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Control Top

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The Deli Philly’s May Record of the Month: Covert Contracts - Control Top

Covert Contracts, the debut LP from Ali Carter, Al Creedon (I IM EYE MY, Bleeding Rainbow), and Alex Lichtenauer (HIRS), a.k.a. Control Top, is out via Get Better Records. An anticipatory aggression jumpstarts album opener, “Type A”. For those who think that they control society, Carter suggests, “Why don’t you get out/Get out of my way!” A contagious backend thump, stressed with finely shredded, guitar exclamations, creates a catchy, assertive tone, invigorating one’s extremities.

With “Office Rage,” the power trio taps into the internal turmoil that one experiences while being perpetually unhappy at a desk job. As the guitar rattles and the percussion barrels ahead, its protagonist laments “…Service with a smile, eat shit,” before coming to the conclusive resolution. “Office rage digging your own grave/don’t you dare delay quit your job today!” (And start a kick-ass band.) “Chain Reaction” engulfs the listener as the domino effects of deeds is exposed in contagious couplets. The impactful consequences of one’s ego-driven actions races ahead as the initial flame increases in size.

“Unapologetic” builds in jarring fashion as frustration is voiced: “I’m sorry but… doesn’t count, weak excuses start to mount. It wasn’t your intention you say to make me feel this goddamn way.” And with the refrain – “Who’s the bull in the china shop now?” – that release of emotion amid fuzzy, noise-laced instrumentation exudes strength as Carter calmly delivers, “Unapologetic cold and apathetic/ Unapologetic never said it like you meant it.” The power has switched hands – “Who’s the bull in the china shop now?!”

Title track, “Covert Contracts,” pushes the pace, addressing addiction to technology and its ramifications. “First step is to give up your attention; next step is to give up your intention. Then one day, you’re locked up for dissension. It was all built into the invention.” We’ve turned over free will for the convenience of endless information at our fingertips. “Everything looks like a commercial; it’s a brand to be controversial,” while feelings of isolation encircle as “Betrayed” touches on the disappointments of betrayal across a litany of individuals and concepts. “What do you do when you’re all alone?”

Embracing personal evolution and accepting one’s individuality, “Prism” simply exudes confidence. “You can be many things and still be whole. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.” The song reaches out in its anthemic chorus, before “Black Hole” rockets into the void, closing out the album. As a dichotomy of ideas bounce off each other, “Nothing is given, and we’re always taking.” With their first full-length album, Control Top break loose from societal conventions, with self-confidence, determination and personal acceptance, allowing nothing and no one to stand in their way. (Photo by Chris Sikich) – Michael Colavita

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Debut Control Top LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Wanna find some music that has something to say? Let us introduce you to Covert Contracts (Get Better Records), the debut LP from Control Top. The album builds off bassist, singer and lyricist Ali Carter's intrinsic response "to feeling trapped and overwhelmed in a capitalist patriarchy, offering indictments of wrongdoing and abuse of power, odes to empathy and ego death, as well as declarations of self-determination." Combined with the frenetic guitar work of Al Creedon (I Im Eye My, Bleeding Rainbow) and the manic drumming of Alex Lichtenauer (HIRS), the post-punk, power trio exorcises societal demons to create one of the most exciting releases to come from Philly's underground music community this year. Control Top is currently on tour with Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers, and is scheduled to perform next in Philly on Saturday, May 18 at Franklin Music Hall, opening for The Hives + Refused. (Photo by Farrah Skeiky)

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New Track: "Chain Reaction" - Control Top

A new single from Control Top’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Covert Contracts (scheduled for release on April 5 via Get Better Records) has arrived. A fire-starting buzz instantly glows in the grimy, ripping “Chain Reaction.” Addressing the momentous avalanche of negativity and how it has rippling, personal affects, the track increases the hostility, and in a way, temporarily diffuses it. You can find the power trio on tour opening for Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers and Mercy Union, with a stop in Philly on Friday, April 19 at Underground Arts. (Photo by Farrah Skeiky)

