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the deli

the magazine about emerging nyc bands

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Issue #37 Volume #2 Winter 2014

Spirit Animal Mutual Benefits Misterwives Papertwin Tei Shi Slim Wray Porches Big Ups Wet Blanche blanche blanche Christine Hoberg

Cloud becomes your hand Baby Alpaca Lolawolf ZULA Azar Swan Shilpa Ray Honduras Magmana

total slacker Live at Rough Trade on 2/12/14

The Stompbox Exhibit Goes to NAMM


Todd P: Beyond DIY?

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the deli

the magazine aboutthe emerging nyc scene bands everything about nyc music Issue #37 Volume #2 Winter 2014

Editor In Chief: Paolo De Gregorio Founder: Charles Newman Executive Editor: Quang D. Tran Art Director/Designer: Kaz Yabe ( Cover Photo: Ebru Yildiz ( Web Developers: Mark Lewis, Alex Borsody Staff Writers: Bill Dvorak, Dean Van Nguyen, Dave Cromwell, Mike Levine, Brian Chidester, BrokeMC, Bianca Seidman In-House Contributing Writers: Corinne Bagish, Devon Antonetti, John McGovern, Francesca Baker, Michael Haskoor, Liz Shroeter Courtney, Sam Kogon, Joey Fish The Kitchen: Gus Green, Eric Werner, Andrés Marín Booking Coordinator: Mia Min Yen Intern: Anna Chalon 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 ©2014 The Deli Magazine. All rights reserved.

On The Web

Todd P: Beyond DIY?


Deli Readers, The insanity that is our Regional Year End Poll for Emerging Artists is in full swing on our website Not only the NYC poll, but all the scenes that we cover (at this point they are eleven). If you have a jaded attitude towards Year End Polls (or even if you don’t), imagine this: local music bloggers and some of the booking agents of the most reputable venues in NYC, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Austin tell you who the best undiscovered local artists are. These are our jurors. Is there a more reliable source about tipping you on emerging bands than these people who spend their lives researching, booking and watching these artists year after year? Last year Foxygen won the NYC poll before they broke out a few months later before them Twin Shadow, Caveman, Chairlift, Yeasayer... and almost every indie band from NYC that’s now enjoying some kind of recognition made it through our polls (Empress Of was in last year’s one as well, at the bottom of the list!). So if you care about new music and if you want to support it, go to the site, check out these bands, and if you like them, let them know - and maybe cast a vote for them in the readers’ poll: every vote counts. Editor in Chief + NYC Blogger -Paolo De Gregorio

The D el

stomp box news and reviews

Rough Trade Williamsburg, 2/12/14

Slacker 10pm Perfect Pussy 9pm Life Size Maps 8pm Honduras


Read Liz Courtney’s Q&A with Ski Lodge at:

ue 37 Launc s s h iI r Pa

Ski Lodge, the musical outfit led by singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Andrew Marr, released a debut LP Big Heart this summer on Dovecote records, which is far from frigid. Sunny melodies and shimmery guitars prevail while Marr sings of heartache and pain with a Morrissey-influenced lilt. We recently threw a few questions Marr’s way to learn more about the real-life drama behind his songwriting, and to find out about his virgin voyage into professional studio recording and inching towards full-time musicianship.

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Fresh Buzz

fresh buzz chart

1. 2. 3. 4.

Phosphorescent Blood Orange American Authors Com Truise

5. 6. 7. 8.

Gramatik Zachary Cale Mutual Benefit Creep

9. Autre Ne Veut 10. San Fermin 11. Lucius 12. Ejecta

13. Bad Books 14. Wet 15. Jesse Kinch 16. Laurel Halo

17. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble 18. Francis and the Lights 19. Spirit Animal 20. Yvette


A misterwives


here other indie groups take themselves a bit too seriously, Misterwives obviously know how to have fun, even when living off PB&J alone on tour (or so says lead singer Mandy Lee). They had one of the most talked about shows during CMJ, and that was before their debut album was out. With an electro-disco backdrop set against Lee’s roof-raising vocals, this is not a band that shies away from the spotlight. So we are looking forward to listening to their debut ‘Reflections’ - they just released it with a show at the new Williamsburg’s Rough Trade hot spot. (Mike Levine)

nother new NYC electro-soul project that’s building momentum is Lolawolf, a quartet that can definitely be labeled with the “supergroup” tag. The band is led by singer Zoe Kravitz, i.e. Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet’s daughter, and features singer songwriter/producer James Levy (a staple of the scene - also active in a new project called Reputante) in the production and performing lineup. The band already has three songs out, but ‘Drive’ is the one you want to listen to, a synth-pop ballad, where Zoe not too diplomatically invites you to give her a lift and accept her sexual advances, in your car - darn, shame that you live in NYC and don’t have one! A Deli spy reported that the band rocked the Mercury Lounge - we patiently await developments for 2014.


Mutual benefit


Photo: Danny Dorsa


set of highly orchestrated folk music, constructed from a private playground of strange and wonderful sounds, star-gazing wonder, and tear-jerking harmonies, Mutual Benefit’s debut LP “Love’s Crushing Diamond” has been deservedly getting a great deal of attention from tastemakers everywhere. Taken from tales of life lived on the road from singer/songwriter Jordan Lee, the record is the first album to be named “Best New Music” by “Pitchfork” based on a Bandcamp release alone. And now, it is also appearing on everyone’s year-end lists. (Mike Levine)

jecta is the electro-pop project of programmer Joel Ford (of Tigercity and Ford & Lopatin) and Neon Indian’s Leanne Macomber, who sings and gives “added value” to the band’s promotional campaign by appearing au naturel on... every single band picture passed to the press (ladies, sorry to say that Joel wasn’t invited to the photo shoot). With such important artistic connections and aggressive promotion, these guys have caught the press’ attention in no time, bypassing at once the band’s wardrobe dilemma. The music - you ask? Debut album “Dominae” showcases a collection of ethereal, well-crafted, and mostly upbeat electro-pop tracks, featuring Leanne’s breathy vocals and Joel’s discrete production. The highlight here is the stylish melody of the single ‘It’s Only Love’ - and the album cover, of course.

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Make ASCAP OnStage a regular part of your post-show routine, no matter how big or small the venue.


the Deli’s


rec rds of the m nth Blanche Blanche Blanche Breaking Mirrors Musical instability in rock music is not appreciated by all, but if you caught that bug - say - from Syd Barrett’s solo records or from the Pixies (like we did), it’s then very, very hard not to embrace it. In their bizarre and (in most cases) gently noisy new album “Breaking Mirrors,” Brooklyn duo/ quartet Blanche Blanche Blanche cultivates music instability - together with a few other sonic ideas, like a certain angularity that has nothing to do with squares and rectangles, but rather with weirdly shaped polygons. The songs in “Breaking Mirrors” are actually very poppy; they feature simple melodies and structures, but (like all our favorite records) they sound nothing like pop. Sarah Smith’s deadpan vocals and ambivalent lyrics double the feeling of estrangedness and numb alienation created by arrangements that sound like geometry lessons disturbed by radio interferences. Somewhat reminiscent of Suicide and early Wire but playing their electric instruments with an even more mechanical approach through bit-crunching effects and fidelity disintegrating devices, Blanche Blanche Blanche pulls off an imaginative hybrid of lo-fi, math rock, goth, noise rock and industrial, that shies away from all current trends and sounds as fresh and challenging as it sounds, well... depressing. Which is something that’s actually making us quite happy right now!


the deli Winter 2014

Wet Self-Titled EP Brooklyn’s electro-soul duo Wet offers a musical recipe reminiscent of the wise, caucasian, female-fronted soul-pop of MS MR, but with an added personal twist consisting in a subtle quirkiness and an intriguing sonic spaciousness. Their self-titled, debut EP released in 2013 is a weirdly intense record, featuring a combination of peculiar arrangements, soulful female vocals and runaway lyrics. Wet’s naughtily titled first single ‘Dreams’ delivers the band’s most interesting melody in a musical environment that could be described as trip‘n’B - as in the genre Tricky would have forged if he had been into R’n’B rather than hip hop. The song proceeds by fits and starts, with the beautiful vocals gathering together the scattered rhythmic elements and building the track from its intentionally limping verse towards the celestial opening of the chorus. Sophomore single ‘You’re The Best’ proceeds in less unexpected, but even sparser ways, featuring a simple melody filtered through a multi-pitch harmonizer, for an effect reminiscent of the vocoder. Once again, silence is the voice’s main companion in the initial section of the song, while gentle layers of guitars and harmonies develop the track in very pointillistic ways until a more linear chorus lifts things off again. The remaining two tracks, ‘Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl’ and ‘No Lie’ are more traditional R’n’B numbers, but still feature the band’s signature minimalist approach to programming.

