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Alt Rock

The Deli Philly's Featured Artist(s) Poll Winner: Gene Wildest

After learning the abbreviated origin of space-rock outfit Gene Wildest, you can’t help but take notice of the group’s storied past, and root for its continued success. The four-piece, which now consists of Brian Corbett (guitar/vocals), Rob Ealer (guitar), Sean Corbett (bass), and Dave Ashcraft (drums), recently won a heated race to be our Featured Artist(s), and we are happy to learn that the band has also been landing on the radar of nationally touring acts. But we DO NOT condone Corbett’s pickle habit! (haha) You can check out our latest interview with the Gene Wildest frontman below.

The Deli: How did you start making music? 

Brian Corbett: So Rob and I were introduced back around 2005 by our friend John. We ended up starting a band called Human Sounds, with John and our other friends George and Pat. Physical distance kind of got in the way of Human Sounds, but Rob and I lived close and continued to make music and jam every now and then. I was making some home recordings that Rob liked around the same time I met our first drummer Ben Zemel in grad school around 2011. 

We all decided to jam, things clicked, and that was our set up for about two years. In 2013, our friend Eric Richmann expressed interest in playing in a band. He was a great songwriter and guitarist, and had a killer voice (you can hear it on “Deadleaves,” off our first album Everything). We got really excited, and just as a shot in the dark, told him we would love for him to play bass and share vocals. Luckily, he said, “yes,” and was in the band until November 2016. He tragically and suddenly passed away from a heart condition he had since he was a kid. It was just devastating for us, his family, and everyone in his life. But we decided, with his wife Corey, that if there was one thing that Eric would come back and haunt us for it would be letting the band fall apart. 

We begged my brother Sean, who never played bass but was always a great musician, to fill in for Eric. He learned all of our songs, which have some pretty complicated basslines, remarkably quickly, and he’s been our bassist ever since. In June 2017, Ben went to Portland for work after grad school. Despite being a barefoot drummer, he had some big shoes left unfilled. 

A friend of mine introduced us to our current drummer, Dave, who learned like twenty songs by the fall and saved us from the murky depths of a drummerless hell. And that’s been our lineup ever since – Sean, Rob, Dave, and Brian. 

TD: Where did the name Gene Wildest come from? 

BC: It's really just a pun on Gene Wilder. We kind of regret not doing Phillip Shredmore Hoffman, though.

TD: What are your biggest musical influences?

BC: I guess the bands we all really like are the Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. Those represent the most common ground. In general, Rob likes hard rock bands like The Sword and Torche, Sean's a big Phish/Grateful Dead fan, Dave's always deep diving into 90's alt rock/grunge bands other than The Big 4, and I’ve been listening to a lot of TTNG and Chon. Spectral Terrestrial was pretty heavily influenced by Sleep and Pink Floyd.

TD: What artists (local, national and/or international) are you currently listening to?

BC: Locally, we've been enjoying Nothing and Hop Along. We've also been loving Khruangbin, King Gizzard, and Bask lately.

TD: What's the first concert that you ever attended and first album that you ever bought?

BC: I think it was one of those Q102 concerts with Ja Rule or something. I left after five minutes, and just screwed around in the parking lot with my friends. The first album I remember buying with my own money was Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt. I still throw it on from time to time. 

TD: What do you love about Philly?

BC: I always took it for granted until I started paying attention to music scenes in other cities, but the music scene here is really special. Also, the neighborhoods are so diverse, which makes it a lot of fun to explore. I've lived in my apartment for three years, and just discovered a bunch of wacky buildings and sculptures I had never seen before just five blocks away – a lot of potential for adventures here.

TD: What do you hate about Philly?

BC: Really not much that I couldn't say about any other major city. Parking I suppose. Even that doesn't annoy me now that I'm not in South Philly anymore. While this isn't exactly hatred about Philly, I wish there was a venue like The Grape Room closer to Center City. That venue rules because strangers just grabbing a beer are forced to listen to you. It's a great way to get exposure. There should be more venues like that.

TD: What are your plans for the rest of 2018?

BC: We should have a math rock album out by the end of the year. We're pretty excited about that. We've also been getting a good amount of offers to open for nationally touring bands all of a sudden, probably because we've been getting some nice press from blogs like The Deli. We're pretty jazzed about all of those upcoming shows. 

TD: What was your most memorable live show?

BC: Probably opening for Electric Six at Milkboy. They're one of our favorite bands, so to share the stage with them was a special moment. Plus, we got to play to a whole new audience. It's always exciting when strangers seem to genuinely like your tunes.

TD: What's your favorite thing to get at the deli?

BC: Pickles – I get a thrill out of not using the tongs to pick them up. When the clerk isn't looking, I like sticking my whole hand right in there, and pulling out the biggest one. Then, I put it back – not much of a pickle guy myself. It's one of those "it's not the destination, it's the journey" kind of things.

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Alexis V.
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New Jo Kusy LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

The Vast Glissade, the latest album from Jo Kusy, slides into a hypnotic haze of psych-pop. Gliding in a daydream state, the songs musically achieve a relaxed joy. However, whilst hovering in the ether, hard-hitting, lyrical messages are dispensed. Balancing buoyant instrumentation with a gritty, riff-fueled core and pertinent universal themes, the album is a soothing sanctuary that veers from reality but still addresses it.

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Paper Fairy previews single from debut LP + play Sunnyvale on 09.18

The climactic peak of “You Know You’ve Not a Thing,” the first single from Paper Fairy’s debut album, may be the drum solo-like bridge two-thirds of the way through the track. Up to that point, the song seems to plod through an obstacle course of noise and silence, as if restrained to simmer but never boil. Twitching instrumentals back dark lines where Chris Gaskell, the Brooklyn musician leading the project, repeats the title phrase: “you know you’ve not a thing to rely on,” “you know you’ve not a thing to hold on to,” but the track doesn’t peak until that middle section where distorted drums battle with chaotic jolts of sound. It’s a fitting introduction to Paper Fairy’s debut album, Haunter Haunted, which Gaskell describes as a horror concept album. Haunter Haunted will be self-released on October 26. Listen to “You Know You’ve Not a Thing” below, and check the project out live tomorrow (09.18) at Sunnyvale. – Cameron Carr

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Dead Tooth unveil dynamic single "Spirit" + play Secret Project Robot 09.17

Once they find that balance of instrumentation, that catchy groove and winsome hook, most bands find ways to build up to those moments, not evolve them. But Dead Tooth’s latest single “Spirit” from their Still Beats EP, masters the transition from a slowburn balance of guitar licks, whispered vocals, and psychedelic bass, to increasingly tense drums with a distinct giddyup, frantic vocals and fuzzy wall of guitars. The track is reminiscent of My Morning Jacket, featuring a trippy, southern-rock jam with whispery vocals that solidify as the song continues to grow into a vibe all its own. And at its apex, the explosiveness returns to the simple melody that kicked everything off, a shift marking just how natural this band can craft dynamics in their music. Dead Tooth are set to perform September 17 at Secret Project Robot, and you can stream “Spirit” below. – Tucker Pennington


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