The Deli SXSW 2016 - Psychedelia, Yonatan Gat, Lewis Del Mar

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Yonatan Gat

Lewis del Mar

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Psychedelia is the genre of God. Those who work with me at The Deli know how obsessed I am with musical genres. I’m aware than many (e.g. those in the music making field) downright despise the idea that all music can be distilled to a series of labels. But the way I see it, it’s human nature to give names to things, and it’s in the artist’s nature to create things that have no name (yet). The other day I was trying to introduce some genres to my two- and six-year-old daughters, who dig the Beatles, the Police, and XTC (among others). In short order, “Hello Goodbye” became our template for pop—uptempo, somewhat silly, instantly catchy. “Helter Skelter” was our chosen rock number—also uptempo, but loud, aggressive, and cathartic. For simplicity’s sake I bundled folk and country into “Rocky Racoon”—acoustic, narrative-driven, evocative.

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Then it occurred to me: psychedelia is really on the same level as those three giant musical genres. It’s the genre, in fact, where imagination wins over tradition. Or maybe it’s the re-imagination of tradition—the skill of thinking outside the box whilst working through the vernacular form. “Come Together,” “A Day in the Life,” “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “I Am the Walrus.” On a metaphysical level, where did they come from? Alas, ye Young Gods of SXSW: can you write more music like that? Take this issue of The Deli—aka Psyche(deli)a—as encouragement. Paolo De Gregorio Publisher/Editor-in-Chief February 23, 2016

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the deli SXSW 2016

let’s go trippin’ The Many-Colored World of Psychedelic Music (and Where to Find It) Written by Brian chidester / Illustration by Maria and peter hoey

In November 1965, the Los Angeles Free Press hosted a series of advertisements announcing a new nightclub—the Bizarre Bazaar—which for two nights offered patrons a cup of hot coffee, laced with a new synthetic hallucinogen known as LSD-25. Experimental theater guru Del Close was on-hand to project an oil lamp light show; avant-rock band the United States of America played the all-night jam session. Arthur Lee, whose band Love had a regular gig at the nearby Brave New World club, apparently dropped in after midnight one night. So did future Frank Zappa sideman Don Ellis. Then came the police. On the third day Bizarre Bazaar closed for good. Three years later, LSD was made illegal in the U.S. Yet by this time, the doors of perception had been forever opened. You know the story well. From 1966-69 there was Blonde on Blonde, Pet Sounds, Revolver, the Monterey Pop Festival. There was also Axis: Bold As Love by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Disraeli Gears by Cream, Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd, and White Light/White Heat by the Velvet Underground. UK concept albums like S.F. Sorrow and the Who’s Tommy eventually influenced Broadway (e.g. Hair, Godspell), and in 1969 the entire wooly, anti-establishment tribe seemed to’ve gathered at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair in upstate New York. In all, the challenge to convention and to traditional Western mores was more serious than that, but you get the point. Fast-forward fifty years and psychedelic music remains amongst the most dominant of forms in popular music. It has transmuted across nearly every genre—from rock to soul, to electronic music, hip-hop, and jazz—and nowadays seems more adjective than straight-up genre. The question

remains how something so esoteric and experimental became the new buzzword of a fast-moving, high-tech age? According to Craig Pennington, organizer of the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, what makes this current iteration of psychedelic music unique is its global nature. Of his annual festival, featuring over two dozen acts each fall— from L.A. to Copenhagen, Mexico City to Tokyo—Pennington confirms: “They’ve been brought together by the internet.” The larger festivals—Burning Man, Electric Zoo Bonnaroo, Coachella—also celebrate the confluence of open fields, drug-taking, and sonic experimentation, with an understanding that alternative lifestyles are now big business. This year’s SXSW festival seems further confirmation; nearly one-fourth of its official acts refer to themselves in press material as either “experimental,” “avant-garde,” or “psychedelic.” How much of it is based in straight-up retro, however, is questionable. Where the psychedelic movement—originally rooted in the 1960s—was understood by such characteristics as modal melodies, surreal lyrics, extended instrumental solos or jams, electric guitars played with fuzzbox pedals, electric organs, harpsichords, backwards tape effects, extreme reverb, early synthesizers, and the theremin, access to a wider swath of material (via the internet) has expanded both the form and the canon of artists included. The shared symptoms of inequality and social unrest have also linked the generations. Wayne Coyne, mercurial leader of the Flaming Lips, recently told the UK Guardian that both My Bloody Valentine and German composer Gustav Mahler were psychedelic. “Any the deli SXSW 2016


“In October 1968, LSD was made illegal in the U.S. Yet by this time, the doors of perception had been forever opened.”

Guerilla Toss Gay Disco

The Mystery Lights S/T EP

musician,” claims Coyne, “not playing by the rulebook and going inside their heads is psychedelic.” (Wayne’s cousin Dennis Coyne, by the way, leads the band Stardeath and White Dwarfs, who are playing SXSW this year.) Cagey as it sounds, others, like Christian Johansson of the Swedish rock band Goat and neo-hippie Devendra Banhart, have cited classical composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Morton Subotnick as major influences on their work. Granted, it’s hard to overlook the impact of fine-art, classical music, and literature on things like the psychedelic concept album, the ’60s “happening,” or the endless run of trills in ’70s prog-rock epics. (Doors frontman Jim Morrison apparently asked his parents for a copy of Nietzsche’s complete works for his 18th birthday, and how many hippies read and were influenced by Hesse, Lewis Carroll, and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings? Your guess is as good as mine.) To the extant that any of this matters today, it seems the best we can say is that “psychedelia,” as a generalization for experimental music, narily captures anything approaching the homogenous. Is, for instance, Miley Cyrus now psychedelic? (I’m sure Wayne Coyne thinks so.) Whatever your opinion, it’s probably more true to say that the effects of art rarely occur at the level of taxonomies and concepts. (Nietzsche: 8

