The Deli NYC #46 - Best of NYC 2016: Acid Dad, Donna Missal, Honduras

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the magazine about emerging nyc bands Issue #46 Volume #2 Spring 2016

Best of

NYC 2016

the deli

the magazine aboutthe emerging nyc scene bands everything about nyc music Issue #46 Vol. #2 Spring 2016 Paolo De Gregorio Charles Newman Editor: Brian CHidester executive Editor: quang d. tran graphic designer: Kaz Yabe ( Cover photograph: Ebru Yildiz / DESIGN: Kaz Yabe hip-hop editor: Jason Grimste (aka brokemc) Web Developers: mike levine Distribution Coordinator: Kevin Blatchford Assistant editor: Adriana S. Ballester Contributing Writers: Ben Apatoff Francesca Baker JP Basileo Dave Cromwell Michael Haskoor Mike Levine Leora Mandel Sam Ohara Zachary Weg The Kitchen: Ryan Dembinsky Mya Byrne Brandon Stoner Interns: Henry Solotaroff Webber John Honan Publishers: The Deli Magazine LLC / Mother West, NYC Editor In Chief / Publisher: Founder:

The Deli Magazine is a trademark of The Deli Magazine, LLC, Brooklyn & Mother West, NYC. All contents ©2016 The Deli Magazine. All rights reserved.

Notes from the Editor Regardless the vertigo of modern life and the strong inclination to nostalgia, there is no uninventing technology once it appears. Fight against it we might; it’s a losing battle. The record biz knows it all too well, despite the now-solidified cottage industry of vinyl (a bright spot amidst the instability). Publishers of print material too—particularly magazines and newspapers—know the feeling of obsolescence. In the past, print solved some specific problems of the mass sensibility, where one comfort of reading was knowing that most everyone around you was looking at the same thing. Yet words printed on paper or sounds pressed to little silver discs should not be confused with the content itself (i.e. the container is not the thing contained). Another residual effect of all this is how small operations have been gobbled up or put out of business by the megas. Times Square is the most notable (and ugly) example of rampant Disneyfication. Yet even the local business or the DIY artist would have to admit, on some level, that corporate culture has played a subconscious role in our self-presentation and planning. As we at The Deli approached this current issue, with psychedelic/punk band Acid Dad on the cover, the conundrum became all too apparent. How do we present these four guys as stand-ins for the hopes and dreams of an entire generation, as opposed to just another band seeking corporate funding, with its promise of fame and fortune? It’s complicated stuff, especially because we at The Deli deliver each issue free of corporate consideration. (This ‘Best of NYC’ issue, for instance, is selected by our own critics and by a local jury of scene makers.) Yet even there politics linger. Long story short, we had a fully booked live show of poll nominees at this year’s Northside Festival, but very late in the game the big guy (them) screwed the small guy (us), with the complicity of a venue supposedly inspired by the DIY ethos (Palisades). A bill of truly talented NYC bands was replaced by a show involving a popular CT emo band. The money counts more than your word: show canceled; the same corruptive germ ruining this country’s politics can be found in the microcosm of the local scene. And yet the show must go on. So join us for the “Best of NYC” event at Sunnyvale, in Bushwick, June 9th —where even amidst entropy, new life and inspiration persists. Sakura. Brian Chidester, Editor May 19, 2016


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Fresh Buzz Live Events/NYC Records of the Month State of the Scene

How New York City Music Went Radical (Again)


Best NYC Emerging Artists 2016 p.34 Deli’s Synths Corner p.36 Deli’s Pedalboard

Fresh Buzz | New Artists Fresh Buzz | New Artists

Cigarettes After Sex

Diet Cig

(Brian Chidester)

New to Brooklyn (via New Paltz), boy and girl duo Diet Cig specialize in lightweight garage-pop. Alex Luciano’s adorably expressive vocals and casual lyrics are almost a replica of ‘90s Juliana Hatfield. Issues as varied as second-hand smoke and moving into her first apartment are unpretentious and have won the group many funseeking fans. Their debut EP Over Easy and two groovy singles— “Sleep Talk” and “Dinner Date”—have confirmed the winning formula. More is promised. (Paolo De Gregorio)



Photo: Lex Voight

Founded in El Paso, circa 2008, Greg Gonzalez’s Cigarettes After Sex boasts a revolving cast of co-conspirators. Their debut EP was four years ago, but as Frank Ifield sang on the LP he split with the Beatles: “I remember you!” The old band took slow-core to levels of sparse unheard since the days of Cowboy Junkies. Recently Gonzalez moved to Brooklyn and unveiled a sumptuous cover of “Keep on Loving You”—quite capably earmarked for Starbucks or the new Twin Peaks.

We have towards ambient music the same attitude we have to olive oil—don’t really want it by itself, but add it to pretty much anything and BOOM! Girlyboi is a new duo of musically-gifted models who according to our previous metaphor flood their sensual folk tunes in a sea of olive oil (plus some Eastern spice). The results are tasty indeed (and I’m hungry now). Three singles in 2015 led to a quick East Coast tour. See ‘em live at our Northside show June 9th at Sunnyvale. (Paolo De Gregorio)


the deli Spring 2016

Although just two (Hana Ellon and JJ Mitchell), Overcoats makes music that is multi-layered. Their voices, confident and seducing, bring to mind BK folk experimentalists Lucius. Single “Smaller Than My Mother” chants wordless backing vocals reminiscent of Suzanne Vega on “Tom’s Diner,” albeit more jazzy. Latest single “Nighttime Hunger” turns personal longing into a mantra of foreboding. These and other successes have put them in the studio with big names like James Blake and Hozier for live NPR sets. (Mike Levine)

Live Events/NYC lit several monuments. Spike Lee threw an impromptu block party where an estimated 800 locals danced in remembrance. Vinnie’s Pizza in Williamsburg served specialty slices like the “Purple Romaine” and “Little Bread Corvette.” Less commercially crass were events such as the Corner Social’s “grief therapy” in Harlem, where DJ Jon Quick played mixologist to the Purple One’s entire catalog. Secret Project Robot in Bushwick did similar with their Prince DJ Night, where a rotating cast of experimental deejays (including Knifesex and Cherry Magdalene) reconfigured the artist’s catalog into strangely avant-garde fun. Littlefield’s in Gowanus already hosts the weekly “Party Like It’s 1999” event, so it was no stretch for DJ Steve Reynolds to drop a night’s worth of Prince’s rarest b-sides and bootlegs (plus old videos). More will surely come.

Within the first four months of 2016, two of pop’s most groundbreaking artists—David Bowie and Price—died suddenly. Granted, celebrities often reflect the very worst of modern life, though they can sometimes be much more, as in the case of these two artists. They taught us that eclectic taste and idiosyncrasy need not preclude humanism, and in their immediate aftermath New Yorkers recognized the pair as no less than two modern saints. Below is a brief rundown of some recent local memorials. First came the Bowie tributes, which poured fourth following his death on January 10th (and continued for months). Sally Can’t Dance was an early one, held at Bowery Electric, where local glam-band Michael T. and the Vanities led over 15 artists in a grand fête to he who set their course. Bushwick’s Stephen Romano Gallery hosted a new art-show, titled “Saint Bowie,” featuring the cream of underground artists evoking the alreadyiconic Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane as actual byzantine relics. Over in Manhattan, the Bryant Park skate-rink held several “Skate Oddity” parties, with deejays spinning the classics whilst locals spent the night together. Saxman Donny McCaslin—who led the studio band on Bowie’s final album Blackstar—played the entire LP over

Sas Christian, Tribute (2016) (Courtesy the Stephen Romano Gallery)

five nights at the Village Vanguard. The big blowout, however, was the pair of Carnegie Hall/Radio City Music Hall tributes, which boasted a starstudded lineup that included Debbie Harry, the Flaming Lips, the Pixies, and the Mountain Goats. On April 22nd, less than twenty-four hours after Prince’s passing, the city had already

Alas, while on the subject of sainthood, a shameless plug for my own new project: the vinyl-only Wild Boy: The Lost Songs of Eden Ahbez, an LP of unreleased material by Ahbez, the original hippie/saint (who was also a Brooklyn native). And while we’re at it, might as well mention that the Cloisters—that 12th century Benedictine abbey, transplanted to Fort Tryon Park (Upper East Side)—will now host live shows, including dronemetal quartet Earth; a lute player doing Spanish medieval music; and a Chinese flautist whistling Thelonius Monk tunes. Go get your sacred on. (Brian Chidester)

Records of the Month

Humeysha Self-Titled For those who think NYC is getting a little too complacent in its imperishable reverence for grunge, surf, and doo-wop, this new quartet Humeysha should help clear the decks. Their self-titled debut integrates Indian influences and western pop in ways that would make George Harrison proud. Opener “For Love, from the Law” is sung in Hindi and marries the immoveable sitar to minimal chillwave percussion. It is blissful pop counterfeiting as Eastern music (still kind of a nineties conceit). “Burma Between You and Me” employs an archaic loop that yields further razzmatazz. “Mahalli” eschews the psychedelic Indian sound for one closer to Dead Can Dance. Either way, it’s fresh oxygen. (Paolo De Gregorio)


the deli Spring 2016

Robot Princess Teen Vogue (LP) + Action Moves (EP)

Ghost King Bones Full disclosure: this is the kind of record The Deli editor-in-chief aches for. Soon as it hits “the desk,” we’re hailing it the next indierock classic. How true is that of Bones, by Bronx slackers Ghost King? It’s got the right pedigree, that’s certain. “Bones Pt. 2” lands somewhere between Dusk at Cubist Castle and early Syd Barrett. “Skeleton Dance” is structured like the Pixies, with a Cobain-esque croon. “Til You Belong to Me” slacks like golden-era Pavement. Indeed, the whole affair is pure nineties, excepting maybe “Leeches,” which is fuzzed-out like grunge, though written in a contemporary milieu. Finally, “Winter’s Air” adds a much-needed dose of humor with: “Don’t you know we’re all just stuck here in the Bronx?” (Brian Chidester)