03 01 - PORCHES Slow Dance In The Cosmos 02 - Blanche Blanche Blanche Breaking Mirrors 03 - Wet Self-Titled EP


With just a four track EP out, Wet made a bunch of Best of 2013 lists (including The Fader’s one) and played a series of noteworthy gigs at CMJ last October. 2014 is theirs to conquer.

PORCHES Slow Dance in the Cosmos Porches’ lead singer Ronnie Mystery may be pleading for some personal space when he sings “pay no attention while I’m getting spaced out” in ‘The Cosmos’ (the closing track of the band’s recent LP “Slow Dance in the Cosmos”), but we couldn’t disagree with him more. Having just listened one time through to the new record, we are only just beginning to crack the beautifully intricate mythology behind this mysterious

and multifaceted album. We are hoping the band will treat us with other similar releases for a while, or we might never fully appreciate the number of sounds and visions they’re working with. With ragers like ‘Skinny Trees’ packed next to breathless ballads like ‘Franklin the Flirt’ and the prom-ready ‘Intimate,’ this group keeps you guessing even while you find yourself jumping up and down. It’s folk whimsy with a rebel’s frustration and a yacht rocker’s heart. You might listen to the track ‘Xanny Bar’ and be convinced Ronny wanders into railroad boxcars to entertain hobos on his free time, then come back to ‘After Glow’ and think that he’s the second coming of Phil Collins. This record is a huge leap ahead for the band. (Mike Levine)

avant indie

Full Deli Web Buzz charts here:

avant indie Top 20 1. 2. 3. 4.

Kaki King Yo La Tengo Department of Eagles Animal Collective

5. 6. 7. 8.

Yeasayer Son Lux Dirty Projectors Gang Gang Dance

9. Emily Wells 10. Huerco S. 11. Rubblebucket 12. Rasputina

13. Tei Shi 14. The Fiery Furnaces 15. Marnie Stern 16. NewVillager

17. Buke and Gase 18. Black Dice 19. Mice Parade 20. Celestial Shore

Playlist of NYC Avant Indie bands here:

By John McGovern


hen listening to new bands, it is natural to look for sonic elements that help us to classify it - what they sound like, what “genre” they play. Here at “The Deli,” we are guilty of that, but it’s just a way to attempt to make sense of a gargantuan scene. Of course, picking genres often reduces a band’s complexity to a simple category. So while it may be tempting, after an initial listen, to say that cloud becomes your hand sounds like some delightful concoction of early Animal Collective, Nintendo 64, acid, and jam music, there is, of course, more going on. Not that that concoction isn’t an appropriate way to describe this band: It simply goes to show that no matter how hard we try to “box” some music inside a few words, the best stuff will invariably elude anybody’s words, and will have to be experienced in person to be fully understood. So

Cloud Becomes Your Hand that’s what you should do. Remove all the distractions and escape to the foreign, beautiful and strange world of cloud becomes your hand. It’s not a coincidence that they make the familiarity of the natural and animal world (and, of course, our own world) seem so uncanny. Look out for their new album coming out on February 25, 2014. There’s been a resurgence of sixties sounding psychinfluenced bands in recent years. Are there any contemporary bands doing this sort of thing that you’re into? Bands from the past you feel have helped shape your sound?

Bubbly Mommy Gun from Athens, GA are one of the most psychedelic, gooey marshmallow bands around these days. Actually, last spring, I was down in Athens for a spell, and I recorded in their cool warehouse and recorded with some of Greg’s wondrous keyboards and Mercer’s harmonica collection. Bands from the past and helping - most important for me personally - is the Grateful Dead. Any reason for the name? The name comes from another project I’m in with Sam [Sowyrda] called Living Things that uses puppets and theatrical motives. We used to have a cloud puppet that made a curious oinktype sound, and I attempted to operate it without my

hand being seen. What’s it like making psychedelic sounding music in NY? There’s people running around trying to be Lou Reed or whoever, and then there’s bands like you guys who come out of left field. I feel a strong affinity with left field because I played baseball growing up. I’m actually still there in left field now - waiting. Its so amazing to share shows/ ideas/recordings with people like Zach Phillips. He lived in the Brattleboro, VT area for a long time, but now he’s running around Brooklyn trying to be Zach Phillips, who does he think he is?! Blanche Blanche Blanche is one of the most beautiful, strangest live bands I have seen in a long time.

Read more @

Production Corner

By Paolo De Gregorio

Anything Through Guitar Pedals Guitar pedals have become a niche product that’s going beyond… the niche itself. Many creative sound engineers love to use stompboxes not just for guitars and bass, but also to add character or weird effects to other tracks like drums or vocals. For a creative keyboardist/programmer, an audio channel routed to a pedalboard with a carefully chosen selection of pedals can be a very stimulating idea that gets extra points for letting the hands free to trigger other stuff.

But it’s not just about keyboards and samples; pretty much anything can be routed through guitar pedals. I used to play my saxophone through a wah way back in high school (you just need a DI box to convert the mic signal into line, but careful with the feedback), and some drummers into dub use delay pedals on acoustic snares to create the genre’s signature effect. Drummer Joe Tomino of NYC’s metal/dub outfit Dub Trio, when playing live, runs his drums’ mics directly through the band’s guitarist’s pedal chain.

Find other recording tips at

The “Other” Mixed board at our recent Brooklyn Stompbox Exhibit

Full Deli Web Buzz charts here:

mellow core Top 20

mellow core

1. 2. 3. 4.

Lana Del Rey Darkside Wet Wilsen

5. 6. 7. 8.

High Highs Twin Sister Eddi Front Chris Garneau

9. Katie Costello 10. Ida 11. Joan as Police Woman 12. Elysian Fields

13. Lia Ices 14. Port St. Willow 15. Cheval Sombre 16. Jozef Van Wissem

17. Doveman 18. Acrylics 19. Will Stratton 20. Firehorse

Playlist of NYC Mellow Core bands here:

By Bianca Seidman


y design, Baby Alpaca is more than just a band name it’s a whole aesthetic for the Brooklynbased musician and fashion designer Chris Kittrell. His slow-burn ballads and simple pop songs have a romantic, airy feeling, but his bigger message is a striving adventure story. Softly-sung baritone vocals that sometimes channel James Blake cover sparse guitars or keyboards, while he sings about believing in his own potential even if others don’t. Like his fashion sense, his gauzy alt-R&B is a mixture of vintage and bold modern with a gentle approach. You are both a fashion designer and a musician. Are those separate careers or do you try to connect them? I do them together and under the same name. I was inspired to make the splatter-painted knitwear collection when I

was recording vocals in my friend Kevin Baker’s art studio. I wanted to make something that my friends and music buds could wear. And then it just happened. Things in Baby Alpaca land always lead to another. And I let things flow

baby Alpaca pretty easily. I’m not a resistor or a total piece of grass. How important is the visual aesthetic of Baby Alpaca to you?

It’s equally important as everything else. It’s part of the full vision, putting images and settings to the journey that are a bit turned upside down.

Read more @

Photo: Ruvi Reider

Christine Hoberg

tei shi

By Dean Van Nguyen

By Dean Van Nguyen


he moniker of songwriter/vocalist Valeie Teicher, a.k.a Tei Shi, recently came to life through the development of the young Brooklynite’s soothing debut EP “Saudade.” Dubbed “mermaid music” by the artist herself, the tag has caught on among a growing audience enchanted by Teicher’s layered vocal loops, delicate synths and offbeat percussion. Your Facebook page cites the genre you work in as “mermaid music.” What does that mean to you, and why did you think it was an appropriate description? The term came about when I was first creating my Facebook page. I didn’t know what to write in the description section, and that just came to me mostly as a joke.

I put it down because it just popped into my head and I thought it was cool, but I do think it’s fitting for my music in that it’s kind of siren-y and ethereal. I also always loved mermaids. So the description arose from more of a joke, but has stuck, and now I’ve seen people throwing it around which is pretty cool.

Read more @


hristine Hoberg impressed mightily on her 2011 release “Moonlight Never Shined So Bright” with its bluesy, minimalist instrumentation showcasing her considerable songwriting chops and fragile-but-effective vocals. Having spent the intervening period collaborating with artists such as Flight Facilities and Kiings (she describes the last year as a huge learning curve), this February sees the release of Hoberg’s follow-up and fourth album overall, “World Within,” which promises to stretch the Brooklyn resident’s sound, testing new areas.

