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The Deli's SXSW Issue 2014 is online!

Read it digitally here.

P.S. 10k free copies of this issue hit the street of Austin during SXSW Music week!





Priests push their post-punk sound further on latest album

Nationally acclaimed post-punkers Priests take their sound to unfamiliar territory on their latest release: The Seduction of Kansas. After making several album of the year lists with their 2017 release, Nothing Feels Natural, Priests work hard on Kansas to not only dive deeper into their aesthetics, but also to push their sound in a new direction.

Eschewing the comparitively subdued sound found on Natural's title track, The Seduction of Kansas heightens the group's punk aesthetics while also utilizing the band's proclivity for unique instrumentation. Moving from a straight-up snarling punk opener on “Jesus' Son”, the album enters somewhat experimental territory on its title track. Vaguely politically charged, the track oscillates between discordant verses and a synth infused, harmonious repitition of the line, “I'm the one who loves you.” The result is at once attention grabbing and musically impactful.

Heavy throughout the release are explorations of political subjects with a depth that only DC residents would get into. Perhaps the best example is the track “Good Time Charlie”. Inspired by the 2007 drama Charlie Wilson's War, which used 1980's US foreign policy in Afghanistan as its subject matter, the track contains lyrical nuggets like:

Like all great pornography, this story is touching
It's somethin' that I wanna see
(Black and gold tile, champagne flute)
Good time Charlie
(Sauna water dirtying the birthday suits)

After “Charlie” comes an an energetic semi-spoken word track “68 Screen”, and a bass heavy Riot Grrrl number “Control Freak”, as the group careens gracefully towards the album's conclusion.

Making a follow up album to a widely acclaimed debut release is always difficult, and fans and critics tend to expect the band to explore new territory while also staying true to their original sound. On this score, and many others, Priests succeeds with flying colors.

-Mike Dranove

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Spooled Up serves up agile indie fuzzrock

A big trebly sound with fuzzy edges greets the listener on “Landmine”, the opening track of Spooled Up's Strange World EP. The name of the game is speed, and it feels like Spooled Up is throwing energy at the listener, providing just a single verse/buildup into a chorus before arriving at an instrumental breakdown. All of this a mere one minute into the track.

The dizzying, engaging twists and turns of the first track are replicated throughout the release, and always seems to be rooted in 90s sounds. Just as the frenetic energy of the first track moved into a heavy instrumental breakdown, the second track, “Scab”, goes from being a straight up Pavement indie lament to fuzzy Guided by Voices bounce pop.

The 90s is strong with this release, and every track is defined by vague emotional detachment and subdued lo-fi effects. In short, a recommended listen for any fans of 90s indie.

-Mike Dranove

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It's 2019 and Pen Palindrome still makes rainy day loops and pleasingly sad songs with a guitar

Pen Palindrome sets the stage for catharsis with a series of soothing, subtly sad loops on Live @ Third Rail's opening track, “Pavement". Taking her time, Palindrome's airy vocals creep in with the words, “I can feel you. In my childhood home I still feel you.” After some skillful wandering, Palindrome dives deeper into her sound on the quintessentially indie track “Anna I'm Sorry”. Painting simple strokes on the bittersweet canvas that she has created, Palindrome sings “Anna I'm sorry, we couldn't work it out,” and the result is convincing. The rest of the release is a series of similar, successful tracks, closed out by a nice III chord feature on “Song for Mozart”.

The word indie has changed quite a bit over the years, but applying the description to this release seems appropriate. There is real music being made here, a great achievement.

Standout tracks: Anna I'm Sorry, Song for Mozart

-Mike Dranove

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Satisfying “melodic punk rock” from American Television

Sporting the “melodic punk rock” tag on Bandcamp, six year old American Television provides a satisfying mix of punk and sentimentality on their latest release, Death Defier. A mere two tracks, the release's size reflects the character of the band's songs, simple, to the point, and effective. There is emotion in the music, something that is always welcome as many amateur groups are only willing to grapple with emotions superficially. The hooks are nice, the lyrics are relatable, and the chord changes are twinged with a hint of emotion. In short, there is honesty and a decent amount of work put into the music, can't ask for much more.

-Mike Dranove

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