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Artist of the Month
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February 2015
Dolly Spartan
"self-titled EP
"
mp3

I think we can all agree about the fact that age is very important in rock'n'roll; we might not like that (we don't) but we can agree about it, right? Therefore, a good rock song is bound to get some added value when it's written and performed by four musicians in their (not so late) teens. And then, if you also realize that the band has a solid six track debut EP with no fillers under their belt, things start to get really interesting: records without fillers are rare at any age... The band in question is NYC's Dolly Spartan; their self titled debut fluctuates between pop punk exuberance ('We'll say that for now,' streaming below, and ' 'Don't You Know') and more tamed melodic moments reminiscent of a dirtier Vampire Weekend ('Who Are You,') or even of sacred monsters like The Beatles and their beloved disciples XTC ('Something on my Mind'). The band's sound features the right amount of rawness (think early Pixies), which gets tamed at least in part by songwriter and lead singer's Michael Eliran tenor, that sounds way more mature than his years. The range of the six tracks, the actual songwriting, and the maturity of the arrangements is truly impressive for such a young band, and make this is one of the most consistently fun NYC made record we heard in a while. Hopefully these guys' sound won't get too polished too soon!

 
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
 

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!


April Artist of the Month Poll: Shook, Halfways, THREE BONES, Xetas

Well y’all, the bell rung on the epic bout that was our last Artist of the Month poll about a week ago, and heavyweight hip-hoppers LNS Crew found themselves the last men standing in the ring to take the title. Many congrats to LNS on their win!

For this next bout, we’ve got a hip-hopless roster for the first time in a while, with a singer-songwriter-producer, two psych bands and some damn fine Austin punk slugging it out between the virtual ropes for the completely imaginary but nonetheless glorious Deli Austin Weekly Champion Belt.

We’ll do a deeper post on each of these guys over the course of the contest, but for now, here’s a little on our current contenders and why they particularly caught our ear this month:

 

Abram Shook

Sound: Indie singer-songwriter with quite high production value

Qualifications: Lovely little single “Understood” and its equally pleasurable music video were just released as a preview to Shook’s sophomore album and are making noise around town, earning Shook KUTX’s Artist of the Month. Perhaps more importantly, recent photos of Shook reveal that he is almost definitely Austin’s premier wizard in training, what with that peppery hair/beard combo.

 

The Halfways

Sound: Psych pop straight out of the era that birthed it, but with a dab of the new post-Fleet Foxes psych sound

Qualifications: A string of recent shows coupled to new output from the band, who has been doing hard work in the studio. Track “I Don’t Mind” bodes quite well for the rest of the new stuff coming from this group, which has certainly become a pillar of the ATX psych scene in the last couple of years.

 

THREE BONES

Sound: Psych blues with soul to spare and a riveting lead singer/lead guitarist duo in Victoria de Benedicty and Dalt Jacob

Qualifications: Only one of the oddest, strongest, 60s-est music video ever to come out of the local psych scene, plus the promise of more music and some big-time shows (including one with fellow nominees The Halfways at Scoot Inn not long ago). The vid for triumphant, soul-packed track “Hold On to Ya” is exactly what you want out of retro psych, in that its influences are obvious (that projection is pure 60s), but it’s very self-aware and thoroughly fun. These dudes also just won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for a Valentine’s Day love song for other new track “Love is the Only Way,” which is some pretty major shit.

 

Xetas

Sound: Punch-em-up, no stops, unfuckwitable contemporary punk

Qualifications: This is a band everyone in Austin should know, even though they themselves probably don’t give a shit if you do or don’t. This is as close as Austin gets to a supergroup, with each member an undoubted veteran of the Austin music thing, but even though we’d nominate these guys just about anytime for the quality shit they’ve consistently been producing in their relatively short time together, they particularly make the cut for this month’s poll on the utter, pounding strength of their new single “The Point,” released as a lead up to soon-to-come LP “The Redeemer.” They also just wrapped one big-ass, quick-ass tour all over the nation, which is more’n enough to get them the nod in our poll this month.


