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Alt Rock

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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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Alt-rock act Damon Johnson plays 05.08 at The Basement East

Damon Johnson may not be green to the music scene, but his debut solo album -- Memoirs of an Uprising -- reintroduces him to the world as a versatile alt-rock performer who can switch between tender and tremendous on a dime. After leaving his previous band Black Star Riders after a soul search, Johnson recorded his solo debut, calling the material on it "the most honest music I've ever made." Johnson has experience working with artists such as Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy, and John Waite, and that influence along with his previous guitar work with Black Star Riders shines on the new record. You might also hear hints of U2 and Chris Cornell if you listen close enough. Johnson will perform at The Basement East on May 8th to support Memoirs of an Uprising; The Winery Dogs will also take the stage that night. Check out the video for "Shivering Shivering", the first single from the record, below. - Will Sisskind

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The Mooks - Power Pop Trio New Single, CMW Monarch Tavern 05.11

The Mooks are a jangly power pop trio from Toronto. Combining old school rhythm & blues influences with current indie rock giving them a fresh vibe that can bring in fans of many different styles. Their new single “So Kind” will have you boppin’ and rockin’ all across the dance floor. Their new EP “I Hope You Feel The Same” is due out later this year and you can catch The Mooks play a CMW set at the Monarch Tavern on May 11th. – Kris Gies

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Brother Maven perform at The 5 Spot 05.05

Brother Maven -- made up of Nashville expats Daniel, JP, Joel, and Scottie -- blend soul, country, and Southern rock into a groove worthy of your ears. Their debut single "Bring It On Back" dropped earlier this month, and the band have already wowed audiences around the city in their wild live performances. You yourself can see Brother Maven rip up the stage on May 5th at The 5 Spot, along with fellow soulful musician Doran Danoff and genre blender David DeVaul. For a taste of what you'll hear at The 5 Spot, take a listen to "Bring It On Back" below. - Will Sisskind

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New Barney Cortez EP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Barney Cortez recently shared a new, acoustic EP that he's titled Farewell Dogs. It is dedicated to the memory of Tiger Merritt, Billy Swayze, Luanne Wise, and Kathleen McDonnell. Mitigating melodies wash over as one ruminates over the lyrics and listens. A subdued, daydreamy nature creates a tranquilizing effect, as the weight of words sinks in. Proceeds from the release will go to the family of Tiger Merritt.

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