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The Deli Philly’s February Record of the Month: Out of the Ether - Writhing Squares

As January jogged towards its bitter cold conclusion, Out of the Ether, the sophomore album from the duo of Kevin Nickles (Ecstatic VisionTaiwan Housing Project) and Daniel Provenzano (Purling HissSpacin’), a.k.a. Writhing Squares, was released via Chicago’s Trouble In Mind Records.

As if announcing their arrival by knocking on the door, “Dirt In My Mind’s Eye” percussively taps and thuds, giving way to a backend pulse that expands to a rugged, spacey riff, accentuated with time-traveling keys, cut through by a saxophone run, pathing the way to the existential question: “You ask why I’m here.” Thumping bass continuously closes in on the destination. However, while the distant seemingly shrinks, there’s an infinite perspective as the points of perspective alter.

“Steely Eyed Missile Man” jumps in at full sprint; with a warping, halo effect, the saxophone and bass weave in and out, creating an offset relationship. The bass races forward, and then the horn reacts, building a dynamic that appears to synch into place at times, yet independently explore at others. The vocals seem to clear a way, amid the full-speed-ahead chaos. Shreds of sax propelled by the adrenaline of bass hypnotically blast, engraving the atmosphere, before the reverberating rattle and groove of “Bloodborne Hate and Black Book Mass” sets the stage for the high octane slap. The vocals stream in as if from a distance – high above in the sky. When those words match the rhythmic push, a hypnotic heaviness – one that presents in waves, whose haze lifts as the saxophone tears away temporarily, seeking its own lane. 

With “I Turned to the Mirror,” a muscular funk line walks in as percussion and bass breathe and stomp. Philosophical lyrics rain down in bewitching prophecy as the marching backend etches a line that the flute starts down and then veers off, counterbalancing the established thrust with a lighter air. It’s as if an alluring cauldron illuminates the darkness, and one’s reflection emerges.

The EP concludes with the epic, heart-racing sojourn of “A Whole New Jupiter,” one which gradually rockets into focus as you safely harness yourself in for the long haul. The horn tangentially plays off the endless motor. Next, the bass takes the lead, ping-ponging off interior walls in a distorted-echo transmission, before stepping back as the saxophone tags in, blazing a trail with the rhythms hot on its heels, screaming into the endless void. The celestial train relentlessly chugs towards its final destination, navigating unforeseen obstacles in a free-jazz meets psych-rock form. – Michael Colavita





Castlebeat's “VHS” is a summery, nostalgic trip, plays Elsewhere 2.3

Josh Hwang started recording the songs that would become his second LP while living in Irvine, California, adding the final touches once he had finished relocating to New York. While a small factotum in the album’s liner notes, it helps to explain the nostalgia-laden, dreamy elements that characterize VHS, the most recent record Hwang has released under the CASTLEBEAT moniker. The album’s surfy, occasionally psychedelic garage rock is filtered through lofi production stylings and dream pop filters, creating a palpable distance that endows VHS with a sense of pleasant, albeit faded, memory. It’s a release that encapsulates the passage of time succinctly, with Hwang’s present tense lyricism contextualized by the lush, shoegazy instrumentation that surrounds it, a bittersweet LP for anyone who has sought a new start in a place far from home.

Castlebeat will play Elsewhere on February 3rd, alongside Hala and Been Stellar. Stream VHS below. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt

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New Track: "She's a Gun" - Godcaster

“She’s a Gun,” the new single from Godcaster, plants itself in a funky-glam space. The ticking of keys creates an anticipatory feel. However, it sits back in a groove, momentarily lapsing in a chase before falling back into its casual surroundings; then gets wild again. It has an eccentric, experimental aesthetic, meshing the strange with a shake-your-hips sentiment. Within a single lyrical line, a lot of territory is traversed.

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Cloud Tapes find respite on "Coast Is Clear," play Alphaville 2.3

New York’s Cloud Tapes describe themselves as “Daniel DeVito in the form of song," which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about their easy-going, occassionally abstract alternative rock. Their newest single, “Coast Is Clear!” is a Fender-heavy joyride, rife with paranoid dream visions of “abandoned coast [where] we were searching for the holy ghost” and “king and jesters… changing places,” wrapped up by a chorus in which frontman John Samaras states “we face the same old problems, day in, day out.” It’s hard to suss out the specificity of Cloud Tapes’ worries on “Coast,” but their melodic, carefree guitar work, against Samaras’ ‘whatever works’ lyricism evokes a philosophy of rolling with the punches and not sweating the small stuff, providing a much needed respite to listeners from the mounting anxieties of daily life.

Cloud Tapes will jam at Alphaville on February 3rd, supporting Tiger Oil, Vinnie Neuberg, and Seldomo. Until then, let your hair down and stream “Coast Is Clear!” below. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt)

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Gloin - Wild New Single, Lee's Palace 02.08

Lo-Fi Psych group Gloin are getting ready to release a new EP this spring. The first single has now debuted and it’s a very adventurous garage/psych tune. Thumpin’ drums set the tone off the top of "Cha Cha". Followed along by a mix of chuggin’ reverby guitar and 80’s pop sounding synth. The vocals sound like she’s singing on the other side of the hall but the angry tone makes up for that. The track switches to a laid back, surfy vibe for a minute before getting’ really heavy. This track will keep you guessing but it’s cool all the way through. Gloin plays Lee’s Palace on February 8th with Kaleidoscope Horse, TEKE TEKE and World News. - Kris Gies

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