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Thursday, July 26, 2018

New Releases + Live Shows: Like Herding Cats, The Cold Seas, The Vandelles, Ume

Deep into the heart (and heat) of the summer, a series of back-to-back events made their way onto the Cromwellian ledger.  Brand new record releases come from Like Herding Cats, The Vandelles and Ume.  Other bands like The Cold Seas released material earlier this year, and continue their live presentations of those song.  In fact, all of the above-mentioned bands are currently advancing their live shows on stages both locally and out on the road.


It's been over four years since New York and New Jersey collective Like Herding Cats put out proper studio recordings of new material.  With the release of their much anticipated “Curious Faces” EP on July 13th, the band comes through with five creatively stimulating and impeccably recorded tracks.


Working this new material into their live shows over the last few years has offered a level of familiar recognition as well as a glimpse into what these already well-written songs could become in a careful studio environment. That promise has now come to fruition with the capable assistance of mixer/producer (and long time associate) Mod Alien (guitarist/keyboardist for Elefant and Radio 4) with mastering by Alan Douches (Mastodon, Grizzly Bear, Kurt Vile) of West West Side Music.


In addition to the new record, the band has released a music video for their single "Affliction."  Employing his own Carousel Media House video production company, frontman Dom P produced and directed this visually striking artistic accompaniment.


Filmed in a historic Catskills home, the imagery depicts a stylish but internally troubled woman in precise quick cuts and focused details. Much like Amy Adams in her current HBO drama “Sharp Objects,” attractively styled close ups and bucolic scenery share space with an uneasy tension.



The song itself is a brilliant update on the very best elements of mid-80's-to-early-90's alternative pop.  From the opening three snare-drum shots, warm keyboard pads, quick pulsing bass guitar and distinctive repeated sonic hook (echoed by overlaying guitar licks) every note has it's place and purpose.  Additional 80's-style pop techniques emerge like electronic percussive “hand claps” that signal changing moments within the structure.  Lyrically the tale has the singer questioning someone (a woman we soon find out) about their “troubled life,” asking “what's in your head?”  It all leads to a gorgeous chorus where the voice is now the woman in question's point-of-view, who pleads “I don’t want to be the one they talked about in the night she cries and says Mercy, upon my soul!”  It's a fantastic track overall with Dom's passionate vocals carrying the distinct and indelible melody.


Playing a celebratory show one day in advance of it's release on Thursday, July 12th, the band played a lengthy set of older tracks mixed in with everything from this new EP.


Sticking with that prime mid-80's-era feel, “Sacred Hearts” point to sonic aspects of The Cure, Echo + The Bunnymen and The Smiths as reference points. That extends into the lyrical delivery and vocal cadence, which dips into the McCulloch/Morrissey phrasing style. With drums thundering down on the deeper register toms, a powerful bassline and melody-driven guitar lines once again exemplifies the spacial quality of these recordings. It all rises to a big, glorious chorus that states “no I can’t be of any help to you when you’re silent and playing dead - No I can’t be of any help to you, when you’re pushing me away.” Those catchy mid-tempo hooks continue, while a curious and potentially macabre conclusion is revealed after the repeated lyric “In the night..Standing there silently looking over me” – “With a knife… in your hands.. Contemplating life.”


Midpoint track “To See The Morning Sun” opens with a curiously cerebral fifteen seconds of swirling atmospherics before the drums kick in.  That textural combination continues as clean guitar lines and slithering bass work their way into the mix.  A snare drum roll ushers in the main melody line that captures the bright and bouncy spirit of The Cure's happier songs.  While an inquisitive lyrical story of a “house on fire” may also reference the aforementioned band, the goal here is to “escape” and “see the sun.”  That snare roll/full band build-up returns, signaling the melody hook with a chorus that goes “It’s like a kiss underwater, a kiss underwater like the one you give.”


