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January 2017
So Totally
"a cheap close-up of heaven
"
mp3
Philly four-piece So Totally gives listeners the ideal soundtrack for winter sadness with the release of their debut EP. Equal parts moody reverb and poetic gloom, a cheap close-up of heaven is a brutally candid depiction of unfiltered millennial feels.
 
Opening with the swell of “i can’t wait,” So Totally prove that not all twenty-somethings are afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Heightened by lyrical concision and atmospheric riffs, the song is a melodic rumination on uncertainty and intimacy. On “lead & alchemy,” the universal need to be loved takes center stage amidst crashing riffs and lines like “I want to taste the real thing, follow me home” just before the track “rare form” pairs the sincerity of early aughts emo with the unfettered intensity of mid-90s shoegaze.
 
Infused with well-tempered nostalgia, “rare form” is the perfect summation of both genres’ devotion to doomed love and self-loathing - two themes further explored in “late gloomer”. Brutal like a best friend’s honesty, it is a ready-made wake-up call for anyone prone to self-induced sorrow or prolonged bouts of sulking. Comprised of hissing snare and reminders like “no one cares if it’s raining out, no one cares if you hate yourself,” the song is a bitter pill to swallow, but in a good way, while “easy leave” is a grunge-y hymn about the necessity of escapism, despite its limitations, and the frustration of temporary lows. a cheap close-up of heaven ends with the somber burn of “zoetrope,” a bleak but breathtaking portrait of human closeness eclipsed by apathy, a befitting end to an EP that isn’t afraid to find light at the center of an existential abyss.
 
The tracks on So Totally’s debut are ready-made mantras for the New Year, a collection of anthems for realists and romantics alike. With a combination of nostalgia and sincerity, a cheap close-up of heaven might not help you live your best life, but it will make you feel less alone, giving even the staunchest pessimist a glimmer of hope. - Dianca London




Krust Toons: "Police Navidad" by Tedd Hazard

Krust Toons: "Police Navidad" by Tedd Hazard - please feel free to drop him a line at teddandthehazards@gmail.com if you dig or have any funny ideas. You can also check out more of his illustrations and animation shorts HERE.

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Mood Music: Ice Queens - "The Lights Get Dim"

It's the eve of a new year and here we find ourselves, yet again. Endlessly scrolling through our Facebook events feed wondering what to get into tonight is only so fruitful an effort when there are almost too many things to do on one of the most banging nights of the year. Luckily, we've got some Ice Queens queued up to get us through the afternoon.

For those that haven't gotten a chance to see the amazingness that is Ice Queens live, they'll be playing the Bunk Bar New Year's Eve Spectacular tonight along with Bitch'n and Witch Mountain

Until then, enjoy this somewhat Sunny Day Real Estate sounding delight from Ice Queens. It'll definitely get you in the mood for tonight.





Q.D. Tran’s Favorite Philly Albums of 2016

2016 will be emblazoned in most of our memories – whether for good or bad (most likely bad). However, from vaped weed, you make weed butter, and we will all find joy again, as well as sadness – I’m sure – thus, the cyclicality of life. So working on this year’s list has been a therapeutic endeavor for me, and I really hope that you find as much joy and solace as I have in these rad Philly albums.
 
“Music as social glue, as a self-empowering change agent, is maybe more profound than how perfectly a specific song is composed or how immaculately tight a band is.”  David Byrne
 
Happy New Year! Much love to all the extremely talented artists that we have lost this year. And Fuck You, Trump!
 
Sincerely,
Q.D. Tran
 
 
1. Mannequin Pussy – Romantic (Tiny Engines)
 
Mannequin Pussy was already on my radar before they relocated to Philly so I was looking forward to getting more familiar with the three-piece turned quartet this past year. Romantic effortless shifts from heartfelt pop-rock to blistering punk, while capturing the ferocity of the band’s live performances. Clocking in at under twenty minutes, I have to agree with their record label Tiny Engines. The LP is “all killer, no filler.”
 

 
2. Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band – The Rarity of Experience (No Quarter)
 
Chris Forsyth had already been building his reputation around town for years as a gifted guitar maestro. Now, with the backing of The Solar Motel Band, they have united to become a jamming tour de force, melding his love for the sounds of such inventive artists as The Grateful Dead, Television, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Popol Vuh, and Richard Thompson. The Rarity of Experience takes you on a glorious journey through music history, beautifully curated by the experimental rockers from Philly.
 

 
3. NAH – Michael (Ranch)
 
Hip hop and punk have always been rather strange bedfellows, bonded together at NYC clubs in the early days. Though the marriage of the two can sometimes lead to disastrous outcomes, NAH, a.k.a. Mike Kuhns, successfully bridges the gap, with his raw, palpable intensity and imaginative compositions. Michael is an album that should not be slept on.
 

 
4. The Retinas – chaba (Self-released)
 
On chaba, The Retinas really caught me off-guard with their songwriting skills. Ear-burrowing melodies combined with creative, disenchanted, slacker lyrics buried under just the right amount of fuzz are what drove me to book them this year for The Deli Philly’s Anniversary Bash (which absolutely ruled). I also was introduced to a lot of their kick-ass new material that night so hopefully you’ll be hearing more from them sooner than later.
 