Tell me about the writing and recording of “World Within.” Did its creation differ at all from your previous records? The songs on this album are mainly written from the last year and a half, when I began using a loop pedal. I

have kind of always written music in layers, so it felt very instinctual for me to use. I love the physicality of looping, like I have to be super alive while I’m doing it. It’s kind of this hyper-alive state that I am really happy with right now musically.

Read more @

the deli Winter 2014


electronic Playlist of NYC Electronic bands here:

Azar swan

By Dave Cromwell


merging from the ashes of previous incarnation Religious to Damn, Zohra Atash and Joshua Strawn have spent the last year creating a compelling new sound By Sam Kogon


ut simply, Papertwin is a well-fabricated indie electro-pop band from Brookyln. Their all-too catchy melodies and quirky chord progressions remind us of a 90’s era David Bowie. We also hear Radiohead shining through in the vocal department, as well as some Pet Shop Boys drum-machine sequences. To compare bands to other bands can be seen as a cop-out, but what

1. 2. 3. 4.

Gramatik A-Trak Laurel Halo Com Truise

5. 6. 7. 8.

LCD Soundsystem Ratatat Sleigh Bells Scissor Sisters

Photo: Kate Stone Hendrix

and image as Azar Swan. Their recently released full-length album “Dance Before the War,” available from Handmade Birds Records, presents a techni-


his fall, we got our hands on Zula’s seamless debut record “This Hopeful” out on Inflated Records (Speedy Ortiz, Ava Luna).


the deli Winter 2014

9. Oneohtrix Point Never 10. Mindless Self Indulgence 11. Holy Ghost! 12. Julianna Barwick

13. Anamanaguchi 14. j.viewz 15. Battles 16. Matthew Dear

cally modern sound that at times pays homage to the ’90s goth-rock canon. Zohra’s dark, glamorous, queen bee persona gives a dramatic visual focus to her cinematic lyrics and sensual vocal delivery. In what can only be seen as the perfect complimentary scenario, Josh takes on the role of songwriting partner, record producer (creative as well as technical), live show bassist and coordinator of the music’s rich percussive element. Plans are already in the works for their next record scheduled to be out by this summer 2014 via Zoo Music along with a tour of Europe.

Read more @


17. Autre Ne Vet 18. The American Dollar 19. Hooray for Earth 20. El-P

More news at nyc.thedelimag!

NYC band News Check out our latest Artist of the Month winners! Experimental madmen Tiny Hazard, Garage Rock female trio Sharkmuffin and indie pop craftsman Goodman – they all have really good debut singles out. Will the 2010’s be remembered as the musical decade of revivals? If that’s the case, maybe bands like The Bothers, who’ve been playing their garage influenced rockabilly since 2011, may be seen as some kind of pioneers... Talking about revivals, Brooklyn has been infected with a ’90s guitar tock virus. We recently blogged about Haybaby, LVL Up, Chumped, and The

Papertwin has chosen to do is wear their influences on their sleeves - all the while adding themselves to the mix. We chatted

with Papertwin to get to know them a bit more. We found that the band has way better taste in music than it does in beer.

Read more @

zula By Sam Kogon

Full Deli Web Buzz charts here:

nyc electro Top 20

With songs about Upper West Side doormen and riding the subway, Zula’s surreal lyrical imagery could only be influenced

by their hometown of New York City, which is why we like them that much more. Their fast-paced grooves are paired wonderfully with layered electric guitars and synths. The music that Zula makes weaves in and out of a collective consciousness held together by the vocal harmonies of cousins Nate and Henry Terrepka. We caught up with the two for an exclusive interview.

Read more @


Electro-pop band Railbird changed their name to Lip Talk – and played our December Brooklyn Bazaar show with Small Black, Papertwin and Brothertiger. Would you have ever imagined a Brooklyn based comeback of epic rock a la’ Queen and Meat Loaf? That’s what Workout is up to, and they have Rubber Tracks’ backing (that’s where they released their sophomore album on 12/17/13). If you are some kind of damned soul, Glass Gang is the band for you. Their latest single ‘Sell it All’ is so scary it convinced Glasslands to book them on Friday the 13th (in December).

punk rock

punk /noise rock Top 20 1. 2. 3. 4.

Thurston Moore Parquet Courts Matt and Kim Swans

5. 6. 7. 8.

Yvette A Place to Bury Strangers Dads Big Ups

9. Japanther 10. Raspberry Bulbs 11. Noveller 12. Cult of Youth

Full Deli Web Buzz charts here: 13. Oneida 14. Child Abuse 15. Girls Against Boys 16. World Inferno Society

Playlist of NYC Punk Rock bands here:

By John McGovern

Photo: Dylan Johnson


ig Ups are a versatile band. Sometimes their lyrics are delivered in a deadpan, monotone way. Other times they’re delivered with madness, loudly. Similarly, there content is not limited to a stale laundry list of themes (growing up, love, what it’s like being a Millennial). A wide range of emotions are trampled upon: anger, apathy, drunken conversations, ontological inquiries, relationships gone to hell, and more. And just when you’re getting tired of the talking, the pondering, the action returns: There’s as much chaos as there is navelgazing. Their live shows are equally cathartic, with the same purging, purifying quality to them as the recorded music. In fact, in ancient Greek, catharsis had connotations to that cleansing feeling that comes after dropping the kids off at the pool. The pleasure derived from listening to music, it seems, is of a different kind. But only the best bands are capable of producing catharsis (whether or not that is equivalent to the pleasure that comes from taking a shit, I’ll let you decide), that “ah, yes” feeling. There are some slight funk and reggae influences in your music, I think. Any music you’re into that people might not expect? I think it’s fair to say that we all are fans of music. That may sound simplistic, but music is a miracle! It’s all just different timbres, frequencies, etc. tied up in one big ball of sound that

honduras By Michael Haskoor


our brains translate into emotions. That’s crazy! I try to remember that whenever I find a song or musician I don’t like. I find if you listen hard enough and pay attention, there’s always something interesting going on. A lot of the lyrics, like the ones from ‘Atheist Self

See the m open for Total Sla c @ Roug ker h Tra on 2/12/1 de 4!

ounding like a faster, punk version of the Arctic Monkeys, or a mind-melting Deerhunter/ Sex Pistols fusion, NYC’s hazy noise rockers Honduras have really been stepping it up lately, espe-


the deli Winter 2014

17. Zs 18. The Netherlands 19. Talk Normal 20. Freshkills

big ups Help,’ play around with that voice in everyone’s head that tries to guide you through life with clichés. It almost seems like a parody of those people who say, “I have crazy thoughts, I’m a crazy person,” even though everyone seems to have those crazy thoughts. What’s your approach to writing lyrics, and is there that effort to channel the voice in your head? Specifically, that song is talking about a failing relationship using various religious imagery and terminology, perhaps drawing parallels between some-

one trying to hold on to another person as they would hold on to religious rituals that seem outdated. I wrote the entire song on a bus back in 2011. More broadly, I try to write lyrics that are cathartic writing is an outlet for venting. But also, especially more recently, I have been trying to use words more effectively in order to bring to mind imagery, feelings, etc. David Berman (of Silver Jews) has been a big inspiration for that.

Read more @

cially with their latest single ‘Borders,’ an excerpt from their upcoming new EP “Morality Cuts”. The Brit-sounding muffled, vocals of Pat Phillips, combined with the band’s knack for clean, well-tempered guitar work, brings to mind some classic punk-rock bands from the ’80s (Celibate Rifles, anybody?). Known for their energetic live performances, Honduras have a heavy Brooklyn presence, and appear to be expanding pretty quickly, embracing the punk ideology without pretension, while still letting you know they’re here. What’s your favorite part about performing live in Brooklyn? You play in a lot of unique and intimate settings. Loft apartments, art galleries, rooftops, DIY venues like Big Snow and Silent Barn. It’s exciting having people right in front of you. We try to play with lots of energy, and when people respond, it’s special, and definitely heightens the performance. There’s also a bunch of really good bands in Brooklyn.

Read more @

Full Deli Web Buzz charts here:

alt rock Top 20

alt rock

1. 2. 3. 4.

American Authors Matt Jaffe Taking Back Sunday Brand New

5. 6. 7. 8.

Senses Fail The Hold Steady Graffiti Thrill Andrew W.K.

