and brooding. Their drony reverb rolls in like a dense fog. (allison levin)
#90 Young Boys
With their sound evolving over the last two years, Young Boys appear ready for a more visible profile. “Fell From Grace” brings together shimmering guitars with live crack snare drum and twisted carnival organs. “It’s Alright” lumbers along a slithering groove that most certainly does pay homage to Scotland’s Brothers Reid, while “High Tide” drives forward on buzzing keyboards and deep toned vocals making it as “psych” as anything that, say a band like The Black Angels might do. (Dave Cromwell)
Hit hard by the sudden death of their bassist Raymond Blanco towards the end of the year, OhNoMoon’s 2011 was bittersweet at best. Until then, this Astoria-based psych rockers had released the single “Sleeping Limbs” and an outstanding cover of Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes,” laying a fast path around town, which culminated in a sold out Deli show at CMJ. Hopefully they’ll give us some new recordings soon. (Paolo De Gregorio)
#99 Spanish Prisoners
Spanish Prisoners’ album Gold Fools is a hypnagogic journey of competing influences – one-half vintage synth wilderness, one-half driving rock riffs. The band’s washy vibe will leave its “tremolo-haze symphonies” (their words...) on that vulnerable sweet spot of yours – found right between the headphones. (Mike Levine)
used on vocals and guitars but might work on any rhythmic instrument: set up a rather long delay on an effect bus, synch it to the song’s tempo. Keep the main vocals dry until you hear a word in the song you may want to highlight (make sure it’s in a note that works with the following chords). Edit the vocals’ “send” automation values so that the signal is sent to the bus ONLY when that word is sung: during playback you’ll hear the word repeating a few times after the first occurrence. Adjust the delay’s volume, tempo and feedback so that it works in the arrangement.
By Paolo De Gregorio
Experimenting with Effect Plug-Ins Audio Plug In effects give musicians with experimental tendencies a lot of options to play with. Here are a few cool ways to create some original sonics.
EVER CHANGING BACKGROUNDS (OR DRUMS): Create three or four radically different
effect buses featuring several plug ins as inserts, and using your DAW’s mixer automation, slowly (or quickly if you wish) change the ways a background sound is affected. For a more noticeable effect try progressing from a more mono to a radically stereo sound. On Radiohead’s records you can hear this idea applied to drums: drum sends are switched on and off abruptly,
Experiment with feeding drum loops with The Prosoniq Orange Vocoder.
creating sudden bursts of a distorted version of the main drum sound, often panned hard left or right.
THE HANGING DELAY: This effect (very common in dub and some psych rock) is commonly
“VOCODE” YOUR DRUM LOOPS: We are all familiar with how vocoders interact with the human voice. But this weird robotic effect does very interesting things to any more or less rhythmic signal. Experiment through feeding drum loops instead of vocals for some truly different textures. The Prosoniq Orange Vocoder (pictured) works particularly well for this purpose.