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Weekend Warrior, May 4 - 6

Get Better Fest 5 will be bringing the positive vibes to the basement of the First Unitarian Church. Benefitting Black & Pink, Morris Home, and Project SAFE, kind locals will be donating their time and talents, to raise money and awareness for these multitude of good, important causes. A beautiful bluntness bangs on the sonic doors when listening to Soul Glo. Unabashedly in your face and unwavering, their bombarding instrumentation pushes against the barriers at high velocity. Hovering between hushed and heavy tones, caught between the noise-induced blitz and relatively subdued melodies, there’s a cathartic intensity found in the music of Mannequin PussyBlank Spell stirs in the shadows, creeping out in quick bursts of menace. You’ll also come across the precise attack of Control Top’s punk/dance hybrid, while the noise-speckled glow of Empath rounds out this small sampling of the loaded, all-day lineup. – Michael Colavita

More local sounds for this weekend…

First Unitarian Church (2125 Chestnut St.) FRI The Obsessives, SAT Get Better Fest 5: Mannequin Pussy, Big Nothing, Soul Glo, Control Top, Kilamanzego, Blank Spell, Empath

LAVA Space (4134 Lancaster Ave.) FRI Get Better Fest 5: August Koch, Solarized, Strawberry Runners

Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI Agent Zero, GoldenSpiral (Dual Album Release), Jackie & Jesse, Lotits, SUN Heavy Temple

Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.) FRI Marah

Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Bryan William Myers/DJ Deejay, SAT A Black Celebration: DJ Baby Berlin and Jem, SUN All This Huxley, Adventure Lost, Petty Vandal

The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) SUN (Balcony) The 1940’s, Adam Travis & The Soul, Silver Autumn, Fauxtron

TLA (334 South St.) SAT The Parsnip Revolt

The Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal St.) SAT Kur

World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI (Upstairs) John Vettese/Conjunto, SAT (Upstairs) Philadelphia School of Rock/Don McAvoy & the Great Whatever, Germany Hill/(Downstairs) Beyond The Bars Benefit Show: The Districts, Hardwork Movement, Ill Fated Natives

The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Malcolm Culleton (Album Release), Bern and the Bastards, Anna Dausman, SAT Anomie, Great Neck, Sunset Negative, Necrosexual

MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Hellings, SAT Ryan Tennis

Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI Better Ducks, Cookie Rabinowitz, SAT Taiwan Housing Project, Dirt Queen, SUN Luminous Fins, The Justines

The Barbary (951 Frankford Ave.) SAT Darla

Bourbon & Branch (705 N. 2nd St.) FRI Morning River Band, The Miners, Red Means Run, SAT De Tierra Caliente (CD Release)

Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) SAT James Pace Band, SUN Rusty Cadillac

Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI Drug Bust, 7th Victim, Bunny Savage & The Plibmen, SAT Seeing Snakes, Atomic Cretins

Voltage Lounge (421 N. 7th St.) SAT Murda P, SUN Atomic Cretins, Rubbish

Frankie Bradley’s (1320 Chancellor St.) FRI DJ Chris Urban, SAT Ed Christof

The Grape Room (105 Grape St.) FRI The Low Bottom Boys, Overcoming Gravity, This Kills Me, SAT Apple Juice Jones, Mercury Retrograde

Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave.) FRI Big Mind, On Wa, SAT Hezekiah Jones, Chestnut Grove, Black Horse Motel

The Pharmacy (1300 S. 18th St.) FRI Mahatma X, Stoops, A Virgin, Pithair / Daniel Levine, Mochi Robinson, Brushstroke, SAT Randle Patrick McNuthing, SUN Starwood & David Fantasy & Adult Content

West Kensington Ministry (2140 N. Hancock St.) FRI Bardo Pond

Tralfamadore (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Rebecca Zimmerman, Dominy

Planet Phitness (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SUN Boosegumps, Walte Young

The Sound Hole (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT Death’s Dynamic Shroud, Vincent Remember, Phteven Universe

Tundra Dome (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Hermit Thrushes, Sour Spirit

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New Track: "Type A" - Control Top

Post-punk trio Control Top just premiered "Type A," the first single from the band's forthcoming debut LP, Covert Contracts, over at Stereogum. The project was founded by vox/bassist Ali Carter, who has recruited drummer Alex Lichtenaur (HIRS) and guitarist Al Creedon (Bleeding RainbowI IM EYE MY), to help her unleash a bit of noise and fury on innocent (and not-so-innocent) bystanders. They'll be kicking off a run of shows with Empath at Space 1026 on Wednesday, March 28, along with punk outfit Dark Thoughts.

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