A brief, syncopated intro sets up the central progression for ambling, easy groove track “Easter Song.”   Melodies come churned out by quick strummed chords and distinct single note guitar lines. Cybernetic imagery (“plug your screen into my spine” and “your wires in my head”) come paired with religious metaphor (“hammer nails into my cross when the leaves turn green”).  High falsetto vocals on the outro are the product of bandmembers only (no guest female vocalist necessary).


EP closing track “It Falls Apart” showcases the finest elements of fully mature, arena-level alternative rock techniques employed by big bands like The Cure.  There's the gentle, digital delay opening guitar notes, butterfly-ripple high-hat flutters against beefy snare shots and fluid low-register bass guitar pattern.  Fully syncopated motion is established by the rising guitar counter-melody, completing this emotionally seductive progression.  The story told establishes a melancholy state where one half of a relationship is looking to move on.  In fact, they are “begging” the other not to talk as “there’s nothing left for us to say.”  A brilliant rumbling tom tom and synth pad section brings to mind the dynamics of classic early MTV heyday 80's songs like “I Melt With You” by Modern English and “Whisper To A Scream” by Icicle Works.  This emotionally wrought vocal performance is only matched by the brilliant song design, sound quality and convincingly passionate playing by each member of the band.


In addition to the new EP material, the band filled out their live show playing many of the much beloved songs from their debut record.


Once again Dom and the the boys played an inspired version of Echo And The Bunneymen's "Bring On The Dancing Horses."


Along with a similarly reverential rendition of "Years Gone" (dedicated to those souls who have recently left us here in the mortal world).



Good time meet ups and the social media afterglow continue to cement lasting bonds between friends and colleagues.



Like Herding Cats play next on August 9th at Coney Island Baby in NYC, and you can find out all the details on that show right here.

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Just prior to the LHC performance, this year's bright new discovery The Cold Seas played a full set of their own impressive material.


Having covered the most recent single and video for their breakthrough track "Retrograde" here on This Site and The Deli Mag, catching one of their live shows was only a matter of time - and that time had arrived.


The band played a seamless 10 song set comprised of the four singles and one EP released over the last two years.


Highlights included 2017 single “Oblivion,” which combines a big time modern pop feel with lyrics of heartbreak and loss. Stating that “dissecting memories, is all that's left for me,” the mood is direct and personal. “Show me oblivion. Take what you want and then – pretend you're there for me – constant and endlessly.” The chorus bursts like a huge emotional hook, with “all this wasted in my heart,” and “you're the poison in my blood.” While poetic subject matter mines the depths of anguish, the songs over-sized chorus is tailor-made for a first-love romantic film or MTV reality show.


Another 2017 single “Where Is My Head” is a minimalist electronic-synth psychological breakdown, where obsession with another (“I know I shouldn't crave you”) disregards the obvious damages (“you kill like a cancer, but it doesn't phase me – I'll still take my chances”).


While early 2017 single “Catacombs” starts out as a voice and guitar only intro (“secrets out – through the doors of an empty house you live no doubt”), it soon morphs into a deep synth-bass and trip-hop percussive groove. “I failed to be – all the things I said I would be. In a cold sweat dream, in the warmth of this – faded fast as I reminisce, how it came to this” provides stream-of-conscious storytelling paired to that lock-down rhythm. The beat momentarily drops out, allowing for an introspective, dream-like sequence that serves as a necessary bridge to yet-another large, hooky chorus. “I'm always alone – like bodies in the catacombs” delivers the requisite punchline song title reveal. Catchy melodies are delivered through alternating rising and descending flute-like synth textures.


Much of the set also included the four songs off of their "Bad Dreams" EP, with "Half Awake," "Lucid," "Feed Your Heart" and the title track.  They closed out the show with their current single "Retrograde."


Keep up on the latest from The Cold Seas on their Official Site, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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The very next night had the Crom-mobile heading a half-a-mile south to storied NYC rock venue The Mercury Lounge for a long-awaited live show appearance by two highly regarded bands.



