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Psych

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The Deli Philly’s December Record of the Month: Messy - Curtis Cooper

Equal parts confessional and self-veneration, Curtis Cooper’s latest offering begins without a shred of hesitation or apology. Starting off with the full throttle swell of “Freak Out,” Messy unfolds with a satisfying in-your-face bravado. As Cooper croons, “I dare to say that I’m not scared,” screeching riffs, hissing cymbals, and deliberately executed diction amplify the satisfying defiance of survival on your own terms and the intoxicating thrill of reveling in what other’s might consider flaws. A dance-worthy homage to vulnerability, “Freak Out” reminds listeners that it’s okay not to be okay and that sometimes the best way to save yourself is by embracing your inner chaos.

Throughout Messy’s second track, “Philly Jelly,” Cooper channels their inner Billy Corgan circa Machina of God, reviving the best of the grunge era’s zeitgeist. Passion laced with angst and yearning, the song captures the contradiction of being defined by external factors like lovers or hometowns. Through dissonance and sincerity, “Philly Jelly” proves itself to be a perfectly tempered exploration of how proximity can inform desire and a sense of belonging. Prefaced by a whispered countdown, “Crazy” shines a spotlight on Cooper’s softer side. With melodic licks of guitar and proclamations like “I heard your words and I fell for your lines,” the track is as much as it is a love song as it’s an anthem about hero worship. Disillusioned, yet nostalgic, it captures a far too often omitted perspective on romance and remembrance.

“Percs of Life,” prefaced by a calm yet evocative interlude, examines the highs and lows of life with initially sparse instrumentation that gradually blooms into gut-wrenching chords. When Cooper sings, “Time to feel alive again/time to be confined again,” the song, like an ouroboros, turns in on itself, resembling the cyclical nature of mortality implied by its lyricism. “Yeah, No,” a psych-infused melody, feels like a vivid fever dream, enveloping its listener in a brief yet lush soundscape reminiscent of a Devendra Banhart b-side or Brian Jonestown Massacre at their tamest.

With the similarly subtle yet instantaneously catchy “Jkayla,” they pick up the tempo. As the track progresses, it carves out an unpredictable topography of its own. By the time Cooper confesses, “I could have been you/I should have been you,” Messy’s listeners will believe them as if it each word was gospel truth. “Everyone Loves You” is a dark and brooding ballad about the thin line between love and objectification and the ever present promise of escape. Ending with “everyone loves/everyone loves you/everyone stays,” the tune sets the proverbial stage for the equally grim “Everybody’s Dying.” Whether the death in this song is literal or metaphorical, Cooper’s macabre lyrics and heavy riffs continue to echo in the minds of listeners as it eases into the LP’s second interlude.

The album’s closer, “Is It Real,” is a hushed yet existential meditation on love and the meaning of life. Here, Cooper’s fondness for the late great Elliott Smith shows, leaving their audience with a sense of melancholic nostalgia mixed with undertones of hope. Similar to 2016’s Laughing in a Line, Messy is required listening for any Philly native who considers themselves a music lover. Cooper’s anthems aren’t just timely; they’re necessary. (Photo by Abigail Townsend) – Dianca London

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Milk Was A Bad Choice Holiday Party (12/6)

If you’re still not fully enveloped in the holiday spirit, then fear not—Milk Was A Bad Choice has the showcase for you. Complete with Christmas DJ sets, festive drinks, and even an ugly sweater contest, the holiday party showcase is the perfect event for anyone who wants to stop being a Grinch. The stacked lineup includes local psychedelic garage-rockers Locus Pocus, a solo set by Zachary Vito of the Bay Area’s very own Union Pacific, and a special headlining performance by the disco-infused alt rock quintet Kid Bloom from L.A. - Lilly Milman

Drop by The Milk Bar on December 6th at 8 pm for the holiday party to end all others, and until then, stream Locus Pocus’s new single “I’d Be Your Woman” below.

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Gingerlys release self-titled debut album, share first video

Gingerlys' self-titled debut album, out on November 17th, showcases a band delivering on the promise of their earlier work. When we last featured their 7" EP “Jumprope” here on The Deli, we were impressed enough with the group's fast paced indie pop. The new work, however, takes everything a step further in both the songwriting and production departments.  Lead track and first video release “Turtledoves” (streaming below) captures that wistful sense of emotion felt on discovering something new and beautiful.  The pacing is quick, with drums clattering underneath an overall catchy melodiousness created by well orchestrated layers of vocals, guitars and keyboards.  Tasty guitar lines emerge into the mix as the dreamy female vocals pull you into a world where “you were never meant to wander.”  The rising pitch of the vocal melody on key lines “I knew you” and “you choose to” will appeal to big dream pop fans (like us). The full album is available for streaming here. - Dave Cromwell

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Johnny Raincloud share new live video for "MH370"

 Back in 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (or MH370/MAS370) mysteriously disappeared while in route to its destination of Beijing, China. The plane, which was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers, last made voice contact some 30 minutes after takeoff, and entirely disappeared off radar an hour after that. After a few years of extensive searching only fragments of the wreckage were found earlier this year but ultimately, the search for anything more was suspended just some months ago.

Right before the Malaysia Airlines flight went down, local rocker Mike Stortz was writing some of the first songs for his band Johnny Raincloud. One of those songs coincidentally was of the same name as the flight, and has sat shelved until basically now. "When the search for the plane stopped, I wanted to make this song to be a reminder," says Stortz.

So, Stortz and the rest of Johnny Raincloud decided to record the track and make a live music video for the song at Surburbia Studios down in southeast not for profit, but as a means of keeping the lives lost on the flight in memory. "We've become so insensitive to real-life stories like MH370 but for that brief moment in time I felt connected to the whole world in a way I haven't felt in a long time," says Stortz. "It's just another reason I wanted this song to be a reminder of the brief time of when we did care. I think it's sad it takes the mystery of a missing airplane for the world to come together with love.  I think it should be like that all the time."

Watch Johnny Raincloud play "MH370" in their live video below, or later on tonight at the Twilight Cafe. Seattle bands Tyler Songs and Great Shame will also be playing, along with WorryDoll.

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Freakout Standouts: Strawberry Mountain

*photo by Travis Trautt 

Strawberry Mountain has been around the way for awhile, just not necessarily as montaña de la fresa. Formerly known as Basement Surfers, the DIY music and art collective are as large with their sounds as they are with their member count. Having played two sets at Freakout this year attendees were able to enjoy them twice over, but their sounds were entirely perfect for the Conor Byrne and its crowd.

Aside from their all-ages "2nd chance" Filson set Strawberry Mountain packed onto the Conor Byrne's stage as festival goers crowded the walkways of the bar-venue, lining up for Will Call tickets and press check-in. Upon their first notes the heads in the room focused with intrigue on their expansive, experimental psych sounds, much of which came from their early 2017 album Human Music.

With that album and everything prior, Strawberry Mountain are definitely ones we'll keep our eyes on.

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