 
5. Moor Mother – Fetish Bones (Don Giovanni)
 
I feel like Moor Mother’s Fetish Bones is a reflection of what I have become in 2016: politically charged and pissed off. Now, as I leave this god-awful year behind, I am encouraged to see how our art community will respond to this dystopia that now lays before us. The fight has only just begun.
 

 
6. Lushlife + CSLSX – Ritualize (Western Vinyl)
7. Them Jones – A Mountain of Nonsense (Self-released)
8. The Original Crooks and Nannies – Ugly Laugh (Self-released)
9. Japanese Breakfast – Psychopomp (Yellow K)
10.Tunji Ige – Missed Calls (Brainbandits/Bad Habits)
11. Great Thunder & Radiator Hospital – The Great Thunder Radiator Hospital Wedding Album (Stupid Bag)
12. Cherry – Gloom (Lame-O)
13. Needle Points – Feel Young (NeedLove)
14. So Totally – a cheap close-up of heaven (Self-released)
15. Suburban Living – Almost Paradise (6131)
16. The Afterglows – The Afterglows (Salinas/Stupid Bag)
17. Modern Baseball – Holy Ghost (Run For Cover)
18. Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow (Relapse)
19. American Trappist – American Trappist (Self-released)
20. Jo Kusy – You Break Me (Kooze Kontrol)
21. Purling Hiss – High Bias (Drag City)
22. Spring Onion – please relax (Self-released)
23. Abi Reimold – Wriggling (Sad Cactus)
24. Creepoid – Burner (WavePOP)
25. The Writhing SquaresIn the Void Above (Siltbreeze)
26. Wild At Heart – DEMO (Sensual World)
27. Slaughter Beach, Dog – Welcome (Lame-O)
28. Hezekiah Jones – Har! Har! Har! (Self-released)
29. Gorgeous Porch – The Champagne Laugh (Self-released)
30. Permanent Body – Permanent Body (Self-released)
31. Hello Shark – Delicate (Orindal)
32. Beach Slang – A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings (Polyvinyl)
33. Pinkwash – Collective Sigh (Don Giovanni)
34. Myrrias – Spectra (Soft Dystopia)
35. Queen of Jeans – Queen of Jeans (Third Uncle)
36. The Fantastic Imagination – Good Knight, Sweet Dreams (Self-released)
37. Pill Friends – Child Sacrifice (Out of Breath)
38. Residuels – Hurricane (Self-released)
39. Mary Lattimore/Jeff Zeigler – Music Inspired by Philippe Garrel’s Le Revelateur (Thrill Jockey)
40. Thin Lips – Riff Hard (Lame-O)
41. The Dove & The Wolf – I Don’t Know What To Feel (Self-released)
42. Ghost Gum – The Past, The Future, Dwelling there like space (Self-released)
43. Valley Exit – Valley Exit (Soft Dystopia)
44. Hurry – Guided Meditation (Lame-O)
45. Sad13 – Slugger (Carpark)
46. Camp Candle – ERE (Self-released)
47. Shelf Life – Alright, Okayy (Self-released)
48. Sheer Mag – III (Wilsuns RC/Static Shock)
49. Mumblr – The Never Ending Get Down (Fleeting Youth)
50. Honey Radar – Blank Cartoon (What’s Your Rupture)




Best Bay Area Music Videos 2016

Goodbye 2016! As I dawn on my fourth year as editor of The Deli Magazine San Francisco in 2017, I want to thank all of the bands, managers, publicists and readers for sticking with us through the ups and the downs. My heart and prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims of Ghost Ship and to all of the artists and creatives who have been displaced due to the rising costs of housing throughout the Bay Area. Stay Strong. The Deli is with you!

Local music journalist, Rachel Milani has done an amazing job of compiling the 10 Best Bay Area Music Videos! I thank her and hope you dig these amazing music videos!

Associate Editor,
Jordannah Elizabeth

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - “Astonished Man”

How Thao Nguyen isn’t selling out shows at Madison Square Garden yet is honestly perplexing, especially after the release of this year’s A Man Alive which is the best album yet from Ngyuen and her band The Get Down Stay Down. In their video “Astonished Man” we get this edgy, indie pop band in all their glory. The song starts with the same stark punchiness from the drums (or drum machine) that leads many of the band’s best tracks. Straightforward guitar riffs quickly steal the scene, commanding attention with confidence and not to mention the tease of those sexy bass synthesizers throughout the track. The story that unfolds begs the question, is it just a little harmless knife play or are we seeing our protagonist experiencing the very real pain of estrangement from love?

LSD and the Search for God - “(I Don’t Think That We Should) Take It Slow”

Always gorgeous, eternally dreamy, it is so good to have LSD and the Search for God back on the scene. Since the video for “(I Don’t Think That We Should) Take It Slow” was released at the beginning of this year, the album it comes from Heaven Is A Place has been touted by more than one best of the year lists for shoegaze and dream pop. Deservedly so, what more do you want from a band who brought back both psych and shoegaze? Sure, the instagram aesthetic has grown stale in many ways but not here, not with this band. The band kicks around a hazy San Francisco haloed in rainbow light, our beloved city is almost obscured by all the filters and lens flare but remains recognizable to any self-respecting local.

