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Artist of the Month
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June 2015
Annique Monet
"Phantom Letters
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Some records have the ability to plunge the listener into some kind of alternate reality. Annique Monet's uber-psychedelic debut album 'Phantom Letters' will do that to you. It took a few notes for opening track "Salt, Veruca," (streaming) to hypnotize us with its haunting beginning: a simple electric piano part, whistles, a fake horn section and a droney verse slowly led us towards a celestial chorus, which was quickly fogotten - for good - in favor of a baroque, droney outro. The following track 'Voodoo', a grottesque and dissonant waltz, took us to a really weird (and scary) place: we saw the devil looking at us through the speakers, from Vienna. With a beautiful melody, the first few bars of "Nowhere"  brought back some hope for a return to light, but the song didn't go anywhere - we should have expected it, considering the title. 'Relapse' delivered another waltz - a more subtle one - but filled to the brim with eerie and decadent melancholy. From its plodding intro, Turtlenecks in July resurrected the ghost of The Beatles' psychedelic pop, although sounding nothing like it, while in '52,' Greek mermeids lured us with the most ghostly of lithanies, asking us to join them - and drown. The following two songs on the record kept this beautifully absurd, elusive dream going, with noteworthy track "Unchange" closing the collection.

Although we often praise structure in songwriting (many songs here would benefit from more of it), there's very little structure in a dream - which is what this album is. In a scene that seems to have lost the imagination of its peak years, this is a record that will hopefully inspire other NYC artists to be more daring.

 
The 60's

Band of Gypsys

Bob Dylan

Bruce Haack

The Fugs

The Godz

Holy Modal Rounders

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
Afrika Bambaataa
Arto Lindsay
Bad Brains
Beastie Boys
Bruce Springsteen
The Feelies
The Fleshtones
Grandmaster Melle Mel
John Zorn
Laurie Anderson
Public Enemy
Run D.M.C.
Sonic Youth
Swans
They Might Be Giants
The 90's
A Tribe Called Quest
Cat Power

Jeff Buckley

The Magnetic Fields
Nas
The Notorious B.I.G.
Soul Coughing
Yo La Tengo
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
 

This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.


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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!


Chipper Jones' Tropics | COSM " EP of Instrumental Goodness

Instrumental music is hard to nail if you're looking for a decent audience in the contemporary age. Either you're way too technical and/or conceptual, or you're putting an excessive focus on being weird and experimental, and you alienate a huge number of listeners. Or, you could be Austin duo Chipper Jones, and you somehow both make music that's both named after a hell of an Atlanta baseball player and which is also instrumental while still being fresh to death and not boring for a second. Their latest work, the Tropics | COSM EP, is not really post-rock, though it can go there in parts of songs like the end of stand-out track "Tropics," it's not jazz or anything else so well-worn, and it's not fully pop (that'd take way more of a standard radio structure and some vocals), but it's somewhere between all of that in all the best ways it could be. At the very least it's instrumental music with some fucking real energy and little for an ear to apologize for, and you should certainly give the badass "Tropics" a try if you're a person who can get with the non-vocal music even a tad bit. It's better than that, but damn, we know it's hard to convert some of you vocals-needers to the ways of the instrument-only sound. Music is music, g'damnit, but we get that sometimes you just like what you like. Aforementioned all-inclusiveness aside, Chipper Jones is one we think is likely to be a hit with most anyone willin' to take a swing, and you can below with "Tropics," or you can listen to the whole EP here.

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Magna Carda

Unless I'm entirely mistaken in my drunk memories of seeing bands in Austin when I wasn't really plannin' on it (you know that happens a lot in this town), I first heard Austin hip-hop group Magna Carda when I was vending used books at the now-defunct but formerly-the-shit goods market the Wonder Sale back in early 2014. I was stashed in a corner of a backyard off Cesar Chavez amongst a fuckton of real ATX folks vending real ATX-made objects right by the table where the sponsored and free Shiner was kept (of three types, though one was that not that great non-bock plain Shiner shit you see here and there). Regardless of my own band-hearin' experiences and whether they are real or entirely dreamed up on 10+ Shiners worth of imagination, Magna Carda is definitely a crew I've seen live at some point, and they're also defintely one that kills it straight dead from the hip-hop perspective. In fact, they just picked up a residency at the sadly soon-to-be-defunct Holy Mountain (Remember when Beauty Bar closing was a bad sign? Yeah, shit is worse now.). They've been releasin' some damn fine hip-hop lately too, like the coolness defining "Banger Jones" that takes some diamond-sharp rapping to instrumentals that kinda sound like somethin' you'd hear in one of those lava-and-ghost Mario levels in a way that is solid all the way from one piece of the production through to the whole rest of the track. Go see a live-produced Austin hip-hop group that's as killer and grassroots as it gets July 9, 16, 23 and 30 at Holy Mountain, a bar that's going the way of the buffalo on October 1, before Austin music just gives the fuck up and moves to California in retaliation.

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Walter Nichols

Here's something fairly different. It's not indie, it's not psych, it's not electronic (except in the most technical sense), hip-hop or beat: it's the compositional music of multi-instrumentalist Walter Nichols. It's fascinating stuff, music that is both obviously deeply technically advanced and that comes at you in forms and lengths and with style that is far from typical radio-ready pop-structured songs, but which also manages to be not overindulgent, tedious or impenetrable. It pulls the fun side of pop and modern music, not shying away from less stereotypically "classial" instruments but instead including things like synths, looping machines and saxophone (and much more), but it ditches the typical "song" rulebook and also pulls from the focus on technical mastery and experimentation and the willingness to use lengthy, complex structures that composed music tends to have. It's a best of both worlds scenario, really.

I can tell when I listen to Nichols' pieces that there's a lot going on here that, as someone with what's obviously much more limited music theory knowledge than the composer, I'm not fully comprehending or being totally aware of, even while I can still point out to particular elements that seem singularly complex or impressive. Yet, as a student of music history and the relationship between the so-called "high" arts and popular art, I know that what Nichols pulls off here is not easy to do at all, this walking easily between the two worlds of technical composition and music that's modern and fun for anyone to listen to. .

As a plain listener, playful and rich are the words that come to mind when listening to Nichols' latest work, the succinctly titled W, which you can hear below in full. Moods are built and played with and never overdone or hammered too hard home, one track is very much a new flavor from the last and yet all work together conceptually and stylistically. It's glimmering and beautiful at times, harsh and nicely grating at others, and in all a real work-out for the brain.

If you want to push your boundaries a bit, or are already the type to be intrigued by music that isn't tailor-made to slide right into your preconceptions of fun, modern music but which still has the ability to find its way into that part of your brain (rules be damned), give Nichols a try with W below. It's well worth a little time to see if it clicks, because if it does, you'll have some quite nutritious new brainfood to get yer noggin' snacking on.

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