9. We Are Scientists 10. The Bouncing Souls 11. Man Overboard 12. Danny Blu

13. Circus Life 14. Bayside 15. Monuments 16. Dads

17. Screamin Rebel Angels 18. X Ambassadors 19. Wakey!Wakey! 20. The Britanys

Playlist of NYC Alt Rock bands here:

slim wray

spirit animal

By Michael Haskoor

By Michael Haskoor


ike any band sounding like some kind of hybrid fusion, as accurately described in their bio, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and LCD Soundsystem, Spirit Animal has the ability to get you moving. Offering a brand of dance/pop/funk-rock that will beat you senseless, the quartet made up of Steve Cooper, Ronen Evron, Paul Michel and Cal Stamp are known for their overwhelming stage presence and broad range of musical aptitude. While we were finding out about why they do what they do, the energy and passion that they showed in their responses clearly showed us a band entirely focused on taking this project to new heights. You guys are listed as Rock on your band’s page, but it’s clear that there is some DJ and electronic elements in your music. Would you say that you’re more of a fusion of genres? Rock’n’roll is in our DNA. We aren’t afraid to play around with different sounds and styles, but

ultimately we gravitate towards big riffs and fun choruses. That’s the common thread that ties all of our disparate tastes and influences together. We add a little funk here, a little electronic there, but at the end of the day we’re just trying to make party rock for smart people.

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lues rock duo Slim Wray, which is Ryan Houser (guitar/vocals) and Chris Moran (drums/backing vocals), is all about reviving what rock is supposed to be. Their debut album “Sack Lunch” was just released last month, which holds their rockin’, grungy single ‘Bear,’ which was enough to get our attention. Their sound mimics that of what would be an early Nirvana/Jack White mix with a little more positivity. For a two-piece garage band, their loud energy can transform a live venue into an atomic explosion of punk, power-blues and grunge. They’re a perfect example of what was important to hold onto from flawless 90’s acts combined with the knowledge we have today...woohoo!

Although grunge never left, it seems to be back with a vengeance. Have you always been fans of the genre, and how does it feel to be part of its current revival? Yeah, we’re huge fans of early ’90s alternative, particularly the more punk/ garage bands like Nirvana and the Pixies. We really miss the kind of bands that have big, pounding

drums, guitars feeding-back and screamy, heartfelt singing yet are smart at the same time. I guess we just became the kind of band we wanted to see. We feel that the energy in the live performance is so important to connect with the audience - a few missed notes here and there are way less important we’d rather let the feel and energy take over.

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Production Corner By Paolo De Gregorio

Get Your Kick and Bass Mix Right Records that are made to actually sound clean and punchy (not all are in the indie rock world) require a particular attention to low frequencies and the interaction between kick and bass. These two sounds are bound to step on each other’s toes, and getting them wrong is the easiest way to spoil a mix. As it often happens when mixing, things are complicated, and options are almost infinite. One thing for sure though: Leave your experimentations

for other areas of your song. Since there are a gazillion great sounding records out there, an easy thing to do is to pick one as your template, and - rather than leaving things to chance - try to recreate that kick/ bass combination in the studio. If you are lucky, some Google action might reveal which instruments were used to obtain that sound, and in any case, always ask the sound engineer to chip in with his advice on what to use and how to mic it (yes, if you want good recordings, use a studio).

During mixing, have the template song in a parallel track in your DAW for easy comparing. Use compression and EQ to try to recreate the two instruments’ tones, without overlooking the fact that a different song key

implies that different frequencies are involved. And don’t forget to cut the kick’s very low frequencies under 40 or 50Hz, and probably also the bass under 40 - it’s just unwanted rumble down there.

Find other recording tips at

alt folk

1. 2. 3. 4.

Norah Jones Regina Spektor Phosphorescent Cat Power

5. 6. 7. 8.

Mutual Benefit Ingrid Michaelson Devendra Banhart CocoRosie

Playlist of NYC Alt Folk bands here:


By Bianca Seidman


earching for the balance is a constant thread in Magmana’s lyrics. Their second album “Fiend” runs from mesmerizing, down-tempo crooning a la Morrissey to They Might Be Giants-like wordplay featuring rhyming strings or spacey psych interludes, organs

Full Deli Web Buzz charts here:

roots music Top 20

and a touch of gypsy circus. Joan Tick, formerly of The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band, and Caleb Lindskoog have been producing their folkpsych-rock since the midAughts. But they say now they can confront demons in their darker moments while still maintaining their playful spirit and

9. Sam Amidon 10. Ron Pope 11. Antony and the Johnsons 12. A.A. Bondy

13. Citizen Cope 14. Lucius 15. Punch Brothers 16. Theophilus London

sense of wonder. Several of your songs have a melancholy, minor-key vibe, then there are moments where you’re singing strings of rhymes or playing twinkly tones. How do you marry the different moods? Conveying emotions is kind of an exercise in translating the abstract, right, so within any one emotion exists several, and we allow space for surprise, and nuance, in order to convey this. Sorrow and alienation to exist with comedy and whimsy. A sense of stealth with disgrace. We don’t do this on purpose or have any equation, but we listen for any possibility that makes the song its best self, and it often leads us to these various tones, moods, etc. like different colored tendrils or appendages belonging to the same beast.

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I can get up every morning and deal. I see myself as the uninvited guest like Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp. I’m a loner.

Shilpa Ray By John McGovern


hilpa Ray has one of those voices that is simultaneously haunting and beautiful, like Nick Cave (whose label she is signed to) or Tom Waits. Her music does not cower or sneer in the face of darkness. It is mature, valuing the truth over appearing hip, and jaded. And that complexity is equally striking in her lyrics. Her song have some seriously hard16

the deli Winter 2014

Photo: Ebru Yildiz

hitting lines of the kind that will make you re-evaluate your life - and what, if I can be so pretentious as to ask, is the point of creating and experiencing art if it is not a life changing experience? Your record has a noir cinematic quality to it. Has film influenced your music in any way? I live my life as a character in a movie. It’s the only way

Patti Smith said recently that aspiring musicians and artists should find another city. I’ve lived here for 13 years, and have somehow scraped it together working wage jobs. A lot of my friends are doing the same. I would like to think she is not accusing people of making art that isn’t valid simply because they live in a city that’s predominantly wealthy. I live below the poverty line and the music I make doesn’t even flow with the mainstream of what’s cool in indie rock or whatever the scene is calling itself these days. If you want to be an artist, be a fucking artist, be creative, never compromise your product, and survive. Lou Reed passed away recently, and that’s the legacy he left with us.

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17. Deer Tick 18. Jamie Lidell 19. The Lone Bellow 20. Hercules and Love Affair

More news at nyc.thedelimag!

NYC band News Long time New Yorker Zachary Cale’s latest (and 5th) album “Blue Rider” has finally caught Pitchfork’s attention, receiving a flattering review that’s bound to open some doors. Queens trio Poor Remy has been getting a good amount of attention after releasing their debut EP “Still Sleeping,” which features enthusiastically strummed acoustic guitars and lots of two to three part harmonies mostly sung at the top of their lungs. If you like mournful folk, you’ll be a fan of Weyes Blood (aka Natalie Mering), who is about to release an album of medieval sounding folk songs on Mexican Summer.

Domino Kirke charmed us with her beautiful orchestral songs – she had a residency at Ace Hotel in December. Nieces of ‘70s folk legend Harry Chapin,

The Chapin Sisters

announced a tour with breakout Nashville band She & Him. Sometimes we ‘discover’ a NYC artist that’s been around for years and we feel like losers because they are really good and we should have known about them: this month this band is Hiss Golden Messenger. Ok, only one band member out of two is based in Brooklyn, so we are half guilty.



the deli Winter 2014

Mike Levine

/ Illustration by

J.P. Peer


sually, historical figures wait until their death before gaining legendary status, but when considering indie music promoter (and very much alive) Todd P’s place in NYC’s scene history, I found myself hopelessly bogged down in layers of fresh mythology. From his legendary Bushwick warehouse shows, to Market Hotel and 285 Kent Ave’s scene-busting parties, to the veritable army of well-known bands he’s had a major hand in placing in front of appreciative audiences (from Matt and Kim to Japanther, Oneida, Antibalas, and Animal Collective, just to name a few), Todd P can almost feel more like an institution or stand-in for DIY success than as real flesh and blood. After all, it’s not completely out of line to seriously consider the man as single-handedly responsible for making NYC into the storied DIY community that exists today. Before Todd P (Patrick) made his way over here, bands like The Dirty Projectors were the lost orphans of an industry paying more attention to chart-topping rock bands like The Strokes and Interpol than the art house experiments of musicians like Dave Longstreth. Todd P and the many peers who followed his steps changed all that. How it happened at all is still very much a disputed matter (see his personal website for more details on all things happening in this DIY community). So what better way to unearth some of this history than by meeting up with the man himself?