the deli SXSW 2016

Stardeath and White Dwarfs Waistoid

“Understanding stops actions.”) It’s not just musicians either who decry genre labels; studies show that persons who’ve experienced drug-induced hallucinations often talk of a unified field, as opposed to traditional linearity. Perhaps when it comes to this label (or any other label) what we should do is simultaneously use it and deny it. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the newer bands who bear the stamp of psychedelia, keeping in mind that it would be impossible to capture them all in a single article. Among the more notables playing this year’s SXSW, it’s impossible not to mention the Mystery Lights, Future Blondes, and Guerilla Toss—three bands who could not be more different. (Guerrilla is wildly unfettered, where the Lights are uber-retro and Future Blondes are completely dissonant; yet they all share an undeniable penchant for experimentation.) Post-rock and prog bands continue to fulfill the cravings of non-mainstream tastes; some of its newer underground progenitors include HMPH! from Kansas City and Infinity Shred from NYC. The latter, like Guerilla Toss and another SXSW band, the Octopus Project, fuse ’80s synths with an overall tendency for extended jams. Protopeople (Mexico) and Sur Oculto (Argentina) are two additional bands operating at the crossroads of prog and darkwave—a sound all over Latin

Electric Eye Pick-Up, Lift-Off, Space, Time

Jib Kidder Teaspoon to the Ocean

Cocofunka Hacer Ecoo

Jerry Paper Fuzzy Logic

Future Blondes Se-Akh Shadow

Balancer Tipsoo

American alt-rock these days (see Mars Volta, Los Crema Paraiso, Cocofunka, and Il, to name a few). Jambinai, from South Korea, lean more towards the corpulent side of postrock, ala Om or Godspeed You Black Emperor. At the other end of the spectrum are electro-psych acts like Laikamori, whose hazy versions of synthpop take up where artists like Washed Out and Small Black left off. Electronic music, in fact, constitutes a totally different side of psychedelia—one whose history is just now being written. Succinctly: during the 1980s, Acid House and Jungle music were first created by DJs in Chicago and NYC as offshoots of Deep House; they quickly migrated overseas, where by the summer of 1987, ravers in England and Ibiza had declared a second “Summer of Love” (to match the original of 1967). The drug of choice this time was not LSD, but Ecstasy. Other EDM styles heavily-rooted in experimentation and 10

the deli SXSW 2016

abstraction include Acid Jazz, Trance, Trip-Hop, even Electroclash. Dubstep came later, though all of these eventually influenced rock and pop acts from Radiohead to Son Lux, to Bjork and Portishead. (For a handful of new such acts see especially Public Memory, Vinyl Williams, and Boots.) At the other end of the spectrum are those bands rooted in the lambent sounds of baroque-pop and psych-pop. A resurgence of interest first came during the 1990s, when surf music and exotica influenced American films like Pulp Fiction and European bands such as the High Llamas and Stereolab. During the aughts, NYC’s Animal Collective, Denver’s Of Montreal, and Nova Scotia’s Heavy Blinkers sat at radically different ends of the Beach Boys-meets-indie spectrum; the Wondermints from Los Angeles helped a damaged Brian Wilson finally finish his unreleased masterpiece, Smile, in 2004. These days the proliferation of baroque-pop bands is staggering. A

“The question now is how something so esoteric and experimental as psychedelia became the new buzzword of a fast-moving, high-tech age?”

New God Firework

The Octopus Project Fever Forms

few worth mentioning: Little Racer (NYC), Quichenight (Nashville), the Swedish artist known as Orange Crate Art (real name Tobias Bernsand), a swirly Baltimore band calling themselves New God, London’s Grimm Grimm, and Aloa Input (Munich). Hip-hop, a genre traditionally known for its mainstream flamboyance and iconoclasm, has seen a number of artists quietly dip into experimentation, albeit mostly behind the scenes. DJ Lush Life, in 2005, mashed up Kanye West’s College Dropout LP with the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. A year later, Jump Juice took the High Llamas’ indie-surf masterpiece Buzzle Bee as backdrop for his own series of tripped-out remixes. In fact, emcees like Afrika Bambaataa, the Rammellzee, Kool Keith, and Madlib have been releasing psychedelic rap music for decades now. It’s only recently caught on in the mainstream, via acts such as Kendrick Lamaar and psychedelic dandies OutKast. In the underground there is now Ratking, the Underachievers, Gloss Gang, Jaguar Pyramids, Kahli Abdu, and many more. Another reason psychedelia remains difficult to pin down is because, from the beginning, it has been more a combination of sounds that any one in particular. It’s impossible, in fact, to imagine the original psychedelic era without the influence of world music—especially the ragas of Indian and 12

the deli SXSW 2016

Jackson Boone Natural Changes

South Asian classical music. George Harrison of the Beatles and folk singer Donovan were early acolytes, though we now know (from myriad great reissue labels and from YouTube) that ’60s and ’70s artists all over the Middle East and Asia fused their own native sounds with rock formats from the West. Recently, the Minimal Wave record label (NYC) reissued a super-rare raga-synthesizer album—Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (1982)—by Charanjit Singh; it was immediately hailed as a revelation by psych-EDM guru the Aphex Twin. New artists from the region, including Sevdaliza (Iran) and Dynoman (Pakistan), continue using the sonic experimentation and the hybridity of psychedelic music as a trojan horse for greater diversity. Jai Wolf (NYC) is the latest hot deejey to mix Bollywood soundtrack samples with EDM, while Noura Mint Seymali (Mauritania) plays a sweltering brand of raga music using indie-rock instrumentation. Westerners have also picked up on the vibe, approaching it in largely Byrds-like terms. Jib Kidder (NYC), the Outerminds from Chicago, the Creation Factory (L.A.), and the Beechwood Sparks (also Los Angeles) all move fluidly though folk, raga, and harmony-laden soundscapes. I could go on, but I think you get the point by now. The letter of the law, when it comes to psychedelia, may’ve been defined long ago. But the spirit of the letter is what counts. May it know no bounds.