Returning from a far too lengthy hiatus, New York's noisy surf-rockers The Vandelles recently released their first single “Techromancer” which will be included on the peculiarly titled forthcoming album "Hate Will Bring Us Together."


Working on other projects during the break did nothing to temper the bands penchant for twangy guitars and California beach vibrations.  The rhythm section comes on even harder this time around with a circular throbbing bass line and aggressive thrashing percussion.


Creating a new word for the songs title by combining modern video gameplay (Technomancer) with the groundbreaking sci-fi cyberpunk classic Neuromancer is intriguing on a number of levels. “I'd rather be dead than you, I'd rather be black and blue, I'll greet the darkness when it comes” sets the initial lyrical tone.


Those quieter moments serve to set up an explosive chorus that goes “so come and get it, come and get it from me – I 'm always ready,” accompanied by slashing power chords over pounding drums and bass.


In addition to a few other new songs (some having been played live at least once, others brand new) the band dipped deep into their catalog playing classic cuts from debut album Del Black Aloha.


Outstanding tracks from that album like "Get Down," "Fever Of The Beat" and "Die For It Cowboy" went down with expected enthusiasm from die-hard and new fan alike.


Other new, previously showcased (but yet to be officially released) tracks like "Beat You Up" has evolved into the type of powerhouse track that deserves inclusion on the bands next longplayer.  It's heavy driving groove takes full advantage of power trio bravado, with low rumble fuzz bass and guitars locked in unison over tom-tom laden jungle drums.  A momentary drop out of the rhythm section allows for the primary guitar riff to play through, before full forceful momentum is restored. “Beat, beat, beat, beat beat you up” is the pummeling outro that that suggest two possible meanings - the actual ass-shaking, head-bobbing “beat” of the song – with the more literal physical interpretation.

Rhythm section rumble n' ruckus

Singing telepathically, direct from the cerebral cortex.

Fun with The Vandelles post show





Additional new live material can be found here




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Headlining this show was another long-overdue appearance in New York by Austin, Texas powerhouse band Ume.  Touring in support of their latest album “Other Nature,” four years had passed since their previous record.



During that time off core members Lauren Langer Larson and her husband Eric Larson had a child together, which served as a catalyst for much of this albums new material.


Playing a 13 song set, 8 of the album's 10 tracks were mixed in among the bands classic live material. Opening with long-time favorite “Conductor,” the band hit the ground running with both Eric and Lauren doing their power-bass and guitar-pummeling/whirling dervish moves respectively.


The first of the brand new material played was initial album preview track “Two Years Sleep.” With it's repeated refrain “waking up after two years sleep,” a personal touch is conferred on what feels like being held in a lengthy state of inertia.   That sentiment is taken a step further with the hooky drop “I I I I cannot watch you sleep – nothing is forever” over slightly off-kilter guitar tones and synthy sonic washes.  All of that is juxtaposed against a chunky, mid-tempo rock rhythm on the verses containing a touch of mystery.  A gentle plateau of open note guitar figures and rat-a-tat military-style snare drum rolling leads to one more penultimate moment.


That was followed by another track from the new record, the popular-style vowels removed “BDY DBL.”  Digging deeper now into more complex and angular riffs, the track springs from a 6-note guitar figure, completing the cycle on the 7th.  With verse lyrics and vocals syncing up to that 6-note melody, Lauren's delivery is soft and sultry.  A less-fragmented bass pattern emerges underneath Lauren's open note chord structures and soft coo vocals stating “you are the girl I want to know, I want tooooooooo.”  That already rewarding slow buildup leads to full band momentum, with atmospheric washes under tandem voice and guitar melody lines.