rock has robably now over its peak period, indie years. turned into an umbrella term overs the a darker The Deli uses it to describe artist withtense . rock sound who keep their songs edgy and
ARMS is one of the first NYC bands I ever fell for. The song was 2009’s “Heat and Hot Water,” and the setting was a NYU dorm room. Naturally, I was thrilled when I heard about the band’s latest album 2011’s Summer Skills, a beautiful and blissful melancholy (in the best kind of way) stirring up nostalgic feelings that you can’t quite put your finger on, but are powerful and passionate like the best summer memories. (Amanda Dissinger)
Bleak like Ian Curtis (but with a much higher range), danceable like... New Order (but twice as zonked out), Grassfight expands on the freaky shoegazer vibe in a way Interpol never got around to. Wtih a name based on a tragic battle during the Texas Revolution, their 2011 EP Icon is bound to be confrontational. But don’t let that scare you, singer Nathan Forster and band make the kind of lush, devastating music too catchy to keep you down. (Mike Levine)
#23 The Can’t Tells
Crafting catchy, lo-fi indie rock songs in the vein of Pavement and Lemonheads, The Can’t Tells released their latest self-titled album in February via their Bandcamp, and since then have been performing all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. The trio’s simplistic approach to indie rock music (and killer live show) makes them easy to instantly connect with and get excited by, which is rare for a new band. (Amanda Dissinger)
MiniBoone incorporates a melodic punk rock sound (think early We Are Scientists) with charismatic vocals that leap across decibel levels and emotions with a balletic agility. Imagine the enthusiasm of Say Anything’s Max Bernis combined with a healthy dose of David Byrne’s erratic vocal styling. (allison levin)
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Photo: Brian Park
Indie R ock Top 20
The C an’t Tells
#49 Brick + Mortar
The ghostly boardwalk town of Asbury Park, NJ is home to famous oddities – smiling Tillie, the 1920’s era Convention Hall, and a slew of musical acts, including Brick + Mortar. The drums-and-guitars-only duo stacks their sound with electro beats and totally unique vocals. Lead singer Brandon Asraf keeps it theatrical and playful, using his voice as an ostentatious instrument to make things more interesting with every distorted word and wacky shout. (Corinne Bagish)
#61 Lissy Trullie
The Deli’s Web Buzz Charts 1. The Walkmen 2. The Strokes 3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs 4. The National 5. Interpol 6. The Rapture 7. The Men 8. The Morning Benders 9. We Are Augustines 10. White Rabbits 11. Yellow Ostrich 12. Blonde Redhead 13. Matt and Kim 14. Eleanor Friedberger 15. Julian Plenti 16. Cymbals Eat Guitars 17. French Kicks 18. Japanther 19. The Front Bottoms 20. Bear Hands Check out our self-generating online char
Lissy Trullie’s husky voice evokes another rocking redhead, vocalist and guitarist Marcie Bolen (an original member of The Von Bondies), and she also sings in a similarly jaded tone. However, “It’s Only You, Isn’t It” off her recent full-length debut, opens with a plaintive cry that sticks with you. Her emotional depth is clear, though it isn’t always openly apparent. (allison levin)
Cheeky, slightly sneering vocals with enough occasional growly rock undercurrent to keep us on our toes is reason enough to start listening to Brooklyn trio Appomattox), who boasts one of the best rock shows in town. What keeps us glued to their tunes are the messages injected – quite palatably – into the Appomattox’s upbeat and tightly melodic post-punk. (Corinne Bagish)
Bugs in The Dark
In the track “Nobody Eats My Dinner,” singer Andrew McGovern is way too hard on himself. At first lamenting how nobody likes him, he eventually gets lost in its driving rhythm instead; taking the song to a loud, hard-jamming place similar to the destinations that The Strokes used to carry me. Like the track “Summer Solstice,” that takes you on a long ride but leaves you in about the same place that it began, Motive deals with life’s revolving frustrations the only way they know how – channeling their angst through heartbreak riffs and confessional lyrics. (Mike Levine)
#102 Bugs In The Dark Photo: Collier Schorr
Bugs in the Dark is a group that wraps its sound up tightly and unleashes it with equal fury. The three-piece lays down charging riffs under singer Karen Rockower’s soul-shaking vocals weaving a punishing set together that takes no prisoners. (Mike Levine)
funk + hip hop
nted his category also includes dance-orie world music genres like Afrobeat, which have been witnessing a renaissance in NYC in the last few years.