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Yonatan Gat

Lewis del Mar

SXSW Showcases Thu 3/17, 8:30pm - Hotel Vegas Patio Fri 3/18, 11:59pm - The Townsend

SXSW Showcase Sat 3/19, 9:00pm - Hype Hotel

NYC-by-way-of-Israel guitarist Yonatan Gat performs and records as a power trio; their unworldly instrumentals earned them this issue’s cover. Below are a few thoughts from the Gat on being a nu-New Yorker and being psychedelic.

More than any other band at this year’s SXSW, Lewis del Mar best straddles that line between experimental rock and straight pop. The Deli sat down recently with singer/guitarist Danny Miller and drummer Max Harwood to see how they felt about “fitting in.”

First off, how do you feel about being labeled “psychedelic”? Genres by definition are a mistake and a shortcut into a not-veryreal understanding of music and how that organism works. “Psychedelic” is just meaningless enough for me to be semi-comfortable with. In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to use these terms.

Does living in Rockaway Beach, in New York, influence your songwriting? Danny: Absolutely. The ocean puts all of your experiences into perspective and keeps you from feeling like you are the center of the universe.

Any artists or movements especially relevant to your sound? Every new style of music I manage to grasp transforms me and adds a layer. Some examples are African guitarists; bands like Orchestra Baobab, Orchestra Poly-Ryhtmo Cotonou, Bembeya Jazz. Also jazz legends like Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Archie Shepp; how they constantly push the limits of their instruments.

Who deals with programming in the band? Max: Me. I’m really inspired by guys like J Dilla and Madlib, so I do a lot of sampling from vinyl. Most of the weird processed percussion sounds are from old records of Latin percussion ensembles. I’ll chop them up, put ‘em on an SP-404, or SPDS-X, then replay them in different rhythms. I also use voice memo recordings of various noises that I’ve come across in New York City. There’s also analog synths, old guitar pedals, tape recorders. All types of shit.

Why mostly instrumentals? A singer in pop music is like a plot in a movie—so many times it serves the role of telling you how you’re supposed to feel. With instrumentals things are more open, like films that don’t rely solely on their plots. You can watch them again and again, in different periods of your life. Culturally, what differences do you see between Israel and the U.S.? Israel is financially dependent on the United States, so American culture is particularly strong there. On the other hand the climate, the people, the vibe—very different. It’s a direct, no-bullshit kind of place, sometimes more like Russia, or an Arabic country. That’s how Israeli music sounds when it doesn’t try to mimic the American influence. (brian chidester) 14

the deli SXSW 2016

What’s the secret to recording tracks that are faithful to what’s in your head? Danny: From when I first begin demoing a song until Max builds a finished production, we work out of the same project file. Because we’re bringing in so many influences and sonic textures, cohesion is always the goal. Max: At every step we’re analyzing how each element fits in with the meaning behind the song. We never wanted Lewis del Mar to be a traditional “band.” This is a fluid creative entity that sculpts songs and builds worlds with our recordings. (Paolo De Gregorio)

A once in a generation songwriter shares a remarkable, timeless collection of stories about life in New York

The Redhead’s Allegations Available in March of 2016


Photo: Ryan Lowry

Photo: Brian Geltner

the deli's recommended SXSW psych acts


Vinyl Williams


Ex-Smith Westerners Julien Ehrlich (also of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and Max Kakacek recently expanded Whitney to an all-male septet. Kakacek’s sunny guitar licks on “No Matter Where We Go” recall George Harrison on Abbey Road, whilst 2016’s acoustic ballad “No Woman” leans more escapist. (Brian Chidester)

In 2012, this artist closed his debut EP with songs titled “Magic Jungle” and “Real Life.” With each subsequent release he’s gone farther past solid matter. Indeed, 2015’s duo LP Trance Zen Dental Spa (with Chaz Bundick) is offbeat enough to confirm its title both witty and ironic. (Brian Chidester)

Bands like Lushes make the best current argument that ’80s post-punk was heavily rooted in psychedelia. (See also the Cure’s Top album.) The Brooklyn duo recently unleashed a full length debut— Service Industry—to further celebrate their brand of dissonance and aural desolation. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Guerrilla Toss

The Lemons

Pastel Ghost

On the extreme side of psychedelia there is Guerrilla Toss. The group takes primitive antics from vintage no-wave (Throbbing Gristle/Lydia Lunch) and deconstructs them further via surrealist chants, swirly keyboards, skwonking saxes, and razor sharp screams. Wild party band. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Lo-fi pop reached an apotheosis in the late ’90s with the first Of Montreal/ Elephant 6 releases. The Lemons from Chicago persist where such pioneers have since gone hi-fi. A new 28-song LP probes the druggier side of girl-group pop, with just one tune passing the two-minute mark. (Brian Chidester)

This band’s electro cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep” sounds like a declaration of intents: shoegazer music where synths trump guitars. Debut LP Abyss, released in early 2015, keeps that party going via catchy melodies buried in reverb and ethereality.