Brooklyn DIY quartet Robot Princess is nothing if not earnest. Indeed, on their Teen Vogue + Action Move LP/EP, melody undergirds each poetic couplet of daily struggle. It could be power-pop for the fact that the album is melodic throughout, though there’s no truly winning chorus. That it’s neither fully pop nor strongly rock makes the platter neither fish nor fowl. But that’s almost not the point. What is then? I’d say it’s the way pop songcraft is modulated, twisted and bent, like jazz music, albeit with a fuzzbox. The lyrics are also deeply relatable. Who hasn’t needed to hear this line at one time or another: “Pull yourself together/I don’t care if something breaks.” (Paolo De Gregorio)

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State of the Scene


the deli Spring 2016

How New York City Music Went Radical (Again) written By

Brian CHidester

On September 17, 2011, a sit-in protest began at Zuccotti Park in the financial district of Lower Manhattan. Signs announcing the event furnished interested parties with this one request: “Bring Tent.” Dubbed Occupy Wall Street, it lasted less than two months, having seen its participants forcefully removed, along with their tents, by NYPD in the middle of the night, November 15. In all, over 40,000 locals were involved as the movement spread out to at least twenty other cities worldwide. Its slogan “We Are the 99%” became a rallying cry, despite the fact that media coverage was on the whole largely dismissive. Conservatively-dressed pundits, when they spoke of it at all, focused on one main facet: those noisy bongo drums. It wouldn’t be the first time music and protest were entwined in a generational moment. Yet in this instance it seemed music became an easy deflection of the movement’s real demands: for less corporate influence in government and increased distribution of wealth. At its beginning, Occupy attracted a number of prominent artists and musicians from around the globe. Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello showed up with an acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder (emblazoned with the famous Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan dictum: “This machine kills fascism”) and led several sing-alongs of union songs and other topical folk music in the park. In October, 2011, Rolling Stone magazine reported the official launch of Occupy Musicians, “a resource for musicians who support the Occupy Wall Street movement,” which included first signees Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Saul Williams, Talib Kweli, and Jello Biafra, among others. Cheetah Chrome, former Nico guitar-man (and member of punk act the Dead Boys), quickly fired off a missive recounting the history of U.S. corruption, which Occupy Musicians posted to its website as a manifesto (apparently without much consideration of grammar or fact-checking). A small group of local songwriters, or “creative-economy workers” (as the website called them), met in Washington Square Park, in Greenwich Village, through the summer of 2012, where they discussed issues surrounding the music industry and what Occupy could do to effect change for musicians at large. Yet by the end of the year the group had fizzled out. Celebrity support dissipated long before that. Indeed, by any measure, the movement’s official initiatives have failed. Yet the larger galvanization of locals, especially creative types, continues, and in fact a prime concern for those looking to break into the music business remains how to change the system from within. One such artist working from the official arena is folk singer Anais Mitchell. Originally from Vermont—home state of leftist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders—Mitchell has recently seen her 2010 concept album Hadestown staged at the New York Theatre Workshop. The project came in the aftermath of the financial crash, and its message took aim at the

winner-take-all economy, deploying the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as narrative device. (The pair split up when Eurydice is lured-in by Hades’ offer of financial stability, leaving bohemian Orpheus to win her back by shining a light on the ugliness of capitalism.) Hadestown is not the first time in recent years that theatre has taken on topicality. In 2006, as wars in Iraq and Afghanistan raged on, producers of the Woodstock-era musical Hair re-staged the play in Central Park, then saw it run on Broadway for three years. Original bandleader Bernard Purdie came back to lead the new orchestra, while the Joshua Light Show, those old-school sixties progenitors of psychedelic projections, provided a new tripped-out backdrop. (Joshua Light, in 2014, also performed oil-lamp light shows with local psych/jam-band Woods at the Skirball Center in Greenwich Village.) In terms of alternative politics on Broadway, Hadestown will now compete with that other musical whose alternative politics has turned mainstream heads: Hamilton. Essentially a hip-hop re-telling of the founding years of the U.S. government, everything about the play has been controversial (not least of all its mixed-race cast, which play founders like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and the play’s namesake, Alexander Hamilton). Lest we forget the nineties musical Rent, which tackled the AIDS epidemic, and which featured Rosario Dawson in the 2005 film version (her being now a main campaigner for Senator Sanders). All that being said, Broadway has always had an undercurrent of social activism (and plenty of gay playwrights), so in that sense none of it is new. Nor are the myriad young folk singers and bands playing the club circuit around Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Female singer/songwriters like Mitski and Shilpa Ray are just as fierce as Anais Mitchell, if less topical, and artists such as Tica Douglas, Julia Weldon, Blkkathy, and the Prettiots all work through the lens of LGBT identity politics and second-wave feminism. Brooklyn band the Last Internationale had their first full-length produced by Occupy/Rage Against the Machine guitar-man Tom Morello. These are but a few examples. The point being that mistrust of authority is well-ensconced within the establishment form. The question now remains how effective an approach can it be? Even before the April 19th primary in New York state, where supporters of Senator Sanders claimed voter suppression on the part of the Clinton campaign (and Brooklyn Board of Elections), word on the street was that the system isn’t just broken. It’s rigged. To what extent the desperation of the financial crisis—not to mention rising rent costs, inflation, and a growing income disparity between those at the tippy-top and everyone else—has effected eclecticism is much debated. Musicians these days are expected to do much more and be compensated far less, if anything at all. One reaction has been the burgeoning DIY version of mainstream pop, where artists such as Manhattan’s Brittany Campbell promise stage-shows filled with backup singers, choreographed dancers, and homemade light projections. the deli Spring 2016


“When well intentioned small businesses and hoards of artists move into long-neglected neighborhoods, it doesn’t take long for those families who’ve lived there for decades to get pushed out.”

Media coverage of Occupy Wall Street was largely dismissive, though when conservatively-dressed pundits did speak of it, they seemed more interested in the noisy bongo drums than the movement’s real demands.

Some can pull off an indie version of Lady Gaga or Beyonce, and stay true to their art; many of lesser talent and wit cannot, and soon find themselves bending to official culture out of desperation to be heard. It may also be the nature of the beast for things once outside to at some point become official culture. Can we say, for instance, that ABC No Rio—the Lower East Side’s long-standing DIY art space and hardcore/ punk club—actually still constitutes a local scene? To the extent that its organizers have lobbied for public support, combined with the area’s unaffordable rents for artist types, the venue seems more like an alternative brand name these days. And as brands go, things turned out far worse for alt-figureheads like CBGB’s and Von Dutch—both little more than corporate logos now. The same could be said for folk music itself. Where once, in the nineteen-fifties and sixties, the music of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez became central to the New Left, today it represents an industry in itself. If these new folk artists—Anais Mitchell, Cricket Tell the Weather, Alpenglow, et al—stand for a new movement, a new politic, a new proletariat, they seem also to perpetuate new product in the standard leftist form. It has been over 25 years now since the Berlin Wall fell and since the end of Soviet communism; and with them the sense that utopian leftism could work unequivocally swept away too. A more tempered version of socialism has returned to public discourse since 2008; yet a robust union culture has not. Right now, throughout New York City, the fastfood workers’ Fight for $15 struggles onward, while Verizon workers enter their own third week on strike—picking main boulevards all over the city. Yet on the whole unions are not the focus of the Millennials, and trying to change the establishment from the inside often feels like trying to smuggle the Word of Truth into the temple of the golden calf. In fact, if the technological deluge represents anything today, it’s not we’reall-in-this-together, but more do-it-yourself. (Who, I ask, doesn’t use Photoshop? Final Cut? Any musician ignorant of ProTools anymore?) If the post-Marxist mindset is one of ambiguity and cynicism, then we can assume hope is meted out in smaller pleasures, with no one person or point-of-view ruling the day. (Gone are the days when canonical statements by high-minded thinkers such as Dostoyevsky might utter: “Brother, if you don’t agree that Phedre is the highest and purest poetry, I don’t know what I shall make of you.”) Where the think-globally-act-locally approach has proven most compromised is its effect on the native populations of local 12

the deli Spring 2016

neighborhoods. When well-intentioned small businesses and hoards of artists move into long-neglected neighborhoods, it doesn’t take long for those families who’ve lived there for decades to get pushed out. We like to think that artists, as writer Zadie Smith declared, “defy a single identity [and embrace] the many-colored voice, the multiple sensibility.” But evidence often suggests otherwise. The Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn is one example. A once quiet African-American area, with local businesses, bodegas, and neighborhood music (mainly reggae), Bed-Stuy now boasts any number of fancy coffee shops and upscale eateries. Rents have soared in the last five years as the population has become more integrated— mostly by white artistic types. One particular neighborhood hot-spot, pushing back against the prospect of a complete local diaspora, has taken on the activist spirit. Sistas’ Place sits at the corner of Nostrand Ave. and Jefferson St., a few blocks from the A/C train. Outside is a stop for the B44 bus, where on a recent afternoon I spoke to two locals about the nightclub/ community center. Sistas’ Place remains one of the last venues in the neighborhood to hear authentic soul music and soul jazz (think Sun Ra or John Coltrane). Recently, however, ownership came under fire for placing a sign in the window reading: “No Whites Allowed.” On the day I arrived, the sign was gone; one of the locals, however,—a young black female named Maxine—warned me not to go in there. “I will never set foot in there again,” she roared. An older female standing next to her—Devin, also African-American—retorted: “Someone’s got to stand up. Someone’s got to say, ‘This is our neighborhood’!” For the next five minutes the two argued back and forth. Maxine: the gentrifying has made the neighborhood safer and the new shops are more interesting and serve healthier food. Devin: all the old families have moved out and nothing is affordable here anymore. “What happens to those people?” she concludes. The bus comes; they both bid farewell. It’s afternoon and the place looks empty. The door is locked, though a middle-aged gentleman is setting up inside. I knock on the window and he comes over. “It’s closed.” I say I’m a reporter. He opens the door a crack; tells me to go to the website for any information. There’s no getting in. (Later I’ll reach out several times by email, but get no reply.) Up in the South Bronx, threats of gentrification are also persistent. Several years ago I did a story on NYC art collectives for the Village

