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Psych

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The Deli Philly’s June Record of the Month: Active Listening: Night on Earth - Empath

Active Listening: Night on Earth (Get Better Records), the debut full-length album from the quartet of Empath, immerses the listener in a chaotic, cathartic sonic world. The awakening sounds of birds chirping give way to Emily Shanahan and Randall Coon’s assertively warped combination of electro-bass and synth on album opener, “Soft Shape”. Catherine Elicson’s vocals hover between a restrained hushed tone and a more pronounced power. The instruments weave creating a complex yet streamlined sound, before Garrett Koloski’s drumming is unleashed, stepping to the forefront and bashing away towards the song’s conclusion.

Spring-loaded “Pure Intent” toys with tempo, constructing an exuberant, disorienting environment, with brief, calming, vocal moments of respite. Caught up in that whirlwind, everything becomes so hazy; however, after the storm, reassuring keys and softly strummed guitar conceive a serene backdrop, before the abrupt kick-start of “Hanging Out Of Cars,” with its jagged-guitar rev. Joined by bustling percussion and the contrasting, softer key tones, the track blends a rugged, uncompromising approach that is exuded in the blunt, raw force of the guitar-percussion combination. “Where I take you is where I take myself, an empty is left most I ever felt.” Halfway through, the traffic disappears, and the road opens up as a soothing, electro-reverberating clarity emerges.

“Roses That Cry” appears to mesh theories on learning to accept and deal with the present, (“They say everything aging all the time together/As the clutter comes alive, comes in bed, nowhere to hide/Don’t waste your time judging kindness/“We say hell is forever, and what is the cost? Is this it?”), while also expressing optimism and nostalgia (“Are you coming around?/You’d like to, but you don’t know how/Remember when that tree fell on your car”). There’s a sense of hopeful warmth and memory illuminating the song, amid the swirl of noise. A blitzing, brutal instrumental brightness hits on “Rowing”. There’s no slowing down, as the track races with compact precision, appearing ready to fall off the rails, while still maintaining a melodic connection. 

With “Heaven,” there is an impactful interlude into the psyche, as brief thoughts are delivered in a free-flowing manner. “I just want to get to heaven.” Clairvoyant, floating keys form an ethereal atmosphere throughout “IV,” as the rest of the instrumentation provides a more detailed texture. “Decor” marches fantastically forward in an inviting manner. The vocals retain a soft, assuring nature. “Deep down, nothing changes where you’ve been.” The LP returns to form with “Redeo Fever” surging ahead as Elicson sings: “Say a little prayer, the most that I could bear/All I have to glean is the experience.”

Empath’s latest collection of recordings exudes a thoughtful, noise-infused intensity – one that requests an intent ear and rewards the listener in the process. (Photo by Troy Memis) – Michael Colavita

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New MINKA Album Available for Streaming & Download

A graceful, classical-meets-electronica convergence flows as one listens to the new MINKA album, Reincarnation. The complexity of the compositions is tastefully complemented by beat-driven movements. An elegant, serenity glides along as the vocals guide us through the seamless mergers of these recordings. It's a more subdued MINKA than you might be used to, but in a very good way. Enjoy!

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Laurie - Unique Noise Rock New Single "Anxiety"

Laurie is a new three piece band from Toronto formed in late 2018. This noise rock trio have dove headfirst into the Toronto scene with their self-proclaimed “sad, existential and often sarcastic music”. Their first single “Anxiety” was released in February and now they have a wild and bright music video to accompany it. Shot by Here Kitty Kitty Productions; this video is a bit bizarre which matches the song perfectly. It also might cause seizures. Be sure to follow them on Facebook so you can catch their next franticly energetic live show!  – Kris Gies

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Weekend Warrior, May 24 - 26