(Los Angeles)

(New York City)



the deli SXSW 2016

Photo: Chad Kamenshine

Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk



(San Francisco/NYC)

(Paolo De Gregorio)

Photo: Sarah Walor

The Stargazer Lilies Ron Gallo (New England)


Lucy Dacus

“The stars are in our heads/The flowers in our hearts” is how dreampop purveyors the Stargazer Lilies open their lone album: We Are the Dreamers (2013). Enhanced recordings, with more effectsheavy guitars and mandarin vocals, are expected from their forthcoming sophomore LP. Due spring. (Dave Cromwell)

“Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me”—a wooly-as-a-mammoth, jittery-as-a-jumping-bean number off Gallo’s forthcoming Heavy Meta album—showcases the songwriter’s continued faith in traditional folk and psychedelia, the perfect backdrop for displaced occupancy in the 21st century. (Austin Phy)

What qualifies Lucy Dacus as psychedelic exactly? Nothing obvious. Unless, of course, it strikes you odd that Billie Holidayesque vocals work with rock tunes in the Young the Giant vein. 2015 single “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” is an autonomous anthem especially befitting of the Lady Day comparison. (Jonathan Goodwin)


Nightmare Air

The Mystery Lights

With lyrics like “Never want me around to hang loose,” the glam/grunge incarnation known as Sharkmuffin keep tension front-and-center. A noisy guitar squall and aggressive, Siouxie-esque vocals push songs like “First Date” beyond the sensible. They’re more like shots in the dark. (Dave Cromwell)

This L.A. trio was formed by ex-Film School guitarist Dave Dupuis and goth bassist/singer Swaan Miller (later joined by Noise by Numbers drummer Jimmy Lucido). Together they raise hell by pairing self-oscillating feedback to driving rhythms, dreamy vocals, and wild album covers. (Ryan Mo)

“Thee in thy panoply” is how Walt Whitman addressed a bi-coastal 19th century freight train, though his words easily apply to NYC’s Mystery Lights as well. Their garage-psych panoply is pure Sixties, albeit a variegated Sixties, which makes sense given their origins in California. (Brian Chidester)

(New York City)

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Photo: Thomas Ignatius

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the deli SXSW 2016


Photo: Madeline Harvey

Photo: Brendan George Ko

the deli's recommended psych acts outside sxsw


Kalomo Jordan

Cross Record

More “psycho” than psychedelic, Toronto’s Weaves has a precious asset in its uniquely eccentric lead singer Jasmyn Burke. Crooked but punchy, poppy but always unpredictable, this band is above all a continuation of 4AD’s madness and ennui. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Trance deejays are nothing if not psychedelic. They’re also decidedly cryptic human beings for the most part—an apt description of painter/musician Kalomo George, whose multi-media EDM shows are mostly beyond description. Drugs enhance the experience, though hardly a requirement. (Brian Chidester)

Cross Record is a creepy folk-psych duo that writes, records, and lives on the gorgeous Moon Phase Ranch (near Austin). Atypical instrumentals bump up dramatically against spacious vocals. The lyrics are deep too, though they could sing the phone book and it’d be just as evocative.




To the degree it’s still possible to challenge the rock aristocracy, this duo (from KC) gives the middle finger to convention. Songs are structured, like math, though without significant sign-posts (melodies, choruses), it’s necessary to ground itself elsewhere—as in the LP format. They call it Headrush. (Brian Chidester)

EZTV’s 2015 debut Calling Out (on Captured Tracks) entertains in gently psychedelic ways and might be one of the records to go back to this upcoming summer. It’s laid back, jangly, and dream-filled—the perfect companion for outdoor activities and traveling. (Paolo

Philly-band Myrrias uses their latest EP All Alone to conjure that ancient exchange between the human and spirit world. They also cover Velvet Underground’s Nico on track two, which cements both the notion of music-as-ritual and their own psychedelic street-cred. (Brian Chidester)


(Kansas City)


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(New England)

(New York City)

De Gregorio)


(Trevor Talley)


Photo: Emma Trim

Sun Drug

New God

Hazel English

The Sun Drug EP (2015) doesn’t uplift; it agitates. Heavy doses of electro beats and zipper-fuzz riffs combine for a froideur that is less analytical, more from the pelvis. “Wildman” is the techno hippie’s new anthem; “Soaked” is indecipherable—in the best way possible. (Ryan Mo)

Baltimore-based New God takes its name from Jack Kirby’s progressive ’70s comic series and inspiration from the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Toss in some electro flourishes and the occasional hiphop beat and you’re left with a musical tension analogous to their hometown right now. (Jonathan Goodwin)

East Bay by way of Australia singer Hazel English is supported musically by the electro dream-pop artist Day Wave. Together they craft sensuous recordings, built around English’s atmospheric vocals, which on tracks like “Never Going” hang weightless in the ether.