Continuing with the new material roll-out, “The Center” builds off a driving bass pattern and hyperactive drumming.  Lauren's structured guitar lines ride over top, creating both melody and counterpoint to the rhythm underneath.  A breathless story unfolds like a dream, where one is “chased to the center” before declaring “I feel you – don't go digging down – as I crash – finding my way out.”  The sensation given is similar to a “chase” movie, where one is running fast through the jungle, searching for something -but – what?  “Take me in your madness - transfer all your sadness – take me out of my mind,” provide lyrical context that offer potential clues.   “Gonna sit this one out,” becomes a repeated mantra over a descending note progression, replaced by “No more weakness” on the dynamic outro.



With a recent full video release for next song “Crushed,” feature treatment was given here at the midpoint of the set. The songs opening lyrical incantation “Do – Not – Grow – Up” appears to exhibit a plea to freeze in time that special bond between parent and child.  The full band build-up of throbbing bass and echo'd toms comes to an abrupt halt for an intimate moment.   “Accepting catastrophe – everything you made me I am crushed” gives meaning to the single word title.  With an intense-yet-gentle strumming on guitar, the hope for a brighter future is declared, stating “I dream that you might see – all those heights I could never reach.”  While the poetic turn “If there's just one chance to speed through the shadows – the moment I met you my love turned to sunlight” fully underscores this newfound purpose.




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A delicate guitar and voice intro gives deeper album track “Stop Resisting” an early, soothing lullaby quality.  With the softly sung line “you wait for me – to stop resisting – stop resisting” floating momentarily, a quick tempo change doubles the cadence and engages the rest of the band more fully. Straddling the line between intimate reading and power ballad, “I could never be enough” is tossed out like a lament to the universe.   “I just want to feel it, I don't want to stop it” becomes the most forceful and passionate sentiment delivered just before the songs conclusion.


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Dissonant guitar lines over quieter strummed guitar chords introduces mid-point album track “After The Show.”  Held towards the end of the set, sweet siren vocals proclaim “tonight I heard you sing, all of those things, that sound like the one I mean - just for me.”  With the echo of those final words floating off into the mist, a series of ornate guitar figures are laid out with soulful purpose.  Those hypnotic-vocals-to-extended-guitar forays cycle through two more times before a brief calm sends the band off on a hard charge.  A final minute of dying-embers extended guitar tones and quiet feedback signal in post-revelry contemplation.


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Find out how to acquire Ume's brand new album and more here at their Official Site

Catching up with Lauren post-show





The band's own NYC Selfie

Perfect together

Previous features on Ume can be found on this site Here, Here, Here and Here

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Stargazer Lilies, herMajesty, Mahogany, Northside Fest 2018

The month of June has proven to be a particularly stacked one as far as live shows go.   You would expect as much with the seemingly only notable festival left in NYC (Brooklyn's Northside) commanding most of the second week.  However, just prior to that were two events within the very first days that without a doubt also warrant serious Crom-combulation.


Saturday the 2nd saw the magical world of Black Moth Super Rainbow touch down at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg.


Having recently released their latest (long overdue 6th) album Panic Blooms the previous month, a serious amount of anticipation had been building for this show.


Eternal gratitude and respect to the professional colleagues (and friends) making sure attendance at this was fully realized.


Already familiar with the analog synths and vocoder enhanced vocals this band is famous for, it is the convergence of those sounds with a stunning visual presentation that elevates the live show to another level.


Using a front-of-stage, mesh see-through screen, an incredible 3-D effect is established via video projectors placing images both behind and in front of the live musicians.


Coupled with the deep buzzy synths and live percussive beats, the visual effects create an immersive experience that convincingly takes you on a psychedelic trip.


It would not be an overstatement or exaggeration to say this is the closest you can get to the hypnagogic hallucinations state of consciousness from a musical performance without having to ingest any mind altering substances.


In addition to the shifting and overlaying patterns frequented in dreams, a number of elements from nature and earthy environments were frequently featured.


