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Artist of the Month
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January 2015
Bonsai
"self titled EP
"
mp3

Our regular readers may have noticed that we like to highlight residencies played by local artists in local venues, but admittedly we entirely missed Bonsai's November one at Pete Candy's Store - admittedly, we weren't aware that the lovely east Williamsburg venue actually had residencies! Well, not only they have them, but they also pick good artists for them, since Bonsai's music is an absolute delight. Their self titled debut EP is a delicate and dreamy alt folk gem. Opener "Bonsai Trees" - the most accomplished track on the record, streaming below - shows the trio's interest in revisiting traditional American music in new ways, employing intriguing percussive textures, inventive and appropriate guitar parts, and a production that's edgy without being over the top. Of course, all this wouldn't do much if Simone Stevens' vocals and melodies weren't spot on, confident and compelling. The magic continues with "When it Rains," a more subdued track floating in oozes of reverb and supported by what sounds like an acoustic guitar two-note sample loop. Atmospheric ballad "I fashion you are a dreamer" turns up the melancholy big time with a verse as intense as it gets, only to deliver one of those powerfully uplifting choruses that - unless you are fully corrupted by life - can touch you in deep ways. Upbeat pop number "I Like You Man" and final folky song "Messed Up" fill up the record competently, but without reaching the heights of the first three tracks. This is a small, beautiful record with the power to awaken emotions and make people closer, i.e. exactly what the doctor orders every time a new year begins.

This band submitted their music for coverage here.
We added this song to The Deli's playlist of
Best mellow songs by emerging NYC artists - check it out!

 
The 60's
Bob Dylan

Simon and Garfunkel

Velvet Underground
The 70's
Television
Patti Smith
The New York Dolls

The Ramones

The Talking Heads
Richard Hell
The Dead Boys
Blondie
Suicide
Lydia Lunch
DNA  
Mars
The Contortions  
The 80's
Sonic Youth
Bad Brains
Beastie Boys
Bruce Springsteen
Swans
The Feelies
Laurie Anderson
They Might Be Giants
John Zorn
Arto Lindsay
Sonic Youth
The Fleshtones
The 90's

Jeff Buckley

The Magnetic Fields
Yo La Tengo
Soul Coughing
Cat Power
The 00's
The Strokes
Interpol
TV on The Radio
Fiery Furnaces
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Bravery
Animal Collective
Bright Eyes
Devendra Banhart
Moldy Peaches
Le Tigre
Liars
Blonde Redhead
Grizzly Bear
 

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Swear and Shake release "Maple and Ridge" album on 07.06 at Mercury

Swear and Shake release "Maple and Ridge" album on 07.06 at Mercury

New York indie folk quartet Swear and Shake played the Hillstock fest last week, and will cement their status with a CD release party at Mercury Lounge on Friday July 6 with These Animals and Tall Tall Trees.

The moniker itself captures a certain quality to the group’s vibe, evoking the rhythmic and fitful, but most distinctly their togetherness - as if these four, somewhere on a playground long ago, entered into a pact of musical dimensions. Undoubtedly there is a spirit of play to the music, resulting in songs that toss between childlike vulnerability and wonder, and resounding harmonies that beautifully elevate the stuff of good old indie-folk - The vocals alone, shared between Kari Spieler and Adam McHeffey, are fodder for obsession.

Yet don’t be fooled. If we are to start on the playground, “Maple Ridge” maps the art of growing up. That is, despite its homespun feel, the album achieves definite sophistication. From the first track, the delightfully singsong “Marbles” (streaming below), the band looks to the future with all the tenderness of youthful promise: “I swear I’ll clean up good/I bought us a piano so our kids would grow up smart”. “White Walls”, on the other hand, displays an early world-weariness- an acknowledgment that relationships seem to impact our personal growth more than we’d like. Still, the wistful “Wrecking Ball” addresses our craving for such (literal) impact. The group freely admits another reality of adulthood: that sometimes, though we’ve sworn a person off, we ultimately can’t shake them. - Kristina Tortoriello

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