Voice and spent a month attending live events at the Rebel Diaz Collective—a warehouse just off the 6 train, near 149th Street. It is gone now; replaced by a Latino evangelical church. When I was there, Rebel Diaz was filled floor-to-ceiling with graffiti art by local painters. Regular hip-hop artists included YC the Cynic (now MC Kemba), MC Elijah Black, and DJ Illinoiz. The leaders of the crew were Rodrigo and Gonzalo Venegas (aka RodStarz and G1), two Chilean-born activists who grew up in London and on the South Side of Chicago. In the Bronx, Starz and G1 set up shop with the intent to rally the local community against gentrification, racism, and inequality. They held weekly sessions to teach natives from the area about radical politics. Upstairs was the headquarters of Friends of Brook Park—a community garden run by local volunteers and long-time activists. The park recently hosted a Native American Arts and Craft festival, with a number of live performers, including local hip-hop artist Intikana. He was once involved with Rebel Diaz, but is now without affiliation. Back in 2011 the collaboration was strong. Intikana—“five-foot-three, but a fucking giant” (as the artist called himself in his song “Amistad”)—had just returned from Cuba, where he was energized by the local hip-hop scene and by what he referred to as “a way of life I feel more comfortable in.” Asked to clarify, he quipped: “No one there needs soap or eggs.” Also in 2011 both RodStarz and G1, as well as Intikana, took part in the Occupy protests. The former pair filmed themselves performing acapella hip-hop numbers for fellow protestors and uploaded the videos to YouTube. Intikana stayed out in a tent, week-after-week, until NYPD came and forcefully removed the occupiers. Refusing to leave willingly, he was arrested. In early 2012, the young artist stood before a judge; several members of Rebel Diaz came to support him, though it didn’t matter. Within minutes a judge was finished handing out steep fines for anyone arrested in the Occupy clearing. Afterwards, at a local pizza shop, near the downtown City Hall, the group huddled around Intikana. The artist himself said little.

Intikana (center), with DJ Hassan (left) and MC Elijah Black (right).

To what extent the desperation of the financial crisis— not to mention rising rent costs, inflation, and a growing income disparity between those at the tippy-top and everyone else—has effected eclecticism is much debated. Musicians these days are expected to do much more and be compensated far less, if anything at all.

When I returned to Rebel Diaz that summer, Intikana was gone; Rod and G1 said only that they’d parted ways with him amicably. A regular pulled me aside, however, and mentioned Intikana had left because members of Rebel Diaz accused him of being gay, and he felt threatened. Before Occupy, Intikana was one of the most daring hip-hop artists I’d seen in the entire city. Songs like 2011’s “Lil’ Afrika” were so incendiary that some feared for his life. (Its lyrics call for killing banking scions and their families, raiding the IRS, and burning down the White House.) “It’s our turn to stand up and take it back,” the artist screams on “Arizona.” Elsewhere: “If capitalism is cancer, this is chemo.” When I saw him earlier this year, at Brook Park, he looked dazed. He admitted he was out of shape, but insisted he’d get back there. When asked if he’d heard from Rebel Diaz, who moved to Brooklyn in 2013, he looked down. “Haven’t.” In other parts of the city, identity politics and music are perhaps more entrenched—particularly where a new generation of Islamic and Jewish artists are concerned. At a recent party in Crown Heights I met Nawaz Doga, a singer of traditional Sufi music. Originally from Pakistan, the artist has been in NYC for nearly a decade now. He drives a yellow cab at night and performs music mostly at social gatherings. Several young jazz singers at the party—female, enthusiastic—talked lovingly about joining Doga on-stage for live Sufi concerts. “I’ve worked with a lot of musicians,” he claimed, with an easy smile. “All styles of music, from all around the world, and I’m willing to do more.” Other locals from the Middle East—Grumby, Jai Wolf, Abu Ashley, Bedouin, the Innove Gnawa Band—have recently put out records blending traditional music with Western forms, especially EDM and techno. Despite dressing like a rocker—faded jeans, flannel shirt, long, scraggly hair— Doga prefers the folk tradition. On stage, he plays a harmonium and sings specific poetry by Pir Waris Shah Mian Muhammad Bakhash Bulley and other Punjabi sages. He claims to’ve played his music in four continents now (including Australia) and, as a pacifist (Sufis are a non-violent, mystic strain of Islam), is more interested in finding commonality than in provocation. When I email him later about his thoughts on Palestine and the current extremism in the Middle East, he is evasive. “We all are sons and daughters of Adam and Eve,” Doga concludes. An indie-rocker like Yonatan Gat, originally from Israel, also avoids politics and Judaism for the most part in his music. (Debut LP Director is entirely instrumental.) Others do not. Nu-new-wavers Captain Baby, whose main songwriter is Afghani, have proven outspoken with regards to Facebook posts on U.S. aggression around the world, North Korean human rights violations, and the treatment of Palestinians by right-wing leaders in Israel. A few years back, the self-described “kosher punk” group Bulletproof Stockings— so named for the opaque tights Hasidic women traditionally wear—put personal belief at the center of their art too. The all-female Hasidic rock band held a “Ladies Night” at Arlene’s Grocery on the Lower East Side, where, because of strict Orthodox rules that forbade them from playing in front of men, all 110 concertgoers were female. A Kickstarter page, made to fund their debut album, explained it thusly: “Jewish men have a mitzvah (commandment) not to hear the singing voice of women outside their immediate families; however, it’s up to the men to choose to abide by that commandment or not. As women, we can sing and play wherever we want. Though we have many male fans, our mission at these concerts is to create a unique space for ALL WOMEN 14

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[Top] The scene at Arlene’s Grocery when Bulletproof Stockings played to a female-only crowd. [Bottom] Brooklyn artist Nawaz Doga plays traditional Sufi folk music as a means of spreading pacifism and mystic vibrations.

- regardless of religious affiliation, lack thereof, astrological sign or shoe size... These live shows are for women... but the music is for everyone.” Religion-as-otherness has long been a political rallying cry, and oppression is as often seen on the outside as it is from within. A nowdefunct band like Moshiach Oi—who came out of a late aughts punk movement surrounding the Millinery Center Synagogue in midtown Manhattan—sought to marry tastes in current trends with the traditional Hasidic lifestyle. A New York Times article of 2010 2010 on Hasidic punk showed a number of the artists struggling to merge the estrangement they felt as youths from their community with the need to have some sort of identity to fall back on as adults. Evan Kleinman, producer of the documentary Punk Jews (2011), told reporters that Jewish culture had long been entwined with activism, pointing to local radicals such as Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Traditional Jewish leftism, however, like leftism around the globe, has significantly changed over the last two generations. It is possible now to be socially liberal in any number of areas, yet conservative in one or two. Which then puts you at odds with well-intentioned artists and activists from other perspectives and cultures. There is no doubt that art can mediate much in the area of politics. During the nineteen-sixties, many painters and sculptors coming out of the Minimalist school were as active in theory and politics as they were in disseminating actual artwork. They had the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War as common points of protest. Today, the political temperature remains red-hot. War and strife show no end in sight; inequality is more extreme than ever. Some hard battles in the area of LGBT rights have been recently won. Yet overall the feeling of cynicism is growing. I can’t help think of that line David Crosby sang on the title song to CSNY’s Deja Vu album: “We have all been here before.” d

Best NYC Emering Artists 2016

1 Acid Dad


the deli Spring 2016

Acid Dad’s New Spin on Old-School Space-Rock written By

Dave Cromwell /

Photo by

Ebru Yildiz

Less than twenty seconds into Acid Dad’s latest single, “Grim,” the feeling of unworldliness is all-consuming. A tribal beat pounds out the cadence; two guitars set the tone—one in rhythm with the drums, the other buzzing and swirling around the faintest hint of a melody. Then voice: scratchy, nasally. The opening line is this: “I woke up in a delay/I saw him/My brother.” First thoughts are of Spaceman 3, or perhaps early Stone Roses, though all that atmosphere quickly fades into punk-rock tension. Melodies modulate, guitars roar, and every psychedelic trope is tossed out the window. As photographer Diane Arbus said of her Coney Island freak-show subjects of the nineteen-fifties: we’re watching characters in a fairy tale for grown-ups.

Besides the incongruity of the band’s name, Let’s Plan a Robbery drops further hint at a hybridized raison d’être. Its cover sleeve boasts artwork based on the cult film Repo Man, which Hunt says is “about a young punk kid whose parents are hippie Christian-loving potheads that don’t really care all that much about him.” When the local repo man teaches him how to break into cars, rip people off, fight gangs—i.e. be the perfect new repo man—things take an unexpected twist. There’s a crazy psychedelic side-plot involving a stolen radioactive alien from Roswell. Acid references proliferate and psychedelic monologues flow in out. “It really fits the whole psych-punk notion,” exclaims Hunt. The image on the cover of his band’s EP is taken from a scene where the kid robs a liquor store.

The true definition of any band is the way collective vision congeals around each member. For young artists, it comes in a flash and often evaporates just as swiftly. In the case of Acid Dad, their 21-month journey from garage-band to fast-rising indie stars has been a blur.

“My favorite line,” Hunt concludes, “is said right before they rob the store. He says, ‘Let’s do some crimes.’ Our songs on the EP are all about the hustle, so we named it Let’s Plan a Robbery.” It speaks to his offbeat sense of the world, which is easily detected in the band’s eclectic sound. But it also points to the ambiguity this entire generation—aka the Millennials—now feels. The record business is on the shakiest of ground these days. By any measure, it’s a bad time to be giving up college to pursue a life in music. (Only Gomez is determined to finish his degree, at this point.) Yet everywhere one looks instability persists. If the last generation had the Star Wars of light and dark, good and evil, this newest one gets endless war, where no hero is too sacred to kill off.

