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Folk/Country

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New Jesse Barki LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Jesse Barki (of The Mellowells) recently dropped a solo album, which he has titled Age Of Unknown Callers. Thoughtful, personal, folk songwriting, driven by acoustic guitar, creates a clear, sonic vision. A useful universal wisdom/maturity meets an emotive outpouring, pushing its power. Zooming in and out between short & longterm viewpoints, there’s a candid authenticity addressing one's evolving expectations, while finding where we individually fit in the bigger picture. (Photo by Rachel Adshead)

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Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits Give Folk A Gritty Edge

 A folk-rock trio from San Marcos who are a self-described as a 'new breed of classic American musician', Christian Sparks and the Beatnik Bandits have had success constructing roots-styled storytelling with a gritty rock patina. The band released their debut self-titled EP in March and have ridden those five songs through a Southern state tour to reach the choir most receptive to their gospel. While their songs typically begin with an ambling, folksy vibe - the rowdiness creeps up through the chorus and ultimately transforms into a good ol' fashioned 'rock out'. While folk and rock music have tried to coexist, ever since Bob Dylan went electric, it has been a tenuous relationship where purists hold their ground by passing judgement. Many musicians have since made their bones trying to bridge the two styles and exploring the grey area between the two, but its the journey to and from the two genres that we get to see the brilliance of Christian Sparks songwriting. While the band is in its nascent stages, and is yet to release a full album, there are harbingers of future success that avail themselves through strong songwriting and a good performance work ethic.

 

 

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Interview with 80 Foots

Our local artist of the Month, 80 Foots, are celebrating the release of their debut album And That Will Be How It Will Be on December 21st at The Hideout. We recently had the privilege of asking Chris Schoen of 80 Foots a few questions about the album, their new video for “Mariah’s Gone”, and their upcoming show. You can read our full interview here, and watch “Mariah’s Gone” below.

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Interview with 80 Foots

The Deli (TD): The early song writing process for 80 Foots begin with creating songs from classic poetry. Was there a specific poem that sparked that songwriting process?
Chris Schoen (CS): Not a single poem, no, but there was a specific group of poems that got us started on the path. The three of us played together for the first time when Chris asked T-Roy and Emmy to accompany him on some songs for an episode of Baudelaire In A Box, a multi-year performance project by Theater Oobleck that adapted all of Charles Baudelaire’s “Flowers of Evil.” This episode featured the six poems that make up the “Death” section of that collection. Death was our spark.

TD: I see “My Stars” and “Song of Myself 5” in the track listing for the new album, how many of the songs on the were inspired by poems and is there a particular quality or rhythm of poem that lends itself to a 80 Foots song?
CS: Besides those two, there’s one more, “Evening Harmony,” which is adapted from a Baudelaire poem. There isn’t really much in common among those three except that we really like them as lyrics. We are interested in the kind of dark humor and despair that Baudelaire trafficked in, but also in poking holes in the self-importance of those impulses - and in lifting up the funny, sensual, and ridiculous stuff that runs through his work, or Whitman's, and really any other poet we come across.
Now that we have some distance from the Baudelaire project, we're also enjoying getting back into the pleasure of writing lyrics from scratch.

TD: The second single from the album, “Mariah’s Gone”, is a cover/arrangement of a classic American Folk song, but feels almost futuristic in a post-apocalyptic way in your hands. Is that what you mean by “End Times Vocal Trio”?
CS: Pretty much! We can’t say that we sat down and said, “how can we make this old tune sound post-apocalyptic.” It’s more that working on a new song is like sitting at the Ouiji board. You put your fingers on the planchette and see which way it moves, and what it spells out. Did we do that, or were we channeling something? We have no idea, but we do share a mild sense of being kind of “unstuck in time” in Vonnegut’s phrase, such that a century-old song can be about something terrible that hasn’t happened yet.

TD: The video for “Mariah’s Gone” is just as haunting as the song. Aside from the song, what was the inspiration for the video?
CS: Honestly, the main inspiration — aside from the song — was that we had no videography budget for this release, which made editing together found footage from the public domain an appealing option. But having said that, it does seem it would be hard to make this song work with actors and locations and lip synching and all that, which probably couldn’t have conjured the same kind of desolation that old found footage can.

TD: The album release event takes place at The Hideout on December 21st, what can fans expect to see at the show? Is there anything special planned that you can share?
CS: We’re leaning hard into the fact that the release show happens on Winter Solstice, traditional night of feasting, drinking, and animal sacrifice. We’re asking people to do their animal sacrifice before they come out to the show though, and limit their feasting to whatever bounty may be provided by the tamale guy.
The alt-country band Cpt. Captain will be opening up for us, which will help make things festive, and we’ll have CDs (of course), hand-made screen-printed t-shirts, and other memorabilia. In addition to the songs from the album, we’ll have a new tune or two, and a fresh batch of jokes that will definitely be very sophisticated and not at all juvenile

header image: 
sites/upload-files/imagecache/review_image/10498471_331540730336566_1016942424088295942_o.jpg
author: 
Jason Behrends
Subtitle (brief and awesome): 
We talk with Chris Schoen of 80 Foots about poetry, Ouiji boards, and their upcoming album release show.
Excerpt (short interesting quote from the Q&A): 
It’s more that working on a new song is like sitting at the Ouiji board. You put your fingers on the planchette and see which way it moves, and what it spells out.
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Wilder Maker's Gabriel Birnbaum releases debut single + plays Mercury Lounge 12.18

This week, Wilder Maker’s Gabriel Birnbaum shared the first piece of his debut solo project with the new single, “Stack the Miles.” As a preview of his forthcoming record, “Stack the Miles” succeeds in doing justice to this artist’s distinct vocal style and cerebral Americana. The mid-tempo, acoustic feel of this new track calls to mind the folky disposition of Milky Chance’s “Stolen Dance,” with a raw composure that has been likened to early Bon Iver. Currently still involved with acclaimed Ethiopian pop ensemble Debo Band and indie rock group Wilder Maker, Birnbaum seems to have pulled his wide knowledge of genre into the DNA of this new material, forming a unique new spawn of mellow Americana. The Deli caught a glimpse of Birnbaum’s upcoming full-length LP, set for release in 2019, and, let me say, there are more smoldering, soothing sounds waiting for you. Check out Gabriel’s Birnbaum’s new “Stack the Miles” below, and don’t miss him debuting his new music at Mercury Lounge on 12.18, sharing the stage with Brooklyn band, Office Culture. - Rebecca Carroll

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