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Zach's CMJ Day 3: Second Child, Ezra Furman, The Grasping Straws, and French Horn Rebellion

Wednesday night at The Bitter End in the West Village started with the understated majesty of New York/Philadelphia quartet Second Child (pictured). Playing warm, folk-inflected songs that found notable beauty with the harmonizing of lead singer Alex DeSimine and bassist Alex Tremitiere, the band subtly moved the listener but didn't forget to straight-up thrill; their funked-up cover of David Bowie's "Fame" enlivened the previously focused crowd, several hoots and shouts flying out. While Dirty Projectors are probably more similar to them, it's exciting to see that Second Child can get loose like The Thin White Duke did on some of his earlier tracks. At Le Poisson Rouge, Oakland/Chicago rocker Ezra Furman finished his set with a gloriously riotous rendition of Arcade Fire's "Crown of Love," the gradual nature of that 'Funeral' standout reverting into sax-backed wildness and the green-haired Furman's lightning-quick guitar picks. Back at the End, New York four-piece The Grasping Straws drifted into slow, drum-marched songs that, particularly with frontwoman Mallory Feuer's drawn-out and bluesy vocals, recalled the lo-fi glory of early Cat Power. Taking their time rather than rushing towards easy shock, these tracks intrigued with their very patience and calm and, perhaps most importantly, were ultimately moving, their tumbling quality enabling the audience to both engage and reflect. Down on the Lower East Side, Brooklyn's French Horn Rebellion sent the evening out with feel-good dance tracks full of both jittering electronics and rubbery horns. Brothers Robert Perlick-Molinari and David Perlick-Molinari wore matching Glasslands T-shirts and, with their hip sways and head bobs, they seemed to throw a party not just for that lost venue but for the institution of live music itself. - Zach Weg  

 





Caleb Groh Debuts Single "Let It Groh"

Photo: Juan Solorzano and Brothers Design Co 

Dylan be damned; the soft cooing folk crooner, Caleb Groh, has abandoned the folksy roots sound he cut his teeth with for synth grooves. The singer-songwriter debuted his single, “Let It Groh,” off his forthcoming Hot Pop EP (October 30), and to say Groh’s foray into bedroom R&B is infectious would be a startling understatement. Groh layers irresistible synth melodies over purring Wurlitzer sounds, and carries the track with his dream state falsetto. A track with whispers of Phil Collins, Toto, and Phoenix, “Let It Groh” offers the perfect preview of his intrepid departure from indie-folk. -Sean McHugh

 

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Geoff Earle's New Project Stiletto Feels Releases its First, Funky-Weird Single

Stiletto Feels is a project that we’ve actually posted on before, back when it seemed to be known online as The Big Fist, but when we dropped a piece on a track back at that point, we got us a confused but polite message from bandleader Geoff Earle wondering how we’d found what was then an unshared SoundCloud account meant to show off what he was working on to his close friends.

That track was taken down, and we’ve sat put on Earle (known for his work with Fresh Millions) ever since, until now. Just a few weeks ago, one of Earle’s other new tracks “Steal Your Guitar” was released at an Empire Control room show with a pretty fucking wildly good lineup (BLXPLTN, Shmu, Black Books, Corduroi, Chipper Jones and Dana Falconberry were just part of the list of groups playing), and now we can finally post on this killer-ass new music coming from one of Austin’s most uniquely musical minds.

We’re into being able to finally talk about the layered and indie electrofunky project that Stiletto Feels is, especially because “Steal Your Guitar” was so good back when we heard it a few months ago, we almost posted it as our single of the day instead of the track we went with. In fact, we like it so much, we've nominated Stiletto Feels for Artist of the Month on the strength of this track, as well on what we know is to come from these guys in the near future.

Backboned by a supersynthy, glimmering night of a melody that sounds a bit classic Vitalic or Kavinksy and then slammin’ into somethin’ funkier for the chorus, “Steal Your Guitar’s” main strength outside of its smooth synthetic grooves is its strange lyrics and subject and their equally weird delivery. Sung in a nicely and appropriately subdued but pretty manner that balances well with the heavy funk of the bass and the prettiness of the rest of the track, the lyrics of “Steal Your Guitar” are delivered from the perspective of a supposed friend of an unnamed musician’s friend who is outright telling the unlucky artist that they are about to have their guitar stolen, by said friend and for drugs.

