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Indie Rock

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LAPêCHE use "Elbow Grease" to cross bridge

Sometimes a song rips but in a highly controlled way. LAPêCHE is good at writing those kinds of songs and “Elbow Grease” is one of them. Opening with a driving tom-tom rhythm a tight little guitar riff, the song exudes a dark coiled intensity from the start. And the entrance of yearning yet slowly metronomic vocals only adds to the sense of anticipation with the opening line “It’s not so easy to uncover without splitting the seams” confirming the impression of something that’s contained waiting to be released.

The song’s lyrics as a whole appear to revolve around control and efforts to maintain it, or at least to appear to even when failing. But at a couple points the moody vibe gets broken by a stomping half-time riff leading into a repeated refrain of “rusted anchor pull me down.” It could all be a metaphor for addiction or obsession or Fleet Week who knows. Or for throwing oneself over the edge of a figurative bridge with a figurative anchor tied around one’s foot.

Or a real bridge. Speaking of ripping in a controlled way, LAPêCHE just released an official music video for “Elbow Grease" this last week, and in the video lead singer/lyricist/co-guitarist/keyboardist/tiny dancer (not really that tiny) Krista Holly Diem shimmies and twists and struts across the Kosciuszko Bridge (which spans the mighty Newton Creek separating Brooklyn and Queens) like a rogue Jazzercise escapee and still mangers to get off some good moves even constrained to a walking lane on a somewhat heavily trafficked bridge. So again we got the theme of controlled chaos and it’s engaging to watch. It’s also engaging to watch because personally I’ve crossed this bridge a good number of times on foot and by bike but now I realize I was doing it all wrong. What you see above is a much more aerodynamic approach to the crossage, and plus people will get out of your way if you’re bopping around like Jack Lalanne on poppers (if only Ludacris had thought of this approach).

“Elbow Grease” is the final track on LAPêCHE's recent sophomore full-length release Blood in the Water (New Granada) which had reportedly been in the can for about a year before release, originally slated to come out right around when things went to Hell In A Handbasket so the band and label wisely held off. In the meantime, they’ve reportedly almost finished their next album and I’m sure it helped they purchased a Band Pod by Hasbro and hunkered down for months on end writing a new set of songs which means at least something good came of all this.

And finally, you may ask yourself, did I learn these facts by conducting an interview with the band? Hell no do I look crazy to you! Instead I leaned them by watching someone else conduct an interview with the band on FLTV—otherwise known as the Footlight Bar’s official Vimeo channel which is located in cyberspace right next to Ridgewood, Queens. Each episode of FLTV features a single band put under the microscope by host Kendra Saunders who asks penetrating questions while wearing a fashionable glitter encrusted mask, as well as live performances by the band in question. And you can watch all the episodes from the first season for a small fee on their Vimeo channel. Now where is my commission FLTV? (Jason Lee)

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Izzy True "New Fruit"

Izzy True has released the lead single, "New Fruit", from their forthcoming album, Our Beautiful Baby World, which is set to drop on July 2nd via Don Giovanni. The single is accompanied by the fun Julia Dratel created video below.

This will be the first new album from the trio of Izzy Reidy (guitar, vocals), Sam Goldstein (drums), and Curtis Oren (bass, sax, flute) since their 2018 release Sadbad.

Reidy had recently had this to say about the project; “When I get very sad about the world, I find comfort in zooming out to the macro, universal level. On that scale, humanity is so young, so small, still learning, and full of possibility. When I think of it that way, I feel so tenderly towards humanity. All of the things it does to hurt itself are not its fixed nature, I have hope that it is (very slowly) learning to be gentle.”

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Atlas Engine urges you to be "As You Are"

Atlas Engine is a band whose material ranges from lush laid-back elaborated-arranged art-pop not totally unlike Alan Parsons Project if Alan Parsons project was cooler (sorry Alan Parsons Project but you don’t need to be cool anyway!) to driving motorik rock perfect for your next excursion driving the Autobahn (here's a great motorik playlist to check out if you got 41 or 42 hours to spare, you're welcome!)

Officially released today, “As You Are” is the second advance single by Atlas Engine (the first being “Modern Mind”) taken from an upcoming “suite of EPs” to which the average punter on the street may reply “what’s an EP?” and “what’s a suite?” But you, dear Deli reader, are far from being average—and whether you have the attention span to process a suite of EPs or not, you can most certainly appreciate the emotional resonance and the fine Swiss craftsmanship of a song like “As You Are” (note: the band are not Swiss but no doubt consume plenty of cheese and chocolate in Brooklyn so it’s close enough). But no doubt when the song eventually appears on When the Compass Resets Part I (Favorite Friends Records) it will be all the more fulfilling in that context. 