Meeting Up with The Man Himself If you know anything at all about Todd P, you’ll know he isn’t really a single person at all, but more like a collection of loose thoughts, big dreams, and emotional hand gestures. That’s something I personally learned after showing up at his house on a fairly cold day this past October. The man could be Mr. Congenial one minute, and the most zealously spirited firecracker you’re likely to see holding a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cup the next. “Did you know crime’s risen a lot more in New York over the past decade than the police are reporting? Bloomberg was one of the worst mayors for business in our city’s history…” It’s rapid-fire nuggets like these that kept me constantly on my toes during our time together.

One misplaced comment, I thought, and who knows what side he might think I’m on. But Todd has good reason to be acting a little on edge these days. He’s about to embark on what could be the biggest step in an already landmark career. Converting Market Hotel from its stripped down bohemian origins to a bona fide (and very grownup) non-profit model scheduled to open later in 2014 is no simple task, so the man had a lot on his mind when he sat down with me to answer a few questions. Born in Indiana (but grew up in Richardson, Texas), Todd traveled to Portland to set up various indie venues during the 1990s before heading over to NYC in March 2001. Before settling here, NYC had already hosted its fair share of local music communities: from the Washington Square Park folkies, to the LES punks, to Cool Herc’s back-to-school parties in the Bronx. So it had been awhile since NYC had added a new scene to compete with these moments in history. Taking advantage of the rise of Williamsburg and surrounding neighborhoods as the chosen destination for a new generation of young aspiring artists, Todd P changed all that, taking a philosophy not entirely new to the scene to its extreme. Not interested in convincing mainstream venues to host offbeat artists, Todd started creating his own DIY parties. Booking all sorts of compelling artists in the most intriguing, available/abandoned, indoor/outdoor spaces he could find, he slowly built a reputation that convinced the young and hip Brooklyn audience to follow his shows wherever they happened. And as Todd P tells it, the concept worked: “It’s just amazing to see these people who’ve never experienced punk and DIY ideas before coming out to an unmarked ware-


Animal Collective house in Brooklyn. By having this space, I expose young people to the idea that you can do things in a way that doesn’t have to be pre-set or formal, or require fuckloads of money and being shuffled in and shuffled out. That’s what I’m going for.” These shows not only created a buzzing scene that worked for a rich array of local musicians (most genres were welcome, although artist selection was strict), but they also allowed involvement for an often forgotten audience: All Todd P’s shows are strictly all ages. By including young folks, you’re inviting a potentially dangerous element to the party: “underage drinking.” A death knell for any legit club operator. “But you’re also introducing an audience most likely to start their own bands, and create a local scene.”

“There’s nothing noble about being all ages, affordable if what you’re doing has no taste. Taste is more important to me than anything.“ “What really interests me is building a community. I don’t want to archive every fart an artist takes. I care more about expressions of creativity that bring people together. And a smart artist realizes that’s the best environment for their music. And building shows that are all ages will facilitate that kind of magic. Younger people are more excited about music… I want the kids that care to come out and see music on small, accessible scale. Because then they’ll form bands.” “But it’s not just that. There’s nothing noble about being all ages, affordable if what you’re doing has no taste. Taste is more important to me than anything. The ethos should always be about pushing forward the best music. […] So you need to build a

bill that makes sense, that creates a whole larger than the sum of its parts. Focus on your audience. If people like this band… what other bands might they like? There might be some things you don’t like, but at least you’ll trust that the audience will get it.”

G ritty, Undeveloped and Filthy Back in 2006, Todd was interviewed by “The Deli Magazine” about a lot of the promotions he was running around the city. From his print-only indie zine “Showpaper,” to his then new club, The Llano Estacado (which also closed in 2006, in case you’re counting). This was the height of Brooklyn-bred hipsterdom. You could see a lot of interesting bands on the cheap, but things were also beginning to consolidate. It wouldn’t be long before many of these hipsters would be priced out of Williamsburg. Brooklyn was seen as a cross-section of abandoned warehouses and independent ownership. Fast forward not even ten years and gone are the loft sitting days, when Todd hosted bands like Japanther (the most epic party band ever), raging it night after night from whatever stage they could find, when every band made their money from the same beer-stained envelope, distributed evenly to help pay for the gas it took to get to the gig. One can’t help but wonder if the communities of kids and musicians that these spaces fostered are also gone - or changed. High-maintenance spaces like Music Hall of Williamsburg and Rough Trade have invaded Williamsburg’s core, while DIY places keep being pushed East (or out of business). So why spend his time trying to incubate a club like Market Hotel that’s already seen its heyday? “The reason Market Hotel was popular was that the area it was situated in, still felt like old New York. It was gritty, undeveloped, and it’s always going to be filthy because it’s under the train. Market Hotel

DIY Music & Lo-Fi Recording By Howie Statland of Rivington Guitars & Paolo De Gregorio Antibalas was built around 1877, before the train line was built. Oldest building in the area, and Market Hotel was the first stop in Brooklyn after folks living here came to Brooklyn from Wall Street. So it was developed as an upscale, residential neighborhood.” “But then industry moved in and the neighborhood changed - originally Market Hotel was a corn bank. Then it was filled with lawyer offices, but then a fire in the 1920s cleared it out, and it didn’t get rebuilt. The building was closed until we took it over, along with loan officers on the 4th floor.” “The space has never been renovated. It is exactly the same way it was the last time it was renovated back in 1904, except that it’s been covered in paint. When you walk in there, you feel all this. You feel like you’re in a scene from ‘Midnight Cowboy.’ It’s an old wooden building, so it just doesn’t feel like anything else. We’re preserving the building, so we’re just bringing it up to code. We want to draw attention to how much hasn’t changed in the space.” That space was, at one time, perhaps most responsible for bringing all the brave, young indie kids out to Bushwick’s frontiers, but Todd P is uncharacteristically humble about this time in his life, chalking up most of his success to being at the right place, at the right time. “2001 was a time when old media was trying to catch up to new media. The blogs were covering a lot of what was going on, and “The New York Times” wanted in. So they interviewed me, and brought attention to what was going on in Brooklyn.” This brought him a certain measure of fame, but these days he


IY is a word that goes hand in hand with rock music. The early rock ‘n’ roll pioneers were blues singers (i.e. pretty much street performers) who were trying to do something new by incorporating country elements to their tunes. Most rock and pop artists, from The Beatles to Madonna, learned the art’s chops the hard way - through endless rehearsals and merciless self-discipline. Routinely, subversive musical waves like psychedelia, punk, no wave, lo-fi and hardcore have stated in a way or another that this music is an expression of freedom, and as such, it’s only true to itself when done in the musicians’ own terms - i.e. the DIY way.

A Vintage Tascam Cassette Recorder But this term also has a wider significance in music. When Tascam released the Portastudio 4 Track cassette recorder in the 1980s, artists could suddenly create low quality multi-track recordings at home. WFMU DJ William Berger dedicated a segment of his program to this new phenomenon, and the term “lo-fi” was born. This spurned a slew of records made by artists who, due to their lack of means or sometimes by choice, recorded on 4-track cassette. These include Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, East River Pipe, Neutral Milk Hotel, Daniel Johnston, Beat Happening, Elliot Smith, and even Bruce Springsteen (his 1982 masterpiece, “Nebraska,” was recorded on a cassette). The sound of the third Velvet Underground album was very influential to lo-fi records to come, with its small, cramped sounding mixing style becoming known as the “closet mix.” Even though in the last 15 years, DIY (or home) recording has improved immensely with the advent of digital audio, hard disc recording and virtual plug-ins, many artists are still faithful to their Tascam or Yamaha 4-track cassette recorders, and use them in conjunction with inexpensive Shure SM-57 and SM-58 microphones, which work well both for vocals and guitars (electric and acoustic), the genre’s main instruments. The true beauty of lo-fi recordings is that their bare-bones simplicity strips the songs of any pretentiousness or distracting “production values,” highlighting instead the quality of the songwriting, the character of the vocals and the significance of the lyrics - as long as they are there, of course.