Conversations (Tone Tree Music), the new album from The Dove & The Wolf, is something worth talking about, and this Saturday, the band, led by Paloma Gil and Louise Hayat, are slated to celebrate its arrival at Johnny Brenda’s. Hypnotic harmonies and subtly layered instrumentation induce an intimate, daydreaming state. The gentle, jangly vulnerability of the songs endears with an empathetic, heart-aching honesty. They'll be joined by multi-instrumentalist and tourmate Michelle Blades, who creates graceful, compelling, genre-experimenting pop. Shamir will also be on hand with their latest, Be the Yee, Here Comes the Haw, in tow. – Michael Colavita

More shows to hit this weekend…

Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI Carroll, SAT The Dove & The Wolf, Shamir

Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.) SAT Crozet, Arch of Love

Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Bring Da Ruckus: Hip Hip 90s to Now (with special guest DJ Dame Luz), SAT Cardinal Arms/Fame Lust, SUN DRAMA!, Babe Grenade, lylyly

PhilaMOCA (531 N. 12th St.) FRI Mazie, Zack Krall Band, Cold Soul, J Solomon

Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) SAT Dj Baby Berlin

TLA (334 South St.) FRI A Benefit Concert for Michael Leavy: Jealousy Curve, Jeff Campbell, SAT Blac Papi, Yung K

The Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal St.) SAT So Far Gone: Dirty South Joe, Magglezzz

World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI (Upstairs) Jesse Gimbel, Erin Fox, SAT (Upstairs) Native Harrow 

The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.) FRI Green Cathedral, Blackjack Rose, SAT The 1940s, Glass Leaf, SUN Haxon, Perennial

MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) FRI Dean & Company presents: The Spectrum Series Vol. 3, The Quixote Project

Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI Nematode, Goodnight/Goodluck, Talk Louder!, SAT Longspells, False Tracks, SUN Effusion 35, Mr. Lisp, Secret Drawer

The Barbary (951 Frankford Ave.) FRI Saver, Midfield, SAT The Magnificent ShitHawks Of The Greater Northern Americas, Space Caravan

Silk City (435 Spring Garden St.) SAT DJ Deejay, SUN Silk City & Eric Wortham II Present: Feast of Art Part 7

Bourbon & Branch (705 N. 2nd St.) FRI John Gilbride, Emily Drinker, SAT Patrick Feliciano, Dizzy Valdez, SUN Katie Bird

Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.) SAT Tim Leslie, SUN Rusty Cadillac 

Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St) FRI  Katie Barbato, AfroBear, Calla Bere

Century (1350 S. 29th St.) FRI Black Cat Habitat, One Hundred Men on Mars, Baffle the Cat, SAT The Barren Marys (Tape Release), Teenage Bigfoot, The P’ids, Under 95

Frankie Bradley’s (1320 Chancellor St.) FRI DJ Chris Urban, SUN DJ Drootrax

Morgan’s Pier (221 N. Columbus Blvd.) SAT DJ Kevin Kong, Fisher, Menace Cartel, SUN Ear Me Now, DJ Lean Wit It

The Grape Room (105 Grape St) FRI Colin Lenox, SAGES, Masila Muli (w/Pet Lizard ), Goodthief, Elaine Rasnake, SAT Tubey Frank, Dweller, Andrew Huston & Friends

Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave.) FRI In Memorium: A Celebration of the life of Brendan Browning Lafferty: The Quelle Source, Seamus Browning, Cardillo

The Mothership (602 S. 52nd St.) SAT Erik Ruin's Ominous Cloud

Warehouse on Watts (923 N. Watts St.) FRI Lifecycle: Aime, Max Swan, Eric Boss

Haus of Yarga (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT The Polychromatics, Double Suede, Yeet

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New Son Step LP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Son Step's new LP, Fossilillies, recently dropped via Grind Select. A dichotomy of calculated and free-flow, synth-soaked instrumentation converges, allowing the well-honed vocals to flourish. Within a psych-pop vessel, one is engaged on a journey of personal discovery, which retains a bright, backend buoyancy, while exploring place & purpose. Supported by Great Time and Data, you can also join Son Step at their album release show on Thursday, June 6 at Johnny Brenda's, performing a rare four-piece set.

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