It started in August 2014 when singers/guitarists Danny Gomez and Vaughn Hunt joined up with promotionally-savvy drummer Kevin Walker. Bassist Sean Fahey joined six months later. After putting out a few singles, the debut EP Let’s Plan a Robbery dropped in early 2016. Since then, another single (the aforementioned “Grim”) and an Audiotree Live EP; Hunt and Gomez still handle all leads, switching every other track, though the sound has solidified to such an extent already that it’s hard to pick out distinct voices. In March, the quartet went on the road, undertaking a first tour that took them to Texas for a week of SXSW showcases. Then the Mountain States, then Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles, the Southwest, back through the Midwest, up through PA, and finally home to NYC. The energy is infectious and only makes sense from within the storm. Hunt takes a crack at clarifying: “We love a lot of different music, from the CGBG scene with Richard Hell, to Iggy Pop, to the Replacements.” Punk is the backbone, he insists, but at the same time there is an “enduring love affair with the melodic beauty of nineties neo-psych” (e.g. Brian Jonestown Massacre, Mazzy Star, et al). Gomez’s taste goes more antique: the blues, Velvet Underground, 13th Floor Elevators. “What it comes down to,” he suggests, “is grabbing all these varied appropriations from the oversaturated rock formula and pushing back to create a distinct, personal experience.”

Acid Dad push ahead. Drummer Kevin Walker also plays tireless entrepreneur for the band and show-booker at a popular Brooklyn night spot. Bassist Sean Fahey is currently dating a performance artist whom he says inspires the band to “think of ourselves as performance artists too,” though for now they’re “still calculating” what that amounts to. Rather than sell out, he insists: “I’d rather push a broom.” The others nod in agreement. One says he takes it as it comes. Doesn’t matter who said it; right now, they’re of one voice.

Acid Dad’s Gear

Klon KTR

Full interview on

Vaughn: My favorite pedal right now is the Klon KTR reissue overdrive. It sounds just like the original Klon but not $2000. I used it throughout our EP. You can use it really descretly on guitar riffs to give it that classic rock vibe or crank all the way for major feedback and fuzz-like solos.

the deli Spring 2016


Best NYC Emering Artists 2016

2 Donna Missal Photo: Jenellie Troche

“Keep Lying” is Ms. Missal’s biggest single to date, at 500k Spotify streams. 2016 brought out a new one: “Sick.” Lyrics like “You go to my head” should be cheap-ish sentiments, lifted from jazz tradition, as it were. Instead they’re delivered with intelligence and intensity, building on the earnest howls of “Keep Lying” with a deeper purpose. In the midst of recording a forthcoming album, Missal took some time out to speak to The Deli about her musical origins, the power of blues music, and more. How did you first get into music? My dad was a session drummer and songwriter; he and my mom played in a band together. They owned a studio in Manhattan for years, producing and releasing records. When I was young they sold the space and moved to the suburbs of Jersey, but my dad kept a lot of his gear. My earliest memories were in our basement, four-years-old, using a Neumann microphone from the ’60s and recording to half-inch tape. Tell me a bit about how you approach songwriting. I’m really into collaboration, working with different producers and writers. Sometimes I’ll come in with a lyric or melodic idea, but often I find that if you’re in the room with people you admire, the best songs are created on the spot. Melodies usually lead the lyric for me and lately it’s been inspiring to engage in a topical conversation and find a lyric within that. I just want to write honestly. 18

the deli Spring 2016

What is it about blues that makes it still so effective? Blues has been around since the 19th century, so you hear that influence in every genre. People need blues, myself included. “Sick” seems to be about romance, or intense longing for someone or something, correct? “Sick” is a kind of twisted commentary on substance abuse. What’s so cool about music is how applicable it is to all kinds of interpretations. It seems that the thread connecting all music is just simply feeling. You wrote a post on your Facebook a few months ago upon getting signed... That felt good to share. Signing to a really incredible publishing company was always a goal. It meant I could stop bartending and those years of barely getting by had added up to something. I think we’re all chasing “it” and maybe “it” doesn’t really exist. For me, it’s been about discovering what takes me out of a comfort zone, learning to adjust and make sense of it, then going even further. Let’s talk about the recording of your new album. I’ve spent the last few months writing a lot of songs with a lot of people and I’m just now starting to record those songs, bringing everything together sonically. I couldn’t say for sure what my favorite part is, but I’m definitely most at home when I’m performing. Being in the studio is rewarding in a different way. (Zach Weg)

3 Honduras Brooklyn garage-punk quartet Honduras has been tearing up the scene since their arrival back in 2014. No surprise—we hear speckles of New York’s golden era heroes throughout their 2015 full-length (as well as myriad cool singles). 2016’s Gathering Rust EP sees the band expanding into psych rock and krautrock, exhibiting a vinegary streak amidst the tried-and-true. The Deli’s Adriana Ballester recently sat down with Honduras frontman Pat Phillips and guitarist Tyson Moore to take stock. I’ve read that you two met at elementary school in Columbia, Missouri, and was curious how you thought that music scene influenced this band’s music? Pat Phillips: Columbia is a small college town but there were venues around that would let our respective high school bands play shows. My friend and old bandmate Dave also started a club at our high school called Academy of Rock. Lots of terrible bands started because of that club, ours included. Tyson was a freshman at the University of Missouri when I was a senior in high school. Around that time we started recording and writing together at his apartment. What brought you to New York? PP: I initially moved to New York to play basketball at Hunter College. One of the coaches was a Lieutenant in the NYPD and he set me and a couple teammates up in this weird apartment inside an abandoned building in Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t think we had to pay rent, so the situation made it possible to get here. I was a big Bob Dylan fan in high school and I thought there was something magical about pursuing music in New York and sharing your songs. I was 19 and didn’t have much of a plan, but was very drawn to the city.

What inspires the band in terms of songwriting and direction? PP: We’re affected by our day to day lives and those are mostly the subjects we approach. New York has always had great bands to draw inspiration from, though we’re just as influenced by bands that have come out during our own time here. Any thoughts on the current shape of the NYC scene and how DIY has changed in the last two or three years? PP: DIY venues closed in Williamsburg but have started to go a little more legit and have opened up in Bushwick, Bed Stuy, and other areas. New York has a vibrant music scene and I think people will keep finding creative ways to keep the scene going. What are your plans for the rest of this year? PP: We’re going on a full US tour for the month of June, opening for the So So Glos and also Big Ups. After that we have a few festivals for the remainder of the summer. In the fall we hope to record again. (Adriana S. Ballester)

Honduras’s Gear

Full interview on

Tyson Moore: One of my favorite pedals is the Earthquaker Devices Organizer. It creates cool, almost detuned harmonics that work well during slower, sustained single-note sections. You can adjust the lag time to create an kinda of slap echo effect, plus this allows it to track the notes better during faster parts. Adding an overdrive Earthquaker Devices after it makes for a huge guitar solo sound. Organizer

Photo: Crista Simiriglia

Best NYC Emering Artists 2016

Pam Steebler’s 2015 “Mind Reader” should be able to light a flare in even the heart of the most unflappable indierocker. Okay, her production is slick (on this and other songs from her Give In EP), and it’s the soul music of Christina Aguilera, not Mavis Staples. But still, girl can sing! Something too easily denied by the arbiters of good taste. After winning The Deli’s readers’ poll this past February, in the midst of cutting a new record, Steebler spoke to us about her background, artistic process, and the electric energy of New York City. How long have you been making music? Since I was 5. I started at church in Brazil. Where do you get your creative inspiration from? When it comes, it comes. I can’t contain it and I have to stop and either write something down, or record a voice memo. If I’m just still and have some time to write, I usually listen to music I love. The desire to write something just as good as something that touches me comes naturally. Is it important for, say, with an EP like Give In, that you make the listener feel inspired? Absolutely. It’s 100% the most important thing for me. If I can’t inspire people, give them some relief, peace, joy, it’s pointless. Despite New York being both a tough place to be an artist, or, well, just to live and survive, what excites you on a day-to-day basis? It’s just as exciting as it is a challenge. There’s so much information and stimulation to “compete” with that it’s a blessing to have endless work to do. But you can feel easily overwhelmed. To me success as an artist in NYC is being patient and strong to be able to make a living off of your art. Probably the most striking part of your music is your voice. Thank you! For me, to have the freedom to sing from the heart and express myself freely, I need to practice technique constantly. It’s very important to keep my instrument healthy and keep growing, but that can all be thrown in the trash if I don’t sing with passion.

8 Pam Steebler

(Best of NYC Readers’ Poll Winner)


the deli Spring 2016

Any specific plans going forward? Yes, I’m in the middle of recording my second EP at Avatar Studios. I’m planning on releasing it in December. (Zach Weg)

Photo: Arion Doerr

Best NYC Emering Artists 2016


Laura and Greg


Girls on Grass

After meeting through previous bands, singerguitarist Barbara Endes (Elk City, the Lovelies) and drummer Nancy Polstein (The Silos) decided to duet musically. They recruited bassist Dave Mandl (Mouth Sinfonia) and guitarist Sean Eden (Luna, Elk City), which yielded one catchy self-titled debut LP—equal parts Indigo Girls and Paisley Underground. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Yours Are the Only Ears

Brooklyn folk project Yours Are the Only Ears— née Susannah Cutler and JongMin Lin—strike an outrageously fragile tone on their trio of Bandcamp singles. The newest is “Low”—a lullaby of such calm that Stereogum likened it to “pictures in frames resting on top of dusty windowsills,” meaning something (an impression?). (Zach Weg)

Big Thief

Fueled by angst and hopped up on alt-rock vernacular, Big Thief’s newest single “Masterpiece” queries existential, with lyrics like: “Can you get me out of here?” (We’ll try!) Especially memorable are the rueful vocals of Adrianne Lenker, which, paired to messy guitar, almost celebrate pain. (Zach Weg)

Big Thief

Regret the Hour


What does the artist mean when describing his music as “math folk”? A more feathery version of prog-rock? What I hear on “Rainsong,” the opener from Square Two EP, is akin to the Sea and Cake’s late ‘90s work. The rest is more fleeting and ethereal, like new wave music rendered acoustically. (Brian Chidester)


