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Cut Worms releases debut album "Hollow Ground", plays Industry City Courtyard 1/2 on 6/14

It can be easy for artists who wield nostalgia and evoke their favorite records to get lost in the source material. Reminiscing with sounds that aren’t as widely popular as they used to be can hide flaws in their songwriting. Fortunately for Max Clarke, the driving force behind Cut Worms, he never finds himself mired in his influences. With his latest album Hollow Ground via Jagjaguwar, his songwriting feels refreshing, yet comfortable. The woozy guitars never become a hazy memory. The melodies never feel stolen. Modern production flourishes bring out the best of these songs as they glow with soft harmonies and ear-worm hooks. Despite sounding like songs heard millions of times, Hollow Ground still finds time to surprise. Songs like “Hanging Your Picture Up to Dry” offer a jangly take on Midwestern folk while “Cowards Confidence” is tinted with psychedelia. Clarke’s finely tuned songs can be heard at Industry City Courtyard 1/2 on Thursday, June 14. You can listen to the single “Don’t Want To Say Good-Bye” below. - Tucker Pennington

Fish House release debut EP 'Burns From the Rope' & play Bella Luna (6.7)

The debut EP entitled Burns From the Rope from Boston-via-Mystic trio Fish House drips the cool and collected confidence of seasoned vets. It’s evident from the first track, “Young People” (streaming below), that there is a certain chemistry pushing this project forward. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that the three members — Jake Benavidez (guitar, bass, vox), Kyle Torr-Brown (drums, vox), and Adam Jacey (guitar, bass, vox) — have known each other for a little over a decade. These tracks are summery without being overbearing; while undeniably upbeat, there’s definitely nothing forced here. The foot-tapping, head-bobbing, soul-infused indie rock of Fish House is not forcing you to feel anything, but rather giving you a gentle push towards the idea of taking a bad situation and making something beautiful out of it. Catch their next show at Bella Luna in Boston on June 7. - Lilly Milman, photo by Carter Howe

The Deli Philly’s June Record of the Month: Movie Was Bad/Mascula – Sixteen Jackies

Glam quartet Sixteen Jackies’ new double-EP release, featuring the reissue of 2017’s Movie Was Bad and their latest Mascula, is out now via Philly’s own Born Losers Records. Both collections of recordings are cinematic from the start, with the latter finding focus on “American masculinity and the layers of violence that lie underneath its surface – the causes and the effects of that violence.”

However, Movie Was Bad opens with an atmospheric and melodic nonchalance, allowing its first track, “You Came,” to slowly ease into a smooth yet urgent narrative that’s unafraid of grappling with the dissonance of human desire and intimacy. With patient riffs and a tempo reminiscent of bossa nova and a sun-soaked shoreline, frontman Joey DeMarco croons, “I could be a beauty, I could be a diamond in your ear” with such earnest diction that it becomes a swoon-ready reflection of romance and its simultaneous potential to heal and cause harm. Visceral, yet tender, “You Came” is as dreamy as it is honest.

The EP's second offering, “VHS #1 (A Body),” is part of a series of recordings, inspired by classic horror films, and is equally arresting. Unrushed and evocative of its namesake, its bassline and looped guitar licks cast a spell on its listener. As the track progresses, its melody volleys between being openly and covertly brooding. Whether dramatic or understated, its lyricism feels visual. Ending with eerie, buzzing static and laughter, Sixteen Jackies’ homage to film and analog becomes a metaphor for postmodern identity and how we document what denies or defines who we are. It morphs into the album’s title track, an infectiously dance-y anthem, infused with audacious vibrance and playful bravado. Stitching together an electrifying backbeat with the tongue-in-cheek chorus of “I was so high,” “Movie Was Bad” is undeniably memorable and charismatic.