#22 A$AP Rocky
The kid’s got flow. Content-wise A$AP Rocky sticks primarily to the gunshots and bravado prevalent in mainstream street and gangsta rap, but his delivery sets him apart as a hellion who’s done his homework. The first rapper to break a perfect synthesis of Houston-born Chop-and-Screw and Harlem Street Rap, A$AP Rocky seamlessly switches flows with the artifice of a vet MC. Though he may lend a bit much credence to all the “Purple” and “Swag” he’s endowed with, he’s not afraid to include a little insight into the game and his own struggle and hustle. (BrokeMC)
#31 Hidden Fees
Retro maestros Hidden Fees are so lodged in the seventies they’ve seemingly rejected all modern methods of releasing music. There’s no streaming music profile, just a couple of limited edition 12” vinyls that house the band’s smokin’ hot brand of funk. This rather loose collective of musicians tends to produce elongated jam session of night club grooves, and it’s led by Ivan Sunshine of Ghost Exits and Love As Laughter, as well as Tom Gluibizzi from Psychic Ills. (Dean Van Nguyen)
#41 Deathrow Tull
Deathrow Tull is the self-proclaimed “rattlesnake in your lemonade, the whiskey on your ice cream, the underwear on your monkey, and the dancing shoes on your vibrator.” These wonderful weirdos provide clever, tongue-in-cheek rap – bordering on funk, bordering on electro? Whatever it is, they’ve
the deli_42 Spring 2012
The Deli’s Web Bu 1. Beastie Bo ys 2. NAS 3. Kid Cudi 4. Jay-Z 5. 50 Cent 6. The Lonely Island 7. Fabolous 8. Childish Ga mbino 9. MF Doom 10. RZA
The Sway Machinery found a very unique blend of wholly interesting debauchery. (allison levin)
#53 The Sway Machinery
The Sway Machinery have built an unlikely combination of Jewish Cantorial music with afrobeat grooves, and the result expresses a hidden energy common to both. Klezmer and Malian tribal music aren’t usually said in the same sentence, but this band made it their mission when recording with the legendary Timbuktu songstress, Khaira Arby. This is a group that honors different traditions while bringing them together into something new. (Mike Levine)
#68 Superhuman Happiness
If the band’s penchant for bright costumes doesn’t draw you in, Superhuman Happiness’
Check out ou
Funk/ Hip Top 2 Hop 0
11. A$AP Rock y 12. Das Racist 13. DMX 14. Busta Rhym es 15. Wu-Tang Cla n 16. Mark Ronso n 17. Mos Def 18. Matisyahu 19. Method Ma n 20. Lloyd Banks
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peculiar yet enchanting genre fusion will. The band’s mastermind Stuart Bogie’s roots in Antibalas are evident as he leads the group into an ever-changing musical adventure through funk, afrobeat, pop, folk, jazz and rock. This dabbling in various genres may have to do with the impressive laundry list of artists Bogie has worked with including TV on the Radio and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (Nancy Chow)
#80 The Stepkids
Recently blogged by none other than Thom Yorke on Radiohead’s website, The Stepkids have taken The Parliament and Funkadelic Psych/Funk lesson and put it to good use for a generation that never got to take a ride aboard that crazy spaceship. The trio is tightly pairing the ghosts of Sly Stone and The Bee Gees together with Free Design and The Fifth Dimension. Not a small task... (Mike Levine)
MusLic Here Tony from The Dirty Grand
By Meijin Bruttomesso Photos by Lucas Garzoli
s one strolls down 8th Avenue scanning the rows of unassuming high rises and approaches 38th street, the faint sounds of crashing cymbals, rumblings of bass, and echoes of singers belting seem to emanate out of thin air. Finally, at the base of 584 8th Avenue, the source of the noises becomes clear; it’s The Music Building!
Aptly named, The Music Building is an ant farm of sorts for upand-coming bands. Except for allowing artists to actually live there, it offers secure, 24 hour access for writing and rehearsing, loading and unloading from shows, storing equipment safely, teaching lessons, and throwing the occasional gettogether. Situated in an area of town that has near non-existent noise complaints, bands can rest easy about their erratic hours or frustrated neighbors. Conveniently located by Port Authority and Penn Station, the 12 story Manhattan structure is available for artists from all over the Tristate area. “Officially opened as a facility strictly for musicians in July 1979 by Jack P. Lerner and taken over by his son, Roget Lerner, in 2010, the building is the largest rehearsal space in New York, offering 69 studios in its 42,000 square-foot capacity.