Jerry Paper

Jackson Boone


Jerry Paper’s mellow, empurpled ditties recall mid-’70s Brian Eno done bedroom-tape style. Such preference for the minimal and everyday carries with it a certain common-man eloquence befitting the artist’s laconic lyrics, which he delivers in short, monotone chants. (Brian Chidester)

PDX’s Jackson Boone is the latest in a long line of Syd Barrett acolytes going back to David Bowie and Marc Bolan. Boone, in fact, works past much of Barrett’s tension en route to spaced-out oddities as dramatic and modern as they are retro. (Paolo De Gregorio)

Who needs drugs when you’ve got Chalaxy? (Bad question.) This Nashville five-piece has earned a reputation for bringing the party (and good vibes) to an ever-expanding live show, embodied in their latest album of 2016: Pronoia. Out now. (Caroline Bowman)

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the deli SXSW 2016


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the deli's Best Emerging Local Artists of 2015


Meat Wave

The Walking Sticks

The Deli Austin’s 2015 Artist of the Year is not resting on its laurels. They greeted 2016 with a spanking new EP: Movement Swallow Us—actually just two songs, remixed six times. But each sounds so different that it’s more like an extended indie-disco set. (Trevor Talley)

Post-punk trio Meat Wave formed in 2011. By late 2015 they had their third LP: Delusion Moon. “Cosmic Zoo,” its most-played cut, queries stoicisms such as: “Is all unknown or simply unknown to me?” They answer elsewhere with “I Was Wrong”—bitter and brisk. (Jason Behrends)

“What’s the meaning of American life?” is the refrain of Walking Sticks’ Eightiesinflected single of 2013. The answer is in the band’s own sound: effusive, decadent, slightly mournful. Newer tracks find fuller electro production, though vocalist Chelsea Lee remains the centerpiece.

Yes You Are

James Supercave

All Them Witches

Yes You Are does anthemic pop in a totally mainstream style. Take “HGX” for instance; it’s got not one but two jingoistic refrains—“I’m feeling supernatural” (bridge); “We do it ‘cause it feels good” (chorus)—which sound readymade for radio. So why haven’t you heard them? Still time. (Michelle Bacon)

Sharp on the heels of their debut LP, Better Strange, Echo Park trio James Supercave gives psych-rock a facelift, employing an array of infectious grooves and creamy atmospherics. How a recording as weird as the title track can be so fun is anyone’s guess.

What if, in the opening of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter and the good doctor had smoked those two bags of weed and dropped them fifty tabs of acid? Things might’ve looked more like Heavy Metal and sounded like All Them Witches. Just do it, man. (Austin Phy)


(DC Area)

(Jonathan Goodwin)

Photo: Robby Staebler


(Kansas City)


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(Los Angeles)

(Juan Rodriguez)


Photo: Jeff Allen

The artists on this page are the winners of our Regional Year End Polls for emerging artists. They are based mostly on the opinions of a select number of people who book small venues in the twelve scenes covered by our local blogs. This system, in the past, rewarded now-breakout bands like Lucius, Vampire Weekend, Local Natives, Porches, Baths, and Foxygen. Wanna dig deeper? Go here:


Acid Dad

Alex G

“The National Bohemian,” the opener on Rebuilder’s Rock & Roll in America, is more bourgeois bohemian than realdeal radical. Doesn’t preclude them from being on the right side (meaning left), like Green Day and My Chemical Romance. Epic sound, never let’s up.

If any modern band deserves comparison to gumbo, it’s Acid Dad. Is it garagerock? Psychedelic punk? Yes, yes, and more. Even outdated blues works its way into the sonic stew. Some songs, like “Grim,” are so deceptively simple, you’d swear you heard them your entire life.

Beach Music, the new bedroom album by Philadelphia soloist Alex G, is clearly influenced by Elliott Smith—though that’s not all. Plenty of aural sunshine filters through, as on “Thorns,” his lo-fi Beach Boys ode; or “In Love,” with its psychedelic trumpet and gramophone vocals.

Cat Hoch



Cooly dominating Portland’s underground scene, Cat Hoch is proof how far hard work can take you. Her 2013 collection of dreamy demos led to an opening slot for Ride in 2015. “Celestian” is the artist’s most rockin’ cut, which leaves the atmosphere for five minutes. (Paolo De Gregorio)

This Bay Area band boasts a bright, jangly sound in the vein of 10,000 Maniacs, plus a singer whose under-achieving, hum-dum folky voice is the vernacular form that makes it sound not ’90s, but contemporary. Top-streaming track “Sleepless” is their antidote to gloom.

Hitherto, the husky soul voice, applied to hard-rock production, has been a forced aesthetic. An argument could be made for Toronto solo artist Sate having rectified the situation. Unhinged rockers like “What Did I Do” convince the longer (and more fiercely) she sings.

(New England)


(Brian Chidester)

(Michael Colavita)


(San Francisco Bay Area)

(Brian Chidester)

Photo: Che Kothari

Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux

(Paolo De Gregorio)

(New York City)


(Brian Chidester)

the deli SXSW 2016


the deli's Best of 2016

Our Regional Year End Polls for emerging artists also feature a readers component. These are the artists who won our Best of 2015 Readers Poll in the twelve scenes covered by our blogs.

the deli SXSW 2016

Jerry Koukol

Nadia El-Khatib

J. Kotting

Dani Bauer

Charlie O’Brien

Kelli Dirks

Christine Solomon



Nicole Mitterer

Molly DeCoudreaux

San Francisco Bay Area


Jackie Papanier


( Psych Rock)

(Soul Rock)

(Singer-S ongwriter )

(America na)

Philadelphi a

Pam Steeble r

Danny Henry

Smooth Hound Smith

( New Wave Revival)

New York City

New England

Nashvill e

Balleri na Black

(Folk Rock)

(Hard Rock Revival)

(Psych / World)

(Synthpop )

Missou ri Loves Compa ny

Shuma un

Dos Santos

Wonder bitch Los Angeles

Kansas City

DC Area



LiquidLig ht ( Alt Rock)

Heartwat ch (Soft Pop)

Ryan Kombargi

Readers Poll winners


(Garage Rock)

SXSW Stompbox Exhibit 2016

Free, March 17-19 ATX Convention Center, Hall 4

Boost / Distortion / Fuzz

Tone Bakery Creme Brulee

ScreaminFX Betrayer

Adventure Audio Fuzz Peaks

ProCo Fat Rat

• Based on a 308 opamp style gain stage and clipped by 3 diode. • It shines on mid- to high-gain distortion offering an extremely wide range of options. • Versatile 3-stage passive tone control with bass, mid, and treble adjustments.