Proving that lowdown and gritty remain enviable signs of cool, Howth’s latest—titled Trashy Milky Nothing Town—fills the lacunae between emo and folk. “Every Halloween” celebrates urban anonymity, whilst “Teenage Mutation” eschews solipsism for the more communal fate of us all being abominations. (Embrace it!) (Brian Chidester)

Laura and Greg

This duo’s “Don’t Let Me” was the sprightly, nofrills single that eclipsed all other efforts by them in 2015. Now they’ve gone electric and have a new EP: GREYSHARKCANYON. Musically, the approach is still reductive, recalling poet Juan Ramon Jimenez’s dictum: “Oh what a sound of gold still remains.” The song “Ghost” shines brightest. (Brian Chidester)

Mappa Mundi

A full five years stood between Mappa Mundi’s debut album and its second: 2015’s At Sea. It was worth it. The entire affair overflows with emotion and epigram, meted out in equal parts, and under-

scored by a mass of steampunk horns and strings. Indeed, no word is too ornamental here—just keep your thesaurus nearby. (Brian Chidester)

Stolen Jars

The key to this band’s originality is their light-asair instrumentation and effortless vocals (via Cody Fitzgerald and Molly Grund). “Waves” is their biggest hit; it sputters and swells with staccato guitars, floaty keyboards, and nimble stickwork. Here, as elsewhere, is a textured exploration of love, life, and growing up. (Adriana S. Ballester)

Victoria Reed

The quietly celebratory “Make It Easy” benefits from its combination of wistful lyrics and sundrenched steel guitar. Brooklyn-via-Detroit singer/songwriter Reed calls it her ode to resilience. The debut album Chariot further builds on this artist’s alluring simplicity, hopeful melancholy, and soul-tinged vocals. (Zach Weg)

ALT-ROCK Afternoon Men

Afternoon Men’s single “The Transfer Station” mines the Counting Crows’ August and Everything After and yields a solid pièce de résistance about the discrepancies of taboo sex. He plays downtown urchin to her secret uptown yen for slums. Problem is, they’re not as different as they’d have us think. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Victoria Reed

Photo: Shervin Lainez

Photo: Joe Linton

Janelle Kroll

The Grizzled Mighty


Thirsty for some old-school New York rock ‘n’ roll? Check out Cosmonaut. At the risk of this review sounding like an endorsement, let me just say their newest EP 500 Years is an ecstatic ride that reconnoiters NYC to a time prior to John Varvatos’ co-opting of CBGB’s (i.e. before everything became corporate dogshit). (Mike Levine)

Dead Stars

The first full-length by Brooklyn’s Dead Stars was rife with nu-grunge sensibilities: angsty chords, dewy melodies, distorted guitars, an atavistic muddle through life’s lows and highs. Their sophomore album is still lo-fi, but the melodies are more infectious—catchy fuzz-pop that brings to mind ‘90s Dinosaur Jr. and especially Weezer. (Francesca Baker)

The Grizzled Mighty

This band’s new EP, Closed Knuckle Jaw, wins the award for most esoteric cover art. It’s a bit of an anachronism though, as the record isn’t a bit psychedelic. Nay, it’s strongly Seattle rock, which is where the BK duo hails from. “Miles of Cocaine” mixes things up by adding blues to an otherwise grungy set. (Adriana S. Ballester)

Hundred Hounds

Inverted funk rhythms and classic guitar shredding are the hallmarks of Brooklyn’s Hundred Hounds. On single “The Ranger” the quest for meaning is expressed in this immutable riposte: “I don’t feel so lonely when I open a book.” With

Jeff Rosenstock

the palimpsest of Jeff Beck shining through, such modesties prove sharp, personal, even daring. (Dave Cromwell)

Jeff Rosenstock

This Brooklyn-via-Long-Island musician has a hand in many projects, both musically (Bomb the Music Industry, Kudrow, Arrogant Sons of Bitches) and on the production side (Quote Unquote Records). It’s enough to make your head spin! As solo artist, Rosenstock’s infectious chords and soulful lyrics about love and friendship overflow with sincerity. (JP Basileo)

Regret the Hour

The McCarthy brothers (plus childhood friends) comprise this Nyack-based alt-rock quartet. The vintage is early nineties, though the sound is Europe not Seattle. Recent NYC gigs in support of the Misfits and Best Coast saw the band unleash heartfelt tunes like “Returning” and “The Runaway,” bringing U2 and the Waterboys up to contemporary taste. (Adriana S. Ballester)

Spirit Animal

Like with any hybrid band, the onus falls on doing something different with familiar territory. Spirit Animal, unabashedly retro (think Red Hot Chili Peppers meets LCD Soundsystem), makes aggression and booty-shaking a seamless apologia. “Black Jack White” pairs the guitar sound of its striated namesake to a funky beat readymade for skate-parks and rooftop parties. (Michael Haskoor)

Kevin Garrett

Photo: Shervin Lainez

Amy Leon


Kevin Garrett


Janelle Kroll


Amy Leon

Doubtful any fan of Garnett’s “Coloring” would object to his conviction that music should be easy on the ears. The blue-eyed soul singer brings it not just to his own work, but also to co-writes for the likes of Beyonce. One blog compared Garnett’s voice to Sam Smith, his hiphop-inflected Mello Drama to Frank Ocean. High praise. (Brian Chidester)

Hitherto Kroll was mostly known for her sweet soul-pop singles, of which “Metaphysical”—with Chicago electro trio Autograf—remains the biggest. “Numb” and “Down to You” are the artist’s latest and they find her much expanded. Lead vocals flirt with everything from bluegrass to art rock, elevated by the use of industrial and triphop productions. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Poet/educator Amy Leon is born artistically of the Nuyorican Slam scene. As such, anthems about love and strength are fueled by undercurrents of social justice and feminism; soul and gospel vibrate from every fiber. Look for a solo debut this summer and in the interim catch some content in her ebullient (improvised) stage show. (Jason Grimste)

Brittany Campbell

Brittany Campbell is an artist’s artist. Not only

Hundred Hounds

Best NYC Emering Artists 2016


did she produce her own (third) album Heroes, and animate the video for its title track, she also co-hosts events that empower other women artists. Musically, Campbell’s Caribbean soul touches a bit of everything—hip-hop, EDM, punk, anthemic pop—which combined is a sound entirely her own. (Jason Grimste)


A line like “Surrender to what is real”—from Janita’s “Beautiful You Are”—might seem precocious if not couched in atmospherics which contest its sense of reality. The singer/songwriter hails from Helsinki, making English her second language, though you’d never know it by the elegant whispers and wails throughout the newest LP. (Brian Chidester)

Ryn Weaver

Amongst those that would assess the viral web smash “OctaHate,” the verdict is clear: Weaver is either the next pop superstar or an example of official art at its nadir. Either way, the song’s overlydramatic, plastic production has moxie and shows that a song about happiness can still be cogent, rather than sappy or wispy. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Born Cages

This band’s 2015 single is titled “I Just Want the Truth, Baby.” Well, as Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!”

Beat Music/ Mark Giuliana


We’re gonna give it to you anyway. The blending of Edward Sharpe-ish beatnik anthems with sleek techno production may as yet yield you a crossover hit, dudes. (Brian Chidester)



Hard to believe it’s been two years since Kitsuné, the Buscabulla EP produced by Devonte Hynes. What to do whilst tapping our fingers, waiting for the next one? Answer: play those same four sexually-tinged synth tunes for unfamiliar ears and see if sparks fly. Been known to have that effect. (Brian Chidester)



Sedona Schat and Noah Yoo’s music exists in a perpetual spring (as in the season), making 2015-16, with its warm summer and mild winter, their year indeed. Breezy melodies are complemented by peppy, electro/dance arrangements. Single “Warm Body” found lots of love on the internet, as did new EP: Love Songs for Other People. (Paolo De Gregorio)



Evvy is yet another NYC-based synthpop solo act that’s finding online love (as in, fans). Her self-titled debut EP, released in mid-2014, features breezy melodies, easy listening production values, and lyrics about young love and heartbreak. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Beat Music/ Mark Giuliana

A recent experiment by musicians Guiliana, Tim


Photo: Paul Jung

Lefebvre, Jeff Babko, and Troy Zeigler, Beat Music’s thirty-song LP is a wonder of eclecticism. Songs like “Flaw and Order” show serious fetishism for ‘70s incidental music, making the case that it was not just overlooked, but needs perpetuating. (Brian Chidester)

Elliot Moss

For some songwriters, good melody is simply not enough. Compelled by complex sequences and original sounds, the twentysomething Elliot Moss fits that description. Sound design easily takes as much precedence as lyrics, chords, structure. Lone LP Highspeeds drifts through the abstraction with apparent ease. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Dance music needn’t always be bright and fun, as Informant will show you. Heavy electronics, percussive synth tracks, and an overall ambiguity work to make the body move without consent. It is a conflicted experience, though one that’s difficult to ignore—and could be said to be generational of sentiment. (JP Basileo)

King Neptune

Why does ambient music seem ever on the verge of one era to the next? The Germans have a word for this: zeitwende. Conversely, ambient music has never been just one thing or one period. King Neptune are now and their soothing piano and introspective drones combine to entrance. More meditation than relaxation. (JP Basileo)

Paris Monster

Photo: Elizabeth Lauren West




Newark’s Nadus does instrumental EDM with a pop twist. Songs are built around choruses, though only wordless vocals persist, like the earliest Art of Noise hits. 2015’s Broke City boasts influences from Chicago’s Teklife to the producers of Parisian project Club Cheval. Nadus works through each to his own eclectic end. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Paris Monster

Paris Monster’s Josh Dion sounds uncannily like Brian McKnight—smooth, sensual, in control of his faculties. The curveball is the band’s sound, which Dion and pard Jeff Kraly build up through precise, sophisticated electro production, replete with dubstep stutters and psychedelic ambience. The total effect is one of hypnotism. (Paolo De Gregorio)