The Blackfires & Atom Strange Music Building mural by Luster Kaboom
Approximately 150 to 200 bands of every genre imaginable rent out the space each month, and in turn, sublease further to other artists, creating a huge network and sense of musical community. Some of New York and the World’s most renowned artists have jammed within the Manhattan location’s walls, including pride and joys, Madonna, Interpol, Living Colour, They Might Be Giants, The Bravery, The Strokes, who are leaving this month after 14 years in the building, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, members of Kiss and The Talking Heads, Billy Idol, The Fleshtones, Joey Ramone, The Smithereens, Blondie, and the list goes on. So, who will be the next legend to add to that list? Here are some of the artists currently quaking The Music Building.
Last Spring, Social Hero and Vinyette shared The Deli’s feature on Music Building artists. Channeling classic rock and classic metal, Social Hero bring back the power chords and power stances, while injecting melodic vocals ands a sense of fun, perpetuating hte spirit of rock alive. Vinyette’s edge lies in their intricate, ever-changing rhythms, and progressive style.
The Dirty Grand produce dark and haunting electrodance rock. The NYC trio, consisting of Lou Reed’s touring guitarist and former members of BM Linx, create a grungy and echoing soundscape on their EP, Facedown. The Blackfires are yet another rock troupe to keep an ear on. Members hailing from all corners of the globe unite over a love for bluesy riffs, devilish guitar solos, falsetto vocals, and smashing drums. Headbangers can rejoice in the resuscitation of a spirited metal attitude. Nominee for Artist of the Month on the Deli, Lightouts indeed touch on the lighter side of the music spectrum. The two man band
Brothers & The Tye Trybe
recently released a new single, “The Cure of Shyness,” which showcases their upbeat and ethereal Indie pop and multitasking abilities. Hip-hop infused electronic melded with R&B grooves backed by
contagious beats define Inky Jack. These four Brooklynites know how to create an infectious dance track, and their self-titled EP is available and fitting for any night club around town. Bronx boys, The Tye Trybe combine the grittiness and laid back energy of garage rock, a distinguishable vocal growl, and underlying soulful vibe. The three-piece also pays homage to their roots in Spanish Harlem, adding a unique flair to their individual sound. As the number of bands rises throughout NY and beyond, the need for rehearsal spots similar to The Music Building grows. According to Roget Lerner, “The goal going forward is to provide more resources, beyond rehearsal space, that will allow the emerging bands to elevate their chances of success. This includes production of hi-quality videos, media partnerships, etc.” While that is in the works, we can all thank The Music Building for setting an example, supporting artists and their creations, and keeping music alive and well.
Visit The Music Building on Facebook to hear about upcoming events:
kitchen recording equipment news
Line 6 POD HD Desktop Review by Gabriel Lamorie
ine 6 has developed their own high definition amp modeling technology, and packed it into their POD HD line of guitar multi-effects modules. And this HD Modeling technology has been moved to the desktop with the introduction of the POD HD Desktop.
The POD HD ($400) is a small desktop multi-effects unit that contains 22 HD amp models based on some of the world’s most iconic amps and over 100 “M-Class” effects containing 19 delays, 23 modulations, 17 distortions, 12 compressors and EQs, 26 filters and 12 reverbs. The amps and effects can be combined in a massive amount of ways, making the possibilities for customized tones nearly endless. All of the processing takes place in the internal DSP engine - so no load is put on your computer when recording. The POD HD has a USB connection to facilitate interfacing with any DAW software. The unit also includes a S/PDIF digital output for recording. The sample rate can be configured in the internal settings from 44.1 kHz up to 96 kHz. No need to worry about latency because when recording via USB, the signal actually splits – sending one signal to the computer through USB and another signal directly out of the main outputs and headphone jack. The USB connection also allows for direct playback of your DAW through the POD HD’s outputs.