The song is pretty bitchin’ in the way it creates this believable and poignant narrative of a situation that feels totally real (and, as I and many others who have owned guitars can tell you, this is definitely something that happens) and is pretty hardcore to listen to explained so directly. Paired with the fun and groovy instrumentals, it’s exactly the kind of pop song that we’ve been craving- something that pushes the edges of pop music out further while still being undeniably part of the pop canon.

Listen to this first track from Stiletto Feels here, and keep posted for more info on the rest of the tracks the project is said to be releasing soon. We hear it’s more of what we had found on that original SoundCloud page, all of which was perfectly killer, and that the recording process was quite unique indeed and involved folks from acts like Shmu and The Sword. We’ll have more on that as it releases, for now let Stiletto Feels tell you exactly how it goes down when a good buddy tells you to your face how they’re about to fuck you over.

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Album review: Bloodbirds - MMXIII

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
 
Twenty-year veterans of the LFK/KC underground music scene, Mike and Brooke Tuley have played with a number of bands familiar to local rock audiences. Best known for their time with Ad Astra Per Aspera, they established Bloodbirds in 2011 with the intent of cutting loose and shaking things up.
 
And they have. Dense, dark—equal parts Fun House (Stooges), Spacemen 3 and Black Angels—Bloodbirds’ newest release MMXIII may also be their swan song, given the departure of bassist Anna St. Louis for Chicago. In some ways, it is St. Louis whose playing defines the band. Forward in the mix, and by no means shy, St. Louis plays with punchy authority, reminding of some of the other great “lead” bass players like Jon Entwistle and Peter Hook. Brooke Tuley is a powerful drummer; her parts are simple, but dead-on. She locks perfectly with St. Louis.  Mike Tuley plays on top of their aggressive foundation, a canvas for his arsenal of shimmering hammer-ons (“Modern Sympathy”), punishing riffs (“Did You Say”), and sometime dulcet tones (the comparatively clean Blue Mask jangle of “Convalesce”). Depending on the song, his sound can be metal harrowing or as ropey, surf-psychedelic as the theme from Repo Man.
 
About those songs: they’re functional, gripping, emotional soundscapes, not necessarily bound by pop hook conventions. They hit you with the shape-shift intensity of vintage heavy rock like Blue Cheer or modern darkness merchants like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Which is to say the focus here is not necessarily on hum-ability. Even allowing for that, it would be nice if the vocals had a dash less delay density and a bit more clarity in the mix. Lyrics and vocals on MMXIII are more about mood than meaning (or mood as meaning), stray lyrics emerging from the driving murk to arrest your conscious mind here and again.
 
The tough thump of “No Trains Coming Through” totally belies the song’s title. With Roky’s manic intensity, the song “Did You Say” features the ominous, repeated line “Did you say you want the end to come right now?” And the music echoes the sentiment. “Round Moon’s” cascade of guitar features some of Tuley’s most expressive fretwork, summoning up the incantations of bands like the Icarus Line and the guitar howl of the Stooges’ Ron Asheton. For an album that emphasizes a certain heavy-osity, MMXIII manages to shift mood and tone effectively.
 
Brothers and sisters, the Bloodbirds can make a show-stopping addition to anybody’s Psych Fest. Live shows may be few and far between, given the departure of St. Louis, but they have reunited in support of MMXIII occasionally and the members remain close friends and open to the odd gig. Go catch them if you have the chance.
 
—Steve Wilson
 

 





The Deli's NYC issue #44 is online!

Deli Readers,

I know, it seems like we put our latest issue out just the other day - but no, we haven't switched to monthly. It's just that the fall in NYC is a busy time for us, and with CMJ week and our NYC Synth Expo (linked to BEMF) coming up, there's a lot to write about.

Here's our 44th issue of The Deli NYC (one of our finest!). Check out cover band Stolen Jars, they'll be performing at one of the (several) Deli CMJ 2015 shows!

READ THE DELI NYC'S 44TH ISSUE HERE!

The Deli's Staff

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