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The Deli Philly’s September Record of the Month: Strength - Bad Heaven Ltd.

Somber strokes of guitar and a light dusting of drums develop the intimate closeness of “Inp,” the first song on Bad Heaven Ltd.’s sophomore album Strength. Amid an overarching sense of loneliness, the power and positivity of personal connection remains as John Galm (ex-Snowing) suggests, “…and I know that evening’s empire won’t absolve this place. I'll burn three cigarettes, and you can call it sage. I'll sigh a benediction after all its praise for thee.”

In contrast to the previous calm, “Almost” immediately rushes and rumbles creating a chaotic, contemplative intensity that then gives way to melancholy strings and a gentle, folk-oriented rumination. “Alex is lonely. They think that their body is worthless. It’s hard to stay hopeful, when you think that you lack a purpose.” There’s a refined elegance as the instrumentation gradually builds with a beautiful release that also seemingly serves as a tribute, rekindling the opening theme: “It’s almost better now.”

With the album’s title track, Galm exudes optimism in the moment of declaring, “Lucky and bored in love with you, it’s reasonably fine. I was not true. Try to be more. We’ll see it through.” The recording is punctuated by a demonstrative blaze of guitar, while “Stick Around” revisits the desire for existential meaning and purpose, bridging the divide and connecting on “…you and I,” and then transforming into an intimate, rejuvenating harmony of a duet, with the addition of keys/synth to retain an ethereal quality.

“100” delves into the weight of despair and loneliness within desolate surroundings. However, despite the frustration depicted in the dreary, folk/Americana setting, a glimmer of hope remains. “Fuck your landlord, it’s not their home. I live for you and for you alone.” In opposition, “Cross” serves as a cheerful song of appreciation for the person that’s always there for you. “I love you like a brother. It never ends. See you every weekend my only friend.” That breezy buoyancy is joyously interrupted by an instrumental foray.

The single, “Bed,” sinks into the sadness of depression and the desire for relief. Those quiet contemplations are infused with the force of unrestrained feedback, before acoustic guitar and piano delicately intertwine on “Forever,” describing a cherished relationship. “I just hope that you’re in my life forever. I thank every lucky star that you were born.”

Strength explores the difficulties that life can present and the redemptive qualities of having someone to rely on. They are two things that don’t always coexist together, but have found each other on this powerful release. – Michael Colavita

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On "Bess's Dance," Itasca goes on a creative retreat

It'd been three years since Kayla Cohen (a.k.a Itasca) released 2016's Open to Chance, a sublime offering where the singer-songwriter sought to connect with the nature, and beings, that surrounds her with finger-picked acoustic melodies and lilting country ballads. There was a good reason for her absence—wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of L.A., Cohen went on a six-month creative retreat to rural New Mexico in hopes of finding something new and meaningful. One of her findings is documented on her new single, "Bess's Dance," a gentle jazz-folk fusion that conjures images of her days living in an old adobe house. 

"Bess's Dance" is the first reveal off Itasca's fourth LP, Spring, which is due out on November 1 via Paradise of Bachelors. Juan Rodríguez

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Honey Cutt promises a thrilling full-length album with new single "Suburban Dream"

Honey Cutt has been keeping busy since the release of its 2019 single “Suburban Dream,” an indie-pop delight with both retro and quite modern colorations. The band toured extensively through July, visiting cities like Indianapolis and Detroit along the way. Kaley Honeycutt, who leads the Boston-based trio, fuels the powerful lyrics of “Suburban Dream” with observations of her time in suburbia. The song may be “tongue in cheek,” according to the band, but it touches on that genuine feeling that anyone who has lived in one place for most of their life can relate to, a sense of wanting to break out. Breaking out is precisely what Honey Cutt is doing: having signed to independent label Kanine Records the band promises a full-length record is coming. The group recently performed at ONCE in Somerville and is sure to keep its momentum going this fall. We are streaming the vibrant single below. - Rene Cobar

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TONIGHT: Fieldings release EP "It's All You, Cookie" at Rubulad

What better spot for Fieldings to debut a whole new EP of their wonderfully weird tunes than Rubulad, Brooklyn's nomadic venue? The trio of soft indie rockers will drop It's All You, Cookie tonight; its final track, "Soft Shell Crabs", has already seen release - we are streaming it below. It retains the same echoing dreamy goodness as their tracks from their previous album "Soft Tissue", but it sounds as polished as -- if not more so than -- anything the group has released in their six years of existence. Take a listen to "Soft Shell Crabs" below, and if you can make it to the show, RSVP to Rubulad for the address. - Will Sisskind

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Lilith deliciously blends pop and rock in new album "Safer Off"

How wonderful it is to listen to music that takes the mind on a pleasant ride down memory lane: if you are having upbeat memories about better times you may be listening to the vibrant indie-pop of Boston’s Lilith. The Allston-based duo that is Hannah Liuzzo and Kelsey Rose Francis flies high in its latest album Safer Off, a posh blend of garage rock and pop that ticks all the boxes of appealing modern music. Do you want dynamic guitar riffs? You got them! Need some sweet pop choruses? Coming right up, friend! From the popping drums of Adam Demirjian to the female harmonies that accentuate each song, if a rich sound is what you crave, the music will satisfy you. The group recently celebrated the release of Safer Off with a performance at Great Scott and is sure to keep the momentum going this fall. We are streaming the cheery track “In Real Life” below. - Rene Cobar

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