Playing the POD HD live is a pretty awesome experience. The portability and setup time alone is a huge benefit. Whenever I play my PRS SE Custom guitar live, I am usually mixing on my own gear so I found that controlling my sound by plugging directly into a snake or mixer out of the left and right outputs of the POD HD is great, due to the fact that the mixer has absolute control over my guitar tone. If you aren’t partial to the idea of another person controlling your axe, but you still want the flexibility of the effect models and signal chains of the POD HD, Line 6 has included output modes that tweak the actual signal so that you can achieve the best results when plugging into your own external amp. Not only that, but Line 6 also includes pre amp versions of all 22 HD modeled amps for the best signal to noise ratio.
Eventide SPACE Multi-Effects Pedal
Review by Travis Harrison
Eventide’s Space ($499) is the company’s play to put a lot of that crazy sonic diversity into a stompbox small enough to stuff in a gig bag. The Space also works equally well as a piece of outboard gear. Firstly allow me to simply declare that this thing sounds good. Most of the sounds I was able to coax from it were convincing, full range and unique, be they swirling vortexes of galactic-apeshit or far more reasonable plates and rooms.
“If you’re looking for a little bit of that Phil Collins gated reverb for your three and half bar tom-tom fill, try the ‘Phil McCavity’ preset, which really nails the ‘In the Air Tonight’ sound.”
ome of my favorite go-to effects originate in the Eventide H3000. A great deal of the Eventide experience comes from tweaking and interacting with the hundreds of presets that come loaded in the box. They have funny names like “lush life” and “my bloody valentine” and “canyon” and they cover a lot of ground from subtle, usable room verbs to ridiculous, head-up-your-arse fun-blasts that aren’t so much usable as spatial effects as they are eartickling time suckers that you learn to love.
Some of my favorite patches in this sucker were the crazy ones. My friend Nate Martinez from Thieving Irons used the Space as a guitar pedal on a session at my studio and found a beautiful delay called “Nero’s Ascent” which seems to finish with a puff of pitched up reverb. It was a heavenly sound. I found myself going to the “Hey Honey” preset quite a bit for a haunting pitched reverb that added a real mysterious color to some mixes. The “Spicy Spring” sounds like a spring-reverb on steroids which, to spring-reverb addicts like me, isn’t a bad thing. If you wanna take your mix on a one-way trip to the 1980s, the Space can take you there. “1985 Damage” is a wacky mid-’80s styled verb that when applied sparingly can induce a little Reagan-era spatial euphoria. And if you’re looking for a little bit of that Phil Collins gated reverb for your three and half bar tom-tom fill, try the “Phil McCavity” preset, designed by Alan Moulder and Flood, which really nails the “In the Air Tonight” sound.
kitchen recording equipment news
Toontrack EZmix 2 Review by Zach McNees
Zmix 2 ($149) by Toontrack is a powerful yet simple mixing tool for focusing and enhancing the sound of tracks with a wide variety of mixing presets for inserts, busses, aux sends and FX creating a quick and headache-free “set and moveon” mixing experience. This is a Native-only plug-in, available in RTAS, VST and AU formats.
EZmix 2’s cascading preset options allow users to refine the sound they’re looking for based on a variety of presets starting with Instrument Groups. Drums, Bass, Guitars, Keyboards, Percussion, Strings, Vocals and others in a “Miscellaneous” category will get you started. You can then refine each of these selections to a specific instrument. The search can be refined further with a selections of amps, effects, musical genres and mixer options for Insert, Groups Bus or Aux Send allowing users to find what they’re looking for quickly. I started by auditioning electric guitar presets on a clean guitar track that was sounding a little flat. Each preset in EZmix 2 has a very unique and sculpted sound. Since the control over the sound of each preset is minimal, if the preset you’ve selected doesn’t immediately strike you as the right sound for your instrument, your best bet is to continue searching. I settled on a preset called “Guitar with Delay” that engages EQ, Compressor, Chorus and Delay effects which were finely tuned and well blended. This particular preset
EZmix 2’s cascading preset options allow users to refine the sound they’re looking for based on a variety of presets starting with Instrument Groups.