• A spin on the classic Black Russian Big Muff circuit, with a buffered clean blend for more balanced sound. • Momentary feedback switch used in combination with the Spectrum knob opens fun creative options.

• It gives you a choice between the original or a new MOSFET clipping circuit (smoother smoother upper midrange) • Stock/Fat switch lets you enhance the low res frequency response. • Support 9-18 volts for extra headroom, and sports a socketed op-amp, so that you can switch the chip.


Mod Kits DIY The Suspended Chime

Strymon Mobius

Walrus Julia Analog Chorus/Vibrato

• Authentically reproduces the true pitch-shifted vibrato of the original, now super-rare pedal, from 1982. • An all analog circuit, it also adds a modern new vibrato mode and real-time control function for enhanced expression.

• Build it yourself! Two effects in one pedal: chorus and chorus/ delay. • Blend knob allows you to go from subtle to lush chorus effect in either set up. • Selector switch adds a 190-millisecond delay to the chorus introducing special depth to the tone.

• A comprehensive, studio quality effects pedal tackling in depth all the possible modulation effects and more. • Twelve different “machines” modes, from Chorus, Vibe, Tremolo, Filter to Formant, Destroyer, Autoswell, and Quadrature. • Three foot switches and six knobs allow plenty of control on the fly.

• A recreation of a legendary boost circuit, with a slight bump in the mid-range to make it extra creamy. • Set-it-and-forget-it kind of pedal, adds clean gain and warmth to your tone. • Lower noise level than the original, much lower price than it.


• A fully analog, feature-rich chorus/vibrato packed with a wide array of tonal landscapes. • Lag knob lets you set the center delay time that the LFO effect modulates from. • The dry-chorus-vibrato blend changes the ratio of dry to wet signal sent to the output. the deli SXSW 2016


multi effect

Tech 21 Fly Rig 5

• A portable, flexible, all analog multi-effect built on a version of Tech21’s renown SansAmp amp emulator, optimized for clean tones, including drive, EQ and reverb. • The Plexi section adds an organic distortion of a stock ‘68 Plexi, and 21db of gain through the hot control. • DLA section (with Tap Tempo) delivers a vintage tape echo effect.

mix / reverb

Red Panda Bit Mixer

Old Blood Noise Dark Star

• Small, high-quality, ultra-low distortion, low noise mixer designed for pedalboards. • Inputs work with all signals, great for connecting multiple instruments to one amp, combine parallel effects chains, clean blend or analog dry path.

• Creates mood setting, long, reverberated pads. • The reverb signal can be routed through “pitch,” “delay,” and “crush,” each controlled by the CTRL knobs. • Hold switch locks in whatever note is being played through the effect.

VHT Pedals Melo-Verb

T-Rex Fat Shuga Boost/Reverb

• Recreation of the tremolo and reverb effects found in amplifiers from the ’60s, with an added clean boost feature. • The “shape” control adjusts the tremolo character, from retro floating undulations to modern square-cornered chop.

• Combination of creamy, dynamic, and touch-sensitive overdrive/boost and warm, vintage sounding reverb. • Great for solos with the boost’s amp-like breakup and overdrive, and reverb’s ambience.

Aalberg Audio Ekko

Ibanez Analog Delay Mini


Fairfield Circuitry Meet Maude

• A dark sounding analog delay with a rich and distinctive character. • Random delay time modulation adds a true tape feel to the effect. • Expression pedal input lets you control delay time and/or feedback.


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Hotone Tape Eko

• Mode I produces the clean sound typical of digital delays, without sacrificing warmth or dynamics. • Mode II recreates the sound of the magnetic tape echo machine response. • Reverse mode shares sonic characteristics with Mode II, but with a reverse effect.

• Warm sounding semi-analog stereo delay with wireless control for all parameters, including tap tempo. • Blue LED-bars on top of the knobs allow to see the parameter settings from a distance.

• Compact analog delay with a 20ms-600ms time range. • Same sonic character of the classic Ibanez AD9.

psych pedalBoard


In theme with this issue of The Deli, we’ll have a “Psychedelic Mixed Board” waiting for you at our SXSW Stompbox Exhibit. Come over, bring your guitar, and get your mind blown!

Strymon El Capistan

TC Electronic Ditto X4

Black Cat Mini Trem

• Tape echo machine emulator based on powerful SHARC DSP. • Three different tape machine types, each with three unique modes. • Extensive control over tape quality, machine health, and tone-shaping through ten tweakable parameters.

• Stereo, double looper pedal with incorporated effect section. • Allows to create evolving multi-track compositions or fully fledged songs. • Tons of features under the hood, including midi and USB integration.

• Classic, ’60s style tremolo, with speed and depth controls, plus a clean FET boost with controls for boost and tone. • Second stomp allows for half-speed/ double-speed switching. • The two effects can function independently of one another.

Neunaber Seraphim Mono Shimmer

EarthQuaker Devices Rainbow Machine

AnalogMan Peppermint Fuzz

• Combines the Wet Reverb with Neunaber’s own shimmer effect (a rich pitch harmonizer), allowing you to use them together, or switch on-the-fly between them. • A long press of the footswitch sets the Shim knob to 0, and a second long press sets it back to the knob position.

• Uses digital oscillators to create real-time polyphonic harmonies, from a 4th down through a 3rd up and everything in between. • Secondary function control adds octave. • Magic knob creates unexpected pitch take-offs and descents and other weird effects.