“I used to be interested in what a promoter can do with no money. Now I’m interested in what a promoter can do with a middle-class income.“




lives provincially with his wife and young son, keeping - for once - a semi-regular schedule. He still struggles for legitimacy in a market overwhelmed by top-down interests and international promotion companies like Live Nation, but is adamant that you cannot incubate a scene if you turn your dream over to corporate or non-profit investors. He may not have intended it exactly, but precisely that approach is the main reason why the NYC scene has been regarded in the last 10 years as an international brand of self-determined ruggedness and artistic experimentation. Walking with Todd P to what will eventually become another of his new spaces, built on the grounds of what was the original Silent Barn in Bushwick, one can still sense the history of this now-forgotten space in its dusty furniture and loyal army of cats still lurking around, and it’s easy to get carried away with the possibilities of what could still happen here for someone with the right amount of time, money and stubbornness.

Oneida promoter can do with no money. Now I’m interested in what a promoter can do with a middle-class income. The key to carrying out your particular mission is to do it yourself without involving major capital. That way you’re doing it on your own terms.” I suppose that also speaks to a certain level of financial freedom Todd P has access to, now that he’s a little older, and just maybe a little more settled than he used to be.

But then there are the hard economic realities involved with re-opening a space of this magnitude. From zoning laws to construction permits, it seems like Todd P’s path involves a constant reassessment of expectations, determined largely by anonymous players answering to the politicians, the law or even his fellow curators competing for the same limited funds.

And perhaps that’s also what his scene has turned into. Brooklyn and Queens’ hipsters, many of whom settled here partly because of the scene Todd P fostered, are now starting families and saving money for their retirement plans. More likely to stay in and stream Netflix on a Saturday night than be the first at the door to find out what’s playing behind the walls of a non-descript Bushwick loft.

His unique ethos doesn’t allow for a lot of the easier moneymaking opportunities afforded to other DIY venues. There won’t be any angel investment here, or the kinds of non-profit affiliations that helped institutions like BAM get off the ground.

But while this is the reality for some, a new generation is coming around too, and Todd P wants to be there when the next Dave Longstreth or Karen O sneaks out of their house late at night to experience the kind of myth-making you’ll only find at an independently run all-ages show.

For Todd P, these are all traps to be avoided: “When you allow your investment to be purchased, you allow someone else to come in and own a certain part of your vision. And that’s not what I’m about. I used to be interested in what a

Let’s hope New York still has another Market Hotel or two left in it, and that it stays open long enough to help remind us of why we all came here in the first place.

the deli Winter 2014


specials the deli’s features

total slacker Smart Heavy Riff Rock


RIYL: Sonic Youth, Hüsker Dü, A Place to Bury Strangers

By Dave Cromwell / Photos by Ebru Yildiz

ith a sound built around heavy riff grooves underpinning lyrics that combine intelligence, sardonic wit and heartfelt sincerity, Brooklyn’s Total Slacker are leading the way in the next evolution of rock. Poised for a February release of their latest album “Slip Away” on Black Bell/ADA records, the quartet looks to the coming year as both a continuation and new beginning for the band. Initial vision and leadership begins with core members (and couple) Tucker Rountree and Emily Oppenheimer, now bolstered by the formidable presence of guitarist David Anthony Tassy and drummer Zoe Brecher. Their sound creates the impression of familiarity, while retaining a quirky originality that prevents simple single genre designation. First single release ‘Sometimes You Gotta Die’ takes Nirvana’s guitar tonal quality, but slows it down to an ominous, unsettling pace. The signature heavy break after lyrics “sometimes you gotta cry (and die), just to know you’re alive” is as effective as anything Black Sabbath ever accomplished throughout their entire doom-laden catalogue. The emotional power and depth is fully realized during Tucker and Tassy’s guitar outro throwdown. Follow-up ‘Keep The Ships At Bay’ takes an opposite approach, as the driving rhythm lurches back and forth with a frenetic angularity. In addition to embedding the album title inside a significant lyrical hook, the message “if you can make it through night, it will be alright - make it through the day and keep the ships at bay,” illustrates how best to survive in these modern times. Compressed vocal verses coupled with a widely expanded sonic range on the chorus shows a band using the recording studio to its full potential. Frontman Tucker Rountree answers questions about his early development and where the band is now headed.


the deli Winter 2014

Where did you grow up and go to school? I was mainly raised in Salt Lake City, Utah till I was about 9. Then my parents got divorced, and my mom took me all over the western half of the country. She worked as a hospital administrator, and to build her career, she felt she had to move around a lot. We lived in Phoenix, Arizona, then Denver, Colorado and eventually Fresno, California. When she wanted to move again this time to Seattle, I didn’t want to so I went back to Salt Lake City to live with my dad. Talk about your current relationship with Black Bell Records. What’s being planned? We’re going to do a couple of albums for sure, and then we’ll see where it goes from there. Ayad and Ben run the label, and they’re great guys. They live here in Brooklyn, and are a part of everything. They come to the shows and know all the same people, so it was really logical for us to be with them. We’ve already played shows with Ayad’s band Team Spirit so we already had that kind of connection. Having this management structure with Steven Matrick and the label has helped make everything less stressful, allowing us to concentrate more on creating the music. When did you pick up the guitar? My dad started teaching me when I was about 7 years old. He’s a really eccentric guy who always wanted to play guitar and wasn’t interested trying to fit in with societies rigid standards of the time. He lived in Salt Lake, and would drive to Los Angeles to shop his song demos from the early 70’s and 80’s. At the time he was at The University of Utah studying engineering and jazz composition. Both he and my grandpa, who was a jazz piano player, taught me how to play that style. If you listen closely, you can hear jazz chord inflections subtly incorporated into our music. What about alternative tunings? Do you incorporate any of those? Actually we don’t. You might think so based on the tonality of how the chord progression works out. A lot of the times, the songs will start up harmonically really high, and then the choruses are really low. We don’t use any alternative tunings, though. It’s completely stock. We’re not like Sonic Youth in that regard. We start high in the verses, and then

work our way down to a darker, lower chord progression, which sometimes can give that same kind of effect. How did Tassy come to join the band? Two summers ago, we went on our second tour ever, going through the Great Lakes areas like Chicago, Wisconsin and Minnesota for about 15 dates. We brought Night Manager with us, and Tassy was playing in that band. The second guitarist we had with us was a friend of mine who was just filling in, and not really a permanent member. At the end of the tour, we heard that Tassy was leaving Night Manager so we asked him to join us. He and I have very different styles, and I knew it would really work in this band. He comes from a metal background, but has also studied harmonic theory allowing him to contribute the right voicings to it all. Ever since he joined, we’ve taken on a whole new life because he adds so much. What can we expect from the new album “Slip Away”? We have eleven songs on it, and I’d like to include a bonus track that is just this insane ball of experimental noise at the end. Hopefully I can get that on there as well. It comes out in February, and we’ve already released two singles for it - ‘Sometimes You Gotta Die’ and ‘Keep The Ships At Bay.’ The whole record is very uniform to a particular sound we’re going for. I wrote 90% of the songs on it. Emily and I arranged everything together. Then Daniel Schlett, who engineered the sessions at Strange Weather Studios on Grand Avenue here in Brooklyn, co-produced the record with us. It was mastered by Joe Laporta (who also did The Foo Fighters, The Killers and Vampire Weekend).

Artist Equipment Box Is there a piece of equipment that you find particularly useful on stage? TASSY: “The Rat Pedal. RAT 2. It puts me in the moooooodd!!!”