sculpted a healthy amount of low midrange out of the guitar, boosted the high-end slightly and compressed the overall signal noticeably but not to the point of overkill. Chorus and adjustable delay finish off the sound instantly making the guitar lush and dreamy while widening an originally mono track into a unique stereo sound. I spent some time applying EZmix 2 to some of my drum tracks. Settings for Kick allowed me to audition several different choices, each blending EQ, compression and Aural Exciter-style sonic enhancement effects for a sound that ran the gamut from scooped and punchy to soft and retro. I ended up selecting an “Enhanced Metal Kick” preset that seemed to work really well on a vintage style kick drum for an Americana-type track.
For the more reviews, visit www.sonicscoop.com!
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Burriss Boostiest Review by Gus Green
he Burriss Boostiest 2.5 is as unique as its name suggests. It’s not an overdrive or a boost, it’s both. I often claim to be a “both guy” myself so this pedal sort of had me at hello. The left half of the pedal is a Tube Screamer-esque overdrive circuit while the right side is a fully adjustable clean gain pre-amp. The right side’s controls include Input, Highs, and Output. The Input knob adjusts gain control and was designed to be a set-it-and-forgetit style knob that makes a bit of noise when adjusting the setting when active. The website suggests turning the knob with the pedal either bypassed or off. What it actually does is adjust the bias, and the knob itself clicks as opposed to sweeps. I couldn’t find much info about what happens at each click but to my ears the more you turn it clockwise the more gain you add to the signal. You can then use the Output knob to adjust the level of girth that is added to the tone. The Highs knob is used to then adjust the brightness of the tone as gain is increased. One could roll this control back to tame the high frequencies as gain is added to the signal. I really liked the Boostier side of the pedal for my particular rig because most of the time I just want to emulate the sound of my amp’s drive as I increase the gain knob. The “Boostier” side does a great job at this. The left side of the pedal is said to be a Tube Screamer-style overdrive. The controls are Gain, Tone and Level. The object here is to crank the Gain knob to get the desired amount of overdrive, then tame the overall volume with the level control. The Tone knob is used to roll-off
making the world a better sound ing place.
the deli_48 Spring 2012
The left half of the pedal is a Tube Screamer-esque overdrive circuit while the right side is a fully adjustable clean gain pre-amp.
the grinding highs caused by the overdrive. When played I would say that this side of the pedal sounds much better than a stock TSstyle overdrive. It sounds more like a modded Tube Screamer. It just overdrives nicely without sucking the life out of the signal. It provides a creamy overdrive associated with tubes. What I found to really provide some interesting results was to run the effects together. In this regard the signal hits the pre-amp first and then the result hits the overdrive channel. This is kind of backwards compared to how it typically works. I found the results to be interesting and hard to explain but let’s just say it gets pretty rude. Definitely try this out at home.
10 jay street suite 405 brooklyn, ny 11201 (718) 797-0177 www.joelambertmastering.com
li’s Check out the dex blog! stomp bo
DigiTech iStomp Review by Gus Green
he DigiTech iStomp is an innovative concept in the guitar pedal world, offering a digital stomp box that’s really a jack for all trades for your pedal board, thanks to the magic of emulation technology. The box offers iOS interaction supports for the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad running iOS 4 or later. The idea is that you download the effects pedal software for each individual stomp box model from the iOS device to the pedal one at a time, to essentially turn the iStomp into the desired effect pedal. In a matter of minutes I downloaded the free Stomp Shop app, used to store all of your effect pedal options, and plugged the 30-pin cable from my iPhone 4S to the iStomp. The individual effects range from $5 to $10 and take about 40 seconds to download. I noticed that the “Total Recall” delay was free so I figured I’d give it a shot. It sounded very clean like modern digital delays do. I really liked the ducking function that allows you to set a threshold of how loud you want the delays to be while you are strumming. This is great for strumming rhythms where delay is desired but without muddying up the signal. I was really impressed with the “Redline” overdrive, which comes included. It’s a very modern distortion with Gain, Level and HI/Lo EQ knobs. At extreme settings it made my guitar feedback like Hendrix. Even at modest settings it was pretty face-melting. I was very pleased with the clarity of the digital processing. It sounded rich rather than the murky tones normally associated with digital distortion. That must mean that it has high quality digital to analog converters and a good DSP chip.