• Inspired to the buzzy fuzz pedals of the mid 1960s (Mosrite Fuzzrite, Maestro Fuzz Tone, etc.). • Built around a super-high gain, germanium transistors that could be tuned to get those sounds. • It can also be used for recreating the punk-rock sounds, ala the Stooges, or the ’60s Fuzzface.

the deli SXSW 2016

board Powered by Big Joe PB 107 Power Box Lithium

DigiTech Ventura Vibe

Malekko Charlie Foxtrot

• Delivers both vintage and modern sounds with three rotary/vibrato effect types, in stereo. • Tone and drive knobs control high frequencies and drive. • Foot-switchable speed function lets you alternate between slow and fast speed on the fly.

• Digital buffer/granular pedal with both autocapture and manual-capture of the input signal. • Playback and capture can be manipulated through six knobs, controlling size of the buffer, duration of repeats, pitchmode, threshold, mix, and preamp level. • Inputs for control via expression pedal or CVl.

Way Huge Swollen Pickle MkII

ZVex Fuzz Factory

• A super high-gain fuzz, with copious amounts of smooth low-end. • New features include a tone stack Scoop for classic mid-scoop sound, or for a flat, mid-frequency sweep and a Crunch knob to adjust the compression intensity of the fuzz. • Two internal mini-controls allow extra tweaking.

• A fuzz pedal packed with knobs that let you control everything from tight, radically-distorted sounds that gate off instantly when you stop playing, to inter-modulating oscillations which fight for control of your guitar as your notes decay to shortwave radio sounds, ripping velcro, and octave-like fuzz.

• A small footprint rechargeable, 9v 500ma lithium battery power supply capable of powering multiple pedals, pedalboards, and high current draw effects. • Display technology shows current draw, battery status, and time remaining. • Can be recharged via USB or power adapter.

Electro-Harmonix Ravish Sitar • Streamlines the essence of the sitar, offering a polyphonic lead voice and tunable sympathetic string drones that dynamically react to your playing. • Creates custom scales for the sympathetic strings and lets you set the decay time for the lead voice.

the deli SXSW 2016


the Stompbox Exhibit's essential accessories 1 Samson Z55 Professional Reference Headphones

of their flagship Z55 Professional Reference Headphones too; they’re a high-end, comfortable, and lightweight pair of cans designed for studio recording and mixing, and tuned for a balanced and detailed sound. Exactly what the doctor ordered for our synth and pedal events!

Based in Long Island, NY, Samson Technologies has grown since the ’80s from a two person operation to a worldwide enterprise. Initially specializing in wireless microphones, then introducing the first professional USB microphone in 2005, they recently expanded their headphone line with the Z Series. Samson sent us a few dozen

2 PRS Guitars

Famously Carlos Santana’s electric six string of choice, Paul Reed Smith Guitars is the perfect sponsor for a show tied in with

this issue of The Deli focused on psychedelia. The story of this Stevensville, Maryland-based company follows the narrative of an American dream come true; a dream that began in 1985, when custom luthier P.R. Smith decided to expand his business beyond the models he could create singlehandedly. Fast forward thirty years or so and PRS is one of the biggest American manufacturers of electric guitars, offering very well made six strings that play like butter. We’ll have a bunch of them for you to try at the Stompbox Exhibit. Do not miss!

What are stompboxes without an electric guitar plugged into them? Well, plus the various cables needed to connect them (and strings, picks, straps, headphones... but who’s counting?). In recent years stomboxes have also become candy for the eye, which ain’t bad either. Please join us in thanking a few companies that are making this “speed pedal-dating event” called the Stompbox Exhibit possible! 2





3 George L’s

Cables are an essential link between all the components involved in any audio set-up, and Nashville-based George L’s transparent sounding high-end guitar cables are the first choice of many pro guitarists. On top of that, George L’s created the first highend cable that doesn’t require stripping or soldering, easily allowing any musician to customize its size or create it from scratch.

4 Dunlop

Sometimes big things are born from simple ideas: Scottish immigrant Jim Dunlop 30

the deli SXSW 2016

began manufacturing tuners and capos as a habby in 1965. In 1972, after he realized many guitarists were frustrated by the quality of the guitar picks available, he decided to enter that market, launching the first picks made out of nylon. That simple idea gave birth to the biggest U.S. manufacturer of picks, which have found their way through the hands of almost every guitarist in the world. Today Dunlop also manufactures (among other things) strings and guitar pedals, including the original Crybaby wah-wah pedal, the Univibe, and Heil Talkbox (plus the MXR and Way Huge lines of stomp boxes).

5 Levy’s Leathers Straps

The story of Levy’s Leathers starts in Nova Scotia, 1973, when, with a handful of leatherworking tools and a few hides of leather Dennis Levy (soon joined by his wife Cheryl Clarke), began crafting and selling a variety of leather goods: belts, watchbands, gun slings and yes, guitar straps. With the popularity of that instrument literally exploding in the following decades, Levy’s was one of the first companies to take that niche seriously. Today, millions of players use Levy’s straps: from the ultimate luxury of the MSS17 to the utilitarian serviceability of the M8. A strap for everyone and every taste.

Stompbox Exhibit

Austin Convention Center

Unique & Robust

SXSW 2016

Made in Hull, Québec

Actual size: 11.5”l x 2.5”w x 1.25”h • 18.6 oz.

