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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.

 
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Band of Gypsys

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Bruce Haack

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Richard Hell
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scene blog

Ezra Tenenbaum used to write about guitar pedals for our Delicious Audio blog. We were pleasantly surprised to see his new band EZTV signed with super buzzworthy Brooklyn label Captured Tracks (home to notable artist such as Mac DeMarco, DIIV, Widowspeak and Wild Nothing among others). Since we had his email, we thought it was time to ask him a few questions about his favorite pedals… check out the Q&A on Delicious Audio. The band is about to release their debut album and is currently on a week long tour with Jacco Gardner and DINNER.

July 03, 2015
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Between Donald Trump's gross statements about Mexican immigrants and Puerto Rico's financial default, these days Hispanics living in the US are in the news for all the wrong reasons. In the meantime, here in the NYC scene, bands such as Empress of, Salt Cathedral and Buscabulla, led by talented musicians born in Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and other wonderful Spanish speaking regions, are making music the old Trump should probably listen to - at least to correct on the notion that the Spanish speaking countries "don't send their best people to the US." With members hailing from Columbia and Puerto Rico, Balancer is a rather recent addition to this platoon of Hispanic NYC based artists. Quite interestingly, all of the bands we mentioned here play music that's imaginatively melodic and... well, yes: dreamy. Whether the dream that inspired them is the American Dream, the musicians' dream of "making it," the "DREAMers" dream, or a simple musical influence, it's hard to deny that that very concept seems to be central to the experience of immigrants and artists alike - no wonder it becomes crucial for these immigrant-artists. The new Balancer video we are premiering here for beautiful single 'Re Minder' re... minds us that the cacophony outside our heads is truly irrelevant, and happiness is a place we can learn to access at any time. An antidote to the Trump style ubris and ugliness can be found in the ability to open our minds to the therapeutic power of imagination, something children and artists naturally possess. This song and video are about the freedom nobody can take away from us, something the Trumps of the world likely lost for good, and something that doesn't need guns to be protected. Don't miss Balancer's upcoming show at Cameo Gallery on July 9th.

July 02, 2015
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As irresistibly loving as a child’s smile, “Milky Way” (streaming below) by Brooklyn's Air Waves glints the kind of unabashed joy that seems at the root of pop music.But the warmth of this lead single off the Nicole Schneit-founded band’s forthcoming album ‘Parting Glances’ belies deeper consideration. “Hold me,/Don’t let me go,/Can anyone settle?” Schneit sings over gentle guitars and steady drums, that last word apparently referencing the difficulties of romantic commitment but perhaps hinting at the broader idea of compromise. Such is this songwriter’s intrigue; she enables various meanings on a dime. ‘Parting Glances,’ which was recorded with Woods multi-instrumentalist Jarvis Taveniere and counts among its featured artists Jana Hunter of Lower Dens, is due September 18 via Western Vinyl. You can see Air Waves live at Shea Stadium on July 15. - Zach Weg

July 02, 2015
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Chilling, haunting, and nightmarish may not be the first words that come to mind when you think of psych rock, but they’re exactly the kind of feelings that Brooklyn locals Heaven’s Gate promise to conjure up on the their upcoming record, “Woman at Night.” Preview track, entitled “Amanda Berry,” derives its name from one of the three women who was held hostage and sexually assaulted by Ariel Castro for over a decade.   The chaotic guitars, heavy breathing, and eery lyrics (using Berry’s own words from her 911 call) come together to forge an energetic four minutes of noisy guitar rock that is at once chilling and empowering. The lyrics of the chorus, “I’m alive, kick out the door, I’m Amanda Berry,” evoke a sense of survival in the face of adversity. Overall, the band manages to create a powerful piece of music that tactfully deals with a terrifying reality. Psych rock fans should also check out the band's previous full length 'Transmuting.'
“Woman at Night,” the band’s third record, is set to release sometime this summer. Heaven's Gate is currently on tour and will be performing at a number of venues in the New York area, including a show at Palisades on July 3rd and Rough Trade on July 30th. - Patrick Wolff

July 01, 2015
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Crooning since '09, BRAEVES' frontman Ryan Colt Levy lays the foundation for Long Island's best (and only?) soul-indie act. Their onerously-rendered EP, 'Drifting by Design,' was produced by Minuteman Mike Watts, who also assisted As Tall As Lions recently. 'Drifting' rides a similar soft beat (boy!) that let's you, like Dobie Gray, drift away. The band just released a new single entitled "Silver Streets" (streaming below) and they are playing Cameo Gallery on July 11th with Good Graeff, who are coming off a national tour with Mates of State and Hey Marseilles. - Brian Chidester

July 01, 2015
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Marrying the spaciness of Electric Light Orchestra's "Strange Magic" and the sunniness of The Beatles' "Getting Better," "Better All The Time" by Zuli is a dazzling piece of pop. Off the New York-based quartet's May-released EP 'Supernatural Voodoo,' the synth-roofed song illuminates a lover's struggle towards peace with playful sensitivity. The band's mastermind, native New Yorker Ryan Camenzuli, has expressed affection for Animal Collective and the headiness of those contemporary icons comes across in "Better All The Time." With his gentle voice, Camenzuli appears a romantic, though, and, in the end, "Better All The Time" is a love song. Listen to, and watch the A Clockwork Orange-nodding music video, for "Better All The Time" below. As part of their summer tour, Zuli plays at Baby's All Right on August 1st. - Zach Weg

July 01, 2015
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