Con Brio - “Free & Brave”

Filmed throughout West Oakland, Con Brio’s video for their single “Free & Brave” takes one of the most uplifting stances toward the current socioeconomic and political strife rampant not only in our metropolitan here in the Bay but the United States at large. The band manages to make a colorful scene out of the symbolic black and white aesthetic of the video. Groovy frontman Ziek McCarter never drops the funky, psychedelic soul this band is known for while paying respect to such notable historical figures as MLK and Trayvon Martin. What Con Brio has created here is a new national anthem aimed at restoring faith in our ability to overcome a time fraught with racial violence and divisions. This is the new US of A and we couldn’t ask for a better messenger.

Waterstrider - “Nowhere Now (Acoustic)”

Sure, it’s the simplest on this list in terms of production or storyline but Waterstrider, and particularly frontman Nate Salman who is the sole player in this acoustic version of their song “Nowhere Now”, belong on any list of the Bay’s best music. Salman’s signature falsetto is the foundation for much of Waterstrider’s music, though under normal circumstances their killer percussion section cannot be ignored. But to have that voice here in all its stripped down glory is a beautiful addition to their oeuvre. We’ve all wondered who we are and where we’re going. “Nowhere Now” tackles those overwhelming questions with unsurpassed grace.

Hot Flash Heat Wave - “Bye Bye Baby”

In the video for “Bye Bye Baby”, Hot Flash Heat Wave reboots that lo-fi VHS-thetic that has remained appealing for at least a few years now. The videotape is the bondage in the disappointed story these guys tell about a potential relationship that never gets off the ground. Sexy and silly at the same time, we get to see the babe in question writhing in videotape as the guy who wants her wistfully drools over found footage realizing that he will never have her. It’s like watching a bootleg 90s teen movie, endearing and painful at the same time in an awkward quest for sexual gratification.

Sugar Candy Mountain - “Windows”

The desert has certainly had an influence on Sugar Candy Mountain who formed in Oakland only to travel down south for an ongoing stint in Joshua Tree this year. The switch in scenery has actually seemed to make them more themselves than ever. That is, a sun-soaked psychedelic journey that transcends the senses while graciously never getting too heady. Since then, the band dropped 666, an album less foreboding than the name suggests, and this summer put out the video for single “Windows”. It could be the soundtrack to one of Tarantino’s alt. Western masterpieces with a creeping, twangy opening that eases into its pop backbone as the video explores a dreamlike desert landscape.

Rituals of Mine - “Ride or Die”

More Oakland-love, this time coming from Rituals of Mine FKA Sister Crayon in their video for “Ride or Die, their single from album Devoted. To start, the exquisite videography alone beautifully unveils the powerful talent of this Sacramento-bred duo. Melancholic and evocative, the voyeuristic scenes show culture as synonymous with joy. At the same time the lyrics convey so well the opposite feeling, the longing for someone to love and be loved by. The chorus rises powerfully from a down-tempo well of emotion spread across 3 ½ minutes of layered vocals and icy, minimalistic hip-hop beats.

TV Heads - “Chin Up”

TV Heads is a brand new band and though they are currently based in LA, frontwoman Angelica Tavella has enough roots in the Bay Area that they cannot fully shed that association, and why would they want to? Her own record label OIM signed the band and they have since released the video for their single “Chin Up” from debut EP Total Fucker. A punk-wave attitude dipped in lush 90s harmonies, guitar, and synths comprise the core of the TV Heads’ approach. Half party and half baptism, the video for “Chin Up” depicts a cry for salvation while the band moves through a modern world hell bent on getting the better of them.

Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima - “A Space God Appears”

More short film than pure music video, we got a two for one deal when Spooky Mansion and Tino Drima paired up to make “A Space God Appears”. References abound in the 10 minute flick about a goofy battle in outer space, not to mention the apropos timing with the new Star Wars movie, while we see the dudes duke it out to a soundtrack of crooning psychedelic doo-wop. This video is cool because it is a great example of the spirit of creative playfulness that is born of a bunch of musicians just trying to do what they love. It’s young but it is also undeniably fun and at the end of a year that has been heartbreaking in many ways maybe that is enough to make it great.

Perhapsy - “All My Soul Swallowed”

Simply the showcasing the beauty of the greater Bay Area’s gorgeous natural landscape, we see Derek Barber of Perhapsy navigating a surreal and perhaps purely imaginary world in his video for “All My Soul Swallowed” from his sophomore album Me Tie Dough-ty Walker. Is it a weird acid trip or a metaphor for some hidden part of the mind of this rising local talent? We see our main man followed through the woods by a mysterious (half of a) woman and just generally being his dreamy, indie pop self while playing a rad custom guitar. Shout out to the vintage Nintendo controller that seems to keep trying to start a fire in the woods.

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