Tech 21 Fly Rigs are pro units armed with sweet analog tones. In the footprint of a pixie, each embodies an entire, multi-application rig, so you can rule the road, rehearsal or recording gig.


sxsw synth space 2016 Few things in music are as inspiring and intimidating as synthesizers. We all have synthpop faves from the Eighties, Nineties, and today, though it’s a general truism that much of the relevant electro output (Kraftwerk, Suicide, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Ministry, Prodigy) is resolutely dark, cold, even apocalyptic. Could the art coming from such “unnatural” instruments inspire a revolt of the machines against their master human creators? Do synths alone trigger such scary, fascinating thoughts in music? Creatively, different personalities get different vibes when staring at a wall of knobs. The analytical mind may identify them as toys opening onto an infinite number of creative options. Others see a huge learning curve that threatens to interfere with inspiration, opting for a “less (knobs) is more” approach. Both of these types will have plenty of options that suit their creative processes at this year’s 2nd SXSW Synth Expo, hosted at the Austin Convention Center, with these participating manufacturers among others!

Yamaha Reface

Free, March 17-19 ATX Convention Center, Hall 4

KORG Minilogue

You could say that early 2010s were arguably the years of “synth revival,” with many of the major manufacturers repackaging their old classics in more modern and compact products. But they were also the years when synths became incredibly powerful AND affordable at once. KORG launched the minilogue later in 2015 and it’s frankly remarkable what this machine gets you at a street price of just around $500. The ring modulator and cross modulation features, and the effect section including a tape-style echo, are particularly inspiring, and, together with a very intuitive layout of the other functions, makes this synth incredibly fun to play too.

Roland Boutique Series

Yamaha has been the leader in the Synth Workstation format for the past 15 years. They returned to the “regular” synth market in 2015 with the affordable Reface series, consisting of four mobile keyboards for making music on the go. These included the Reface DX, inspired by the legendary DX7, and the CS, a modern take on the sound of the classic CS series from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Roland’s Jupiter 8, JX-3P, and Juno 106 were among the most popular synths ever produced, and are now hard to stumble upon (even at a premium) in the used market. That’s why Roland’s boutique series, which consists in three synths (named JP-08, JX-03, and JU-06) that recreate vintage classics in a portable format, have become instantly popular.

At the 2016 NAMM in January, the manufacturer surprised everybody by unveiling a monster of a synth called Montage. It features an engine loaded with FM synthesis (a new, more powerful version called FM-X), an AWM2 waveform-based subtractive synthesis engine united by a powerful control system called Motion Control.

Each synth expands on the capabilities of their original counterpart, also improving their “tweakability,” and featuring an optional, dedicated two-octave keyboard that can be purchased separately. Another great feature is that, with a built-in speaker and battery operation, they can be taken to the park on sunny days, with a laptop or without, for truly inspired “en plein air” sessions!


the deli SXSW 2016

sxsw synth space 2016


Founded in 1998 by three Swedish university students who created a synthesizer from the Commodore 64 SID sound chip, Elektron is a manufacturer with a catalogue of solid and beautifully-designed products. Their most recent venture combines hardware and software in Overbridge, the world’s first Analog VST plugin. On the hardware side, Analog Rytm is one of their most popular products, combining a discreet custom designed 8-voice analog drum synthesizer alongside sample playback in beautiful harmony with a very versatile 13-track sequencer, including DIN sync outputs and an effect section that carries delay, reverb, analog distortion, and analog compression. Intuitive without lacking depth, this tabletop drum machine is a source of inspiration for a growing number of musicians.


Isn’t it bizarre that today’s incredibly powerful synthesizers, offering all sorts of parameter control, still rely on a keyboard technology that dates back to the days of the harpsichord (i.e. the piano’s grandfather)? UK manufacturer ROLI realized this and decided to focus on keyboard controllers that more deeply and effortlessly integrate with today’s sonically complex synthesizers. (They also manufacture their own software synth, the Equator, optimized for perfect integration with its controllers.) Their Seaboard RISE (available in 25 or 49 keys) expands on the classic piano keyboard design, to deliver a beautiful looking black controller, featuring what the company refers to as “5D touch.” Besides the regular “touch,” “aftertouch,” and “lift-off” controls, Seaboard opens up extra options by letting you trigger other programmable parameters by gliding sideways and also vertically along the “keywaves.”

Free, March 17-19 ATX Convention Center, Hall 4

Eventide Effects

These days, most large- and medium-format synths have an integrated effect section at the end of the chain. But let’s face it, in most if not all cases, it’s a rather basic one, because synth manufacturers are mostly focused on creating powerful synth engines, seeing effects as an added value rather than the machine’s “centerpiece.” That’s why many musicians interested in personalizing their sound have long been feeding their synths through guitar pedals or studio effect processors. NYC’s Eventide (a leading studio effect manufacturer since 1974!) creates effects that are particularly suitable for the synth geeks out there: their stompboxes are fully midi-integrated, and they have a depth of features that will resonate with knob fiddlers.


UK’s Novation has been one of the first synth makers to introduce the idea of super-portable keyboard synths. (Remember the Bass Station from the early ’90s? You’ll have version II to play with at the SXSW Synth Expo!) That format is now all the rage and mini-synths seem to be getting smaller and more feature-heavy by the hour. Their latest product “Circuit”—what they call a “Groove Box”—goes exactly in this direction, combining two Novation polysynths, a four-part drum machine with an intuitive grid-based sequencer into a really small table-top box. A rich selection of oscillator types and wavetables, plus an effect section of reverbs and delay, make Circuit a complete and affordable production box to create music while at home, in the studio, or on the go.

The unmistakable sound of polyphonic analog. The convenience of 200 preset locations. A price that will astound. Analog for All.

WWW.KORG.COM The Stompbox Exhibit’s official blog

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