ProCo RAT 2

the deli Winter 2014


specials the deli’s features

san fermin Orchestral Pop Theater By Bianca Seidman / Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford


on’t call it a rock opera. Despite his orchestral composition, lyrics that are a dialogue between characters and a “necessary” song order, Ellis Ludwig-Leone, mastermind behind San Fermin, says their self-titled debut is just, “…a sort-of indie-pop record, that’s thoroughly composed.” “I’d stop short of saying that it’s a concept record.” He says it doesn’t have the plot or arc of The Moody Blues or “Tommy” by The Who. “I don’t think this has a story, but it absolutely has an organization. It definitely needs to be listened to from the beginning to the end or it should be… it’s probably closer to a concert-length orchestral work.” In the back room at Pianos, on a Tuesday afternoon, the stench of bleach and spilled drinks is powerful. LudwigLeone and Allen Tate, his longtime co-writer and male lead vocalist, are sizing up the stage. Their very first show as San Fermin - when the band was 21-members deep, playing from sheet music - was almost exactly a year ago on this spot. “Can you imagine fitting? How did we even do that?” Ludwig-Leone says, walking six paces to the opposite end of the stage. “There was a bass drum in the corner. You played underneath that speaker,” Tate recalls. Ludwig-Leone ducks the speaker and gestures. “There was a glockenspiel in the corner too.” “Yeah. We also all had music stands.” “Music stands were crazy!” San Fermin had never played in front of a live audience before. The room was packed with players and a big turnout of friends, publicists and record labels that Ludwig-Leone was courting after drumming up music blog attention with the band’s first single, ‘Sonsick.’ Two days later, Josh Deutsch of Downtown Records invited him to meet saying he was impressed the audience asked for an encore of ‘Sonsick.’ Two months later, San Fermin became the only orchestral pop band on the label. Ludwig-Leone whittled down the band to eight players, which included a violin and saxophone but no bass guitar. They got rid of the music stands, and memorized his complex arrangements and unusual time signatures. Lead


the deli Winter 2014

RIYL: The National, Sufjan Steven, Lucius

singers Tate, whose baritone recalls Matt Berninger of The National, and Rae Cassidy, whose diva-level soprano matches her confidence, were free to act out the characters in the lyrics. They slowed down to emphasize poignant moments, and belted out the loud, sometimes discordant choruses. “The band is about this sort of heightened thing. I mean, that’s what music is, it’s human emotion, but made bigger and more intense,” Ludwig-Leone says. The year has been a success on most counts, minus a few blows. Their tour van, including $20,000 of equipment and personal effects, was stolen in Portland. The loss could have derailed their fall tour, but they banded together to borrow some gear and raise donations via Kickstarter. The theft gave them perspective and caution. “Every time we stop at a hotel we carry everything in. Like, there’s a bass drum in our bedroom,” says Ludwig-Leone. “Coincidentally, that’s the name of our next record,” Tate adds. They laugh, wryly.

“I think it’s natural as a young person trying to find your voice to sort of collect things that you feel are saying something,” says Ludwig-Leone. “I think that’s just like what a first record is, at least for me. But I think there’s also a lot of tracks and a lot of different furniture in this room.” Indie-avant as it is on the surface, the album “San Fermin” has a trove of other influences from mythology and Victorian literature to the classical scoring of Nico Muhly, Ludwig-Leone’s boss in his “day” job, and even a dusting of hip hop. Tate sometimes phrases his lyrics like rhymes or includes subtly naughty wordplay like, “I take all my meals to bed,” in ‘Torero’ or “I don’t think about you when I’m missing you,” in ‘Methuselah.’ “I don’t know if I’d call it gangsta rap or a hardcore rap album,” Tate laughs. They talk about the character Kendrick Lamar plays on his album and lyrical highlights in their favorite hip-hop songs. They are excited about the idea of collaboration.

At 23, Ludwig-Leone and Tate have been through several bands and genres together. They often finish each other’s thoughts. When one is writing music, the other is usually involved in the next step. Still, San Fermin was a different process.

“Bone Thugs[-N-Harmony]! I want Bone Thugs so bad,” says Ludwig-Leone.

“The problem was with our earlier things is we weren’t actually sure what we were doing,” Ludwig-Leone says. “Was he writing a song and then I was arranging it? Was I writing a song and then he was just singing it? Were we co-writing?”

Tate says, “Earl Sweatshirt!”

He turns toward Tate for approval. “For San Fermin, I’m writing the song and Allen’s gonna sing it and make it his, you know?” Tate nods. “In a lot of ways, knowing those are the roles going in takes a lot of weird pressure off.” Ludwig-Leone composes San Fermin’s albums similar to how he works with orchestral and ballet scores - structuring the album as one unit, with different movements. He retreats to the woods for mood and uninterrupted writing time. “Your emotions sort of expand to fill the space,” he says. “When you’re lonely, you’re really lonely. When you’re excited, you’re really excited. Everything’s just more when you’re by yourself somewhere you don’t really feel like you’re home.” The album has that pensive thread, drawing on influences like Dirty Projectors and The National, but also the interludes and themes from Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinoise” and Ludwig-Leone’s classical

music studies at Yale. Early criticism of San Fermin’s self-titled debut album questioned whether they borrowed too much.

On almost the year anniversary of their first show, San Fermin plays to a sold-out crowd at the 700-capacity Music Hall of Williamsburg. Like a Dirty Projectors set, they produce an eardrumshaking, vocals-heavy wall of sound. The band is as excited as the audience by moments of avantgarde composition - dissonant chords, the wild cacophony plus two baritone saxophones in ‘The Count’ and the high-emotion of horns and multiple female voices blaring the refrains of ‘Sonsick.’ When they are called for an encore, they apologize for not having more material and play out with a smoky, R&B-tinged rendition of The Strokes’ ‘Heart in a Cage.’ “I think what’s cool about the band is it is actually what I set out to do,” says Ludwig-Leone. “It’s about feeling things intensely. There’s a lyric on the new record like, ‘It always feels like life and death to me, but that’s just how it has to be.’ That’s just what our performances are like. It’s a big, somewhat stressful, somewhat exciting, massive undertaking. That’s what this band has been in every sense of the word.”

Artist Equipment Box “My favorite instrument is my grand piano, which my mom bought for me when I was young, and which I still do most of my writing and recording on.” Grand Piano

guitar players

of the music building Bands you’ve played with: Walk Thru Walls, Gamelan Son of

Lion, Tilted Axes, Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists Current band: Patrick Grant Group How many guitars do you own?: 9 What is your dream guitar?: ca. 1957-1959 Gibson Les Paul How many years have you been playing guitar?: 25+ years First guitar memory?: “Dad’s late night jams w/ his friends.” Guitar player icon: Nigel Tufnel How would you describe your artistic style in 1 sentence?:

“It’s music that’s about music.”

Patrick Grant Bands you’ve played with: Jet Orange, Spitter, Fin,

Monster Christ Current band: Bodyface How many guitars do you own?: 7(?) What is your dream guitar?: Danelectro mod 6 in Sonic Blue How many years have you been playing guitar?: 14 years First guitar memory?: Getting a Squire Bullet for Xmas... Guitar player icon: Izzy Stradlin How would you describe your artistic style in 1 sentence?: “I would describe my artistic style as

dissonant. That’s one word.”


the deli Winter 2014

jared kerr

andy altmann Current band: Madame Mayhem, Emiko How many guitars do you own?: 7 What is your dream guitar?:

“The one I own: Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty.” How many years have you been playing guitar?: 20+ years First guitar memory?: “Walking into the music store and picking up my first guitar, a black Mexican Fender Stratocaster.” Guitar player icon: “I have several but Jim Hendrix and Jeff Beck are pretty much on top.” How would you describe your artistic style in 1 sentence?:

“I’m the special sauce in the song.”

Photo by Ken Paprocki

Bands you’ve played with: “Jon Paris All Star Blues Band,

anthony mullin

Ed Sullivan Blues Band, Acey Slade and the Dark Party, The Wild Deer, Captain Acorn, and PUi. I’ve also had the pleasure of jamming with Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), Mark Bosch (Ian Hunter) and Tony Bruno (Rhianna, Enrique Iglesias, Cher).” Current band: The Blackfires How many guitars do you own?: 11 What is your dream guitar?: 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard How many years have you been playing guitar?: 13 years First guitar memory?: “Playing air guitar when I was 4 years old to Dire Straits’ ‘Money for Nothing’” Guitar player icon: Brad Whitford / Joe Perry / Slash / SRV How would you describe your artistic style in 1 sentence?:

“A solid blues improvisational base mixed with rock, metal, and shred leanings.” Photo by Deneka Peniston

the deli Winter 2014


Stompbox Exhibit Winter NAMM Debut




he Deli’s Stompbox Exhibits have become a crucial component to what we do, and thanks to the interest they triggered among pedal lovers and also in social media, they are slowly becoming an event that’s recognized by most musicians in the US. In 2013, we brought this pedal expo format to NAMM for the first time during its minor summer Nashville edition. In 2014, we are finally ready to debut it at the big NAMM show - the winter one in Anaheim, CA.

Many thanks are in order to the NAMM staff for being supportive to this idea and allowing us to basically sublet their booth space - we weren’t sure they’d go for it when we first approached them! Because of this, twelve small pedal manufacturers will be able to participate in this important convention at a fraction of the cost, and many pedal lovers and music instrument industry pros will be able to get familiar with them, while having fun testing their creations.

Stompbox Exhibit at summer NAMM 2013.

