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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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Deli Best of NYC 2011 - Submissions Results for TRADITIONAL ROOTS MUSIC: The Third Wheel Band, The Reverend John Delore, The Bottom Dollars, Tall Tall Trees

Deli Best of NYC 2011 - Submissions Results for TRADITIONAL ROOTS MUSIC: The Third Wheel Band, The Reverend John Delore, The Bottom Dollars, Tall Tall Trees

After the Electronic category results published on Tuesday, we have for you the names of the artists that qualified to the next phase of our Year End Best of NYC Poll for Emerging Artists from what we call the Traditional Rootsy category. The other roots music categories - to be unveiled soon - are Alt Folk and Songwriters/Rootsy Pop.

P.S. If you are interested in understanding how our Year End Poll for Emerging Artists works, please go here.

NYC YEAR END POLL 2011 OPEN SUBMISSIONS RESULTS FOR TRADITIONAL ROOTSY
Jurors: Jason Behrends (Deli Chicago), Jessica Pace (Deli Nashville), Paolo De Gregorio (Deli NYC).

- QUALIFIED TO THE POLL'S NEXT ROUND
The artists in this list qualify for the next phase of the poll, and will be added to the bands nominated by our jury of local scenemakers. The top two are tied with a combined rating of 8 out of 10.

1a. The Reverend John Delore - read 2011 Deli interview HERE.



Not your typical country crooner, The Reverend John Delore plays Americana music full of character that avoids stock country tropes, 12 bar blues, or Nashville’s underestimation of its audience. Like all the best songwriters, his keen observational style and sense of place can turn every day life experience into something more subtle and, ultimately, satisfying. - Read a 2011 Deli interview with the Reverend HERE.


1b. The Bottom Dollars



Like those serial heart-stealers out there, The Bottom Dollars may appear at first as charming gentlemen drenched in traditional values, but it doesn't take too long to realize they are actually just a bunch of fun-loving, rocking sons of guns. As it happens, it will then be too late to withdraw your heart... check them out live at Spike Hill on 01.08.


3b. Tall Tall Trees
How much can the Americana genre be innovated without sounding like something else? Probably as much as Tall Tall Trees innovate it in their self titled debut album, which features an "outside the box" production, and tastefully blends bluegrass with varied influences ranging from pop, orchestral and even funk at times. This band has been slowly building a local following (which is a very good sign indeed) and it's now playing regularly in NYC. You have 4 opportunities to see them in the next two months, the next one at union Hall on January 20.


3c. The Third Wheel Band
Serving their own brand of unadulterated roots music, The Third Wheel Band has the power to make your feet stomp even though they lack a drummer. A hefty dose of charm is brought to the table by vocalist and upright bassist Steph Allen, who sings the bluegrass with disarming spontaneity. Catch them at the Brick Cafe` in Queens on January 04.


ComScore
- ALMOST QUALIFIED TO THE POLL'S NEXT ROUND
These artists had outstanding ratings from our jurors (they all shared a final score between 7.330 and 7.66 out of 10) but won't qualify to the next round of our year end poll.

5. JP & The Gilberts

You know how pretty much any song is SO MUCH MORE FUN when you speed it up by, like, 50 bpm or so? That's what JP & The Gilberts like to do to country music, with devastatingly entertaining results. Their faster songs, like the one streaming below, call for cowboy moshing - I'd love to see something like that actually - although they also offer plenty of more traditional slower numbers.


6a. Mercy Bell
Traditional American music can be communal old time party entertainment, or it can be a lonely and thoughtful kind of thing, like in Mercy Bell's case. This lady moved to NYC bringing with her a duffle bag, an air mattress, and a guitar; and her warm and caring voice, which animates introspective, soulful songs about that ongoing absurd mystery we call life.


6b. Natureboy
Natureboy, the musical project of Sara Kermanshahi, injects its folk ballads with dreamy elements, creating songs that will haunt you down memory lane. Read a 2009 interview with the front lady Sara Kermanshahi here.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
These artists also had really good ratings from our jurors (tied at 7.16 out of 10): Toby Goodshank, Piñataland and Little Anchor (who should have probably submitted as "Rootsy Pop" instead of "Americana").

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What's your favorite Emerging NYC Artist in this list?

 

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