HIP-HOP & Other 13


Dayan is Laura Dayan and Darko Saric. Their Latino folk-funk swelters and pulses through the darkest corners of the dancefloor. Her voice beckons with stories of magic and soul; his productions maneuver from house to hip-hop to shoegaze. The elements flow freely into places unseen, rabbit holes, wishing wells, forgotten questions. (Jason Grimste)


Sporting Life

The Sporting Life’s samples are unconventional. They mix hip-hop and techno beats that work for dancing. The rest, however, is a warped mindfuck. Tons of repeated bleeps and blops, vocal effects, frantic percussion—no space left empty. Impossible to ignore. The listener is left with no choice but to reckon with it. (JP Basileo)

Teenage Love

EP full of twitchy breakbeats, violins, and jazz/ pop harmonies which found confidence amidst the madness. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Katy Gunn and Anna Idell found each other through music and not even an ocean between them could slow their work as the sprightly-named Teenage Love. The Brooklyn/ Copenhagen duo unleashed Gold in 2015—an

Self-aggrandizement in rap music is easily correlative the mendacity expected of poets and painters. 21-year-old-rapper I.O.D.—aka Brownsvillian—sticks to the program. To date he has only six tracks on Soundcloud, a dearth that actually works in his favor. Raw candor and spitfire abilities demonstrate a burgeoning talent that has fast become undeniable. (Jason Grimste)


When it comes to Afrobeat, music lovers should expect the unexpected from bands like IGBO. Sure, the touchstones of ‘70s psych and funk are both present. But it’s all those chillwave and

Khali Abdu


hip-hop flourishes that make it more than just the another Fela Kuti homage. He’s there, but this flag flaps to its own beat. (Jason Grimste)

Kahli Abdu

Kahli Abdu’s Nigerian heritage shines in his music. From the brash funk of “Fear Fear Factory,” to the uplifting flavors of “Festival,” the artist melds rhythms and instrumentation into a new genre he calls “World Electro.” Cavalcades of polyrhythms march to the beat of synth pads and fiery sing-song hooks. (Jason Grimste)

The Vagabondz

The Vagabondz, a rap-band/collective from Beacon High School, don’t stray too far from hip-hop’s natural roots. Debut album Lessons is unpretentious, jazzy, chill—reminiscent of the Pharcyde, or Project Blowed. Dropping references from Common to Black Sheep to Mark Morrison sets their foundation on solid, “laid back” ground. (Jason Grimste)


Pavo Pavo

Yale-trained quintet Pavo Pavo has come to NYC bearing a lone chamber-pop single worthy of praise. A-side “Ran Ran Run” is in the mid’60s Beach Boys style, with lush harmonies on the verses and an ebullient surf go-go chorus. “Annie Hall” is slower, cerebral and warm, right up to its bittersweet finale. (Zach Weg)

Sporting Life

Pavo Pavo

Best NYC Emering Artists 2016

Forth Wanderers



Alexia Bomtempo

The line “Walked down Portobello Road to the sound of reggae/I’m alive” is not Alexia Bomtempo’s; it’s by Caetano Veloso. She does a whole album of the Brazilian composer’s songs—French folk-pop style—on I Just Happen to Be Here. Maturity and impeccable taste promise to continue on the next LP, due very soon. (Brian Chidester)



RANN’s brand of sophisti-pop makes them the Prefab Sprout of Brooklyn. “Falling,” from their debut album Yellowgun, employs EDM touches to fetishize the existential rebus: “How does it feel?” Ushered in by its arena-sized vocal hook, the song’s title is embedded in the answer line: “Right before you start falling.” (Paolo De Gregorio)


Strange Names

These Minneapolis transplants seem unconcerned about shoring up a precarious sense of identity. Nay, they’re about swagger and being fashionable. Their style flirts with the stylized pop of the 1980s. Heck, their singer even kinda looks like a young Simon Le Bon! Yet the sound is resolutely uptempo, edgy, and well-produced. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Mobile Steam Unit

Mobile Steam Unit’s second EP, Country Raw, opens with “Waste My Time in the City”—a dark electro number with vocoded vocals reminiscent of Air the French Band. “VHS & SEX” relies more on classic melody, though like the best pop, it

Mobile Steam Unit

is at once recognizable and profoundly new. (Adriana S. Ballester)

Chamber Band

Brooklyn’s Chamber Band recently released a sophomore album, Careers, which owes a serious debt to the Decemberists and the more steampunk Elephant 6 acts (e.g. Marshmellow Coast). “Baker’s Boy” and “Love Left” are both intellectual cuts, if novelistic and lo-fi. Covers of Tom Waits and Jakob Dylan further divulge the sausage-making. (Zach Weg)

The Chordaes

The opening harmonies of this band’s single “Is It Even Worth It?” are plucked straight from the High Llamas’ Gideon Gaye. Where it goes after the full band kicks in instrumentally is a surprise, but a welcome one. Elegant melodies, measured arrangements, and an overall mellowness are deployed to heart-wrenching effect. (Brian Chidester)

The City and Horses

This NYC/Philly band has been around since the late aughts and their loungy pop is transparent like a glass marble. It also features an instrument bound to come back at some point: the flute. 2015 video “Re-Inking” coincided with the band’s cozy new spot under the wing of Brooklyn’s label/event organizer Paper Garden Records. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Forth Wanderers

Nearby New Jersey is going through its own Brooklynization, what with hipsters Julian

Alexia Bomtempo

Fulton and Stolen Jars getting good media play. Add these Montclair natives who stole our hearts with their melancholic “Selfish.” It deadpans: “I wanna be known/As the girl who’s stone cold.” Ah-tee-tah, la-di-dah. (Brian Chidester)

Outside World

Ben Scott and Hazel Rigby’s Outside World plays a pleasant amalgam of dream-pop, math rock, and world music. Single “I Know You” starts out free, then settles on syncopation—a funky rhythm that switches between sections of triplet varieties. If it triggers calypso too, that’s because Scott’s guitar sounds chimey, like a steel pan. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Led by NYC veteran Bill Bartholomew (guitar and vocals) and Brazilian bassist Gabriela Rassi, Silverteeth strips its pop of anything superfluous, letting melody and songcraft shine. Going strictly DIY, as well, has landed them gigs at both Bowery Presents venues and at local DIY spaces like Palisades. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Ula Ruth

Connecticut/NYC-based Ula Ruth are classic heartland pop ‘n’ roll—equally parts comforting and stylish (like an old pair of Levis). Their sophomore record, Restless Nights (2014), went for a bigger sound. Now they’ve got a bunch of new singles that push ever anthemic. Expect a third album soon. (Mike Levine)

Battle Ave.

Photo: Dayane Ohira

Cold Sweats


The New Tarot

We stumbled upon the Walker sisters’ New Tarot in summer 2014 and saw oodles of potential. Two years on we’re happy to report that potential has developed in the right direction. Their 2015 Stella EP, as well as a robust live show, sees the band growing in confidence. Talent and time too remain on their side. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Battle Ave.

Year of Nod is Battle Ave.’s sophomore album and it is one of the jammier indie-rock releases in recent memory. Several songs surpass the nineminute mark; straight rockers merge with cryptic folk like sides of a coin—the overall sentiment being well within the indie program of autonomy and self-loathing. (Brian Chidester)

Big Bliss

While other genres have risen in stature recently, post-punk’s acolytes know how powerful it can still be. Not content to play Clark Kent, Big Bliss is ripping off the suit. Their two singles from 2015 are readymade for those who seek the dark atmospheres of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen and Interpol. Full LP soon. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Captain Baby

With better luck, the panneau of strange new

The New Tarot

things to come would’ve been immediately recognized in Brooklyn’s Captain Baby. Debut LP Sugar Ox is a true gem of eclectic sounds—British newwave, reggae, afro-rhythms, funk, calypso—and radical politics. Led by Afghani composer Asher Rogers, the mashup swallows the distances between us whole. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Cold Sweats

Cold Sweats is a band that sounds apocalyptic, if not quite shocking, having given themselves permission to play with a full deck of hardcore/ punk conventions. Libertine as that sounds, the music is also intelligent—evidenced by “Coward in War,” where its first-person exhumes every bad reason to fight and kill. (Brian Chidester)


Big Bliss

The Love Ways

No huge epiphanies with NYC’s the Love Ways—the quintet whose newest EP, Vacant Years, finds them orbiting the same moon as the Strokes. “When You’re On Your Own” is wallto-wall lyrics, which can be a tad prolix, though snatches of jagged guitar float perfectly behind (and throughout). (Adriana S. Ballester)

The Heavy Howl

Heavy Howl is the perfect nom de plume for a band whose caustic rock sound is tempered only by its cool, slogan-driven lyrics. No mopey realism here folks! Debut EP New Mistake is all about the morning after. Regret it with some sober grunge production, sure, but not too long. A new night awaits. Hooowl! (Brian Chidester)

With so much contemporary music these days flitting between styles, it’s a relief to see a band do one thing and do it well. Cosmicide is that band; their stratagem classic post-punk. Two singles each sound timorous and chilly, if a bit calculated, though a surfeit of synths and lush harmonies push past any critical trifles. (JP Basileo)


Future Punx

(Brian Chidester)

The Achilles heel of rock music is its ridiculously over-emphasized code of “authenticity,” born out by the need to dress down and look scruffy. Future Punx forgo all that, opting instead for the digital droll of eighties post-punk. New LP This is Post-Wave is more produced than past efforts, though still filled with madness and memorable choruses. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Chamber Band

Pill’s debut EP—besides getting greasy compliments from L Magazine and Pitchfork—is a welcome entry into New York’s no-wave canon. The cover lands somewhere between ‘70s Neu! and the lone Germs album, an aesthetic just right for one so droney, atonal, and utterly didactic.