Eight Manufacturers (in alphabetical order: Dawner Prince, El Musico Loco, El Rey Pedals, Fairfield Circuitry, Lotus Pedals, SmallsoundBigsound, Stomplabs and Wattson FX) will be participating in the Winter NAMM Stompbox exhibit with their own board while four more (Adventure Audio, Dutch Kazoo, Reinger FX, and WMD) will share a board - all manufacturers have one pedal featured in this section of our magazine. Thank you also to CIOKS, Reverend, D’Addario, and Planet Waves for sponsoring the show and providing - respectively, power for the pedals, demo guitars, guitar strings and cable, and to our fans Shure, Line6 and Presonus for providing all the necessary elements for the amplification in the headphones.

Brooklyn exhibit at Main Drag Music last year.


the deli Winter 2014

If you can’t make it to Anaheim, you may be able to catch the following Stompbox Exhibit at SXSW 2014 on March 13-15 - this year it will be an official part of the Music Week. And if that doesn’t work for you either, you still have the awesome Brooklyn edition in October waiting.

kitchen recording equipment news

Rainger FX Dr. Freakenstein Fuzz


here sure are some pretty wild boutique stompbox manufacturers out there. That being said, I can pretty easily say that the Rainger FX Dr. Freakenstein Fuzz (DrFF-3) is the weirdest pedal I have ever come across. This pedal sounds like it’s straight out of a monster movie, with “frighteningly loud” fuzz capability, controlled by the single volume knob on the left, and a built in mod switch that triggers high resonance phasing, adjustable only in rate by the knob near the bottom. In an expert step of foresight, Rainger FX included a noise gate that keeps the pedal completely silent in between notes, even when you’re using the Drff-3 to scream as loudly as it possibly can. The coolest feature this pedal has to offer though is the detachable “Igor” pressure pad. By attaching the postage stamp sized appendage to the back of the pedal via minijack, you can either affect the oscillation controlled by the knob on the right of the pedal or adjust the bias of the modulation range; all of which is managed by how much physical pressure is put on it. The DrFF-3 goes above and beyond with its loyalty to the Frankenstein theme by incorporating an actual knife switch that turns the pedal on and activates two orange LEDs that mark the positions of the volume and oscillator knobs. At the bottom of the housing, there’s even an LED illuminated input meter that wavers in time with the speed of the modulation (rate knob). My only issue with this thing is that all of its effects have every parameter controlled by

making the world a better sounding place.

With the detachable “Igor” pressure pad, you can either affect the oscillation controlled by the knob on the right of the pedal or adjust the bias of the modulation range; all of which is managed by how much physical pressure is put on it.

single knobs; you’re going to be playing within a very specific range of tone with each feature. The tones available are so unique though that the DrFF-3 makes up for its subpar versatility with extremely fun playability. This is the weirdest pedal that I have ever come across, but that just makes it all the more exciting to figure out what makes it tick.

10 jay street suite 405 brooklyn, ny 11201 (718) 797-0177

the deli Winter 2014


kitchen recording equipment news

The Dutch Kazoo


he greatest pitfall of many boutique pedals is over-indulgence; putting together a pedal that is physically and sonically unique enough to stand apart from its competition and simultaneously triumphs as a marvel of effect trailblazing is no easy task. This often warrants inclusion of too many clashing features within a single housing, which is why I was so surprised by the Dutch Kazoo’s approach to the fuzz pedal. Its simplicity piqued my interest, and its attention to detail instantly won me over.

The Dutch Kazoo is a two-stage overdrive fuzz pedal with a simple 4 knob layout: vol 1, vol 2, blend, and tone. The extreme versatility of each of these four knobs is what makes this pedal more fun to play than any fuzz I’ve ever used before though. Use just the volumes to play through a range of analog distortions, from light and un-intrusive to thick and powerful. Adjust the tone for fat darks and biting, gritty lights. Let the blend control lightly accentuate overtone feedback or swallow your sound in metallic noise. The possibilities, even with such sparse controls, are endless.

I have nothing negative to say about this thing. The solid wood housing and the faceplate mural options (I chose fruit bats) are fun ideas that look great; the controls are clear and instantly understandable; the colors of the housing, knobs, and faceplate even compliment each other well. The attention to detail put into the Dutch Kazoo is apparent, and because of it, we’re given a highly unique and rewarding fuzz pedal. Do your rig a favor, and buy this pedal.

smallsound/bigsound Team Awesome! Fuzzmachine

Reviewed by Eric Werner

Next to the clean channel, there are two different mid-boost hand switches and at the bottom, bypass and gate foot switches. Add a little extra grit to the already grimy wet mix, or push your clean mix into gain-y, but still manageable and wide, territory (my favorite use of this pedal) by flipping either or both mid-boosters, or let your tone reach screeching banshee levels by dialing up the shape knob. No matter what you’re using it for, get ready for this pedal to seriously beef up your sound - it’s also very popular among bass players, and as a matter of fact, it was designed primarily as a distortion pedal for bass. The only draw back I noticed on the pedal was the noise gate’s volatility; it gets really tight really fast. Nonetheless, it’s another fun facet to explore.


he smallsound/bigsound’s Team Awesome! Fuzzmachine has all the features of a classic germanium fuzz pedal, but includes a few interesting quirks that lift it a cut above other comparable stompboxes. The interface is easy to understand after a short amount of tinkering, with a dry channel controlled by volume and gain parameters, and a wet channel controlled by volume, fuzz, and shape (tone control) parameters.


the deli Winter 2014

From the beautiful Phil Elvrum-style illustration on the front face to the extremely wide variety of sounds and timbres you can get it to generate, the TAFM capitalizes on the sound of smallsound/bigsound’s already excellent more basic fuzz pedals, and pushes it even further with details that come together to offer more great sounding options.

NAMM 2014 Editio n! See

the deli's PedalBoard More pedal reviews at!

Stomplabs Max O.D.

Fairfield Circuitry The Accountant

• Classic overdrive sound with expression-enabled Volume, Gain, Tone, or any combination thereof. • Provides “Direct Linear” and “Inverse Linear” expression modes, simultaneously increase one control while decreasing another.

• A reliable, all analogue, JFET feedback compressor.

• Individually set expression values on each control.

• Produces both slight nuanced dynamics control or fully squeezed signal. • A simple control interface allows you to change the threshold, compression ratio and makeup gain.

• Expression output allows sharing of expression pedal.

El Musico Loco Wee Beaver Fuzz • A full-on-all-the-time highly modified fuzz circuit with a Big Muff style tone section. • Inspired by a design developed for Os Mutantes. • Two knobs control Volume and Countour. • You can power it with 12v DC for an even hairier Beaver.


us at Bo o #1472 th

the deli Winter 2014

El Rey Fuzz De La Muerte • A fuzz pedal with gate and a lot of coloring controls. • Tone knob and 3 position Color Switch allow for tone fine tuning. • Input and Output levels allow perfect interaction with instrument and amp.

Dawner Prince RedRox • Versatile distortion, can give you anything from pure clean tones to clean boost all the way to a grease-melting tones. • Contour knob controls the frequency emphasis, from mid range scooped to midrange-pronounced. • Tone knob controls the distortion section hi frequencies.

WMD Utility Parametric EQ • The Swiss knife of EQ pedals! • 3 bands of EQ with frequency ranges set at 31Hz to 1.6kHz, 100Hz to 4.8kHz, 300Hz to 16kHz. • Each band is an independent bandpass filter with adjustable center frequency, quality factor, and gain. • Q - The Quality Factor (Q) gives you control over the sharpness of the filter.

Lotus Pedals Snowjob • Dual mode “underdrive”. • Similar in function to an overdrive, instead of driving the amp it drives from the guitar, adding harmonic content. • The toggle switch gives you transparent boost with headroom to spare or a more aggressive tone with harmonic clipping like a tube amp.

Wattson FX Escape Velocity OD • Versatile and rich sounding Tube Screamer inspired OD. • O2 control changes the level at which the overdrive circuit begins to clip, interacting to some degree with the Drive control. • Trajectory switch disables the parts of the circuit that cause the infamous Tube Screamer “mid hump.” • Noteworthy bass response and headroom.

Profile for The Deli Mag

The Deli NYC #37 - Total Slacker, Todd P, San Fermin, Stompbox Expo  

Winter 2014. Featuring Total Slacker on the cover. Plus: full articles on Brooklyn DIY promoter Todd P and newbies San Fermin, as well as a...

The Deli NYC #37 - Total Slacker, Todd P, San Fermin, Stompbox Expo  

Winter 2014. Featuring Total Slacker on the cover. Plus: full articles on Brooklyn DIY promoter Todd P and newbies San Fermin, as well as a...