After opening with a number of more familiar tracks from their catalog, “New Breeze” was the first played off of their latest album.  A severely pitch-bended synth texture serves as the introductory and subsequently recurring sonic hook.  Deliberately slow, almost sultry vocals emerge, giving the impression of motown soul music run through a parallel universe.  What's returned is severely restructured by cybernetic forces.  A second “hook” comes by way of a heavily vocoded “AH – AH” (with the initial pitch-bended synth line syncopated against it) “always dissolve when I'm near you. AH – AH, hope you're hear when I fall through. New breeze came – evil won't stay – new breeze came – drove it away.”


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“Harmlessly”
combines church cathedral organs with downward diving tones approximating an electronic version of the double reed woodwind oboe instrument. Against a staccato percussive pattern, an additional melody line emerges with brighter flute-like qualities. The repeated vocal line “from just underneath” takes on a mantra aspect while lively synth lines run freely over top.

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“Bad Fuckin Times” pushes wind rushes through the initial keyboard melody, while muffled electronic piano (of sorts) echoes a vague counterpoint. Voices emerge but appear to be slowed down to a point where demonic horror movie audio resides. Lyrics become somewhat more intelligible at quicker tempos “had another day that fell apart, but that was yesterday (that was yesterday), and I can only feel it when the sun goes down, but it's always down (it's always down).” Wild forays of synth lines rise with a sense of abandon throughout the following instrumental passage that gives way to a more sparse and controlled segment. That pattern is repeated with further sonic manipulation that includes complete momentary supression (submergence?) of additional passages.



Check out the sights and sounds from this show.


Continuing with material from the current album, “Permanent Hole” evokes a melancholy vibe in both pacing and chord structure. With two distinct keyboard patterns (one layered atop the other) driving things forward, lyrical sentiment states that “something tells me this is not your day.”  In addition to more wind-rush keyboard and vocoder vocals, a lively bass pattern is given space in the mix.  Despite the possible negative connotation of the song title, there's a warmness felt through these keyboard tones and ultimate lyrical hook that celebrates “sunshine” and “running with your old time friends.”
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“Sunset Curses”
makes use of open space and minimal notes, allowing room for the soul-inflected vocoded vocals. It's this minimalism that adds a dramatic effect to each nuanced moment, especially the distorted and otherworldly tones emanating from these analog synths. While the basic chord progression is played on a traditional electric piano sound, breathy FX enhanced vocals emphasize emotional impact.

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Another short clip from this evenings performance





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There is a romantic sentiment exuding throughout album closer “Mr. No One.”  Bright, buzzy sine waves usher in a funk-inflected bass and percussion rhythm that makes it feel both dancey and introspective as the same time. A central vocal hook stating “she keeps a little more sunshine, she keeps a little less haze around me” suggests an ultimately more hopeful outlook going forward.

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There were so many different, brilliant visual looks throughout the shows 20 song set.

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Natural visual elements would morph from winter snow to autumn leaves and back again.

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Find out more about Black Moth Super Rainbow here.

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Opening the show this night (and for the many dates following on this BMSR tour) were heavy dreamgaze rockers The Stargazer Lilies

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Playing behind the see-through projection netting may have created some photographic challenges, however other unexpected shadows made for some surprisingly interesting images.

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After opening the show with their "Ambient Intro," the band then played one of their most recognizable tracks, 2013's  "We Are The Dreamers."   Breathing new life into this cut's timeless appeal, Kim Field's soft falsetto vocals and pulsing bass lays the foundation for John Cep's wall of pitch-distorted guitar forays. Live drumming from Cliff Albert (centrally positioned with an impressive drum kit) added a more ferocious element to the original recordings simpler percussion.

