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Electronic

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Wishyunu Single Release: A Sampler of Psych

Walking in to Mississippi Studios last Sunday, it felt like the three band pairing of Cambrian Explosion, Jackson Boone and Wishyunu would be a strange one. Based on their recordings, it appeared that there was very little to tie all the music together aside from the fact that each band identified with psych music in some way. What seemed to be an evening of mismatched artists turned out to be an ideal sampler of all the variations that psych-rock can take. 

Cambrian Explosion played first, their set a dark dreamscape. Members of Cambrian Explosion appeared introspective on stage, incredibly invested in the music, which didn’t leave the audience with much to look at. However, the intricacy and unpredictability of the music gave the audience plenty to focus on: songs exploding surprisingly into sound, heavy distortion, and instruments blended so expertly it was difficult to decipher who was playing which part.  

Playing second was Jackson Boone whose take on psych is both dreamy and jazzy. Their set seemed like a fitting middle-ground between the dark vibes of Cambrian Explosion and the more pop-centric focus of Wishyunu. Jackson Boone’s specialty seems to be creating psych-pop lullabies that develop quietly into full psych-rock cacophony. “Open” was decidedly the most experimental song they played, straying away from the easy rhythms and soft melodies comprising most of their set. The crowd was receptive and seemed more willing to nod their heads along as the night progressed.

Wishyunu’s set started with some technical difficulty, probably in part because the duo is so busy on stage, with Bei Yan filling the role of guitarist, synth-player, and vocalist. As Yan sorted out her issues on stage, dropping in an out of sound, drummer Tony Bertaccini remained solid on the drums, helping the audience stay engaged as they waited. Wishyunu’s songs are progressive, layering beat on top of beat and then dreamily disintegrating melodies into new ones, catchy hooks giving way to unexpected drum fills. The energy of their set was frenetic, unlike Cambrian Explosion or Jackson Boone, their music made your blood move faster, catapulting you forward with them as they played.

Their new single “Photoplay” is a dark electro-pop song that seemed to show a new direction for the band, less ambient than their older songs and more driven. The other song off of their 7-inch, “Summer Suit” was ethereal and focused, especially compared to the older songs they played surrounding their new releases, again proving that Wishyunu has started refining their vision and sound. You can catch them next in Portland on June 21st at the Holocene. 

-Sarah Eaton

Photos by Lena Knofler

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Horsehands' Tape Release Show Set for May 9 @ Lily Pad

Horsehands’ latest creation, Pissing Rain, runs the sound spectrum from straight-up punk to electro-infused jams--and that’s just in the first two minutes of the EP. The vocals are reminiscent of some bizarre Bowie/Krill collaboration, which, after thinking about it for awhile, would be one hell of an idea. “Yon” was definitely my favorite of the songs--hard, fast guitarwork, complete with some pop-punk palm mutes and a bridge that seems to take off into the stratosphere before abruptly grabbing you by the collar and yanking you back into the mosh pit. I also appreciated the strategic placement of the synths/keys in songs like “Dinner Time!”--they provide well-timed accents, elevating the sound of the songs without overpowering the rest of the music.

If you’re itchin’ to get a physical copy of Pissing Rain, the band will be celebrating their tape release show on May 9th at Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA. For more info about the event, click here.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)

 

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Prinze George unveils video for "Upswing"

Even though synthpop trio Prinze George pretends to be still based in Brooklyn, they actually went back to their native Prince George County a few years ago. The guys played at our SXSW show this past March and they just unveiled this video for their single "Upswing."

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Plato III Tells Us How a Young Rapper Feels about Fame

First off y’all, sorry for the slowness on the music drip the last couple weeks; your editor here was in the midst of a move and shit got wacky.

Now, back to the grind. In the interval here, we received a tip-top hip-hop submission from budding Austin musician Plato III that we are full throttle diggin’. It’s a music video and, as far as we can tell, the only track available online from this young guy whose intensely polished composition belies both his age and his small amount of material (at least, online material).

The track, called “Natalie Portman,” is all about fame- how it affects the hip-hop thing and the people that are going for it. Plato lays out his view of this monster force in the genre and how it’s a weird thing to balance his own aspirations to musical success with a personal tendency to shy away from the Sisyphean acquisition of fame and stardom. “Yeah i’m tryin to be well known/but with knowledge of self/like everyone else/I’m gonna end up a book on the top of the shelf/collectin’ dust/it’s embedded in us,” says Plato.

Thoughtful is an overused word in criticism of hip-hop like this, and it’s really an undervaluation of the craft at play here, especially when you add in the detailing on the video. The thing, directed by Aidan Myles Green, is a lesson in not wasting a second on anything that doesn’t serve the track, and it does what few music videos do in actually adding further dimensions to the concept that the track is based around.

It starts with constant flashes of the fame world that Plato is discussing, shots of Jordan and Monroe and rappers and Joaquin Phoenix in his crazy fake star phase and others living the big public life, all in blurry black and white with quick cuts and no long shots. These are contrasted with what are obviously real-world images from Plato’s life- little, relatable things like Polaroids with a girlfriend and walking into an apartment building. When he steps in that apartment, out of the public eye and into his own private world, the thing goes color and takes the first extended shot of Plato.

The transition is us seeing him in his day-to-day, giving a warm casual kiss to his girl and sitting at a spartan bedroom musician set-up, and this switch-over from big and chaotic and nearly imaginary to intimate (small is the wrong word) and warm and approachable is almost felt physically when you see it. She gets ready for bed in the mirror, he fiddles with a track, stops to come give her an intimate touch on the hips and they laugh together before he brushes his teeth alone, and then they both go to bed where it’s all cute love shit and not the fantasy world of beyond perfect, unreal sex that we usually see when a rapper goes to the sheets with a beautiful woman.

It’s great, authentic and impeccably done, as is the track with its 80s synths and melding of melody and rapping, of big picture commentary and personal revelation, and it gives us at The Deli a pretty fierce desire to see more of this kid, though with the understanding that we’ll probably see more when he’s good and ready to put it out and not before. “Natalie Portman,” both track and video, are just what you want to see from talented up and comers in the hip-hop scene in 2015, giving you the brain and the heart at once, and not sacrificing one bit of power in the head-noddin’ department. Thanks for submitting Plato III, and the rest of y’all, watch below. We’ll leave ya with a quote from the man’s Facebook, where he talked a bit about coverage on the track from another Austin music outlet:

‘“Natalie Portman" is an analysis of fame's consequences, not just lyrically, but also stylistically. The trendy title, the blatant use of auto-tune, and the syrupy synth-driven music are all used ironically to emphasize how originality is often sacrificed when popularity is the only objective. The song couldn't be more hip-hop in spirit.’

We agree without reservation.

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The Living Sleep Release Remnants

Remants, the latest album from Cambridge/Boston’s The Living Sleep, is one of the most calming, beautiful collections of sounds I’ve heard all year. The tracks that incorporate viola and cello are the most impressive, reminding me of a more modern, less-stuffy version of chamber music--something you’ll actually want to listen to for more than twenty seconds.

The piano melodies are wonderfully arranged throughout the entire record, each played more delicately and deliberately than the last. When accompanied by the strings (ex: “The Last Serenade”), the result is a soothing composition capable of dissolving even the most stressful of days.

For updates about The Living Sleep, check out their Facebook page.

-Dan McMahon (@dmcmhn)
Photo credit: 
Adem Dayıoğlu

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