Speaking of the band's coordinates and identity (btw you can hear all their previous singles on the comp above) up until the past year Atlas Engine was one of those deals like Nine Inch Nails where it’s really just a single guy (in this case, Nick LaFalce) and whoever he surrounds himself with on a given record or tour but minus the rivalries with Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson. But that’s all recently changed. In 2020 Nick did something pretty much the opposite of most bands I’m guessing and human beings in general in terms of retreating into near isolation and just barely managing to feed and clothe ourselves (and not always the latter) but instead he used the time to solidify a stable, permanent membership for Atlas Engine in the middle of a pandemic with said bandmates being Meredith Lampe (vocals/keys), Patrick Cochrane (Bass/vocals), Brendan McGuckin (drums), and Jeff Fettig (guitar/synth) who now also participate in the songwriting process. And yes Nick has made us all look bad in the process and should be terribly ashamed of himself, but we’ll let it slide for now because these new songs are solid and we may wanna ask for VIP passes at Atlas Engine's next live show.

So let’s now turn to “As You Are” since it’s the new one. The song fades in with an electronic wind chime kind of sound and then moments later over a relaxed, rippling drumbeat there’s an ascending piano chord pattern/bass line with a sustained layer of electronic ambience before Mr. LaFalce’s stately yet etherial vocals enter. Up through this point “As You Are” sounds a bit like Wilco being fronted by Damon Albarn, and in the opening lines he slowly declaims that “the wretched hour / we’ve been waiting for / has come.” So wait, things are about to get more wretched compared to the past year (!) or maybe he's referring to the past year so let's table the discussion for now and move on.

And then right after the line “mouth is open wide / sharpening the knife” the band goes into a Grandaddy-like section (others might say “Radiohead section” but I’m sticking with Granddaddy) with cascading synths and a warm enveloping halo of sound—and this is where the the song really gets me—plus four overdubbed voices floating above it all like a rapturous choir of Brian Wilsons singing in falsetto, and I can almost imagine this part of the song being an actual Beach Boys song from their post-Pet Sounds Smiley Smile/Wild Honey artsy period. Then for a moment everything drops out and LaFalce drops a George Harrison-ism or maybe more like an Oasis-like pronouncement to “become as you are” and this is making me realize there’s a certain Britpop vibe to the song overall under the heading of indie pop power ballads that rock out at the end.

Speaking of rocking out, after the cycle described above repeats one more time with some new textures and lyrics thrown in, “As You Are” suddenly and briefly transforms into thumping half-tempo time with a pulsating tremolo guitar complete with grungy distortion overlay and a small dash of space rock synth until one last swooning harmony-laden chorus comes in that builds to a fairly epic climax before dissolving into a final few seconds of twinkling ambience which takes the whole thing full circle. So as you can see listeners are taken on a cinematic sonic journey in the space of just over four minutes which is handy since you can boil an egg to the song no problem that is if you like a soft yolk. Also adventurous and ambitious is the song’s lyrical theme which according to Nick is about “technology’s effect on one’s understanding of themselves” which honestly I’m not sure what he’s on about because I compose these blog posts on an old Radio Shack word processor.

And speaking of ambition, one last thing that bears pointing out is the larger concept underlying “As You Are”, "Modern Mind" and the band's other soon-to-be-released material is this whole suite-of-EPs idea mentioned earlier--more specifically, a collection of four EPs to be released throughout 2021 that will taken together comprise a set of conceptually-related chapters as part of a larger overriding work that will then be released as an album of its own once the pieces are in place. And hell we at the Deli heartily co-sign this Russian Nesting Dolls approach to record releasing because even King Crimson or Yes or Rush never came up with this particular concept in the Concept Album Sciences and we support innovation in all its many forms. (Jason Lee)

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Stalled "Blank Conduct"

Post Punk duo Stalled has released their debut EP, "Blank Conduct", via the Boston label Candlepin Records.

This is the work of Jack Curtin (guitar, vocals, bass, mellotron) and Jonah Murray (percussion, Korg MS-20) who came together last fall after their group Sci-Fi Sleep Cycles dissolved.

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Trick Gum’s Quirky Debut Single “Hot Rifle” Turns On The Offhand Charm

Photo courtesy Trick Gum

L.A. duo Trick Gum is the work of producer Justin Raisen (Charlie XCX, Angel Olsen, Yves Tumor) and Jordan Benik of cult LA band Sweaters, and their debut single, “Hot Rifle,” sends out a strong current of left-field 90s indie pop quirk.

The new track marries tasty acoustic drums to a loping, charmingly clumsy fuzz bass, jaunty rhythm guitar touches, and gravely bass vocals. They show some real muscle in the chorus, with lines like “I am cheap perfume/I’m your prince of doom/Come get and eyeful/Of my hot rifle,” but overall the vibe is of two buddies horsing around, while still showing off their considerable skills in the studio.

The band says “‘Hot Rifle’ is about being pushed to the edge and losing your faith in societal norms, the moment you give up on the rules and consider stealing a very large amount of money, and the peace that dwells within you in this moment, freed from the constraints of principle… in other words, a summer jam.”

If only pondering grand larceny had a soundtrack a catchy as this. Gabe Hernandez

 

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