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The band then played two brand new unreleased tracks "Dizzying Heights" and "Monsters Of Your Thought" which are expected to appear on their next album.   The latter track made a distinct impression, with it's explosive high cathedral ceiling headspace tumbling down into cerebral plateaus, allowing for more of John's slightly warped guitar tones. A minute clip was captured of this one, and can be heard here:





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Dipping into their 2016 “Door to the Sun” material, that albums final cut “A Beautiful Space” was then played.  The track's wall of sound, sonic tour-de-force is well suited for the live environment, with it's hypnotic, rubbery bass pattern, shards and shreds of distorted guitar bursts and mad thundering drums.  It's like the backward loop rhythm of The Beatles' “Tomorrow Never Knows” and the vocal style of The Rolling Stones “We Love You” were run through their own cement mixer to produce this sludgy concrete.

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Another brand new track titled “Icarus Sun” was debuted, and it too has been mentioned for probable inclusion of the bands forthcoming album.

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Next up was a medley of their “Door to the Sun” album opening track “Golden Key” and BMSR's 2009 cut “Gold Splatter.” While “Golden Key” is slow, dreamy ambiance tuning in to “sunshine,” “Gold Splatter” focuses on a “beautiful friend.” However the two tracks have far more simularites than differences, and a medley of the two makes for a perfect match.

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They closed out their show with the appropriately titled "Space Jam," whereby John levitated his guitar overhead for maximum effect.


Their brilliant work on vinyl


More shows to come!


Previous features about The Stargazer Lilies on this site can be found HERE and HERE.

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Three days later brought the Crom-train down to NYC's much beloved lower east side venue The Mercury Lounge.  Having covered shows there for what must be 15 years now, this particular night of June 5th paired new and long-time favorites together with herMajesty and Mahogany sharing the same stage for the first time.

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An initial special mention goes out to Crystal Thompson for her outstanding visual projections that enhanced the overall show experience.

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Opening their performance once again with the lead track and single off of David Bowie's 2003 Reality album, "New Killer Star" came to life with each nuanced vocal inflection and instrumental passage.  Captured below is how it went down on this night.



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In keeping with recent live show sets, original songs "Fashion Trance" and special colored vinyl single release "I Saw The Dog" were next.  On the latter, a buoyant chorus goes “dance my little libertine - dance my little pretty thing- let your nucleus spread it's wings.”

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Moving smoothly through the bands back catalog, songs "Lisbon Street" and "Crystals" were delivered with an intimacy these musical stories require.


The flip side of their multi-colored vinyl single release, Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot" was next and was once again delivered with an appropriately reverential reading.


Earlier this year I premiered the bands follow-up single "Weightless" on The Deli Mag, and this evening's live performance accentuated each quality element.  Layered guitar hooks, driving backbeat and vivid lyrical poetry.  “Let the colors and the scent settle on your skin - let the yellow lilac and the brooding rose pull you in this violet dream” create visually dramatic moments.  The chorus reveals the need to rise above a “concrete wall” and the limitations we place on ourselves, to become “weightless.”  Written over a four year span and recorded in numerous cities, the final mix was done by Giovanni Nicoletta in Berlin.

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Moving on to live show staples "Operator (NYC)" with it's search to "make things right" and "shine so high," and "World Smiles" positive sentiment for "all the shiny precious times."


Choosing to close out the night once again with "Turn To You," the band made good on their (unstated but implied) promise to entertain while also evoking an emotional reaction.


Secrets of the guitar pedal beehive.

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After the obligatory brief changeover, symphonic dreampop masters Mahogany rolled out a new model "Hypercube."


Immediately launching into traditional show opener "Keystone Sonata," a clever montage of their own unique visual projections served to enhance the multimedia experience.

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Appearing trim, healthy and appropriately stylish, Jaclyn and Andrew followed with a bright and angular rendition of the equally traditionally placed second song "Commutator."  How it looked and sounded is captured below:


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With the video projections creating horizontal lines across Jaclyn's balletic posture, a newer song "Universal Promenades" was presented.  Look and listen to this one minute clip of it:




A blizzard of textures wash over the artists.


With a clearer view emerging periodically throughout the performance.