In contrast, the beginning of “Blood Feast” is subtle and soft, which creates a satisfying juxtaposition between the track's title and its emotional interior. The recording presents itself as a disillusioned love song, with light at its center. Sleigh bells and the tempered swell of guitar lead to determined confessions like "I won't ever, ever have to be lonely, no not again." Soulful rather than showy, “Blood Feast” is a pragmatic ode to affection. The EP's end, “In Here,” blooms at an instant, enveloping its audience through oscillating assonance and strategic wisps of snare. As DeMarco sings, “I believe in innocence and I believe in losing it, but I believe in keeping it too,” it becomes clear that the album’s closer is the crystallized thesis of the EP’s narrative. Optimistic without being naïve, Movie Was Bad’s final moments offer an antidote to apathy in a world where it’s so easy to be numb. Revisiting the Sixteen Jackies’ earlier gems will implore you to feel without apprehension.

Similarly so, the Philly four-piece’s latest EP Mascula is a timely reprieve from the reality of 2018. The steady beat and echoed vocals of “Little Duke” are visceral, gritty, and full of just enough swagger that each chord and lyric presents itself as a two-fold plea and proclamation. Its conceit is concise yet effective. “Power” sprouts from the rhythmic shake of maracas, steady bass, and lush reverb. "I've got a lot of problems with the state I'm in" – the vulnerability of the track becomes transparent, making it a satisfyingly frank hymn of unabashed authenticity. Its diction and instrumentive delivery is raw and filled with yearning. Its self-awareness is unblinking in a way that will make you question how honest you are with yourself. While “Open the Door” remains equally sincere, here, DeMarco's voice rises and falls seamlessly with the soothing cool of the song’s harmony, embedding each note deeper into the heart of its audience.

"Out There" is a surf-drenched and ingeniously candid monument to the self. Whether political or personal, it examines the dangers of conformity. When DeMarco urges, "I'll never be like you," the track becomes a call to arms that feels deeply personal but universal. However, you interpret it; this ballad is a reminder of the value of boundaries. Delectably volatile “Virgin Burning" sinks its teeth into its listener without warning. Like a lover's spat or an imagined dialogue with a spiteful ex, the song is the perfect storm of frustration, anger, and longing. Like its predecessor, “Virgin Burning” is easily relatable.

Closing out this snapshot of the band’s recorded history, the earliest seconds of “VHS #2 (Masks)” are haunting and quickly become an unbridled portrait of the American soul. Pulling images from cult classic Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it honors the beauty and the horror of what it is to be human. The song scratches away the veneer of a singular narrative; instead, it suggests that who and what we are is two-fold and that we are made of contradictions.

Paired with 2017’s Movie Was Bad, Sixteen Jackies’ Mascula is gratifying in an unpredictable way. Best when enjoyed together, both EPs should definitely be listened to more than once, especially during sunset, with a cool drink and your cell phone turned off. – Dianca London

Appleby "Lady Sunshine"

Appleby has released the first single, “Lady Sunshine”, from his forthcoming EP, "+ Happiness”, which will be released on July 20th via Haight Brand. The song is a beautiful pop mediation on the happiness that a sunny day can bring. According to Appleby, "Lady Sunshine" "is perfect for moments when the sun is shining and you're outside enjoying the open air with your loved ones. It's also fitting for that feeling of first time butterflies”.

Appleby has also released a curated playlist to help you feel the sunshine.

Get Angry, Stay Pissed with B.R.U.C.E.

Femme punk band B.R.U.C.E.’s first album Stay Pissed was just released. B.R.U.C.E. is comprised of Anna Janelle, Ryan Vail, David Thomas, and Gwen Shrieks. Together, they make music that is feral and blunt, exploring the ridiculous hypocrisy of the world. Each song on Stay Pissed is notable, but the two that really shine are “Succubus” and Tried.” Janelle’s vocals on “Succubus” are raw and angry, reminiscent of a huskier Kathleen Hanna. “Tried” alternates between a slower, more sultry pace, and jarring, crashing noise. It’s an excellent example of building and releasing an audience’s anticipation and letting the movement of the music turn into frenzied chaos. Next time you need to punch someone (like a Nazi) in the face, listen to B.R.U.C.E to pump yourself up beforehand.

B.R.U.C.E. will be playing at the Lombard Pub on June 9th, along with ISCH, Dead Coyote, and Jeff Smith. - By Avril Carrillo, Photo by Corbin Corbiin


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