Lewis del Mar

If crazy experimental psych is your bag, perhaps the delicate precision which Lewis del

Lewis del Mar

Photo: Alberto Pezzali

Best NYC Emering Artists 2016

Infinity Girl

Surf Rock is Dead

Photo: CJ Harvey

Mar brings to their hybrid DIY sound will strike you as unduly quaint. If you’re open to mashing pop, soul, EDM, and more into melodic anthems of cheap sentiment and boyish charm, then here’s what you’ve been waiting for! (Brian Chidester)


Surf Rock is Dead

With a sound both meditative and gothy (think the Cure’s Top album) the single “Never Be the Same” is readymade for an audience that need not have traveled the entire world to’ve contemplated it. “Late Risers” continues the vibe, pairing sunny melody to melancholic tinges, ala the Drums. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Belle Mare

“Cicada” and “Dark of My Evening” were the two singles released by dream-pop duo Belle Mare in 2015. The former is torchlit and echoey, ala Mazzy Star in the early ‘90s; the latter more contemporary, like those other local dreamers: Savoir Adore. Makes sense given they now share a bass player. (Brian Chidester)


BK’s Balancer brings the rhythmic bounce of traditional Latin dance music into contemporary indie/psych. “Clarity” is their latest single—a chillwave groove built around a salsa beat and flamenco/surf guitar. The entire platter floats freely from this evocative chorus: “Clarity it drifts so soon/But can it be your friend.” (Brian Chidester)

Sunshine and the Rain


Everyone who’s gotten into EZTV’s lone LP Calling Out has a favorite track. “Bury Your Heart” is jangly and literary, like the psychedelic Kinks; “The Light” and single “Soft Tension” have garnered comparisons to Mac DeMarco and L.A.’s Rain Parade. Either way, the whole thing is like a sonic puff of weed—legal, illegal. Who cares? (Paolo De Gregorio)

Julian Fulton

Imaginative and whimsical, this New Jersey native’s brand of DIY flirts with recent classics of psychedelia. Take the 2015 single “Another Tattoo”—a complex collage of sounds and melodies reminiscent of the early Beck records—which, according to the artist, was written and recorded at home in 24 hours. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Lemon Twigs

Last summer the Lemon Twigs released a debut album (on cassette) that goes straight for the Sixties. Whereas earlier tracks—e.g. the YouTube-only “Enough of the Keychains”—were gritty (think Syd Barrett), their new approach is a clarion call to revisit ye halcyon days of Beach Boys psych. (Brian Chidester)


In the NYC scene, TEEN is a force to be reckoned with. These ladies are relentlessly prolific and their material is always interesting. A 2016 album, entitled Love Yes, is an aural kaleidoscope that follows in the footsteps of the Talking Heads’ brainy pop. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Lemon Twigs


Complex lyrics and catchy indie melodies are a few of the essential qualities found in Twiga’s two short EPs. The latest—Kites—features luscious guitars and droney vocals that recall the lazy days of L.A.’s Paisley Underground, or the early Elephant 6 albums. Still waters which ran deep. (Brian Chidester)


“Better All the Time,” from Zuli’s debut EP, Supernatural Voodoo, is a dazzling pop amalgam of spacey ELO ballad “Strange Magic” and the sunny/psych vibes of Magical Mystery Tour. Its title track continues the band’s retro fetish, channeling ‘90s Jellyfish and Wondermints with less polish, more indie grit. (Zach Weg)


The Mystery Lights


Sunflower Bean

Devil take the press for so categorically writing off retro garage-psych. In some ways, bands like the Mystery Lights, with their howling chants, electric organs, and feedback assault, are the antidote to corporate rock and indie posturing. New single “Follow Me Home” is the paragon of unpretentious. (Brian Chidester)

Between runway good looks and a swagger-

High Waisted

Photo: Jono Bernstein

Painted Zeros

ing live show, Sunflower Bean has become the leader in contemporary psych-rock at its most strident. Since gracing our cover in 2014 the trio has also landed opening slots for Best Coast and Wolf Alice. New album Human Ceremony shows them working confidently through greater production values. (Paolo De Gregorio)



Howard’s new EP Please Recycle follows so strong a conceit that it’s only later you realize how much territory they’ve covered. Titles “Plastic,” “Glass,” “Paper,” “Metal,” and “Waste” collapse every genre possible within its five brief instrumentals. “Metal,” as a song, is equal parts dubstep and welding. (Brian Chidester)


Pink Mexico

Pink Mexico plays a gritty brand of psych-rock, with spacey melodies counteracting their harsh distortion overload. In 2015 the trio released a two-track 7”; “Cigarette Split” is its a-side—an uber-catchy, mid-tempo rocker that has the power to make you feel under the influence. (A cheap high, folks!) (Paolo De Gregorio)


Let it be said: BAMBARA likes capital letters. Besides that name, they’ve also got two LPs—SWARM (2016) and DREAMVIOLENCE (2013)—both of which evince a predilection for screams over whispers. Paired to loud guitar rock, this should sound platitudinous, but it doesn’t. It’s energetic and at times quite disturbing. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Photo: Hannah Whitaker


Belle Mare

Infinity Girl

Does scrutinizing rock music ever get old? I think so. Sure, Infinity Girl’s debut album Harm can be said to blend teenage angst with blurry guitar rock, but it’s always better heard than imagined. Nods to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless are found throughout, so if that’s your bag, here’s the latest fix. (Dave Cromwell)


These Brooklyn shoegazers recently covered the Platters’ doo-wop smash “I Only Have Eyes for You” on the lovely and gauche EP Eyes, Mouth, Ashes. (Other two cuts are: “In the Mouth a Desert” and “Ashes to Ashes.”) As in the past, Kat Lee’s sugary vocals pair well with surges of fuzzed-out guitar. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Painted Zeros

The modus operandi for shoegaze music is feedback guitar over dreamy, lo-fi pop vocals— a sound which Brooklyn’s Painted Zeros narily departs. Their most popular single is titled “(O) Only You”; latest LP—Floriography—strikes a happy medium between the hyper-real shoegaze of past days and the snakey clean one known as “dream-pop.” (Paolo De Gregorio)

Sunshine and the Rain

Like the Raveonettes, Ashley Anderson and Justin Angelo Morey—aka Sunshine and the Rain—do girl-group pop, buried in shoegaze distortion. That makes them winners of the noisiest married couple in the current NYC scene. “Pale Blue Skies” is especially velvety. (Paolo De Gregorio)


PMS and the Mood Swings

Naturally, PMS and the Mood Swings approach their music from a period in pre-Sputnik history when “politically correct” was not yet a concern. Live audiences also react with avidity to their hybrid girl-group/garage sound, which screams “vintage fun” and is way more polite than the band-name suggests. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Ernest Ernie and the Sincerities

NY native Ernest Ernie doesn’t need to hybridize his favorite retro sounds to current tastes in order to connect. Most do. Nothing wrong with that. He doesn’t need to. The guy can really belt it out and his band—replete with backup singers and horn section—play a fifties-style rhythm & blues that is non-cliché. (Brian Chidester)

High Waisted

Has surf-rock and dream-pop been successfully combined yet? If not, then NYC’s High Waisted are the first. Their On Ludlow is more than stylistic experiment however. The combo believes in their tunes and shows a full range of emotions—from heartbreak (“Shithead”) to sex (“Nuclear Lover”) to pure joy (“Hey Hey”). (Paolo De Gregorio)

The Mystery Lights

Best NYC Emering Artists 2016


Photo: Michael Cooper Michael Busse

Jesus Jim

Jesus Jim consists of four dudes in a guitar band who write songs like “Blacktop Lanes.” Describing it seems a rhetorical exercise, but here goes. It’s typical bar music, with slightly drunk-sounding vocals and some slanted rhythms, ala Sonic Youth—a distinguishing feature that should set the NYC bar-band apart from others of that ilk. (Dave Cromwell)

Larry and the Babes

Larry and the Babes’ The Dolphin Tapes EP overflows with aural blandishments—the kind that travel agents pushing West Coast vacation packages should pine for. They live here, though, and if old-school surf-rock is your bag, this is your band. Indeed, “Perfect Person” continues where That Thing You Do! left off. (Sam O’Hara)

The Low Doses

Low Doses play a straightforward brand of go-go garage music. They rely on catchy hooks, hand-claps, and lines like “If I could, you know I would stop thinking about you” to subvert the modern cynic and be idiosyncratic. It works at that level we call infectious. (Dave Cromwell)

Tall Juan

Far Rockaway’s Tall Juan has permitted himself some minor anachronisms when it comes to the past. Indeed, his blend of late-sixties paisley pop meets the velocity of seventies punk, making the EP Why Not? an oddball entry in current psychedelic music. (No song, for instance, passes the two-minute mark.) (Brian Chidester)


Tall Juan




For those who are too self-critical and think ourselves a work-in-progress, bands like LVL UP exist to make us feel like overachievers. Newest EP, Three Songs, does little to change that sentiment. It is so Dinosaur Jr.-esque that you’ll have no trouble believing the dream of the nineties is alive in Brooklyn. (Brian Chidester)

Alexander F.

What do Rubblebucket, Bear in Heaven, and Delicate Steve have in common (besides being based in NYC)? Each contributes to new super-group Alexander F. Thankfully, the project doesn’t sound lame, like an underwhelming mashup of those three artists. Rather, it’s a delectable version of the vintage loud/quiet/loud aesthetic—with a modern twist. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Brooklyn’s paunchy riot-grrl trio Haybaby are great for rocking out to. New EP Blood Harvest is heavier and darker than their 2015 album, though that might be said of 2016 in general, which means singer Leslie Hong finds her lyrics in common cause with the masses. “A joke or rope?” pretty much says it all. (Michael Haskoor)

Holy Tunics

Exorbitancy is not a word that comes to mind

with regards the Holy Tunics. Their slacky guitar rock is as lean as their two-song catalog (available on YouTube and Bandcamp). Gritty guitars and scuffled beats leaven the mood for Nick Roger’s quavering tenor, reminiscent of pre-drugabuse Lemonheads. (Adriana S. Ballester)


Psychobaby broke onto the scene in December ’15 with an unapologetic banger titled “Baby.” Few weeks later they won our ‘Best Of’ Readers Poll in the Slack-Rock category. (They’re not really slackers, but it was the best fit by approximation.) EP Rough Start gave us two new songs that rounded out the group’s sonic spectrum. (Paolo De Gregorio)


Had enough of all those twenty-first century picaresques, with their intellectual lyrics and arty productions? Get you some Stove. Their debut album is titled Is Stupider and as a descriptor it’s worn like a badge of honor. So much chaos; such ferocity. Only the final ten-minute song is questionable here. (Zach Weg)


TOONS is at times a surprising wordsmith stoner; at others a broody, baronial, hitting-onall-your-friends stoner. Important questions to ask: “And I wonder/Where did all these cows comes from?” (from the song “Milkin’”). Even when other songs go for self-pity, you feel it’s all a punchline, or that you’re stuck in a Kevin Smith movie. (Leora Mandel)

Alexander F.