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Other newer material "Polyvalence" and "In White Rooms" (with it's "Jackie - all my love" refrain) blended in seamlessly with more familiar tracks like "A Third Prism," and "Phase Caress" ("Phase Break" shortened to a more manageable live set length).

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Jaclyn putting down the guitar one more time to take a solo mic turn on "Express Clean Power," of which a :15 second clip can be seen and heard right here:



With important precision details spotted near the Charvel headstock.

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"Resistance and Release"

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And the heartfelt "Love Bombing"

Backstage with Jaclyn

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and the social media fun with that

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Great show overall!

Follow the continuing exploits of Mahogany here.

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A scant two days after that saw the music portion of Brooklyn's Northside Festival get under way.


Seems they created their own "avenue" here.


Fancy.  What Williamsburg, Brooklyn is increasingly becoming.


Credentials, guides and a loose idea of where to head off to.

Wisely avoiding the futile attempt at catching specific performances in multiple venues, Sunnyvale became the chosen space for Thursday, June 7.  There were more than enough intriguing artists on this showcase, making bouncing around spaces an unnecessary endeavor.


Arriving at the relatively early 7 pm-ish time, new (out of Minnesota) band Services were just getting underway.


There was an immediate appeal in the bands overall sound, with swirling atmospherics being churned out by their youthful, Thurston Moore-like guitarist.


Additional sonic weight came by way of FX-heavy bass and keyboards.


Impressive beams of light rain down over the proceedings.


Equally impressive were the sound enhancing pedals and stomp boxes used to create their big sound.


Additional noteworthy mention goes to the drummer, who picked up a guitar midway through the set and played it without moving out from behind his drum kit.

There's not much information to be found about this band at the moment, but following their Facebook page is as good a start as any.

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Next up was the country western inflected Americana from Shane O'Malley Firek's The Ferdy Mayne.


There are elements of Bob Dylan in the lyrical approach to current album opener "Factory Release," while a track like "Real Shackle" displays their self-admitted love for The Grateful Dead.


Featured track "Define My Name" shuffles along an easy vibe rhythm and traveling troubadour vocals that bring to mind an artist like Steve Forbert (leading the late 70's next wave of talented Dylan acolytes) and his career defining "Alive On Arrival" album.  For his part, O'Malley Firek puts his own impeccable stamp on this time-honored American genre.


This evening's show was crisply paced and moved smoothly from one song to the next, capably backed by the accompanying low-key, professional band.



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Following that was a second time opportunity to catch swirling dreamgazers No Swoon (the first being their 1/25/18 opening night slot at Berlin).

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The bigger stage and better sound system suited them quite well as they proceeded to fill the venue with their particular brand of dreamy, hazy wall of sound.

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The three piece build their compositions with an intensity that makes full use of throttling percussion, rich keyboard textures, shearing guitars and soft-to-soaring vocals.

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Check out their live sound via this clip recorded directly from this show:



All aboard the pedal train.


Keep up with the hair whipping events of No Swoon here.

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No stranger to this site (having covered them here and here, as well as two features on The Deli Mag) devotional purveyors of "The Message" HNRY FLWR played an updated set of their material.


Presenting a less flamboyant, more stripped down show this go around, principal members led the newer rhythm section through the deliberate and measured songs.


Central focus still falls on the towering figure of David Van Witt, who seemingly channels beams of light with his "sermons."


HNRY FLWR want you to be a "Belieber" - but not in that guy - rather they encourage you to join them in their journey from mass hysteria to musical rapture.

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Next up was a mysterious and dramatic performer using a number of masks to represent their songs going by the name of Lou Tides.

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Initially shrouded in a long leather coat, matching elbow length gloves and full head-covering (to go along with the mask), the overall effect was far more theatrical than what had come before.

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Soon shedding those cover-ups to reveal the performer underneath, the artist turned out to be Teeny Lieberson who has fronted her own band TEEN for a number of years now.