Breathtaker Actually Did Give Me a Shock

It’s been a while since a song happily shocked me with a good screaming section, but local band Breathtaker just did it. This group, of which I had been previously ignorant, submitted their music to us this week, and I put on their newest album Revelations without knowing what to expect. The submission was listed as Indie, the album art suggested maybe something a little avant-garde; only the name seemed a bit more dramatic than most indie groups, but even that, I thought, I could see from some indie groups.

Partway through opener track “Kingsbury,” when I was thinking Breathtaker might be going for a kind-of dreary, melodic indie with a post-rock bent kinda thing (which I was digging, by the way), a wild dissonant note hit and the screaming began . It was actually a little hair-raising in a literal way, after me not expecting it. And that's because it was good screaming, earned and welcome and well-done, exceptionally balanced against the instrumentation and used as one ingredient in the wider paradigm of a well-structured piece of music. I liked it, and the rest of the 11 track album was thought out with equal attention and care if not quite as surprising as that initial screaming shock.

I wouldn’t dream to genre a band differently than they do themselves, but indie here more represents the “independent musicians” definition than it does a sound for Breathtaker, at least in relation to what “indie” bands in Austin typically sound like. If, however, I were to try and describe Breathtaker to one of my high school friends from Amarillo who were into the surprisingly extensive screaming music scene there in the mid 2000s, I’d say that they’re a band that’s on the artsier side of what some people call hardcore, and which some just call emo. That last term is culturally deficient to describe these guys - it is far too broad and I really doubt they use it to refer to themselves at any point - but it does the trick in 2015 to get you in the right mind of what to expect from Breathtaker. If you are or ever were the kind of person who thought that screaming rock music had something awesome to offer (like we do), Breathtaker is a new entry in that particular segment of Music with Screaming. That people keep making interesting things happen with music like this proves that it's a segment that is a powerful space where quality experimentation can occur, and out of which some damn good tracks, like "Kingsbury," can come. Get listening below.

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Dr Bobby Banner MPC

As another run of The Deli Austin's Artist of the Month poll wraps up, we're lookin' at the only artist in the competition that we haven't yet featured on The Deli- the versatile producer Dr Bobby Banner MPC. For those who aren't electronic music producers (which, in Austin, is fewer people than you'd think), the MPC in Dr Bobby's name refers to the Akai Music Production Center, a series of powerful and powerfully badass beat-making machines. Presumably, Dr Bobby Banner MPC makes the slick, dynamic hip-hop tracks he's known for on such machines, and if you go from the artist's social media pages, Dr Bobby might just actually be an MPC. Or at least, that might be his character, but who knows? In the days of hologram Japanese superstars and with music production tech where it's at these days, the idea of a beat machine that makes its own music isn't all that far fetched.

Regardless of who, or what, is making Dr Bobby Banner's music, the recent output from this man/machine has been downright stellar. Particularly, Dr Bobby's new album Musicology, released at the end of March, is a chance to hear one of Austin's brightest beatmakers paired up with an absolute army of quality rappers. Lots of times we see purely instrumental albums come out of the beatmaking scene in Austin, so (as much as we dig those instrumental joints) it's a welcome change-up to get a 12 tracker packed full of both beat and rhyme. That nod toward the traditional hip-hop song structure is about the only place this album is predictable though, as Musicology has Banner et al. letting their creativity and personal spins on hip-hop running free. For an example of the acrobatic musical forces at work here, take track "David Ruffin" below, whose herky-jerky sample-based beat serves as a playground for spitters Scuare and No1Important to let their words jump up and around and play all over. The rest of the album is equally good, and all available what for your listening pleasure over here. If this shit gets ya noddin' like it does us, give the rest a listen, and vote to the right to make Dr Bobby Banner MPC our first human/machine hybrid Artist of the Month.

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