Photo: Shervin Lainez

Tangina Stone


This Brooklyn trio’s brand of self-proclaimed “blacksurf” removes earnesty-in-rock like an excrescence and goes straight for the jugular. Indeed, on Another Bad Year—their newest EP—Vomitface proves inable to look at the bright side of their lives. Yet for those living with repressed negativity, witness the cathartic power of rock ‘n’ roll. (Paolo De Gregorio)



With a poppier approach to soul music, Lawrence boasts classic songwriting that would turn the hearts of America away from its material interests to beauty and higher aims. “Do You Wanna Do Nothing with Me?” is particularly non-activist in spirit—played cleanly and with the confidence of a veteran. (Brian Chidester)

Holy Tunics

the butter to his crisp productions; there’s a bit of Robin Thicke going on too. Will be interesting to see if his sound takes on the odd twists and deeper meanings of artistry, or if he goes on to win The Voice. (Jason Grimste)

Many Thanks to Our Jurors Alex Rossiter (The Studio, Webster Hall) Andy Bodor (Cake Shop) Ariel Bitran (Palisades)

Tangina Stone

While the term “singer/songwriter” may connote such masters as Sufjan Stevens, Brooklyn-via-Ohio’s Tangina Stone radiates the troubadour spirit in her girl-group poetry. Favorite quip: “Your love so bright you’re giving me a suntan.” Her EP The Fall highlights both the singer’s colloquial talent as well as her pipes. (Zach Weg)

Billy Jones (Baby’s All Right)

Christine Cook (Sofar Sound NYC) Claire and Patrick McNamara


Diane (Bowery Ballroom)

George Flanagan (Rough Trade NYC)

Greg (The Delancey)

Kelly Bruce (doNYC/RedBull) Lucas Sacks (Brooklyn Bowl)

Matt Currie (Rockwood Music Hall) Max Brennan (The Flat)

Nora Dabdoub (Shea Stadium) Rachael Pazdan (The Hum)

Rami Haykal (Popgun Presents)

Cory Henry

Richard Sloven (The Knitting Factory)

Known for his work with the Funk Apostles (who recently held residency at the McKittrick Hotel), Henry’s first solo release—live album The Revival— continues his virtuosic run on the Hammond organ, favorite instrument of the great Billy Preston. It further reflects why Henry jams with everyone from P. Diddy to Bruce Springsteen. (Jason Grimste)

Sam Cox (BMI)

Steven King (The Rock Shop) Steven Matrick (Pianos) Tim Maginnis (Ascap)

Todd Abramson (independent promoter) Tyler Bates (Communiom Music)

Justin Baron

Paolo De Gregorio (The Deli NYC)

Justin Baron doesn’t break new ground. Not really the point here. The soul-man’s vocals are


Photo: Dan Francia

Larry and the Babes

Cory Henry

Tech Features on Delicious Audio

Read the full interview on!

The Moog



Pitch Factor

Kevin Garrett What are the plug ins and “in the box” tools you abuse of? Anything by Soundtoys and the Vari-Fi plugin. Do you like synths? If so, which ones do you use in your recordings? Goodness I adore synths. In the records that I’ve put out I use a whole bunch of synths. The Moog SubPhatty is all over the place, I use a Roland Juno 106, a couple different prophets from Dave Smith. I love the Optigan.

TEEN What’s the stompbox that’s inspiring you the most these days? “The pedal I am digging deep into right now is the Eventide Pitch Factor. It has so many possibilities that I haven’t even tapped into yet. The guitar isn’t my first instrument and I’m much more of a synth nerd, so I find myself consistently reaching to get deeper and wilder tones, basically trying to make a synth out of a guitar.

Black Arts

Universal Audio

Pharaoh Supreme


Violet Sands


The guitar sounds in Violet Sands are very atmospheric, what kind of guitar effect are you using to get that sound? Derek: We love atmospheric guitar sounds! On the EP I used Deidre’s Gretsch Electromatic, my Fender Telecaster and sometimes a vintage Hagstrom electric 12-string. A lot of the sounds came from a mixture of an amp mic’d far away, and a stereo direct signal coming out of pedals. Many times the direct sounds are the bulk of it. Some of my favorite hardware effects on the recordings are the Eventide PitchFactor (lots of wild pitch modulation effects) and the Black Arts Pharaoh Supreme for the very fuzzy leads.

What synths, controllers and plug ins were particularly inspiring or useful while working on 401 Days? Outboard I used lots of Shure Level-loc for heavy compression, Orban Optimod compressor, Roland Space Echo, and the main pre-amp was a Neve 1084 through BURL converters. In the box; lots of SoundToys (Decapitator on every channel basically), UAD Plug Ins, and Eventide Omnipressor. Minimonsta and Imposcar are my main synths. I semi-mastered everything while tracking and mixing, and eventually Matt Colton mastered the album, possibly the best mastering I’ve had, especially the work he’s done cutting the vinyl, a true craftsman.


the deli Spring 2016

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the deli's synths corner

Yamaha Montage

Arturia MatrixBrute

• A beast of a synth that blends subtractive synthesis and frequency modulation engines. • Motion Seq and Envelop Follower facilitate the creation of evolving sounds that can be modified on the fly via the various knobs and the touch screen. • Extensive effect section. • Seamless Sound Switching lets you change performances without any cut-off in envelope or effects.

• Presented as the most powerful analog synth ever. • Modulation Matrix allows to re-route the synth’s circuits, and also triggers sequences and recalls the 256 presets. • Fully analog signal path, including analog effects. • 3 oscillators (one used as VCO/LFO), 1 noise generator, 3 LFOs, 2 filters (Steiner-Parker and Ladder), 3 envelop generators, Sequencer + Arpeggiator and Control Voltage Interfacing are some of the key features.

Make Noise 0-Coast • First standalone synth from Make Noise, introduced at NAMM, not for sale yet (will sell for $499). • Patchable single voice mono synth that combines East Coast (i.e. subtractive) and West Coast (Additive, non-linear and FM) synthesis modes.

ZOOM ARQ Aero RhythmTrak • All-in-one production and live performance instrument. • Includes an integrated drum machine, sequencer, synthesizer, looper, and MIDI controller with a built-in accelerometer. • The white circular ring is a wireless detachable controller that can be used to trigger samples but also to control sequencer and filters through its pads, buttons and motion detector.


the deli Spring 2016

Korg Volca FM • A three-voice digital FM synthesizer in a tiny Volca enclosure. • The interface simplifies the manipulation of complex FM synthesis, allowing easy creation of new FM sounds. • 16-step sequencer features several new functions for the creation of rhythm patterns.

the deli's pedalboard

Read about pedals on!

Brooklyn Stompbox Exhibit coming up on September 10-11!

TC Electronic Sub’N’Up • Octave up and two sub-octaves, plus modulation pedal. • The three-octave generators can be controlled individually. • “Poly” mode tracks chords, while “Classic” works as an oldschool monophonic octaver. • TonePrint compatible.

Hungry Robot Kármán Line • A joystick delay and oscillation + modulation device designed with experimental musicians in mind. • Inspired to old analog units with degenerative decay and beautiful self-oscillation. • The Y-axis of the joystick changes the delay time (up to 1000ms) and the X-axis controls the modulation rate. • “Launch” footswitch overloads the circuit with out-ofcontrol oscillation.


the deli Spring 2016

Walrus Audio Luminary • A versatile octaver that allows for a wide variety of tones. • Four octave generators (-2, -1,+1,+2) can be blended in volume through separate controls. • Mix, Attack, Filter, and Flutter add extra character and sonic options. • Up to four presets can be stored, while all parameters can be controlled through an expression pedal.

Swindler Effect Workers’ Comp • A new take on the chip found in classic units Dynacomp and Ross Compressors. • More headroom, less noise, and level, compression, attack, and release controls. • Soft footswitch (in true bypass) is inaudible when engaged. • Bright switch compensates the taming of high frequencies due to compression.

Stone Deaf FX PDF-2 • Version 2 of the popular PDF Parametric Distortion Filter, with EQ, Boost and Distortion all in one. • Clean/Dirty switch turns the gain on and off, keeping the EQ in place. • New expression input control feature for wah-wah, phaser, and manual tonal shifts. • Reduced noise floor, adjustable gain knob, and dual foot-switch for clean and dirty channels.

Empress Effect Reverb • 24 studio quality algorithms, with the potential to add more through the SD card. • Features a section of classic sound and a palette of more experimental and ambient ones. • All algorithm controls are on the pedal, no fiddling through laborious menus. • Additional tap function, three variations of cabinet simulator, and up to 35 presets.

Adventure Audio Whateverb • A digital reverb with three algorithms: Room, Shimmer and Modulated reverb. • The two top knobs change function depending on the mode selected. • Modes can be blended and warped with “Blend” and “Warped” backlit trim knobs.

Chase Bliss Tonal Recall • 100% analog delay with a mind-blowing amount of controls in a regular pedal case. • Besides your regular delay controls, it features built-in tap tempo, wave shape control, MIDI compatibility, hold foot control to add continual oscillation, and two presets. • 16 dip switches on the back of the pedal allow for (a lot of) extra tweakability.

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