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A series of precisely exaggerated hand gestures and physical dance movements served to enhance the electronic backing music and vocals quite well.

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Those backing tracks consisted mostly of keyboards and percussive beats, while the exotic presentation captivated with strong live vocals. One particularly impressive song combined both the grandiosity and sincerity often found in the works similarly styled artists like Zola Jesus.  Other material presented featured angular, robotic beats (and movements) making use of hand held masks that brought to mind the Japanese Noh Theater and Kabuki actors.

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Previous features on this site about this artist can be found HERE and HERE.

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The night closed out with a truly over-the-top spectacle by LA-to-NY transplants Sloppy Jane.



Fronted by “shock” performance artist Haley Dahl, the time-tested attention getting move of playing most of the show almost entirely naked certainly made the intended impression.


As the undressing commenced, a gooey blue substance began oozing out of her mouth, adding the "balance" of horror props to the visual proceedings.


There was fair amount of cacophony emerging from the band while stage writhing commenced in earnest.   The songs were choppy, noisey-to-quiet affairs that were often punctuated by an eerie female chorus (off the to the side) singing things like "this happens all the time."


This chorus loomed larger as the set progressed, amplifying the storytelling by driving home the repeated lyrics "I did it, I did it I got off the floor I walked right in To the kitchen store I bought myself A plate and a cup Look at me, Mom Look at me, Mom Look at me, Mom I'm all grown up."

While Haley has been quoted mentioning Frank Zappa as an influence (and there is certainly much of that in the bizarre song construction),  a nod should be given to Captain Beefheart as well, along with elements of Wendy O. Williams and the Plasmatics parody porn star mayhem.

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Another foray into the Northside Fest commenced in the early afternoon hours on Saturday, June 9.


Lumbering into The Knitting Factory, chunky chord, Stones-y rockers Native Sun were just getting underway.


The boys quickly whipped things up to hyperdrive, playing a number of kickass tunes from their "Love And Hate" EP.


Songs delivered with hint of sneer that draw from Stooges-era Iggy and Mitch Ryder (and his Detroit Wheels).  It's classic garage rock with a rebellious edge.

The Knit was hoppin' and the tunes were droppin'

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That was followed by the high octane punk rock punch of Grim Streaker.


Last covered here on this site after their triumphant Bowery Electric show, the Streaker came through once again with their noisy, gothic, skate-punk show.


It's a precision driven, high speed, five piece unit that knows how to "do it" quick and dirty (and who doesn't like it like that?)


Leaning into it with the right amount of fury, the best cuts from their recorded works "Guts" and "Girl Minority" had the crowd pumped.


Amelia confronts the audience mid-set, to ask if their footwear is as comfortable as it looks.


Back to full intensity action.

Check out the bands upcoming show listings here.

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Heading over to the other side of Brooklyn's "northside," it was time to check out the Deli Mag's Stompbox Exhibit and Synth Expo at Absurd Conclave in Bushwick.

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Inside the place was packed with musicians eager to try out all the latest gear.

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Reports indicate this was the best attended Stompbox Exhibit yet with numbers reaching around 2,500 total visitors.


There were keyboards to check out as well, and the event overall has to be considered a great success.


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Final destination of the night was over to the nearby El Cortez (The Safari Room) for headlining (and legendary) NYC act The Bush Tetras


Comprising of 3/4's of the original lineup with guitarist Pat Place, drummer Dee Pop and lead vocalist Cynthia Sley (bassist Val Opielski being the newest member, coming on board in 2016), the band delivered a brilliant set of 14 songs that included, of course their most popular songs.


One of the original early 80's "No Wave" bands, The Bush Tetras were on the cutting edge of formulating that sound with other like-minded artists like Gang of Four, The Contortions, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and The Voidoids and even early Devo.

 Check out their initial single release in 1980 - "Too Many Creeps"


Full setlist of what they played.

Check out two of their other most notable track from back in the day via these links:




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