The idea is that you download the effects pedal software for each individual stomp box model from the iOS device to the pedal one at a time, to essentially turn the iStomp into the desired effect pedal.
I’ll admit seeing that the Stomp Shop (at the time of writing) had 20 stomps to choose from, which made me a bit A.D.D. You get a 5 minute timer displayed on your device before the effect is disabled. Some standouts included the “DOD FX25B Envelope Filter”, “Octaver” octave pedal, “Rodent”, and “Vintage Tape” delay. DigiTech promises to update, and expand the effects constantly so that your iStomps will never get old. I find the concept of having interchangeable, adaptable, and upgradable stomp boxes to be extremely exciting and futuristic.
Do you love rock ‘n’ roll guitar? Do you have a sweet-talking phone voice and a drive to sell? Now’s your chance to grow with Electro-Harmonix, famous for guitar effects pedals and vacuum tubes. Hours 10am to 6pm. We are located in Long Island City near the #7 Vernon Avenue stop. E-mail resume to email@example.com the deli_49
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Electro-Harmonix Superego Synth Engine
Emma Reezafratzitz Distortion
• An interesting new approach to the synth stompbox. • Auto mode captures and freezes notes and chords as you play. • Beautiful sounding modulation and volume envelop controls. • “Gliss” knob allows you to glide between notes and chords automatically. • In “Latch” mode, sounds can be stacked on top of each other.
• Double personality (they are both nasty). • Not a subtle pedal, it offers both “Class A and “Class B” distortions, which can be blended to taste. • Class A setting sounds similar to a JCM900 head, deep and compressed. • Class A setting is less compressed, more open.
Diamond Bass Compressor • Brings to bass players the high-grade optical compression previously only available to guitarists. • Runs at twice the typical stompbox voltage (18VDC) = more headroom. • Results are comparable to quality outboard gear rather than stomp box. • Blows most “regular “ bass compressors out of the water, fuller and more natural sounding.
the deli's Plug-in inserts
Rocktron Celestial Delay • Old school analog delay, solidly built, with true bypass. • Excellent sound quality for the price. • Nice darkening of later repeats leaves more room for the dry signal. • Self oscillation feedback takes some time but it’s got a nice, crunchy quality.
if you are interested in reviewing pedals and plug-ins for The Deli and Delicious Audio, ple ase contact delicious.editor@the delimagazine.com.
Sonimus SonEQ • One of the best sounding FREE EQ plug-ins out there. • Inspired by different vintage units combined into one “super” plug-in. • 5 bands EQ with parametric Low, Mid and High. • “Woow” switch and Drive knob add punch and saturation when necessary.
u-he Zebra 2.5
• Tube modeling unit that affects saturation and dynamics. • Can add subtle warmth or heavier saturation to will. • “Spank knob” controls post-drive dynamic response. • Sounds great on both complete mixes and individual tracks.
• A flexible, powerful modular synthesizer that combines subtractive and additive synthesis. • Drag and drop circuit building makes everything easy and intuitive. • All components sound top notch. • It inspires by challenging you to work in different ways.
the deli_50 Spring 2012
Synapse Audio Dune • A regular analog subtractive synth with a few tricks up its sleeve. • It sounds as good as it gets, in particular for bass sounds. • Outstanding filters. • “Differential Unison Engine” allows different voices in a sound patch to have independent modulations. • It features also Effects, Arpeggiator, and lots of modulation options.